Tag Archives: Jim Pascual Agustin

Outsider Looking In

My latest paper child got the attention of some readers who turned out to be part of an institution that’s meant to give recognition to published books in the Philippines.

It’s a bonus. Anything else after being read is a bonus, if it means a chance to be read by even more readers.

I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for now about award giving bodies. Previous books of mine got citations but didn’t win in this same one. Let’s see how things turn out this time.

For now, thank you to my publisher, the brave San Anselmo Publications, for trusting in my work. Thank you to those who have read or bought (or both! even better) How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems. Congratulations to long-time friend, fellow finalist Joel H. Vega!


Wikang Buwaya

Wikang Buwaya
tugon sa “Gahasa sa Gahasa” ni Rebecca T. Añonuevo

Sa ilalim ng tulay, nakakubling kapiling
ang mga lumot na madulas na umiindayog
sa lilim, may tahimik na naghihintay.

Tila tuod na nabuwal ng ulol na bagyo
mula sa Timog, hindi siya matinag
sa lublob na kinalalagyan. Hanggang

isang araw may mamataang nilalang
na maaaring mapagbuntunan ng naisaloob
na karahasan. Tatalas ang mga mata, iigkas

ang maiikli ngunit matipunong mga biyas
at lalantad sa isang iglap ang kinang-sa-laway
na mga pangil. Sagpang, papilipit na patuwad-

balibag-hataw-pagpapalag sa tubig
na mag-aalimbukay sa lumot at putik.
Hindi pakakawalan ang duguang katawan

kahit pa man magsigawan ang mga gimbal
na saksi. Walang silbi ang ipinukol nilang mga buhay
na bato. May sariling wika ang mga buwaya.

-o-


So NaDuterte

Today, in my country of birth, the current president appears before the lawmakers of the land, and before the entire nation. This is the same president who vowed to defend and protect the citizens of the country and adhere to the constitution. This is the same president who, soon as he took to power, violated the most basic rights of the poor and defenseless.
Today he speaks as if he were the hero of the land. Each of us, in our own minds, try to be the hero we dream of. Duterte’s greatest hero, as he has declared and proven by his actions many times over, is the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who silenced critics by sending them to prison, if not to the grave.
Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, in a mere three years, has gone way beyond what Marcos himself managed to do.
I wrote the following poem last year as a first draft. The second draft did away with all that is so blatant in the piece and, in a way, turned out to be a better poem. But it didn’t retain the anger and condemnation I wanted to convey. That poem is due to appear in a South African journal, the New Coin.
Today, as I cannot join any of the protest rallies in my country of birth, I decided to share this poem here, and perhaps on my Facebook author account.

We Cannot Allow the Dead to be Silenced

The man who curses shall be cursed
to live forever in the stories we shall tell
our children. They will not fear him
or his twisted reincarnations.

Our children shall not be shaken
by his threats. His attack dogs
with teeth of bullets cannot make us
turn away and flee.

Though the dead may be left
unclaimed in morgues
or dumped on the side of the road,
their faces bound with packaging tape,

they will never be silenced.
The veins on their exposed necks
and stiffened arms will turn to roots.
And we who fight to remember

the cruelty inflicted upon those
we can no longer hold shall bear
bitter fruit to be shoved
down the tyrant’s throat.

-o-

The title of this post may look odd to those who are not familiar with the play on words Filipinos like to employ by borrowing from another language. A rough translation would be – aside from SONA (State of the Nation Address) – “Done in by Duterte.”


https://www.rappler.com/nation/updates-duterte-state-of-the-nation-address-july-2019

https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/235870-groups-hit-duterte-admin-performance-ahead-sona-2019




Duterte’s Rape

bullet for duterte

That’s the title of a new poem that might be included in later editions of HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS.

For the mean time you can read it on the Facebook page of my amazing publisher, San Anselmo Publications.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PAGE.

Photo of bullet from Wikimedia.


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.

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-


Walang Matris ang mga Mambabatas

Walang Matris ang mga Mambabatas

             1

wala silang gunita
ng balat na iniuunat
sa bawat udyok ng paglaki
ng lamang hinabi ng mga pintig,

lamang nanahanan
nang ilang buwan,
nagpupuyos na kumawala
upang salubungin ang daigdig,

nag-uumapaw sa pagtataka
gayong panig-panig
ang panganib

             2

wala silang gunita
ng pangamba at tuwa
sa mga unang pakikipagbuno
sa hatak ng lupa

ng munting katawan
hanggang sa wakas
makatayo sa mabuway
na mga binti,

bumitiw sa gabay
at buong giting
na buhatin ang isang paa
samantalang naninimbang

ang kabila
upang subukan
ang unang hakbang,
manghang-mangha

             3

wala silang gunita
ng pagpigil-hininga
samantalang nakatalungko,
halos di-tumitinag
sa pag-aabang
ng baha-bahagyang
paghimpil
ng tila babasagin

na mga pakpak
ng tutubi

             4

bugtong:
walang matris
walang puso
walang utak
walang kaluluwa
panay bulsa at bunganga
sino sila?

Image by Garciabillyjoe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61272452