SoCal Wedding


Cousin Leny’s wedding to Steve on August 1, 1998, in Los Angeles was the last trip B.Michael and John would make together as a couple before separating later that month.

B.Michael (left) is rocking a Barong Tagalog and John reprised his uncle’s pink seersucker jacket pairing it with a tri-color bow tie that, if memory serves, he learned to knot for the occasion.

In classic Bert + John fashion, here is how they collaborated on the message to accompany the gift:



for John and Joe

Paint a mural of your love

Baptize your vision
in primeval pools and puddles
of pastels and primaries

Give it three dimensions
with inky wads of discarded phonebook pages
tattered shoestrings
and links of rusty coat hanger

Make it shimmer with gobs of glitter
and shards of broken mirror
like Saturn’s rings
celestial debris in harmonious order

Autograph your oeuvre
with each goodnight kiss
with homemade birthday cake candles
            weeping wax
with juice from Saturdays of olallieberry-
            picking and sparring elephant seals
holding hands on long drives
slow walks arm-in-arm
Vancouver                  Venice                  Vanuatu

Know that no one knows you
like him

Acknowledge and appreciate each meal
and chew thirty-two times

Share silences and pillow-talk
chattering teeth on chilly mornings
evening jogs and fever-bouts
savor each full-mouth kiss

Remember all the possibilities

When you are octogenarian
souls rocking
side by side
cheeks parked on macramé cushions
measure time in days of gardening
and moonrises
warm your fingers and palms
on shared recollections
of fine wines and ceremonial gatherings

May angels and ancestors guard you — lovers

May honesty and humor guide you — brothers

May kin and kindred spirits buoy you — cousins

May you both
be anchored in the present
refreshed by mild winds
the joyful passing of
this moment
the next

© B.Michael Hunter & John Manzon-Santos 1998

Written on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of cousins John (aka Spike) Lomibao and Joe Garrett. Below is a reproduction of the original printed and framed.


Image taken by event photographer and gifted to John & Bert by Spike & Joe, San Francisco Bay Area, June 1998

New York Collaborative History Workshop

Bert was a life-long learner who enjoyed being in the classroom as a student perhaps as much as a teacher. He was also keen on exposing himself to innovative ways to work with his urban high schoolers around social studies, US History, the law, and related topics, hence his participation in a graduate course at The New School for Social Research.


unwrapping the present

For Shiree, in observance of life’s passing

some things are undeniable
like time’s eventual wrinkles
framing our smiles
but that’s not now

now is the insistent itch on my shoulder
a solar flare on my body’s horizon
urging me to offer you
a piece of me         us
sour         sweet          spectacular
sad          soulful
somehow expressing
for your courage

it’s morning
Sun shines through
shuttered windows
hot on our faces
blinding          images
generously descend upon us
move in concert
practicing their choreography
moment          to moment

there’s no need to delve into
deeper meaning          not now
no regrets in simply saying
friend family sister

© B.Michael Hunter & John Manzon-Santos 1998


When stars align . . .

B.Michael was enthralled with maps, globes, atlases — anything that helped locate himself/ourselves in space, and imagine where else he/we could be. He also thought beyond our planet, and found boundless fascination and joy at one of his favorite places on Earth, New York’s American Museum of Natural History and, in particular, the Hayden Planetarium.

In May of 1997, he made his love affair with this heavenly institution official, the life-long learner-teacher that he was, by enrolling in an astronomy course. His certificate below is signed by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson who, like B.Michael, was born in Manhattan in 1958.


What, pray tell, would B.Michael say about the images from the James Webb Space Telescope?!?

B.Michael would also appreciate Nikita Gill‘s poetry: “We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names.”

American Social History Project

Bert participated in an interactive teaching seminar sponsored by the Center for Media and Learning at the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY. During this April 1997 session, his offering was to demonstrate “how he concludes his unit on the Civil Rights Movement with blues and jazz music and lyrics.”


Concurrently teaching at City-As-School, Bert operationalized his learning from the seminar in real time. Fortunately, we have one way to appreciate how innovative and impactful his teaching of high school US history was. Below are observations of his American Social History Project classes conducted by his administrative supervisors on two separate occasions — one during the spring semester that he was engaged in the above seminar, the other later that fall.



This is dedicated to the one I love

It was a priority for Bert to be present with and for Ummi, his beloved sistah-friend-colleague; he would not have missed the dedication ceremony of her child, his beloved goddaughter, Adunni.


Here, on the day of the Baby Dedication, Adunni is held by forever Godmom/Auntie Beverly Smith and Auntie Camilla Brizan. Photo: Ummi Modeste or forever Godmom Kmur Hardeman.