Tony Robles


In a house
Away from the city

Along the pathways
And driveways the mailboxes
Stick out like sore thumbs

They tell us, don’t
Touch your face

Sanitize this and that
For sanity’s sake and
Possibly your life

Alone and stocked up
On canned foods, trying
To remember those
Far away

Trying to bring
Their faces into Focus
While The Contours of
Our own are off limits

I am alone

At the sink
I think of much

I look and see
An ant on the

A big one, as ants

It is moving a
Grain of rice

What are you moving?
I ask

The ant stops, looks
Up at me

It ain’t toilet paper
It says

It picks up that
Grain of rice, keeps


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
6 feet

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