Tuesday, November 26, 2013



by Luisa A. Igloria

Ghazal for the Dead: In Tacloban

Processed but not identified: scattered by wind,
splintered, battered where the flood left them in Tacloban.

The dark is a cave is the mouth of God or the unfathomable—
O for sleep without such helpless waking in Tacloban.

How many baubles and stolen billions will bring lives back? Ask
the former First Lady, who attended Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban.

The mayor was lashed to a coconut tree. The mayor was the coconut in the tree.
The tree was in a ballroom. This is not about the oral tradition in Tacloban.

In the midst of calamity, would you have time to worry about your shoes?
Through the waters, a typhoon victim bore a general on his back in Tacloban.

Why were the military first on the scene? Why did it take so long for relief
to arrive? The dead are past blame, the dead are past games in Tacloban.

The actors and actresses turned politicians flash smiles at the camera
while the living vomit with grief, hunger, dysentery, in Tacloban.


Common Lot

Shoes for the shoeless, clothes for the naked; sand for the floor, cloud for tarp. Sheathed in black latex, elbow to elbow, thigh to thigh. No room to swerve, no more emergency lanes. Turn off your blinkers, take down the signs. Say little, or say much: all of it will be appropriate. (Just not the politician’s face on stickers, adorning grocery bags.) Neat rows, stacked, like in a capsule hotel. But there are no room numbers, no keys; no luggage to stash behind the welcome counter, no one to answer to the dinner bell.

(a partly found poem)

“The death toll could still climb higher, with an additional 1,000 cadaver bags sent to provinces, the disaster council announced as search-and-rescue operations continued in Tacloban City.” ~ from a news report on the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Different cells die at different rates.
Hair and nails continue to grow a little
while, but nature is more efficient.

In the air decomposition is twice as fast
as when the body is under water, four times
more than underground. Clostridia

and coliforms, enzymes; greens and blues
that blister. Methane and mercaptans,
sulfides. More rapid in the tropics,

where the sun brings everything up
to a melon boil. Bluebottle flies,
carrion flies, ants and beetles

and maggots and wasps. Nails and teeth
detach, their ivory falling, letter
after letter that will never

again be sent. After weeks, a month,
a year, a decade: rags and bones,
motes indistinguishable

from dust. Finally
everything the body held,
burst open like a secret.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Luisa A. Igloria, Professor of Creative Writing and English, and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. She is the author of Night Willow (Prose Poems), forthcoming from Phoenicia Publishing (Montreal, Canada: spring 2014); The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013)Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, university of Notre Dame Press)Trill & Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005), and 8 other books. Since November 20, 2010, she has been writing (at least) a poem a day, archived at Dave Bonta’s Via Negativa site.
Here are more links to Luisa A. Igloria's works
 Here are Videopoems made on some of Luisa A. Igloria's Poems from her book, The Saint of Streets
"Reprieve" by Luisa A. Igloria on YouTube -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5N5tp4gtAw

 All for now,

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