Went to the Rhyme and Rhythms gig at Greenbelt. F. Sionil Jose is the man. He didn’t really read any poetry, just an excerpt from a story (or something like that, I was floating out of my body due to sheer volume of the tea that I drank) and this anecdote:
There’s this oldtimer (Ilocano—I don’t know if it’s supposed to be more funny that way) who had his brother come over to California. The guy didn’t speak a word of English, so when he had to memorize his spiel so he could order food in the diner.
“Hotdog and coffee,” he repeated on the street as he walked, inside the bus, as he sat on his stool in the diner. He ordered hotdog and coffee for over a year. If you ate hotdog and coffee all the time, you could either lose all your tastebuds or burn your tongue.
So after some time, he asked his brother to teach him a new dish to order. “Okay. Just tell the waiter that you want a steak, mashed potatoes, string beans and onions.” So the guy mumbles this over and over in his head as he travelled from apartment to bus stop to diner. He sits on his stool in the bar. The waiter comes and asks him: “What will you have, sir?” Our guy orders, quite proud of his memory. “Steak, mashed potatoes, string beans and onions.” Then the waiter asks, “How do you like your steak sir?” “Steak, mashed potatoes, string beans, and onions.” “No, I was asking how you would like your steak done?” Our guy repeats his order again and again. Finally, he gets tired and says, “Hotdog and coffee.”
I think that was much funnier than Apa Ongpin’s neverending tale of the ordinary Pinoy guy who’s out to get laid. All the three variations of it. The guys from Dulaang Laboratoryo performed. Jocel says they rehearsed it on the same day of the show. But the “Adventures of Kwiki Kwekkwek” still brought the house down. As a finale, Mojofly performed. It was fun being out there with all those young people, although I do wish they get a place more apt for poetry readings. The foodcourt, no matter how nice, provides more distraction than anything. Between your food and Apa Ongpin, who would you choose? But still a great show.