Monday, April 21, 2003

From Joey Ayala describing arriving at Davao International Airport and the waiting shed that once was and is no longer:

Davao City International Airport, April 20, 2003

Through the glass wall of the 2nd-floor arrival area one can see the
waiting shed that once was. The roof is gone and all that remains is
a rectangle of gray cement. There are people waiting for passengers ?
relatives, taxi drivers, hotel receptionists, event
coordinators,vendors - but none of them are standing where the shed
used to be. Now that the area is totally clear, devoid of anything
that might conceal an explosive, now that it is actually the safest
place to wait, no one waits there.

I'm here for a demonstration of affection in the form of a "concert
for Davao" to be played later today at the SM parking lot ?
apparently SM really DOES have it all ? and am therefore traveling
with mi amor, my guitar, in her much-battered case. I wait for her
to emerge with the baggage. On the same trip for the same purpose
are Cynthia Alexander and her troupe of musical magic-workers.

With instruments and luggage in tow we step out into the 0645
sunlight and cross the driveway to the scene of the crime. There is
an 18-inch section of palm tree trunk standing there by the main
crater of the blast, a monument of sorts.

The crater itself isn't much to look at. Not even an inch deep.
Barely a foot wide. There are coins in it, love offerings. Even
with all the kids around asking for money to buy food, none of them
run off with these coins.

The crater is surrounded by smaller scars radiating outward from the
central one. The shapes of the scars suggest the velocities, the
force and violence involved in their creation. What horrible shapes
the shrieking pieces of metal and debris must have etched into living
flesh I am glad not to have seen.

There is a bubble of silence here as we contemplate the cement. It
is a silence saturated with beautiful, clear, un-smogged sunlight and
fresh air, made more intense with the dark counterpoint of pain,
blood and screaming.

It is said that recurring ghosts are like fingerprint smudges on
clear glass, possessing no personality or volition of their own and
simply replaying time and again the intense emotions that caused
the "smudge" in the first place. The ghosts here are more than a
smudge, they have cracked the glass.

Times like these I wonder what music is for . . . and then I just go
ahead and keep on playing.

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