Tony Robles


Somehow that seemed
To be the measure of
A man

However, I was born
With two feet and a
Vertical standing that
Stopped at 5 feet 8
And 1/2 in

My father stopped at
About 5 foot 5

(5 foot 6 in heels)

I looked up to him
Even though I eclipsed
Him vertically

That man, with the
Ability to slap a smile
Both on and off my

What separates us
Now is 3000 miles

Both of us are
On lockdown

Reminding me of when
He’d put me on
Restriction for an

(For an indefinite period of time)

Outside his house
In Hawaii are Palm

And like those Palms
His own Palm could
Be gentle

As his voice is
Right now

He asks me how
I am, speaks of the
Travel restrictions to

Tells me to
Be careful,
Don’t panic

I’m scared

And his voice
Comforts me as if
He is right here

Closer than
6 ft

Moving in my

The measure of
A man

0-9TONY ROBLES, “The People’s Poet” was born in San Francisco and is the nephew of Filipino-American poet, historian and social justice activist Al Robles. He was a shortlist nominee for poet laureate of San Francisco in 2017 and the recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission individual literary artist grant in 2018. His two books of poetry and short stories, Cool Don’t Live Here No More – A letter to San Francisco and Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike (both published by Ithuriel’s Spear Press) take on the issues of eviction, gentrification and police violence in communities of color. He is also the author of two children’s books, Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel, published by Children’s Book Press and Lee and Low. Tony is currently based in North Carolina and was recently named the 2020 Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence.

Other works

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