by Sorayyah M. Casanguan

I feel lost. Yes! Really lost.
All are gone. The streets I used to knew
Those alleys where old women vendors
With their blackened teeth,
Peddle dumpas, malong, mamaan.
Where are they now? All are gone.

I don’t know where to begin.
I think and I reflect
Yet, I don’t know what to say.
I speak and listen to the rythm of my thoughts
Yet, I feel my mind is numbed.

Have I been freed? Have I left my forsaken City?
Yet, why does it not feel its freedom?
Why do I feel even worse?

My poor and humble abode
Is a beautiful palace
Compared to the Sarimanok Tent City.
I did not chose to leave my
Beloved home
You thought you gave us freedom!
You did not.
You put us in a cage.
That you proudly called a Tent City.

But what is worse is
I am neither totally lost
Nor saved.
Because I am still in the process
Of finding myself,
Of sifting reality from fallacy.
I am no longer me.
Yet, I am still me.
I hover, I linger, I am neither
Here nor There.

(Sorrayah M. Casanguan, 27, works at the University Library of the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City as College Librarian. She hails from Madamba in Lanao del Sur and resides in Marawi City. She presented this piece at the ‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ held at the American Corner of the University Library on 23 May 2019, to commemorate the second anniversary of Day 1 of the Marawi Siege. The Festival’s theme was “Reflect, Recreate, Reclaim.” President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country’s lone Islamic City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on 17 October 2017.
‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ is the first of a series of Spoken Word events initiated by the Iranon Gumilang as a Meranaw Cultural Heritage project in partnership with American Corner Marawi and English Majors’ Society)