Manila

Mornings begin with the sound of your voice

tugging at ears a blend of screeching tires

and inaudible words set at the highest volume.

Your smile calls to wake up each and every day

at six thirty in the morning sharp, seven at most.

A method you have perfected over the years

caters to the needs of all your children;

the right amount of light to blind eyes awake,

an excess of heat to force off the bed.

You push out of the door, into the street,

into a multicolored rainforest with waters

infested with crocodiles and snakes

whose day jobs prescribe hours in the office,

and a lush filled with brothers and sisters

of the same color, the same blood, different directions.

A mother that forces her child out into the jungle,

without food or money to last the day,

with nothing but the endurance he has cultivated

over his years under her wing.

Guided by the rush of the life you have set

but confused by the congestion and stagnancy

of those who live it, he is left to stand

in the middle of a footbridge, above

a sea of cars that have ceased to go on,

amidst a current of people that move

from here to there, with his hand

stretched out towards them.

Advertisements

Anna Karenina

An approaching horn’s noise

deafens all who have ears.

The platform is shaking

with each feeble pebble

dancing on iron rails.

 

A woman on the edge,

decked head-to-toe in black;

a lavish purse, dangling,

its hue reminiscent

of her quivering lips.

 

Heels clacking, fidgeting

on the wooden floor,

 

mumbling;

What am I doing? Why?

 

A moment, a stillness;

seconds compressed in time.

 

A cloud of smoke rolls in.

fog as the train arrives.

God, forgive me ev’rything!

The black mist fades away,

dissipating slowly.

 

People shift in, shift out.

A red bag lies on the

edge of the platform, stepped

on by foot after foot.

The commotion ensues.

Victoria

I stood on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui

the night before I left, to tell you goodbye.

Before dusk underneath the clock tower, as promised,

amidst faces all the same, waiting. Slowly,

you lit up the sky, as the dark settled in.

Your rough, gray skin glowed, replacing the stars.

Beneath you the harbor comes alive, along with the current,

and the boats, and the ferry who resembles a vision of you

from years long ago. I have shared you for too long

with millions just like me. The same dance every night

for both hellos and goodbyes – a ballet of lights,

blue, yellow, gray, and white, I mistook for you and I.

Goodbye, I whispered into thin air, listen.

A new love has swept me to a place far away.

Silence. Your breath crashed with the waves,

tapping on the pier, fragrant as the sea.

The light sprinkle of water are your fingers

brushing against my skin. A murmur into my ear,

so faint a voice. Too late to look back

on what once was. Goodbye, my lover,

I must let you go, back to your stage

above the water where you belong.