A Map of Friends


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Papuntang Ermita banda, kuha ni P

P and L have finally found a place for us to leave our books and to have our snacks and to hang our clothes in mad, metrical Metro Manila. There were rains but not snoring; our sleeps so far have been sweet.

One jeep away, I guess, or maybe some minutes of walk, is D, who is still, I guess, writing his favorite hovels and his favorite cities. More surely, he is still redding his cigarette packs and keeping his shoes unclean.

P is a station away – busier, both body and streets. Sometimes, we go to the movies, the three of us P and I and P and hurried siopao and the lonely sparks of Friday. P is still shyly cuddling with her camera.

D must be giggling inside university classrooms, maybe snoring sometimes, sometimes maybe writing down notes in her head. I guess she is two rail transit lines away, four beep card taps and a seven-peso jeep. The green walks are for her too and the statue of a fig and her shingling announcements about art.

M and M are still prancing at least 252 kilometers away, breathing breaths on mirrors to make clowns’ faces. Most likely they are still jazzing the Datu’s Tribe and wining from time to time, with their hands and clothes as jackets. Occasionally, we plan to walk together in other cities. When some plan happens, we find ourselves in 1am buses.

B is also universitying in QC, reading the fig with a thousand weights. I am not sure if she is sleeping in the city where Bonifacio has become stone or somewhere near the Metro’s most populous city. Most likely she is still sleeping with directors and film actresses I will encounter only three years from now.

The news about C is that he will run back and forth the 252 kilometers every time he has classes in the university with the fig statue. I do not have a more recent update. Maybe he lives in Slovenia or China; whispering real struggles. Or he is loving Harvey evermore.

The last time I saw J, he was going to the university with the fig statue where he is also studying, the same course I believe as D’s and B’s. Before imdb was laughing, J has been sleeping for hours with a neorealist smile as a phase. It is not his face that is filmic but his overall mood. In this map, he is not a location; he is here.

C is in one of the most raucous stations of Line 3. She is computing words with people from across the line; her little kid seems to have started wording too. Poems are budding but less swiftly than feelings well-taken care of. Near her, buses can travel 252 kilometers in five six hours.

We are here, and here, we test our skins.

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Here, we slow dance
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