PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP

Butuanon Gangsters

Alfonso Manalastas

It is believed
That to find a lone coin
On the street
And to never give it away
Is a bringer of good fortune

One day
I would like to exchange all my money
For spare change
And scatter them along the slums

Of my hometown

To anchor people’s pockets
With copper so abundant
Therefore, so heavy
They will never leave my city
In search of gold

I would like to spread luck around
Like a broken slot machine
Quarters cascading
Down a town that has never gambled

In all its history

A fistful for the pastures
To abolish the impending monsoon

And another for the seabed
For bountiful catch
That lasts a year

And should one trade my lucky coins
Wringing magic out of them

Let one’s fortune be: to have enough coins

To trade for fish

Or a pedicab ride home

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