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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

3 A.M.

As the clock ticks to 3 a.m., the sounds
of the city begin to fade: the honking cars
and jeeps and buses thin out along EDSA,
the cats in heat on the roofs stop screwing,
and in smoke-choked videoke bars,
the mike conks out, images of bikini-
clad ladies blurring into snow.

An ambulance siren dwindles in de-
crescendo until it fades into a mere
whimper, and one by one, the cellphones
cradled in sweaty palms mysteriously
flicker and die after beeping a last gasp.

Exactly at 3 a.m., like musicians stilled
by a conductor in an orchestra, like
a choir suddenly voiceless and holding
its breath, everyone is drowned by the purest
silence. And so the drunks in the neighborhood
are stunned, sobered up by the clarity
that silence brings, and couples nesting
on cramped beds make love quietly
yet intensely, each city-dweller awe-struck
by the immense, engulfing silence. In this
nightly miracle, does anyone imagine
how astounding a moment of no-sound can be?

Even the infants wake up from their dreams,
marveling at the stillness, and for once,
everyone can listen to his own heartbeat.

words: Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr., Philippines
image: Dorothee Lang (
virtual notes)

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