On the Hook in Manila

Riding at anchor in Manila Bay
after ten days at sea, watching the moon rise
over the city sparkling below,
the four of us
—Mike the oiler, Jake, and crazy Bob and I,
a scruffy bunch—
are at the rail, midships,
waiting for a launch to take us ashore.

Although in no way
could we be said to resemble
the Four Celestial Worthies, much less
the equally venerable Four Perfected Lords of Wu,
the four of us
gaze shoreward, half convinced
that every bar girl on the waterfront
will find us irresistible.

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