Our Friends and Allies

This news item is more than worrying.

Bigger US Military Role in the Philippines Sought

Sought by whom? For what? And to think the US is in huge economic trouble, yet they keep expanding their military reach. One wonders.

The article does not mention how, through many decades, there had been huge resistance to US the military presence in the country. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 forced the US to abandon its controversial military bases.

Here is a poem I wrote in 1991 and appears in Alien to Any Skin.

The Memory of Snow

When ash falls like snow
(though snow we’ve never had
and snow I’ve never seen)
why do we remember America?

Is it Sesame Street outside
where racism is non-existent
and the eagle is a big yellow bird
talking to a rag in a can?
I do not know what
they’ve taught us to forget.
Yet the memory of snow persists.

Walking on whitened streets
I thought of America moving out
of the volcano’s danger zone
leaving my ancient sisters and brothers
curled up in their huts
like so much pubic hair.

I cannot read the earth,
but this much I know:

the world will not end.

There still is so much to unlearn
like fabricated memories
of America where it snows
and children make snowballs
and snowmen with carrot noses.

It is ash that falls, not snow.
I must learn to tell the difference.

June 1991
-o-

Collapsed hangars at Clark Air Base after Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991. Source: Wikipedia

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About Jim Pascual Agustin

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. View all posts by Jim Pascual Agustin

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