Train Ride

Remember? she kept saying Remember?
as if it were the last few
bubbles from her drowning.

But she wasn’t drowning.
Her hair was dry
and she had a smile,
not the frozen stun
of someone sinking.

She could have said the word
over and over like she was
underwater.  And this guy,
her boyfriend, I gather
by the way she lost herself,
threw her the look
of someone pushing a stranger
into the cold, dark water.

I pretended to be still
reading the old newspaper
I found in the station.
Whatever she wanted him
to remember, I’d forgotten.

The train was pulling
again and all of us
felt the jolt.


This was written in March 1995 in a smokey restaurant that used to cater to university students who didn’t care (or know any better) how bad the drinks were as long as they could drown themselves in alcohol in the middle of the day.

I am still looking for the right image to go with this piece.

This poem appears in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, Manila 2011).

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. 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. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

14 responses to “Train Ride

  • grace

    i like this line: her boyfriend, I gather
    by the way she lost herself

    i totally get it 🙂

  • Secretlee

    Well said Grace. As a girl, I totally get it too.

  • Aura

    Good Day, Mr. Agustin. I’m a student of Dr. Marjorie Evasco, and I’ll be reciting this poem, Train Ride, in our midterm poetry recital. She told me that you were her publisher. Your poem is great and the readers can really tell the emotion in it. 🙂

    • matangmanok

      Thank you, Aura, for your kind words. Good luck and send my regards to Marj. Perhaps you might want to one day read my book where “Train Ride ” has found a home.

      • Aura

        Will do send your regards. In that case, I will look for the book. The poem is really really good. Thank you so much for sharing it. 🙂

  • Gheeneil

    A number of stories are told around us. Some ignore ’em, others don’t. I’m glad you caught interest in this one. It may just be one of those ordinary scenes, but I liked how you told the story. I’m drawn in it.

    • matangmanok

      Glad you found this worth reading. Thanks! There are more! 🙂

      • Gheeneil

        I’m starting up a blog on poem review, not that I’m an expert on this stuff. 😉 May I have your permission on posting “Train Ride” up? Thanks!

      • matangmanok

        Of course! 🙂 May I ask you to please include a link to this page and to the blog for the book where the poem appears – The poem has also appeared on various anthologies in the Philippines. If you need those details, I will have to verify them for you.
        I am currently proofreading the laid out pages for my two new collections to be published this year – KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN (poems in Filipino) and SOUND BEFORE WATER (poems in English) – also by the UST Publishing House.
        Maraming salamat.

  • Gheeneil

    I’ll definitely include those links. Maraming salamat! I’ll let you know when it’s posted. Just don’t expect much. I’m somewhat novice. 😉 Sounds like you have so much on your plate. Keep writing! Ingat, kabayan. 🙂


    […] “Train Ride” is written by Jim Pascual Agustin. This poem also appears here. […]


    […] “Train Ride” is written by Jim Pascual Agustin. This poem also appears here. […]

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