Angeles City As Sadness

Dedicated to the abandoned children of Angeles City

I could tell you how lonely the city is:
how dark it becomes and how quiet
you wish it would be. The flowers feel
displaced and the moment they bloom
is the same moment they remain
unseen. It is beautiful how forgotten
they have become. And I don’t have
so much words to say about them.
Outside, angels without rightful names
crowd the streets for leftovers and mercy.
There is an empty place inside that is hurting them:
perhaps the same place that keeps their hearts out
on their own: they have known enough sadness
to know how it has made them. There is more to this, I hope.
But so much stays the same.

This is an inescapable truth: the weather shifts, and the city remains
to remind us of what we refuse to remember:
we have become the shadows
of ourselves. And I have forgiven
the city for its unintended cruelty.

From the parish bench, I see how grateful they are
to the kindness of strangers. They share breads
and coffee from half empty cups: they have known enough joy
to know what would make them. There is more to this, I hope.
But so much of this will remain the same.
The truth is, they are part of this city’s unkindness.
Its negligence is their language. They cannot tell
the difference between the absence of hope
and how they are half of someone else: they are
kept secrets and stories told. As they plead
for the coffee in my hand and some change,
I wonder, if they knew what forgiveness meant,
would it make them whole?

I want to tell you how sad the city is: I could not.
They can: they have known enough happiness
for me to know what sadness really is, as the rain
slowly falls, trickles on its name.

Gari Vinluan is an advertising professional. He graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and Sociology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is currently finishing stories for a chapbook to be released sometime this year, hopefully.

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