Dream Landscape, with Ray-bans and Leyte Landing

This entry is part 46 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


In my last dream before waking,
I couldn’t find
the exit from a mall.

It could have been the Mall
of Asia
(though I’ve never been there),

for the row of glass windows
all along one side
looked upon the bay, and a vintage

biplane overhead trailed a red and
orange banner
through the gloom, reading

“Manila Bay’s Famous Sunset.”
Not a star
perforated the leaden

skies, and a group of schoolboys
down by the wharf
were digging with spoons in the sand.

Or could it have been
a museum?
Now I am confused—

No, now I’m pretty sure it was the mall
next to the museum
named after the five-star General

sporting Ray-bans— because of the frozen
displays of mannequins
dressed in cheap fabrics stitched mostly

in Chinese factories. They stretched
their arms toward the cabinet
holding MacArthur’s silverware and

pewter, but his man-servant wouldn’t
let them near.
“I’m keeping these safe till he returns,”

he declared, perhaps not knowing
that in the lobby
of the rotonda, the man himself

lay sleeping next to his second wife,
a southern belle.
She was 46 and he 64 when he strode

waist-deep into the surf in the famous
Leyte Landing.
I’ve seen a mural commemorating

the event (his wife isn’t in it,
of course), and I have
always wondered but never remember

to ask museum guides why there, behind
the General, Romulo (5’4″)
isn’t up to his shoulders in the water.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Landscape, with Construction Worker, Ants, and GullPantoum, with Spiderweb and Raindrops →

6 Replies to “Dream Landscape, with Ray-bans and Leyte Landing”

  1. I’ve always wished some filmmaker would take on doing a short of MacA doing takes for that newsreel, over and over and over. (My stepfather was on his staff, & always said that MacA’s egotism passed belief. Was it he who told me about all the takes, or did I read it somewhere? Dunno, anymore.)

  2. This poem deftly works its way from the dreamed to the real. I really love its calculated meandering, Ma’am Luisa, from the imagined and the heard about to the known and historical, that “monumental” photo of McArthur’s landing looking now more and more surreal as Romulo rises in the background.

  3. I looked at the photo carefully. It is a mystery. If Romulo is not standing on a turtle, maybe the Almighty overshot His ‘walking on water’ beam aimed at MacArthur. (grin)

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