March Poetry: "My Lunch Box" by Tony DelaRosa

March 28, 2018

Image Credit: Jack Lancto via Flickr

Tony DelaRosa’s litany of love to “My Lunch Box” is the poem of my inner child’s dreams. Truth and imagination dressed equally in delightful musicality, brace yourself for the devastating (empowering?) evolution from “lunchbox” to “Lunchable.” To every reader whose lunchbox was (or is) “everyone’s ‘yuck my yum,’” you’re welcome.  

— Eugenia Leigh, Poetry Editor

My Lunch Box
after Clint Smith

My lunchbox be transformer
My lunchbox be Dinuguan one day
            the dugo be the chocolate sauce of the pig
            the ritual words most Filipino parents abused
            to conceal the truth behind a slaughter
My lunchbox be Dillis the next day
            the Whoever Smelt It, Dealt It finger-fish
            with the side of vinegar dip
My lunchbox be an homage to sawsawan
My lunchbox be an entire conversation with one kamay
My lunchbox be “my momma did that” (pointing to its ribcage, while
                        grains of rice celestial to each finger)

My lunchbox be transformer though
My lunchbox be Greek mythology in the Midwest
My lunchbox be forming crop circles

One day, my lunchbox made Bobby’s face cringe into his Wonder Bread
                        and made Chris’ nose fall off like the Sphinx
                        while Felix escaped into his Lunchable

My lunchbox be unlovable, urban legend, Unesco World Heritage site forgotten
My lunchbox be wishing for a new mouth: new teeth, new tongue, new breath, new lungs
My lunchbox be everyone’s “yuck my yum”
My lunchbox be transforming full moon

My lunchbox be having surgery again,
            the doctors say that we only have to pay on the front end
My lunchbox knew that was a lie, but went Optimus Prime anyway … 

My lunchbox be Lunchable in a minute
My Lunchable be lovable now
                        it wears plastic like a Ken Doll
                        its ribcage, a bento box of Ritz Crackers
                        and Kraft Singles

My Lunchable be American Born Chinese
My Lunchable be David Blaine carrying itself with no handles
                        levitating into a dream
                                    where Chris’ nose magically reappeared
                                    where Bobby’s face smiled
                                                my forbearance on fleek, as if the latter always was,
                                                            as if everyone was so forgiving.


Tony DelaRosa

Tony DelaRosa is California by chance and Cambridge by choice. He’s a Filipinx-American Educator, Writer, Spoken Word Poet, Social Activist and budding Sriracha Chef.  He is a cofounder of Indy Pulse, a citywide youth spoken word organization in Indianapolis and founder and Executive Director of Boston Pulse Poetry (in Greater Boston, MA). As a current graduate student in the Arts in Education program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, he serves as the Co-Chair for the Pan-Asian Coalition for Education, Tri-Chair for the 16th Annual Alumni of Color Conference and Communications Fellow through the Voice Program. Find out more about his work by visiting CNNThe Hechinger Report and NPR