Aida Santos

Manila, Philippines
Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Puerto Galera 1

Rating: 5.0
The harbor is a tapestry:
old and new, young and old
images of a place crawling
to modernization;
could be anywhere else
except for the sign
announcing this paradise -
(with a touch of urbane)
“Puerto Galera Mall”
in letters one could not miss,
my heart skipped a beat
I thought I left the city
to the cruelty of consumerism.

Puerto could be Boracay
or La Union
or maybe Ermita
much like Angeles
or Subic -
marketplaces of desires,
paradise for foreign men:
old, tattooed, tanned
beer bellies bulging
buying brown women.
Young, oh, they are young
and cold, with a gaze that freezes
one who stares,
stoic faces
behind makeup
and tinted hair.

A fat man approached,
stringed pearls in packets
lying dead on a gentle rectangle of cotton,
nagging me to buy.
I did, bought serenity.
Wateer! sir, wateer! sir -
mineral! She with a bobbed hair
and manlike gait
swung her ware through the crowd
persistent, like this heat
clinging on the body
sucking the flesh.

Two Mangyan women
betel showing through their teeth.
Beautiful round black eyes,
footwear awashed with dust
riding to some unknown place.
They own the place,
we don’t.
We have come to visit
but they are embarrassed,
not us.

The beach shows the way
to serenity,
painted blue against a horizon
of marble-stoned mountains and craggy coves.
l lower myself gently
waves lapping against my body
warm waters washed away the aches
snapping into little curls of liquid.
I nearly cried -
how i’ve lost this touch,
how i’ve missed this placidity.
Puerto, opening my eyes
I see a gallery of sights and sounds
of old and new,
harbor of desires,
including mine.
Aida Santos
It's such a shame that I've been living in this country for the past 21 1/2 years of my life but still, I haven't been to Puerto Galera and I've heard that it's such a paradise! Hmmm.... maybe some day. But as of now, I'll get by with your rich and vivid description of what a blissful place Puerto Galera is. What a way to capture the reader's imagination with such a beautiful tourist spot as that of Puerto Galera. Makes me proud of my heritage. Kudos! :)
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William Jackson 06 July 2006
I like the way you break the lines Aida. This like all of your poems that I have read so far is excellent. Thank you.
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