May mga kamay. May mga bulsa. May mga nambubugbog. May mga nanininghot. May mga pumapatay. May mga lumulustay. May mga anak na hindi malayo sa anino ng mga ama. May mahilig. May mahilig lumimot.
In less than a month, if all goes well, a new paper child will be born. It will be launched in less than a month here in South Africa, in a book shop in Plumstead (details in a separate announcement soon). And then I will present it to a another audience in a function room of a restaurant in Observatory later. A library has so far indicated interest in hosting me. I’m also trying to get support from other institutions (can’t name any until confirmed).
Dear friends, even as we all know that so many disturbing things are happening in this and in different parts of the world, some good things also burst forth to surprise us, giving us a most stubborn hope that each day is not just a challenge, but also a gift.
To be able to share what gives us meaning with the people we know and love, with people who start out as strangers and end up as friends – or at least as someone less distant – is the joy of the journey, though solitary it may have been when it began.
Please welcome my new paper child.
The book is published by Deep South, run by Robert Berold (https://www.facebook.com/deepsouthpublishingco).
Here is the Goodreads page for the book https://www.goodreads.com/…/60759779-bloodred-dragonflies. Pre-orders for SA readers through me for now… the first launch is on Tuesday 3 May at The Book Shoppe (https://www.facebook.com/TheBookShoppeCT).
Ebook version available in a few weeks via the African Books Collective (https://www.facebook.com/AfricanBooksCollective).
Hard copies to be released later in the year in the Philippines via San Anselmo Publications (https://www.facebook.com/sananselmopress)
Please share this post with your friends and family who might like poetry – or those who might hate poetry and surprise themselves at being converted. Haha.
Here are two samples from the book…
The Way a Heart Ricochets
The call of a guinea fowl
in the late hours, a wheel
on an axle that needs oiling,
spun by the wind or a hand
that remains unseen.
Things you never touched
now seem near and distant
at the same time.
The Path of the Wind
I have seen days when the wind
weighs so heavy on trees, they bend
close to breaking. A limb
with the greenest leaves
or weakened by age would have to give in.
The trunk may have to learn a new angle
sunward. Less apparent is the path
the wind must make. It has to unravel,
splitting itself into countless strands
to navigate between each leaf, each branch.
Hotazel Review has released its first issue. Two of my poems were able to make the cut. Thank you to the great editors of this new online journal that aims to showcase new work from Africa and beyond.
Three translations of my own poems are featured on the website for Asymptote Journal. Maybe one day I’ll get some work published in their print edition. I guess this is a foot in, or a baby toe. Haha.
Ear of Wax
On the clandestine burial, 18 November 2016
Ear of wax
forehead of wax
lips and nose of wax
cheeks of wax
fingers without bones
torso without a spine
hair from someone else
that resembled what was once
the only crown you can rightly claim.
It matters little, the authenticity
of whatever remains were stuffed
in the box, hastily shoved in ground
not meant for pretend
heroes with genuine guile.
Guinness-stamped post-World War II
king of plunderers, drone-voiced singer
to a single broken-winged dove, commander
of troops that delivered eternal silence
and disappearances, I would love to see you
turn in your grave (wherever that really is).
Those who announce
their love for the scraps
of the legacy you left behind
thought they had succeeded
in stopping us
from setting you alight.
I’m off to the Poetry in McGregor this Friday to read a poem (“My Mother had a Concrete Garden”) that was selected as a finalist for this year’s competition. I’ll be reading the poem before a live audience for the first time since the lockdown. Wish me luck.
Today I had a chance to browse a bit. So bumped into a review of How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems which I should have shared long ago. Here’s the link to the Bookbed review.
Here’s a bit of what they say: “How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & Other Poems by Jim Pascual Agustin is a great collection of poetry that lays out hard-hitting truths and manages to strike universal emotional nerves.”
They also shared a few pages from the book.
I’ve been writing in bursts – wild production of a new series and just about what hits me – followed by long silences of maybe just gathering or recollecting. It wasn’t always like that.
Something random… The other day I went to a craft fair (with bric a brac) and saw this – perhaps a unique/disconcerting version of Chewbacca which my kids convinced me not to buy:
This Saturday, 9 October, by fluke I have two online events. It will give me a chance to share my work with a live audience during this time of physical/social distancing.
It would make this lonely craft feel less lonely. Thank you in advance.
The University of the Philippines (UP, the national state university) Marine Science Institute (MSI) disapproved of the dumping of crushed dolomite sand, saying that it will not improve the water quality in the Manila Bay, and that continuous replenishment of the sand will be expensive.https://news.abs-cbn.com/spotlight/10/01/20/up-marine-scientists-explain-why-dumping-dolomite-cant-solve-manila-bay-problems
In a rented palace by a river there is a dolphin that walks and talks. He squirts out words from cheeks shiny as oiled buttocks.
He is a transcriber of minds, tortured and troubled. Randomly he delivers interpretations to a population whose ears have gotten used to the grating voice and cryptic mutterings of his master for years. With every appearance he flips backwards, swirling the real and the fantastic in a flurry of over-sized fins.
He wears a smile forever plastered on his round face, even when he is struck with sadness, for he must never lose hope in his ability to convince the people that all is well in the kingdom.
But as the air carries maladies no kulambo could ward off, the dolphin flips backwards even more frantically. He wants the people to believe that the battered remains of a mountain now powdered and stretched on the brief shoreline is a seductive woman.
“Feel how she kisses your feet! Watch how she dances with the waves!” he squeals and squirms in his shallow plastic palanggana, made in China.
Those who can bear his performance are happy as crabs in a bubbling cauldron. They dream of white beaches where they can run anywhere they want, always sideways.
I’ll be reading my work online to a live audience next week. On Zoom. I’ve avoided Zoom for more than a year because I honestly don’t like being on video. But it’s there, and I’ve been invited to share my work on this format.
So first of, thank you to OFF THE WALL for inviting me again. I do miss having chance to read before a real live audience, but thanks to COVID-19 we’ve all had to do things differently for a long time now.
If you happen to be up despite the difference in time zones, maybe you can say hi. I’ll try not to be too silly. Hey, if you even know some of my work that you would like me to read, send me a message. Thanks in advance.
CLICK THIS or type the following (really?) to see the announcement: https://otwpoetry.wixsite.com/off-the-wall/post/jim-agustin