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Archive for February, 2010


I ride your thick hide
It smells of northern Luzon fleas
The manilatown-Kearny street wind
cuts thru thin blankets of the manongs
chilled Ifugao bones crack the lucky M cue ball

–Al Robles “International Hotel Night Watch”

Manong Al’s birthday has been a time of reflection of the past and a time to look to the future. Manong Al’s words and ideas and spirit are very much alive in our community–inspiring students, activists, writers, artists and others–to give their hearts and minds to their communities.

Manong Al dedicated his life to social justice and bringing voice to silenced communities through poetry, resisting the intentional exclusion of the voices of elders, youth and the poor.

Many in the community wish to honor Manong Al’s spirit and ideas through their work, and our family is grateful and appreciative of the esteem in which Manong Al is held.

In keeping with the spirit of inclusion and making sure ALL voices are heard, the Robles family kindly requests to be informed of any discourse involving Manong Al’s literary work, spirit, ideas and concepts, so that the family might contribute ideas, introductions, and input that gives voice to the spirit of serving the community.

The Robles family kindly asks that if you have a project or proposal that is related to Manong Al’s work or ideas/concepts, that, as a courtesy, you contact us so we can be aware of your project and offer any help or assistance. You can contact the family at tofuriver@comcast.net and lakas@comcast.net

Thank you,

The Robles Family


Be Inspired



Happy Birthday Uncle Al!

We celebrate Uncle Al’s birthday this month. February 16th is when he began his journey to Ifugao Mountain. In his backpack he collected our stories and songs–celebrating them in his poetry. From Fillmore to Manilatown, from Tule Lake to Agbayani Village to Wounded Knee, his poetry and life was dedicated to the silenced voices of our youth and elders in struggle.

“I miss the brother” said close friend Pete Yamamoto, whose Issei and Nisei and I-Hotel poems fall from his lips like Cherry Blossoms in the Japantown Wind. Pete walks with salmon rivers in his eyes, following carabao footsteps to Ifugao Mountain.

Tune in to the POOR NewsNetwork Radio show on KPFA 94.1 FM on Monday Feb. 22nd at 730AM. The show is dedicated to Uncle Al. Al’s nephew Tony interviews friends and fellow poets Lou Syquia and Pete Yamamoto who will speak on Al’s poetry, the I-Hotel and Al’s legacy on our community. POOR Magazine legal scholar Marlon Crump will read his excellent poem, “Heaven is Now a Manilatown”. You can listen online at www.kpfa.org.

The Asian American film festival will feature Curtis Choy’s excellent film “Manilatown is in the Heart–Time Travel with Al Robles” on March 14th and 15th at the Sundance Kabuki Theater in Japantown in San Francisco. Please support this excellent film. For film festival info: www.asianamericanmedia.org. To purchase the film: www.chonkmoonhunter.com

Feel free to leave birthday wishes and thoughts in our guestbook. Celebrate Al’s life and journey in your own way. Eat a bowl of rice and fish, talk story, climb the rooftops and blow conch shell poems across the ocean, write a poem and let it float in the rivers of Manilatown, any way you choose–as Uncle Al always said, “Hang loose now, kid!”

Events and projects are being planned to celebrate Al’s journey, as well as the release of poems and other unpublished work. We’ll keep you posted.

The Robles Family