• TWO POEMS BY RAUL G. MOLDEZ

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    Den City

    Another teenager appears on the stage.
    She dances without a partner. Her two-piece
    has imprint of sunflowers, yellow in their freshness.
    She stands tall in her six-inch high heeled black boots,
    resembling that of Texas cowboys’. For three 45s,

    she performs alone. Sometimes, she splits on the floor.
    The backdrop mirror captures her steps—each movement
    of her hands and fingers with long, painted nails.
    Here colored lights turn on and off every second
    in perfect cadence with the music. Here she

    and the rest of the starlets are the main attractions.
    I join hundreds of men—office workers, construction crews,
    port laborers—in watching them, clapping our hands
    every after performances. For the record, the starlets’ names,
    sweet-sounding, are printed bold on the streamer

    hanged at the entrance. The streamer has a blurb
    from an anonymous critic: Fresh from Japan
    I summon one of the starlets to my table, offer her
    shots of Dalandan juice, pricey than a bottle of Tequila.
    And when the show is over, my wallet aches in silence.

    * * *

    A Magician’s Show

    He picks a rose, pink, fresh
    from the hem of my wife’s skirt.

    Then draws a coin from my ear.
    He turns a swertres tip into

    a crisp one thousand peso bill
    or small paper cuts into

    chained handkerchiefs.
    He buries a red satin

    ritaso in his closed palm
    and draws it from the edge

    of a little boy’s city short.
    And when his show is over,

    The kids clap their hands.
    His power evokes wonder.

    Because I cheer him too
    pretending I didn’t know

    the secrets of his tricks.

    (Raul G. Moldez hails from Cagayan de Oro City.)

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