Tim Tomlinson was born in Brooklyn, and raised on Long Island, where he was educated by jukeboxes and juvenile delinquents. He quit high school in 1971 and began a life of purposeless wandering that led to purpose. He’s lived in Boston, Miami, New Orleans, London, Florence, Shanghai, Manila, Andros Island in the Bahamas, and Cha-am, Thailand. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Deedle. He is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of the chapbook Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, the poetry collection Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, and the forthcoming collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You (due late summer, 2017). He is a Professor of Writing at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies Program. He’s an avid scuba diver with just under 300 logged dives, and a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.
The Storm (Father Hector, San Jose Nov 8 2013)
When the water came
I was alone hiding, taking cover,
anticipating that the roofing might not hold,
worried of dying.
The water came
the strong winds howling, shaking the whole place,
white mist like needles piercing through my skin.
I’m going to die in this place.
Later our neighbors came
scampering climbing shouting panicking.
This is okay, this is good—
there’s somebody to tell my relatives
I died this way.
The Giant Claw (Beatrice Zabala, 16, Palo, Nov 8, 2013)
Before the giant claw came, I was inside
the comfort room with my grandmother.
She was praying the whole time. My parents
called us to transfer to a safer room,
but the winds kicked up, slamming on our door.
The wind was like a drunken man punching
the door, kicking it, trying to rip it apart.
The strong winds against my father’s strength.
Then suddenly, I felt water on the floor.
I thought fresh water from the river, it
didn’t smell salty. It started to rise,
to our knees, our waist, our chin. Salt water.
How was it possible? The sea was almost
a kilometer away! Then, the giant claw came.
The Surge (Zenia Dulce, 46, Professor UP Visayas. Tacloban, Nov 8, 2013)
I called to her,
I called to her and then
we held each other’s hand
and then suddenly the water under her
inside the house it was eating up the whole house
and she said oh my god
and then suddenly
one wave washed her down then another wave
another wave brought her up
so I held her
another wave put us both down together
with the whole house
so all the house and us we were under
and we did not know what was happening to us
but we held on together
we are both safe she knows because I am holding on to her
I give her a signal to hold on tightly
and then we were engulfed by the water
and then we tried to go up
once we neared the surface I released her
so that we would be able to have the chance to crawl up and swim
well the water was actually pushing us up together
I was telling her to it’s OK you release
so she released her hold on me also
and we resurfaced but the problem
we were both trapped big debris uh, maybe big debris
like this four or six like this
I don’t know it’s big I was scratched
this is still the bruise uh what do you call this my remembrance
and that was how many months ago that was six months eight months ago
and that bruise is still there
I was struck here also at my back
and she was struck at the neck I heard the snap
like that super loud
and then there was no emotion on her face
I saw the blood blood blood coming out from her nose and mouth
I thought oh my god she’s dead
and then slowly slowly
she was sinking