A Summer Poem for Baguio

As the car was winding down Zigzag road
One sizzling afternoon
I gazed at smoke billowing, spiraling up the sky from a distant mountain
Green turning brown turning gray turning black, signaling that summer has begun
Defying the month of preventing fire.
It raged ‘til evening
Fanned by the gathering winds,
Scarring and defacing a mountainside.
Folks will wait for the birth of new undergrowth, 
As cycles of the earth will find a way,
And they shall have new lessons then again.

As the car was zooming home through expressways
That sleepy evening
News leaped out from Facebook’s walls
That blazes lit the market place, 
Like runaways held a maniacal feast, licked and gobbled up rows
And rows of locals’ stalls and fruits of toil
Fanning hot whispers and speculations of schemes and vile intents
But these were doused by brave deeds 
And iron will to start all over again,
Wary of blueprints from planners up the hills.

How could the biting cold turn overnight to a season of boiling rage
And leave mortals in awe and mindful prayers?
This city of celebrations and contradictions
Gasped, then mourned to seek reasons why
A lost child had found her way at the edge of hope and plunged into
The darkness of her soul.
Time unfolds with tenderness but also knows how to wound our indifference
As we gazed at the washed pavement 
Where parades and deaths are watched
With glee and glitz or grief and gloom.

But summer soothes this city well
That heals from deep wounds.
We who are left bereft, bothered and bewildered turn to our chosen brew
And break bread in the worst and best times
And ponder this city of confused seasons.
We are seasoned survivors who sing
We are weathered wanderers who write
We are lovers of this city that hurts and heals,
It is our home of perpetual affliction and affection.

(March 22 2023
Cafe by the Ruins 35th Anniversary)


Luchie Maranan
Luchie Maranan
Luchie Maranan is a past president of the Baguio Writers Group and presently the Vice-Chairperson of the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera, an alliance of progressive cultural workers and organizations and artists in the Cordillera region. She writes poetry, essays, short stories for children, and does translation. She is also a book editor, and her works have been anthologized.


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