Osmeña Boulevard with Jackson

I took turns screaming in the boulevard with Jackson, my friend, Thursday night
It must have been 3AM because all the billboards were off
And all the roads were leading one-way only:
I realized, after all this time, that the stars don’t light up that late in the evening
They shy away and hide beneath purple haze clouds,
Jackson and I—it looked like the galaxy was surrounding us,
Wrapping us in a warm embrace as our voices echoed through the night
Echoed and echoed until they went away

Sometimes, I wonder where they go
No way could they have just vanished
If they contained my agony and pain and sorrow,
How could they go away so easily
And still leave so much behind?

I wonder if I’m ever going to hold someone’s hands again
The subtle warmth of palms, carrying with them places I’ve never touched
Does it make me a loser for wanting something like that?
For thinking the dust bunnies that danced in the night were snow
And the smoke that came out of a lonesome truck’s exhaust pipe
Was fog materializing breath?

Jackson laid with me in the middle of the road, the stoplight blinking red
And I asked him if love was synonymous to luck
And if the world was ruled by luck, where do we belong?

He scratched the pavement when he answered, screaming into endless night,
“I’m only ever going to be someone’s best friend.”

That night, those words filled Cebu City like they would an empty auditorium.

Echoes sticking on the clouds and carrying it
through towns and oceans,
countries and galaxies.

Sometimes, I still hear our voices when I listen closely enough.
Like a nagging memory that crawls its way back to me,
so long after I thought I’d lost it.

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