Papa the Drunken Master, Me the Karate Kid by Jonel Abellanosa

Papa the Drunken Master, Me the Karate Kid

I waited for rum to pull his eyelids
down, when “no” vanished from his

vocabulary. Noticing the intoxicated
shimmer in his eyes, I handed him

my assignment notebook so he could
accomplish my homework. Almost

smiling, my arm on his shoulder,
I worked my eight-year-old wonder

to spare myself of more studies at home
so I could be Bruce Lee, Kareem Abdul

Jabbar or Chuck Norris, shadowboxing.
He wrote my report on Atlantis, from

his memory of Plato, his penmanship
like a groggy duckling. One afternoon

he, little bro and I walked home because
he said he didn’t have enough money

for jeepney fare. Expecting him swerve
and zigzag, his breaths smelling of rum

as we neared the bookstore, I grabbed
his wrist, pulling him by hand past

the glass door. “No” had exited his
outer spaces. That was decades ago.

I was not yet past my tenth year, when
I manipulated a poor drunkard to buy me

books. I had mastered the verbal chops,
dance steps, sways with words, tones

of making my beloved opponent empty
his pockets for my reading obsessions.


Jonel Abellanosa lives in Cebu City, The Philippines. Nominated for the Pushcart, Dwarf Stars and Best of the Net awards, his poetry and fiction have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including The McNeese Review, Agape Review, The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg Review, Anglican Theological Review, The Cape Rock, Chiron Review and Invisible City. His poetry collections include, “Songs from My Mind’s Tree” and “Multiverse” (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York), “50 Acrostic Poems,” (Cyberwit, India), “In the Donald’s Time” (Poetic Justice Books and Art, Florida), and “Pan’s Saxophone” (Weasel Press, Texas), “Instrumentals” (Lemures Digital Editions). His first novel, “Healers,” is forthcoming from Penguin Random House. He is a nature lover and an advocate for the environment and animal rights and comforts. He has three companion dogs.

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