“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