Dear Architect

(Baguio City)

Everyone's talking mid-century 
modern again these days,

even at the furniture section of Target: 
sleek, functional; spindle-legged chairs,

slim-profiled tables. Our friends 
in the suburbs love their bright

yellow Eames chair (not a copy). 
We talk about you, Daniel: Chicago 

architect sent to the country where I grew up— 
in the early 1900s, long before the Prairie 

style of cantilevered roofs and low-spread houses,
long before you saw the high vaulted ceilings 

of Chicago's Union Station completed, because of your 
untimely death. There's a park named after you 

in those hills. Your plan was for a swath of green to cut 
through the middle: one side for commercial 

and the other for residential spaces. 
The aggregate of lines on blueprints 

was meant to resemble the layout of your great 
cities in the west: wide, curved boulevards 

tracing the edge of river or bay, streets in a grid 
whose numbers progressed upward from zero, as if 

before them there was nothing. But there was 
something before nothing: we were already there,  

Daniel, before the straight edge and the drafting pen
began to push our citrus groves and pine forests

to the margins, before our unruly excess threatened
the new economies shown by your gods in your dreams .

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