Cruising on Revisitation

Appeared at Kartika Review (Issue 4, Winter 2008) &
Blue Print Review (Issue 22).

The car slices through my old neighborhood, pulsating
apprehension. I retrace years, habits rigid and busy as
intersections, sidewalks crowded as thoughts in

meditations. The familiar has new layers now: structures
are less structured, transforming blocks, towering over houses,
memories, how people used to move, body language

now busy on new narratives. There are more parked
cars, too, than children on the street, glossy imports, repainted,
frames modified, all shinier than innocence. Familiar

street names huddle over each other, in my car, in my
head, hiding intimate secrets, refusing to clarify
their spellings, to confuse visitors, directing them away from

the neighborhood, from the altar of pride in place: home. I
see front lawns; they visit my childhood afternoons, drafting
shadows, mothering children not to

leave the yard. Their voices enter children's ears, but are
not understood. The children run, towards the street, down
the sidewalk, to their friends, to be soaked in the

summer of play, sweating giggles. I pass a boy running
towards someone, perhaps his father, an uncle, his hero. He
is running towards expectations, something greater, his

complicity with power unrestrained, understood like
unspoken cataracts. He understands religion of obedience, and
kneels before it; he'd defend it like a nation, and devour its

maturity like a fooled saint. After the red light, the boy is
still running, on my rearview, running from Manila to Disneyland.
He does not disappear, and refuses to. There is anger in the

refusal, becoming form, resembling
power, one that builds cities,
hungry, imperial as child's needs