Monthly Archives: April 2019

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.
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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-