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:
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.
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.
Bullies are not that different from manipulative politicians. They just have more fanatic followers. They want you to learn not to flinch at their barbaric acts. They want you to comply. They want you to be just like them.
Bullies usually don’t know how to be anything else. In politics, they put on a show to try to convince everyone of their power. If you look closely, you’ll see their desperation, their inability to do what is best for the people they’re supposed to serve.
A new recording of “How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter” was released a week ago on the YouTube channel “Voice Your Passion.” Thank you, Dr Ahmed Elbeshlawy, for a place to share my work. Please subscribe to his poetry channel.
Some people love the work of Lang Leav, some people don’t. I’ll let readers decide for themselves.
I decided to play with her work, not the same way I played with the sparse words of Rupi Kaur (look for that experiment somewhere in my blog before I take it down), but “sideways” or perhaps “skinways” (haha). I had so much fun that I ended up with an entire sequence of poems. So fun can be productive. Some day I hope to let you know when those poems turn up in a book.
For now, two of those fun responses to Lang Leav, “Eyelid” and “They’re Wrong About You,” have been published on Isele Magazine. I hope you read them and then come back here to let me know what you think. Maybe I’ll tell you (or give hints) of which poems I played with.