Stranger of this city:
You wait for the right time to come.
It is like a street corner research
but yours is with the intimations
of lie and desire and other things
that come with the promise to wait.
Time is eternal, though, and this forever
is in the hours you spend seeing people
for the kind of care they carry with them.
The dirt-filled cemented road of the city
thin out every now and then
but the traffic of rushed feet
and this sense of going home
both gain ground soon after.
This is the longest time you have put
in to kill time for nothing, murdering
every second of it to count the cars
that pass by and their load of love
and its absence. This night scene
is not pretty but swallows you whole.
You wish there were validations somewhere,
this waiting that should not have been there
in the first place. There is the language
for fear and you do not give in to it
if you have not seen courage in dark streets
where the unknown remains to be so.
Three hours from the ninth and you stood
your ground. It is the night that matters,
not the story of regret that comes after.
You learn along the way, this spirit
of loving for something grander like
a memory that will live forever.
In time, the feelings get settled
and you fly out of nowhere to get
into the music of leaves that ruffle
that in this breezeless night
will not happen out of a miracle.
You say goodbye to this city, the act
a tenor of lullabye to will yourself
to sleep tonight. This city does not sleep
but you will sneak in to catch what sparks
are in there after the ritual bereft of caress.
No, the Qoheleth is sometimes right.
Yes, the Qoheleth is sometimes wrong.
This is the city that you have come to
for the first time and you vow to return
the second time. You remember Istanbul,
the same faraway land you have come to
with your English becoming useless?
It is the same feeling, it is the same cry
of anguish in your stranger's soul
and you know you do not live here.
The roads give the same betrayal from
the tulips by the blue mosque.
But here, it is the cross of streets with its people
and the waiting that is too long.
Cagayan de Oro City/Philippines