Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Debris,flotsam, jetsam, garbage, wreckage, floating trash,
Corrugated metal folded like paper, a book destroyed, all junk.
Carcasses of trees, shards of glass, iron rods, a refrigerator door, a hand,
A shoe without its pair, unidentifiable things, soggy rubber, clothes off somebody's back,
Dogs, cattle, pigs that could not swim, a child's plush toy, a bench, a lucky charm,
Somebody's father, a neighbor, a stranger from another village, a lot of stuff.
What used to be a roof, a student's backpack, now all useless crap.
Uprooted crops not ready for harvest, a teenager not ready to die,
Shanty dweller, man, woman, child, elder, sister, enemy, friend, someone's lover,
She who lived in a concrete house, he who had two cars, they who had none,
Business man, kanto boy, tambay, police man, priest, a convicted thug,
The village gossip, the righteous one, the one reviled, and one well liked.

Residue of a life that was

Remnants of days that now seem so long ago
Of that quiet time before the storm
Wreckage of families, separated, decimated,
Bodies of children who escaped their parents' grasp,
Corpses never given a chance to say goodbye,
Drifting to the sea,
Carried helplessly,
Washed away from home,
Swept away, then gone.

The angry water did not choose.

The storm surge had no favorites.
The howling force of the wind did not discriminate.
Yolanda was blind; she took without regard to who or what.
The fury vengeance of mother earth simply struck everything on its path.
Everything, everyone was equal, all fair game.
It wasn't the clever nor the richer who survived.
Not the braver, the stronger, nor one more deserving to die.
Just whoever, whatever, whichever.
Random and impersonal as can be; they're all debris.

She struck, swept, smacked,

Stole, swiped, slayed.
And then just as abruptly, she left.
And in her stillness, the shock.
The deafening stillness after the roaring waves.
And the last struggling leaf fell on the littered ground,
Waking up those who did not die.
And they stirred, and they moved, and they searched
Through the debris, the flotsam, and the jetsam
Searching for hope, for nanay, for kuya, for remains of life.

Debris, detritus, sludge, scrap, and crud

Cover the earth for miles around.
Under the garbage, signs of life.
Under the rubble, somebody rises.
Behind the glazed eyes too tired to weep,
Remnants of a heart ready to fight,
To eat, to lash back, to survive, to fight for what's left behind,
To move on, to forgive, to forget, to flee, 
To find a new place, a new reason, a new season, a new cause,
Amid the debris, the vestiges, the leftover matter, yes, hope remains.