Intramuros

By Roddy Lumsden

She lies in her well-kept apartment
above the spick and span cathedral
in the heart of the walled city
above Manila Bay and she dreams
of the great, ruined cities of Europe:
Vienna crumbling into the ocean,
Warsaw in a plague of frogs and flies
and London, where all the black men
have learned to talk like white men,
where all the white men have begun
to talk like cartoon characters.
One week left until Christmas
and you can’t buy a Scrabble set
in any shop. The cartoon characters
are warming their three-fingered hands
around a bonfire made of love letters.

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