Cold Coffee in Baguio

Emptied another mug of Benguet coffee,
Listened to another conversation from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to scribble here,
Let the pencil tip wander from one cold thought to another,
Reflect on empty spaces in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind
But the retirement of the lines,
Of the restless spirits, and of the aching limbs.
All retire here. People sit and talk,
Look each other in the eye innocently.
It’s as if the endless zigzag road dumped
My ragtag soul into trash bins properly segregated.
Dated here from one cold establishment to another,
Emptying my wallet in the shadows of the night.
Nights are cruel here but smiling.
They send the icy winds to my eyes and my thin fingers,
Watch me curiously, sniggering at how I shiver
From head to toe, with her in my arms.

Fire brought me here.
Somewhere in this labyrinth-like city, buses stop,
People shop, old folks cough, but my fuel burns eternally.
I walk here, not like a cigarette hopelessly perishing
In an ash tray. I sleep here, not like the idle clouds
That sail slowly over my head. I could almost touch them.
I write here because I feel the chill creeping, hinting at me.

Emptied another mug of excitement,
Listened to another nonsense from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to miss people here,
Let my tired legs climb one steep stairway to another,
Reflect on futile causes leaving me behind.
Nothing comes to mind
But her dark mascara and her hidden intentions
Disturbing my thoughts out in the open.
Weird that people sip icy shakes here,
Wear skimpy shorts and keep their cheer
Even as my head attempts to self-destruct
To let all the weird heat out. Where’s home?
I was there last week; I can remember the sweat.
There were familiar smiles and voices, oil on faces.
I think I was there last week.

Everything here is rich and silent.
A peculiar peacefulness lives even in the noisiest streets.
This city is a man who has had his fill
Of a sumptuous meal, and with his eyes drooping,
Dropped to the nearest bed and had slowly unfolding dreams.

I’m free to whisper here,
Let my voice mingle with the wind that freezes noses and ears.
Funny that I’m here with her, with this ridiculous air
Around me. Laptops, jackets, fog and preserves
Dance before me as I pay the cheap taxi fare.
“I’m in Baguio, right?” I ask her.
One should make sure since it’s hard to infer.
They told me the place was beautiful before I left.
Well, I found out that it’s cold — simply cold.
Had to empty myself,
Listen to coded dialects here in this table
Somewhere in Baguio. I’m free to be sad here,
Let the pencil tip glide from one cold feeling to another,
Reflect on empty minutes in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind.
No, nothing comes to mind now.

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