Manila, Philippines 2013-2014

We were supposed to name you Manila; an ode to this city.
The city that shattered everything we believed in and challenged us to grow.

The city where our constellations aligned, the city where we met.

The city so damn ugly and dirty and noisy where we discovered ourselves
and each other and all our friends and foes and saviors.

The city so beautifully broken that I cannot hate it.

No, I can’t hate this city.

Not Manila.

Not it’s uninterrupted humming at night,
not when it sings to me and I hear you in her serenades .

I can’t hate this city.

Not when its streets are the reason why I am here.

Not when with unweary eyes and unrelenting spirit we’ve walked its miles,
spilled secrets and revelations,
under moonlight,
under stars,
under thick smoke and skies.

No, I cannot hate this city,

but I cannot name you Manila.

She fights the wrong battles.