A Filipino Food Poem: Brown Girl Consumed

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a poem, and so here is this. I’m in deep, with my some brown girl manuscript, and thinking about both my everyday language, every conversations, and how to make those “match” with my poetic voice.

Brown Girl Consumed

Motherfuckers love your food! Bon Appetit
wanna put Gummi Bears ® in your halo-halo,
Andrew Zimmern swears by sisig, you’re
the latest craze. He tours the homeland, eats
worms dipped in vinegar, pulled straight
from a fucking tree, then pales at your dirty
ice cream. What a dick. Anthony Bourdain
also comes to bat for your balut. You are a
culinary adventure! And yo, are you grateful,
now you are so cool, your pork bellies sizzling,
your organic free trade leche de coco simmering,
edgy piquants and aromatics are now pricy
speciality grocery items for urban food truck
bearded hipsters, for wine pairings lightyears
from the passé go-to Rieslings (yawn). Oh, how
this ups their cultural cachet; they are so far
ahead of the curve — bravo! They can turn up
their noses as chop suey eaters, and everyday
Americans freak the fuck out at Panda Express.
They want lumpias rolled tight, like spliffs,
And medicinal cannibis. They don’t know that
TnTs are sweating into specialty catered meals
lesser than minimum wage, under the table
under subsistence. Americans still gag reflex
at the innards we third world people eat, they
know shit about your titas, your cataracted
grammas who stayed home and never learned
to read, but Goddamn if they can’t recite
“Mi Último Adiós,” from the heart! Ay Dios ko,
the tsismis around tables of itchy gabi leaves
and roots and malunggay fronds, elder hands
like luya, their nails so thickened (kumare, these
tables will be used later for mah jong, lambanog,
and pulutan). Your titas, who singlehandedly took
the sharpest machetes to the pigs’ (and to some
men’s) throats, bled those tasty motherfuckers,
flipping handrolled tobacco with their tongues
and with a chorus of boning knives, these works
of art no museum would ever exhibit. All this in
tsinelas, damit pambahay, gold rings, siyempre
anting-anting. Yes, bespectacled hipsters and
wannabe gourmands say Filipino cuisine is
the next big thing. Folks, we are on the map!

Yo, Instagram that shit.

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