A Filipino Man & A Black Man Eat Thai Food In Hendersonville


Poet and writer Tony Robles and I decided to have a meal after a small house concert in Hendersonville after a planned Juneteenth event was canceled due to inclement weather. Tony, a Filipino, myself African American, traded stories about our backgrounds, where we are from, and what this means to who we are as writers, as poets, as people who enjoy understanding as well as experiencing the cultural expressions of our respective ethnic backgrounds.

I could relate to Tony. Fairgrounds Housing Development, where I spent my formative years on the west side of Rockford, IL prepared me for the travels I would experience as a poet, as an intercultural and multicultural collaborator and human rights activist. Determined to listen, Tony was patient in learning about the poet who had entered Hendersonville to entertain.

His native San Francisco is full of culture, ethnicity, stories, the travels of people finding new homes or experiencing one they are native to. Although I have never been to San Francisco, I know about how the city was formed, who was forced to work there, who benefits from the forced work of people who were othered in its formation. We ate Thai while coming to agreements about the sociopolitical circumstances which bring people like he and I together.

Eat your food brother,
we have much to build on.
Enjoy your tea comrade,
we have more stories to
share, to collect, new ways
to connect. Indulge in your
Pad Thai friend, your journeys
require you have protein. Let
us be one in this moment, the
future is a pathway to the
importance of our impactful

The Thai was good. The food, wholesome. Food, an example of culture, helps us slow down, accept, take patterned breaths so the next steps can be about how we come together in the future. I have had Thai in other places, but this time, the Thai was a celebration of what could come. Great conversation and nutrition go well together.

We were a Filipino man and a Black man enjoying Thai food in Hendersonville embracing the moment, filling each minute with lines, learning, laughter. Coincidental? Maybe. Needed? Yes. We have much to share with one another. Meals, stories, time – ways we can achieve this sharing.

The mixing, mingling of cultures
is as old as time itself. We have dealt
with one another in ways not many
people credit, or accept. Breaths
together, handshakes, smiles, hugs,
“peace to yous” are all about us
respecting the multicolors of us
people, humans, beings believing
we can come together, drum together,
dance together.

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