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Empty island where all is clear

with you there with me,

in your white island dress

that flows with the wind.

floral headband holding your head,

sand soft beneath our feet.

every sunrise and sunset

swallowing the piece of floating land we live.

empty island where all is clear.

your eyes

and brown hair.
on an island in the sun
I can write of Manila at night like the greats do of Paris. Not Manila in the morning, for it matters then, but Manila at night where it doesn't matter if it is new or old or if you are rich or poor, because it all blends into the moonlit darkness and that is when Manila becomes like a love letter. It may be Cebu that I love, but it is Manila that captivates me.

To the farmer, who left Manila for America to escape the war, and returned to see only a burned down church. To the young boy, a hundred years later, who does not see the church, but sees the romance of a concrete city. And to the ill man sitting on the corner of a street in Ermita, who has seen more of life and Manila than any of us ever will or ever can or ever want to. To the jazz bars tucked deep in Quezon where the music is sweetest, and to the congregation of poets who meet at their secret place in Makati on sacred nights to talk of the country they write for. Manila does not end.

But Manila is no moveable feast- it is a grand mystery that is far too heavy to take with you. Paris was loved because it was easy to love. The same way Florence was loved because it was easy to. Manila is far too rough to make for easy loving, but the beauty is there for everyone but the blind to see, and even then it is there for the blind to feel. One just has to try hard enough. It is what Manila represents, for it represents not the American dream, but the Filipino ambition to create their own. It does not become a question of how can you. It never will. It is a question of how can you not be romantic of Manila?
Here's to a city of extremes, and smog, and **** beauty
But I can’t write about her.

We speak in multitudes even we don’t understand.
"my boy's got me tongue tied in two different languages
he's calling me baby on mondays and sinta 'til sundays
he's got me looking for him in between eskinitas
and cathedrals from quezon avenue to intramuros
all i see are his eyes
and 7,107 islands in the palms of his hands
and i never knew love could be so hard
when your words ran faster than your heart
makata is what they call you
a master of poetry and performance
you called me your greatest work
and you are a master of fiction
manileño is what you are
my boy's got manila's grime and glory
pulsing through his makata veins
he's got makati's lights burning through his irises
he's got the danger of manila beating in his chest
he's got the cries of san juan lodged in his throat
he's got the rhythm of the city in every step
my boy's still a boy
hijo is what you think you aren't
he's got three stars on his back
and he thinks he's the sun
he thinks he can change the world
himagsikan is what he wants
a revolution beginning with him
but tell me makata, manileño, hijo,
my boy
how are you going to save me?
how are you going to love this country?
my boy's tongue tied in two different faiths
my boy forgot to save himself"

— The End —