Tag Archives: EJK

It was never a landslide: a poem that accompanies an interview

I was interviewed by Bookwatch, the National Book Development Board’s publication. The print issue was meant for release at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The online version may be read HERE. At the end of the interview is a poem with a rather long title. For those who know little about what’s been happening in my country of birth, you could maybe do an online search on the following phrases: EJK, extrajudicial killing, war on drugs, Duterte.

Here’s a screen grab from the issue. Hope you read the whole interview and those of other Filipino writers currently writing and living in other parts of the world. I would love to hear what you think of the poem and the interview. Thank you in advance.

bookwatch-2016

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I Hate Found Poems and I Do Not Claim This One

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.

-o-

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/811602/5…


Aiza Seguerra, you will never meet Danica Mae

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 readingAIZA litel mis pilipings

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.

 

Danica May eyes bnw manipulated

Danica Mae

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.

-o-

LINK TO A HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH article

LINK TO A RELATED PIECE ON MATANGMANOK

 


Last Words, and a photograph that says something else

A few days ago I was sweeping the leaves that had fallen all over the front of the house. There were so many of them that I had gathered nearly ten heaps about a foot high each. They were mostly brown, but also green ones and yellow ones, and shades in between. I couldn’t count how many there were really unless I picked them up and separated each one at a time. I tried to take a few photos, perhaps just to remind me that I did some work in the yard that day. Then one photo came out completely different from the others. It came out red.

IMG_20160714_110243

These days the people in my country of birth wake up to news of those summarily executed and dumped in broad daylight. It is a nightmare existence. The rising number of victims continues because of words. Yes, words from the newly-elected president who won by plurality vote (meaning not a majority, but by less than 40% of the voting population in this case).
Words of hatred and destruction. Words that seek to erase the humanity in each person, in both victims and perpetrators. Words that carry a blindness that quickly spreads. And so with words I share this warning.

-o-

Last Words

Being exposed to the elements,
the point of this spear
has gone
almost the way
of dust.

It has no memory
of skin and blood.

It has no memory
who held it first, last.

It is just one of many,
an echo of defeat
or conquest.

All who wish to keep
their grip on the rest
will surrender to the weaver

of myths and songs.
The last words
will never flow
from the lips of an emperor.

—from Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011)