An Open Letter to J. Catolico Street

By Marc Jeff Lañada

                                What must you be underneath
the stars but a strip of belt plotted by gleams of reds
and headlight specks? What you must be but another
city’s road seemingly without destination.

                                Sunday night and you’re made
alive by moving skin, dirty shoes, and sidewalk food.
Bellows at the curb take their fullest shape, business
has ripened once again—your customary economy.

                                Back to the road: the vehicles,
like freight trains, conjoined bumper to bumper; this
could be nothing but an immortal narrative. Why must
you disallow such landscape not quite a picturesque?

                                Or perhaps, this is just a habit,
your way of peace, of assembling into a state of discord
and be not in a state of discord. Should it be otherwise,
then my thrumming fingers beg for your kindness.

                                My words flutter from one reek
of smoke to another—and skyward, colluding into one
instruction: you must be Davao’s MacArthur Highway
when enduring heft of wheels all heading homeward.

                                Regardless, let my complaints
remind you that I deny to be your tourist, my dear.
Despite my routes now barely meld into your premise,
you are what you are to me: always a makeshift bliss.