Driving from the airport through a tent city,
we read desperation: Lot for sale. Please contact…
Walls vandalized with our lack: We need food.
SOS. We need drinking water.
Signs speak of dangers: Curfew hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
No trespassing. Shoot to kill. Gunshots at two in the morning.
In crude handwriting, we confess our loss: Bless us, oh Lord, from this thy shit.
Trisha, mahulat kami. We will wait for you. They’re still waiting.
Further within the city, notes of gratitude: Thank you
to those who helped us. We will never forget you.
And of grace: We will not give up. We will continue this fight.
A sketch of Pacquiao’s game face before a match.
Isuzu and Nissan repeat the same thing: Here to stay. Soon to Re-open.
Their buildings still lie in ruins.
Assurances of normalcy: Welcome back to school. Among tarps of the Red Cross,
Childfund, United Nations, the whole damn world in our backyard.
T-shirts scream: I survive. I survive. Worn by people from Cebu, Manila,
Davao, after that great flight away from the stench of the dead.
Billboards cry: Tindog Tacloban. Gi-os. Stand up, Tacloban. Get on your feet.
Move your highly urbanized ass.
And this unfinished sentence in Sagkahan: We hope… O and e
blurred by rain. Whatever it was they hoped for, whatever it was…
Michael Carlo Villas
1 March 2018