Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear City, Wretched City

Are private contractors and construction companies doing enough in lending their heavy equipment like payloaders and dump trucks in order to help local governments, the MMDA, and the DPWH to clean up the mounds of mud, trash & debris left in the wake of the recent flood? Perhaps government should consider blacklisting those contractors that offer little or no help.

Those who can lend heavy equipment for the clean-up of Marikina communities are urged to send the equipment to Marikina City Hall and look for Ken Sueno or Ryan Salvador.
As we struggle with the wretchedness of our devastated communities and locales, let me share a partial reproduction of the piece "Dear City" by Filipina poet Conchitina Cruz:

"What comes from heaven is always a blessing, the enemy is not rain. Rain is the subject of prayer, the kind gesture of saints. Dear City, explain your irreverence: in you, rain is a visitor with nowhere to go. Where is the ground that knows only the love of water? What are the passageways to your heart? Pity the water that stays and rises on the streets, pity the water that floods into houses, so dark and filthy and heavy with rats and dead leaves and plastic. How ashamed water is to be what you have made it. What have you done to its beauty, its graceful body in pictures of oceans, its clear face in a glass? We walk home and cannot see our feet in the flood. We forget to thank the gods for their kindness. We look for someone to blame and turn to you, wretched city, because we are men and women of honor, we feed our children three meals a day, we never miss an election. The only explanation is you, dear city..."

"Dear City" is found in the book, "Train of Thought: Poems from 'Tulaan sa Tren,'" published by the National Book Development Board in 2008. Tulaan sa Tren was a project of the NBDB and the Light Railway Transit Authority in which posters of Philippine poems in English and Filipino were displayed in some of the trains of the LRT 2 line and recordings of the poems were played through the public address system of the LRT 2 stations during certain hours from September to November 2008.

As we help rebuild communities and lives after the great flood, may the words, verses, tracks and trains of thought and tone from our veteran and budding poets consolidate our collective conscience, clarify our sense of reality, and strengthen our sense of country.

1 comment:

  1. i simply wished to thank you for sharing chingbee's poem. i've never read this one, but it shares my sentiments about the ondoy disaster. i don't mean to impose but i hope you'll let me share this post with you:

    javie and i are hoping that more people will take personal responsibility for what happened. there's a lot of finger-pointing going on but we have yet to say "this was my fault".

    denise alibudbud, ab sos '01