A Miracle in Manila by Ai
A man could never do as much for Imelda
as a pair of shoes.
I always knew if she had to choose,
it would be pumps instead of passion.
Although her Ferdinand was handy
with his tongue and his fingers,
she preferred to linger over coffee and a stack of
magazines rather than to have him between her legs.
I could only get the flower
of the Philippines in bed,
when I was dressed in a red jock strap
Even then, she might fade
into another rambling monologue,
or nap fitfully,
until I tapdanced and sang "Feelings,"
a song I hated,
but marriage is a compromise
and many times I had to sing two choruses,
before she woke and sang along
and with the last ounce of energy,
I would take off those goddamn shoes
and do my duty as a man.
A woman like Imelda
must be wooed again and again,
because she is controlled by her moods,
which are dark and greedy
and everyday, they chew her up
and spit her out,
less a few clothes and jewels
and more of the slum she came from.
Now she's tool old to play the ingenue.
The loyal few won't admit
that she no longer matters.
They grovel at her feet,
while she holds court
in a hotel suite
otherwise she's mostly ignored
so isolated and bored with herself,
she takes to her beloved stores.
She gives away her shopping bags of evening
clothes to the poor maids,
who have no more use for them than I do,
lying in my refrigerated coffin,
Finally, she has a meeting with Mother B,
who has been crucified every
Good Friday for the past five
Between sips of diet soda and
tears, Imelda decides the time is
for her own brief sojourn on the cross,
so she goes to San Fernando with her
entourage. She wears a simple shift
designed in Paris, and handmade flats.
She even holds the special nails,
soaked in alcohol of a year,
to her nose, and inhales,
before she lets the attendants
drive them into her hands and feet,
just missing bones and blood vessels.
Only a few heartbeats and she is down,
waving to the crowd,
who shout her name,
as if she really is the president.
It's then she starts to bleed
from her palms.
Somebody screams, then they all
It seems like hours
before they rush toward her,
tearing at her clothes, her hair,
pleading for cures, for food,
for everything they've ever needed.
Only gunfire drives them back
and she flees, both horrified and pleased
that the trick worked.
Once the fake blood's washed off,
she stares at her hands,
almost wishing she really had stigmata.
She doesn't even make the news.
mean, they get her confused with
who seizes credit for the "miracle."
Imdelda lets it go.
She settles for self-mockery
and sings "Memories,"
while her guests dine on Kentucky Fried
Chicken, flown in by Federal Express.
When she's alone, she gets undressed
and lies down,
not even bothering to get beneath the
Next morning, they find her
drained of her blood,
but her heart's still beating
and she suddenly sits up,
repeating my name.
She says in a vision
I have her a pair of magic slippers,
that allow her to walk on water.
She's lying, but I'm past caring
and I'm done with shoes.
Anyway, she doesn't need me,
because she's got her illusions.
After a transfusion, a facial
and a manicure,
she's campaigning again,
although it's useless
and I'm back tapdancing by her side,
while she proclaims herself
the only candidate
who can rise from the dead.