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Cruising along Roxas Boulevard,
squinting against the glare of the setting sun,
I welcomed the promise of the coming night.
The sea wind lamented through the open window;
her arms enfolded me
with the sadness of evening dew.
I listened to E-Head’s “Ligaya”,
blaring out from the radio.
I felt the pain like a drug
and I became keenly aware
that life and love were real.
And my wayward thoughts
with images of you.
“Sagutin mo lang ako, aking sinta’y walang humpay, na ligaya
At asahang iibigin ka, sa tanghali, sa gabi at umaga
Wag ka sanang magtanong at magduda
Dahil ang puso ko’y walang pangamba
Lahat tayo’y mabubuhay na tahimik at buong ligaya.“
The song ran round my head —
a bitter accompaniment to a malady.
The sly wind whispered against my ear
with a kiss, she tells me to stop.
Malate church stood impassive
amidst the fading light.
I stepped across its threshold,
swallowed by the darkness within.
I looked up to see Christ,
hanging on sticks
suspended on air
between heaven and earth.
Kept by an unseen force
in His place,
despite the sorrow
written on His face.
And I wondered about you,
in the stillness of your other life.
Neither man nor a god.
Sinner nor saint.
Will you utter a prayer for me now,
under the guidance of your vow?
Will you think of me,
beneath the sanctity of your robes?
Will you gaze at the damned
with pity in your eyes?
Does your hand stray to your lips,
In the solitude of your bliss?
“Only fifty pesos.”
The peddler’s raw voice
brought me back to reality.
I turned and saw him offering
a puppet to a little boy,
Making it dance on strings.
I felt so strained.
And the words of the song,
Like an Angelus for the undead
“Dahil ang puso ko’y walang pangamba
Lahat tayo’y mabubuhay na tahimik at buong ligaya.”