I posted on Soundcloud.com audio recordings of both the original Filipino and English translation of my poem “Danica Mae” which won the Gabo Prize from Lunch Ticket. The texts were published here on Matangmanok as well as on Lunch Ticket.
I’m using Soundcloud as I have over 160 minutes of free time to fill. I thought I might as well use it as another platform to spread not just my poetry but to also express my disgust at the continuing murderous war on drugs policy of the Duterte regime in my country of birth.
I can’t say “Enjoy it!” as that is not the intention. Be bothered would be more apt.
Leave a comment | tags: #DuterteTutaeNgMgaMarcos, Antioch University, Danica Mae Garcia, Duterte, EJK, Jim Pascual Agustin, Lunch Ticket, war on drugs | posted in Asia, Filipino poetry, Filipino-South African, Fragments and Moments, Jim Pascual Agustin, KaLaman at DayuHan, Mga Tula / Poetry, poetry, politics, Uncategorized
10 December is International Human Rights Day. In the same week the Philippine Congress has been busy trying to bring back the death penalty. It is not simply a step back for the country of my birth – more like running backwards down a dark alley littered with shattered rocks and corpses, wearing no helmet and blindfolded. Since the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, came to power the country has been gripped with a madness that his most blind supporters continue to embrace.
I wrote “Danica Mae” in response to the state-sanctioned killings that have summarily ended the lives of nearly 6,000 people as of this writing. I wish it wasn’t necessary to write it. The translation – or re-vision – in English, along with two other poems I originally wrote in Filipino many years ago, got the attention of Mark Statman, the judge for the Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation and Multi-Lingual Texts. He says
“There is something beautifully and sadly dense about these poems, which the poet, Jim Pascual Agustin, himself has translated. I found myself returning to them because I found them at once mysterious and ordinary, describing what I can only think of as tragic events (in “Danica Mae,” the actual death of one child, in “Standing in Tagatay,” the learned careless callousness in the life of another). The final short poem, “The Long and Brief History of the Bald Old Man and the Busted Pot,¨ presents the reader with a different kind of tragedy, a view of a long life at its unhappy end. Not easy to want to read, these poems nonetheless demand it. That demand is what I think I want most from a poem.”
Lunch Ticket has featured the winning work in its latest issue, Winter/Spring 2017, edited by Arielle Silver. Here is a link to the Filipino version that I posted on this blog earlier.
Please read the issue, leave a note to the editor, express your reaction somewhere, anywhere, should you find resonance in what is plaguing my country of birth today.
Some links for those who might wish to know more about what has been happening:
ABS-CBN NEWS ITEM
NEW YORK TIMES photo essay
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY OF PROTEST
My hope is that you share this post far and wide. Perhaps those in power may read it and respond. Perhaps those who feel they have little power to change this tragic course may find courage and learn that they actually do wield something that no violator of rights can ever take away.
4 Comments | tags: Arielle Silver, Danica Mae Garcia, Duterte, EJK, Gabo Prize in Literature, human rights, Human Rights Day, Jim Pascual Agustin, Lunch Ticket, news | posted in Filipino poetry, Filipino-South African, Fragments and Moments, Jim Pascual Agustin, Literary News & Articles, Mga Tula / Poetry, poetry, politics, Uncategorized
I Hate Found Poems and I Do Not Claim This One
words by Gabriel Cardinoza, formatting by Jim Pascual Agustin
Five-year-old Danica Mae
Garcia, who was felled
last week by a bullet intended
for her grandfather, was buried
at the public cemetery here
on Wednesday. Some 150 relatives
and neighbors joined the funeral
procession. They waded in floodwater
that rose by half a meter
on a 100-meter stretch
of the road from Danica’s house
at Barangay Mayombo beside Pantal River,
which had been swollen
due to monsoon rain
and high tide in the past days.
No government official showed up
at the burial of the collateral damage
in President Duterte’s
war on illegal drugs.
1 Comment | tags: collateral damage, Danica Mae, Danica Mae Garcia, EJK, extrajudicial killings, Gabriel Cardinoza, Justice, murders, terrorist Duterte, war on drugs | posted in Asia, Filipino poetry, Filipino-South African, Fragments and Moments, Influences, Jim Pascual Agustin, poetry, terrorism, Uncategorized
Thank you to Rappler for convincing Aiza Seguerra, newly-appointed by Philippine President Duterte as National Youth Commission Secretary, to read with much delight my rather old poem, “Litel Mis Pilipings.” I’m still working on the translation of the poem for a wider audience. I performed the poem myself many times way back in the early 1990s, to the disbelief and huge amusement of the various audiences who were (un?)fortunate enough be there. I’ll try and post an audio recording of my recent attempt to recreate those times. Or maybe not.
HERE IS A LINK to Aiza’s reading
Aiza has an interesting background, including ending up as a runner-up in the very contest I tackle in the poem.
(UPDATE: I posted on SOUNDCLOUD a scratchy recording of my own reading I did today.)
Aiza, if you happen to read this blog post, I hope you find the following poem I have just written, “Danica May,” worth your while.
Hindi kailanman lalapag malapit sa iyong barangay
ang helikopter ng Presidente. Hindi siya kailanman
maglalakad patungo sa bahay ng iyong ina, o magpapagpag
ng alikabok sa sapatos bago humakbang papasok ng pintuan.
Hindi kailanman hahagurin ng kanyang tingin kung saan mo
dating itinatabi ang iyong mga laruan. Hindi magmamabagal
ang kanyang mga mata pagtanaw sa mga damit mong nakasabit o tiklop na nakahimlay, ngayon ay hiwalay sa labada ng pamilya. Hindi niya tatanungin
kung ano ang pleybor ng paborito mong ays krim,
o kung paano ka humawak ng krayola,
o kung tinatakpan mo ng palad
ang iyong bibig tuwing matatawa.
Walang halaga ang ano pa man na aking sabihin,
lalo na sa iyo. Kahit pa man tukuyin kong hindi mga bala
ang kumitil sa iyong buhay, kundi mga salita.
Mumunting piraso lamang ng bakal
ang mga bala na maaari sanang naging pintuan
ng laruan mong kotse, o mga butones
ng damit na hindi mo na maisusuot
mula sa araw na ito.
LINK TO A HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH article
LINK TO A RELATED PIECE ON MATANGMANOK
5 Comments | tags: Aiza Seguerra, children, collateral damage, crossfire, Danica Mae, Danica Mae Garcia, Duterte, EJK, extrajudicial killings, human rights, human rights violations, Jim Pascual Agustin, Litel Mis Pilipings, Philippines, poetry, Rappler | posted in Asia, Filipino poetry, Filipino-South African, Jim Pascual Agustin, Mga Tula / Poetry, poetry, politics, terrorism, Uncategorized