Manila Canto, Part I

Sandals and shorts every-
boy on a Jeepney
spraypainted
God’s Gift
El Shaddei
Son of God
hunking piece of American
war metal
sees through barred slats —
Hemingway, are you here? —
service-industry heels
uniform every-woman

as they barge through shapeless traffic
past ramshackle stands and markets
selling tilapia and milkfish
in various states of decay
past Jesus’ termite sons and daughters
our Marxist dalits
swimming in the river of refuse
of garbage, the trash
that no skeleton scavengers wanted,
splashing, naked
toward the promise of Makati’s
Herculean shopping malls
four airconditioned floors
escalators up and down
buying Nike and Adidas
intellectual property preserved.

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