Merienda On Buendia - Poem by Keith Johnson
[Another Special Lunch at the Asian Development Bank Office in Mondragon House - 1985]
MERIENDA ON BUENDIA
As she is transferring to HQ on Roxas
There will be merienda today for Rosa.
There will be ukoy and ube-macapuno cake
And the boss Dr Dhoni will make a speech.
He will be charming and diplomatic
And tell of Rosa’s many talents,
Avoiding reference to her penchant
For bunking off and cultivating seedy affairs
With senior expatriate staffers who should know better.
And the office girls will giggle
As they load their Pancit noodles
Onto paper plates and sip Mountain Dew
Or take another slice of Sans Rival cake
Saying ‘Sir’ in their sexiest voice
And the professionals will ponder
Nervously the beauties that beset them
And talk seriously about interest rates,
Country statistics and trade finance
And the necessity of buying a generator.
And then as it always does
The conversation will drift
To the best deal on duty-free cars
And which model has the highest resale value.
After which mention will be made
Of the Swiss man from the WHO
Whose car was shunted at the traffic lights
On Ayala and who unwisely got out and shouted
At the Pinoy who had stopped short -
Only to have his windscreen shot out by the accused.
But Chris who is new from Australia
Will flirt dangerously with Baby -
She with the shone jet eyelids and
Slinky in oh-so tight silk skirts
And he with the sweaty hairline acne
Getting goose-bumps from the aircon.
He whose young wife is at home gated
In Dasmariñas Village isolated - sat sobbing
Under the paddle-fan on the lanai.
And nobody will remember
The young labourer from Bohol
Who I saw being carried limp
Off the building site
After he had fallen from
The bamboo scaffolding
On the ninth floor
Blood at the corner of his mouth
His eyes already distant and opaque.
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