Crawling on this sidewalk,
blood rushing from
my burnt tongue, caught in between my teeth,
and the cigarettes, oh Marlboro Ice Blast.
A refuge of carcinogens,
memories in pieces much like
a torn letter, shards of glass from an abandoned shop.
You took me, inside rickety jeeps,
all we hear and smell are the shouts of vendors
the yawns of tired mothers and
the trash being piled on the side.
We see Quiapo, in red, yellow and blue
Neon lights, girls in heels, men prowling.
They're okay, they will be.
Joined foot steps,
shoes scraping against pieces of loose concrete.
There we were in the heart of Ermita,
painted women, bearded men, animals of
feelings and desire.
We found a piece of the home I left
4,673 miles away in palm trees and golden sands.
Every crevice and crack was filled with nostalgia
you're my new refuge.
Oh Luneta, lovely Luneta
we ran with the grass and the smell of
sweet corn and roasted nuts.
Cheeks pressed against a warm night,
a cool breeze followed after
then light rain showers.
Lying under a flag of heroes and long forgotten histories,
this is a country I would
stay loyal to, with you.
Taft Avenue; this is new.
I watch strangers with voices that
sounded like bells, a symphony
Coffee, papers, thin framed glasses, sweet scents.
My eyes were hungry
till you appeared
it was raining that night, underneath a maroon umbrella
Letters were read, my tears mixed with raindrops.
Our lips became one, and
flavors of mint, wood and bubbles
could it be love?
scratching at the layers and
I cast out this old girl
she is not human, she is a bird
a beast of lust, heart and resilience.
I see your house, but you have
plucked out your eyes, with sewn lips,
you won't recognize me
with this last cigarette, I burn again.