Crossing the McArthur Highway. 7 o’clock Tuesday morning.
Oversized red cube of a Sogo hotel on one side, long haired man
wearing a chequered shirt & ripped jeans on the other. ‘Hey Joe!’
he greets me, ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Downtown,’ I answer.
He points me inside with his lips. There’s no room, I protest
but his lips move a fraction & I see a space open up deep down
on the left-hand side. I contort myself inside that steel shell
held together by welding & the Catholic faith, squeeze my butt
between a college kid & a BPO worker. Coins pass back
& forwards, the driver never short changed, never forgets.
I crane my neck trying to look out of glassless windows.
The Jeepney passes Jollibees, 7-11s, churches, schools, SM malls.
I sense my stop before I see it, tap a coin against the roof. It clangs
its message to the driver who slamswerves his jeepney sidewards.
I escape into the blinding dust of day, sticky of shirt & sore of neck.
A tricycle driver accosts me, says: ‘Hey Joe! Where to, my friend?’