Benito’s Drum–For Eviction Fighter and Son of the I-Hotel Benito Santiago

Benito’s Drum
By Tony Robles

Do you hear that sound?
The sound of skin from
Benito’s drum is the sound
of resistance to eviction

The skin of Benito’s drum
is the skin of
Mission Abuelitas
Fillmore black elders
South of Market Filipino veteranos
and lolos and lolas and children
and Chinatown elders carrying
their lives in plastic bags

The skin of Benito’s drum
is the skin of his life,
the skin of Manilatown,
the skin of the lechon Pilipino
struggle, the skin of the I-Hotel,
the skin of poets who wrote on
the walls of their minds:

“Hell no…we won’t go!”

Benito’s drum is the beat
of struggle from the heart
of struggle from the mind
of struggle

The drum bone beat of
hands carry the
dirt poems of the I-Hotel
rising out of the ground

Benito’s drum skin,
drum beat life
awakes the city
from its sleep

It wakes the elders
the children
the workers
the forgotten

Benito’s drum
is awaking the
city

with the sound
of his I-hotel
heart

(c) 2014 Tony Robles

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