So NaDuterte

Today, in my country of birth, the current president appears before the lawmakers of the land, and before the entire nation. This is the same president who vowed to defend and protect the citizens of the country and adhere to the constitution. This is the same president who, soon as he took to power, violated the most basic rights of the poor and defenseless.
Today he speaks as if he were the hero of the land. Each of us, in our own minds, try to be the hero we dream of. Duterte’s greatest hero, as he has declared and proven by his actions many times over, is the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who silenced critics by sending them to prison, if not to the grave.
Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, in a mere three years, has gone way beyond what Marcos himself managed to do.
I wrote the following poem last year as a first draft. The second draft did away with all that is so blatant in the piece and, in a way, turned out to be a better poem. But it didn’t retain the anger and condemnation I wanted to convey. That poem is due to appear in a South African journal, the New Coin.
Today, as I cannot join any of the protest rallies in my country of birth, I decided to share this poem here, and perhaps on my Facebook author account.

We Cannot Allow the Dead to be Silenced

The man who curses shall be cursed
to live forever in the stories we shall tell
our children. They will not fear him
or his twisted reincarnations.

Our children shall not be shaken
by his threats. His attack dogs
with teeth of bullets cannot make us
turn away and flee.

Though the dead may be left
unclaimed in morgues
or dumped on the side of the road,
their faces bound with packaging tape,

they will never be silenced.
The veins on their exposed necks
and stiffened arms will turn to roots.
And we who fight to remember

the cruelty inflicted upon those
we can no longer hold shall bear
bitter fruit to be shoved
down the tyrant’s throat.

-o-

The title of this post may look odd to those who are not familiar with the play on words Filipinos like to employ by borrowing from another language. A rough translation would be – aside from SONA (State of the Nation Address) – “Done in by Duterte.”


https://www.rappler.com/nation/updates-duterte-state-of-the-nation-address-july-2019

https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/235870-groups-hit-duterte-admin-performance-ahead-sona-2019



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Cafe Ganesh! Jim Pascual Agustin reads from SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER while Raphael d’Abdon reads from BITTER HERB


Amazing photo


Duterte’s Rape

bullet for duterte

That’s the title of a new poem that might be included in later editions of HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS.

For the mean time you can read it on the Facebook page of my amazing publisher, San Anselmo Publications.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PAGE.

Photo of bullet from Wikimedia.


25 May 2019 event! Links to a few reviews of How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems

Too many real world troubles have once again kept me from writing here and even in my very own notebook. It’s been a rough time, right from the beginning of the year, but I keep hoping things will begin to get better. A bit cryptic, I know, and I do apologize.

I’m due to read at the Cape Town Central Library on 25 May 2019, Saturday, 215pm to be followed by an open mic. Hoping to see new faces and maybe even connect with the Filipino community that apparently exists in this city. I’ve only bumped into a handful of Filipinos since moving here nearly 25 years ago. Maybe it’s just me. haha.

Here’s one of the posters for the event (thanks to Gay Domingo!).

In a previous post I mentioned a forthcoming review of the new book. Since then several have actually been published. The review by Joel Pablo Salud appeared in Philippines Graphic in print, but generously made available online HERE.

Krip Yuson of the Philippine Star also reviewed the book HERE.

I now have a Facebook author profile page, to add to my Goodreads.com page. Reluctant to do all this self-promo, but I have to.


Off the Wall Poetry 29 April 2019

It has been a most trying start to my year. As my latest poetry book was being released by my amazing new publisher (SAN ANSELMO PUBLICATIONS! Thank you!!!) – with online videos, print, radio campaign and soon across schools in the Philippines – a personal tragedy befell us here in Cape Town. And so I have to keep quietly apologizing to my newborn paper child, asking it (her/him?) to be a bit more patient.

One door opened (or should I say I looked for it in the dark and found the fine line of light between the gaps?). Then suddenly I have a date to share my new book with an audience.

If you are in Cape Town or have friends here who might be interested, please let them know. My paper child and I will warmly welcome everyone. The venue is a cottage and snacks will be on offer, but guests are encouraged to bring their own drinks. Copies of the new book will be on sale. And I will try not to make you feel like you’ve wasted your evening.

I will be reading from HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS along with new poems and work by other poets.


Jim Pascual Agustin reads from HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS on 29 April 2019 for OFF THE WALL POETRY.

Luck or choice?

Image by Mindseed from Wikemedia

This blue planet turns on its axis and our skin learns to expect a change of season. Where I am, the chill in the morning air cannot be ignored. Yet there are still a few warm days in between, like the day I was working outside when I was forced to stop by a swimming pool.

I noticed three bees hovering, perhaps coming for a drink. One of them settled on one side, carefully clinging to the verticla fiberglass surface. The two kept hovering over the water for a while. One flew too close to the water, maybe hoping to get just a sip as it skimmed, and fell right in. I watched it flail about helplessly, its wings unable to lift the rest of its body. Before I could do anything, the second bee came swooping down and dragged the drowning one all the way to the side of the pool where it managed to pull itself right out and fly. In a few seconds it came back and hovered for almost a minute near its savior, which had now crawled carefully on the fiberglass wall for a drink. It then landed on the bricks that edged the pool before crawling to join the other two.

I told one of my kids about what I had witnessed.

After a bit of silence, she said “Animals are kinder to each other than people.”

-o-

In the past few days, South Africa has grown even more volatile. Reports continue to come in about foreign nationals being chased away or killed by mobs. The ANC Youth League caused damage at a launch in a book shop and threatened to burn a revealing book about a politician they admired. Saner minds prevailed among their leaders who instructed them not to drag back to darkness the country’s hard-won democracy. Yet burning tires and road blockades in various communities around the country are becoming more widespread as election day draws nearer. It is difficult to decide where to turn, which political party to trust. The past is not a just a ghost, it is a physical presence.

Who will use you? Who will get used? Later, who will remember what was promised?

In the Philippines, on the other hand, the news is much worse. The killings continue and justice is nowhere in sight. The violence following the incessant, hateful pronouncements by Duterte has spread further. Aside from the urban poor, indigenous people and farmers have become victims of orchestrated state oppression. Duterte’s supporters want to enshrine this madness. With election day approaching fast, they get more busy putting up lewd shows alongside song and dance numbers to trick the electorate to voting for them. The political dynasties of the Duterte and Marcos clans seem to have the support of landgrabbing China. I can only hope the voting population can see through all this trickery and choose to vote for candidates who have a decent track record in defending human rights and sound national policies.

My two homes, in a whirlpool of turmoil or on the cusp of change?

-o-