I’ve been watching you, bird’s-eye view, walking
this forsaken street to god-knows-where, walking
this crooked street on which sidewalk (northbound)
I stand with my best impression of a dignified vertical erection.
(As if this depressed neighborhood gives a damn.
Except perhaps for the little children who benefit
from the extra playing time, at dusk, that I “facilitate,”
as to “provide” is too pompous. Those feral creatures,
playing hide and seek, and whoever’s it cheats every time:
looks around even before “Ten!”)
This street of the slums of the un/semi-employed,
teems with the lumpenproletariat: men naked
from the waist up, sizzling with the sun all day,
playing streetball or downing gin or both.
And at night their little children play hide and seek,
and their adolescents seek and destroy and bleed.
I’m small consolation, a two-month-old token project
courtesy of Quezon City Hall, with the assumed function
of making this street safer. Or helping the predators
see and hunt their prey better. Whatever, I stand here
alone with my best impression of a dignified erection.
And I’ve been watching you, bird’s-eye view.
Took a fancy to you who walks with a polo shirt,
formal pants, and shiny black leather shoes.
You’re one of the few anomalies in this neighborhood
of shanties: beehive of thin plywood pieces topped
by corrugated metal roofs topped by tires and rocks
to keep them in place. They keep them in place.
The two pickpockets, ex-cons whom they can’t seem
to keep in place, who pee on my base when drunk,
used to tease you every time you pass by, envious.
The past month you’ve been returning home at night
later than usual, and the past week I haven’t stared at
nor shed my incandescent light on you. And last Friday night,
the two pricks, after pissing on my feet, talked about you
and your wife, and the police car and ambulance
that paid your home a visit earlier at dawn. You
had another, they said, and she had a stormy fit
that the weather bureau failed to detect, much less name.
This Thursday morning, a rare wind blew and swept
pages of a week-old tabloid to my feet. But I can’t read it
from my bird’s-eye view; still unbending with my dignified erection
— and the maya perched on my head was illiterate.