03. Let’s Sail to Guam

03. Let’s Sail to Guam

Line after line of people herded onto cargo ships
While family members clung to one another.
We would leave for Guam as soon as we could;
Keep moving,” guards shouted. Mom, dad, “Where are you?”

Waiting in line for meals was all we did.
Mealtimes and movies were our happiest times.
After movie, naughty males with time on their hands,
Crept around female bathing areas with their dirty plan.

New and used clothes were distributed freely.
Taking free clothes was one way of making petty money.
Some brought them to the impromptu flea market,
Peddling the clothes for cash that wouldn’t last.

For myself, I concocted a story of fibs;
Writing a letter to my Filipino English teacher
That someone had stolen the money I did not have,
Asking the teacher to spare me some change if she could.

Soon after the teacher finished class,
I approached her with the letter, ready to ask.
She was surprised, glancing at it fast
Then put the letter in her purse and did not ask.

I quickly said to the teacher:
Please open it; I wrote the letter for you.”
After reading, she opened her purse,
Placing in my hands a bunch of quarters, “This is all I have”.

I was so happy I could burst,
My dream money was right in my hands.
How to spend this money, I already had a plan,
Buying cigarettes for my craving mouth and itchy hands.

I ran to the PX nearby,
Purchased six packs of Pall Malls on the fly.
Two of us gulped a can of Coca-Cola,
Cigarettes were to share with other tent-mates.

Several families camped at night for their resettlement fate
Hoping to buy their luck for living in the warmest states.
They were the families with money willing to buy their stake,
Which made California the most desirable place.

The rich were always a privileged group.
If they could speak some English and with money in hand,
They would no doubt be the ones getting the upper hand,
To be on the first flight to California, bye bye, friends.

Those with no money were feeling pissed off.
Soon, they would be corralled like cattle being roped off.
One day several soldiers came to our barrack,
Guarding the entrances, both front and back.

The empty buses were already waiting outside,
Parked by the barrack with soldiers blocking on both sides.
Everybody get up!
Get in line to go to the airport.”

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