Tacloban & Haiyan at Ground Zeroes

by Victor N. Sugbo

Tacloban

This is the city
that buys dictionaries and thesauruses
that elbows its way to a pop concert.
Here I am little known,
Largely unread and unheard.
My sisters keep wondering
where on earth I gather my poems;
my brother thinks what I write
are just scribblings
to be kept in a box.
For them, I am
a voice for signing contracts of lease,
a negotiator of real estate.
a writer of letters of complaints,
an ambassador to the tax man,
an array of books on the kitchen table,
a face that looks familiar.

 

Haiyan at Ground Zeroes

The grounds zeroes of my city
bare the traces of your battering waves:
skeletons of houses;
roofs and walls shaved
by strong winds.
Lean-tos and makeshift dwellings have
sprouted along the shores of Magallanes and Independencia.
Some spaces in Sagkahan now
are for sale; their owners have vowed
never to return.

The scar you had etched
on my forehead and shoulder
with a large piece of falling wooden beam
I will take with me like this young man,
carrying a sack of the world’s sorrows,
plastic bottles, crumpled paper,
and torn shopping bags,
who must sit at our doorstep,
and with his black pen,
write this list of words:

eyes
water
bruises
feet
flood
grandfather
walk
breathe
death
woman
coffin
hope

and draw on the pavement among
the jumbled spaces of his lost house
a heart.

 

Tacloban & Haiyan at Ground Zeroes

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