Islander in the City :


Island sunset by Alvin Ravalo. Another sunrise hopefully will bring deliverance.


by Pablo A. Tariman


This is the year
As it flashes in the windmills
Of my memory.
A quiet volcano suddenly wakes up,
Followed by frequent earthquakes
And devastating rains
While we cope with lockdowns
Nine months into the pandemic.
Before the year ends
We lived through the strongest of typhoons
And the most devastating floods.
By turns
They unmasked a national leadership
Incapable of compassion
Or a semblance of planning.
When everything else is uncertain
You learn to live by the hour.
But must you always see
A recurring figure
Suddenly the epitome
Of endless greed and ambition?
When people perish in floodwaters
After screaming for help for three days
You see the beast in humans
And accept how quickly they have evolved
From human to wolf
Enjoying pomp and circumstance
While people live with day to day desperation.
Like these people living on the rooftop
Waiting for the big flood to subside.
We have come to this point
Of coping by the hour
And surviving
By the skin of your teeth.
Must we just accept humans
For what they are
Shrewd in their ability
To hoodwink
The deaf and the blind?
Must you learn to accept
The constant scowl on his face
And the gyrating mouth
Quick to cuss
And quick to absolve erring public servants?
In my frequent exasperation
I see a pathetic figure
Ready for cremation
By daily public outrage.
By all means
Let’s all live by the hour.
Content with food packs
And food coupons
And dirty cash
Delivered strangely
With picture taking.
By all means
Let’s live by the hour
And be ready for more
Stomach-churning surprises
From the man
Earlier seen shedding copious tears
On the grave of his parents.
Sad to say
He has lost
All the redeeming qualities
Of a caring father
Or a concerned son
Or the big brother to the less fortunate.
To be sure
He tried to hoodwink us
By kissing the grounds
Where soldiers perished
From their own comrades.
But even as he looks wane and wasted
In one blink of the eye
We see the monster
He has become
With a taste of power
And flood of cash
At his disposal.
You have no choice
But to collect your wrath
And turn them
Into pieces of hope.
The ultimate choice
Is to welcome another weary sunset
Always infinitely hopeful
The next sunrise
Will translate
Into deliverance.
* * *

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