, April 22, 2024

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The Happening While Dog-walking along Escriva Drive

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The Happening While Dog-walking along Escriva Drive
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
By Argee Guevarra

For Julia

All that is transitory is but a metaphor.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Shortly after dinner
at ten before eight,
Zippo, our French bulldog
looks up the main door
with a bowl of boiled chicken
breast, veggies and kibbles
sagging from his belly,
the stump on his butt
twirls and twitches
a Miley Cyrus twerk,
his signal to be shirted,
harnessed and leashed
for an evening stroll.

We step out of the flat
onto a lift down the lobby
and through the glass door,
ungreeted by “moya sobaka,
lyubimiy my lovely doggy,
davai davai … dorogoi,”
his momma’s mantra
of sweet susurrations
of dearness and affection
that are now faint as whispers
in a bottle floating along
the icy shores of the Black Sea.

Zippo pivots to the right,
perhaps enticed by the fried
fragrance of rice meals
coming from but coming to
an abrupt Ministop
at exactly 8 o’clock, curfew.

We cross the street instead
and pace to the nearby parking lot
where a corner carinderia
kennels a fox-simile,
an askal thrice a Frenchie’s size
as Zippo barks a baritone
to unleash his inner Doberman
ferociously expressed
by his unwavering pee,
by his omnipotent poop.

Our machismo staked
on new territory,
we strut to the sidewalk
and shuffle to the NEDA building,
the government agency
that plans the economy.

From out of nowhere,
a jumbo rat leaps
in front of our path,
and instantly guts the gayness
out of my diaphragm:
I shrill and shriek
at what looks like
a bloody slab of hairy meat –
or is it a severed kitten’s head –
jammed between its jaws
as it snakes along the gutter,
an inch away from my slipper
and slithers into the sewers.

In a second or two,
Zippo and I race like Usain Bolt
in a mad 30-meter dash
to the adjacent patch of green
at the exit of the Opus Dei Chapel.

It is witching hour
and the street lamps that line up
Escriva Drive bow their beams
on the now dim, empty stretch
while a mobile police vehicle
emerges from the bend,
like a slow-moving cortege
without marchers,
without mourners,
but with a loudspeaker
wailing a stay-at-home order,
its headlights prowling
a path for our retreat
to the road’s dead end.
a barricaded Shaw Boulevard.

I am shaken, Zippo is stirred
And yet rubs his ribs
front and back, side to side
and around my shins
as if to calm my nerves
from the inauspiciousness
of what we have just seen
are not scenes scintillating
from M. Night Shyamalan’s
The Happening.

Year of the Rat, Covid-19,
Lockdown, Quarantine
Economy, Curfew,
Jumbo Rat, Sewer
Dead End.

About the Poet:

Roberto “Argee” Guevarra is a lawyer by profession, an activist by preoccupation and a poet by vocation.  He used to write lifestyle and opinion pieces for several magazines and newspapers in the Philippines and co-authored a poetry anthology. He currently lives in Pasig City and is kept sane by Zippo, a French bulldog.

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