Monthly Archives: November 2013

Listen to Matt Damon and Howard Zinn

I should have said HI to him when he came to South Africa to ride with Francois Pienaar on the Argus Cycle Tour around the Cape. His film choices and the things he reads and says in various interviews show a truly thinking person so rare from someone so popular.

Here’s one more from him, reading from Howard Zinn… click on the LINK.

Rusted Radishes 2 will feature one of my poems!

rusted radishes issue 2

My poem “If Palestine were a Treasured Painting” has been included in the second issue of Rusted Radishes! I need a working teleporter to attend the launch in the next few days. 🙂

I submitted the poem a long time ago. Their fantastic editors suggested some changes which I gladly accepted. And finally it’s out there!

Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran is now available!

My new book of poetry in Filipino, Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), is finally out! Readers in the Philippines should easily find the book at National Book Store and Fully-Booked, Solidaridad Bookshop and maybe a few others.

The fantastic introduction from Benilda S. Santos alone is worth reading, aside from the poems. 🙂

The cover is designed by John Marin Flores. I hope you find it disturbing.

My Middle Name is My Mother’s Surname. No, Her Father’s!

sol plaatje iii in my hands low res

I finally have in my hands my contributor’s copy of The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Volume III! Took some time due to the mysterious appearance of a black hole, but what matters is that it has arrived intact ahead of the Cape Town launch in early December.

silent wing low res

I feel lucky to be in this anthology despite sending my three poems in at the last minute. The poems, “Silent Wing,” “Human Patience,” and “Exit Music for the Disappeared,” are part of a nine-poem cycle called Endings are Beginnings which is the last section of my manuscript in progress, Sky for Silent Wings. I just wish my middle name – which is really my mother’s surname… no, wait, her father’s surname! – had not been left out altogether… well, not entirely. I see it in the biographical notes!

human patience and exit music for the disappeared low res

I’m not complaining, not at all. Just a niggle, really. 🙂

Thank you to Liesl Jobson and all the judges. Maybe next year I’ll be even luckier. Hahaha! Keep dreaming, Jim Pascual Agustin!


My country of birth is still reeling from the devastation of Haiyan/Yolanda. There is no forgetting how this tragedy has ruined so many lives. And yet human kindness and generosity shine through despite the petty politics of various parties (media, politicians, and individuals armed with keyboards). I am thankful for those who continue to help in countless ways the survivors, and all those who see beyond this catastrophe, those who seek new ways of lessening the blows of climate change. The human family can come together, I believe. This I say in a world where often there seems so little to believe in, to hope for. Yet we continue to surprise one another. We are never alone.


Thank you to all who did whatever they can to help

thank you hand

This image is from Facebook. Maraming salamat. After aiding the survivors, the work of rebuilding begins. I hope more people continue to extend a helping hand.


Back in 2009 my family was among those who were severely affected by massive floods caused by heavy rains that lasted way beyond what anyone expected. I managed to get back to Manila a week after the floods and helped with trying to put my family’s life back together. Much later I wrote this poem which is now part of my new book, Sound Before Water. The first word of each line of the poem makes up the title of the musical piece which I continue to listen to when I need some solace.

These Days Every Time It Rains My Mother Trembles
after listening to Djivan Gasparyan’s “I Will Not Be Sad in This World”

I speak to my mother on the other side of the world, and wonder
will she see my eyes again one day? How do I convince her
not to fear the rising waters, my voice trailing on copper?

Be calm, I tell her. She takes nothing but family albums upstairs. No one
sad or afraid in those photos, no one in any frame I can remember is alone.

In minutes the broken marble floor becomes a riverbed. A quickening,
this grip suddenly gone loose. My sister takes her up. Then a raging
world thrashes about. The receiver I hold fills with droning.


Philippine Red Cross | Donate

Please donate any amount you can in aid of those severely affected by the recent typhoon.