Urban Hype

“Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle,
it is a human zoo.”

– Desmond Morris (1928 – )

(Manila by Night)

the city never sleeps.
sluggish, I trod along shantied estero+.
torpid, murky waters mirror lamp posts
slanted like cranes with cables sagging
as though the weight of darkness
is borne by them.

immune to the stench and acrid odor
the balut*  vendor and the aloof beggar
plod their weary way after a dreary day,
empty stomachs craving for a decent meal.

inside a row of sleazy-joints and honky-tonks,
flesh traders ply their wares among Adam’s kind.

a careless drunk sputters tunes,
alights (spitting phlegm on the southside)
from a reckless taxi that spatters fumes,
headlights splitting stark darkness outside.

i glance at my watch, half-dazed,
drowsy… It’s 2:23 A.M.
and the sun is nowhere.

i wince, as I trod.

(c) 2001 Chito L. Aguilar

+ canals in Metro Manila where slum-dwellers make their shanties
* boiled duck egg with a 15-17 days old chick; a Filipino delicacy


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