It was while reading Mahmoud Darwish’s last book, an autobiography of sorts that is more poetry than anything else, that I heard of the Arab literary tradition of writing about oneself as if you were another person.I tried doing it when my good friend from the other side of the world (Australia!) asked to interview me. I hope I didn’t fail in my attempt. Thanks, Ryan, for this, and the friendship across so much land and water, so much difference in time. One day we’ll share a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, laugh at the world that seems intent in keeping people apart.
The Dumber of Two Devils. Yes, that’s mine.😛
No production sked yet, no actors, no script. But the two characters will have a strong resemblance to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Anyone who tries to use that title will have to pay me. There.🙂
You take memory. Put it in a box. Shake it a bit. Open the box. Whisper into it. Close it up and shake it some more. Open the box. Take it apart. Look for the memory that seems to have disappeared. Now start writing what you remember, what should be remembered, what will always be remembered, and then make a new box out of air.
This is how “Cousin’s Thumbnail” was written. Now it has found a home at NoiseMedium. Please read the poem and leave a comment there. Or here. Thank you.
We’ll be reading poems on heritage from Rhino Poetry to mark its 40 years as well as poems on one’s own personal heritage. South Africa has an amazing heritage – from its landscape to its wonderful people – worth sharing with the rest of the world. Join us this Saturday if you are in Cape Town!
I Hate Found Poems and I Do Not Claim This One
words by Gabriel Cardinoza, formatting by Jim Pascual Agustin
Five-year-old Danica Mae
Garcia, who was felled
last week by a bullet intended
for her grandfather, was buried
at the public cemetery here
on Wednesday. Some 150 relatives
and neighbors joined the funeral
procession. They waded in floodwater
that rose by half a meter
on a 100-meter stretch
of the road from Danica’s house
at Barangay Mayombo beside Pantal River,
which had been swollen
due to monsoon rain
and high tide in the past days.
No government official showed up
at the burial of the collateral damage
in President Duterte’s
war on illegal drugs.
Thank you to Rappler for convincing Aiza Seguerra, newly-appointed by Philippine President Duterte as National Youth Commission Secretary, to read with much delight my rather old poem, “Litel Mis Pilipings.” I’m still working on the translation of the poem for a wider audience. I performed the poem myself many times way back in the early 1990s, to the disbelief and huge amusement of the various audiences who were (un?)fortunate enough be there. I’ll try and post an audio recording of my recent attempt to recreate those times. Or maybe not.
Aiza has an interesting background, including ending up as a runner-up in the very contest I tackle in the poem.
Aiza, if you happen to read this blog post, I hope you find the following poem I have just written, “Danica May,” worth your while.
Hindi kailanman lalapag malapit sa iyong barangay
ang helikopter ng Presidente. Hindi siya kailanman
maglalakad patungo sa bahay ng iyong ina, o magpapagpag
ng alikabok sa sapatos bago humakbang papasok ng pintuan.
Hindi kailanman hahagurin ng kanyang tingin kung saan mo
dating itinatabi ang iyong mga laruan. Hindi magmamabagal
ang kanyang mga mata pagtanaw sa mga damit mong nakasabit o tiklop na nakahimlay, ngayon ay hiwalay sa labada ng pamilya. Hindi niya tatanungin
kung ano ang pleybor ng paborito mong ays krim,
o kung paano ka humawak ng krayola,
o kung tinatakpan mo ng palad
ang iyong bibig tuwing matatawa.
Walang halaga ang ano pa man na aking sabihin,
lalo na sa iyo. Kahit pa man tukuyin kong hindi mga bala
ang kumitil sa iyong buhay, kundi mga salita.
Mumunting piraso lamang ng bakal
ang mga bala na maaari sanang naging pintuan
ng laruan mong kotse, o mga butones
ng damit na hindi mo na maisusuot
mula sa araw na ito.