Tondo, 2002

Instead of seas, I sought cities
overpasses, traffic snarls, a house in the old town

old ghosts.

Spent hours watching a woman walk up and down the stairs of her home
in wooden shoes

She would tear at her hair, walk up a flight, smooth her skirt, walk down once more
stare at us through the window.

I marveled at this daily flagellation, how those shoes must have pinched her feet,
I imagined their soles as they darkened, stained with her sweat over years.

We would buy beer from the corner stores, to sit on a makeshift bench outside,
in front of the sliding door that we barred with wood at night so people couldn’t break  in

We put our feet up to drink. watching the man across the street shout at her — the lazy wife who wore paths into her floorboards  — all night

These days I no longer
indulge in  the pleasure of old streets and old walls,
speak with the men
 manning stores that sell pictures of doe-eyed, dull-mouthed saints

Count the cracking sidewalks, the odd tree root pushing up concrete
the small pleasure of things

these streets, these streets they hurt my feet and I

no longer needed the sense of loss.

be irrelevant!

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