Tag Archives: Sound Before Water

A paper child is born

1 February 2017. Or nearly. As I start writing this it is 23:33 in Cape Town. It is already dawn where I was born. I wonder what it’s like in the UK where my new paper child, Wings of Smoke, has just been born.
A few years ago two books of mine came out at the same time, Alien to Any Skin and Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. I’m still very fond of those books. They broke the more than 10 years of publication silence I underwent. I was terrified what would happen to them, as if they were flesh and blood of mine. So I wrote a poem where I gave them names, Karu and Skin. That poem later appeared in another book, Sound Before Water.
I can’t remember if I’ve posted it here before, but it seems appropriate to share it as Wings of Smoke is born.
May you all find loving homes and eager readers, my paper children, sooner rather than later.

How to Sell a Child Door to Door
for Karu and Skin, my paper children

tell them this child has no parent
and can only bring joy
to its new home
bring light and promise
into the room
as it silently sits
in their hands

even as the world burns
outside the window

tell them everything
they want to hear
that might make them smile

anything just to get
this child’s little foot
in the door

do not bat an eyelid
should the child
gasp at fragments
of moth wings

by the kettle
no one invites sorrow
into their lives

-o-

silly-photos-of-jim-082-adjusted


The First Four Poems

Most of my friends are scattered in various parts of the world. Not a single one was able to attend when I read at Off the Wall on Monday night.

It would have been nice to see familiar faces. But that night I also made new friends, I hope. Thank you to those who came to listen, and for those who wished they could’ve been there, I’ve made a brief recording and put it up on Soundcloud. Tell me what you think. And thanks again for all the support. Soon I hope to announce the release of A THOUSAND EYES.

photo from The Guardian of a Lego man depicting what took place in Abu Gharib, Iraq


Birds will have dominion when I take swallow form

It has to be one of the longest title for a poem – or at least a poem I’ve written. It was first published in Our Own Voice in September 2012. Today I remembered making an audio recording of me reading it. Click HERE or the photo to listen to it. I know it’s pretty rough and Kermit the Frog doesn’t like imitators. I am posting this recording as I send it to my mother back home who is very ill. I wonder if she can still hear me.

Photo found on Wikimedia by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html. I have a photograph of the same type of bird, one that sat on the bricks by the kitchen window. One day I hope to find it for sharing.


A free gift… Sixfold Summer Issue

A few new poems got included in the latest issue of Sixfold. Here’s a page off the issue.

 

SUMMER 2014 ISSUE the man who wished to be legoIf you like this one (which is now included in a manuscript in search of a publisher) maybe you’ll like the others in the issue. HERE is the SIXFOLD link. And if you end up liking my other poems, then maybe you can show them to other readers and then… maybe find enough time to vote for my books that are nominated at the Filipino Readers Choice Awards. HERE is the link. 🙂

I know it’s a long shot, as it is basically a popularity contest (haha! an excuse for those who are left unread or with a less supportive group of friends perhaps?). But hey, worth a try. I’m currently recording some of the poems in the books and thinking of putting them up on Soundcloud… and always that question, why? Which should always be answered with WHY NOT?


Three poems from Sound Before Water featured in Dead Snakes

Cluster bombs being dropped on Gaza by Israel (image from Wikipedia)

Three poems from Sound Before Water have been posted on Dead Snakes. Please click THIS LINK to read them. Posting a comment (or three) will help encourage the editors to keep up their good work.
Thank you, Stephen, for making room for my work.


Maybe, just maybe

Three Views of an Israeli Checkpoint and a Missing Mother

1
Who chose your womb before you were born?
Was your name known
to the speck of dust that first entered your eye?

Are you the only one
who sweats in the harsh burning
of this sun as it turns in silence?

Why does the next moment lie
on your finger that senses fear?
It is only a child you face,
why do you warm the trigger?

2
You are in full military gear.
He is wrapped in a blue blanket, serene.

The barrel of your gun is close to his feet.
His grandfather holds him steady, to keep his sleep.

The next moment is measured in increments
of fear, that distance closing in.

3
Old man, it is not time alone
that has struck
your hair this white.

Your hands know the depth of olive roots,
the countless times they can be pulled
out of the ground by those
who wish to see them twist in the sun.

Those hands
hold more
than your daughter’s child.

-o-

“Operation Cast Lead” is not the Title of a Movie

After a night of gasping
at fireworks
I nurse the consequences
of champagne.

Somewhere else they are remembering
smoke that takes forever
to clear, the ringing in the ears,
the smell of burnt flesh
among personal belongings.

-o-

The Dog and Its Master

With a firm wave of the master’s hand
the dog sets off, sharp as a dagger,
its nose cuts the wind.

Over and over, this lesson is taught.
The dog quickly learns
whom it must seek, sending hairs on end.

They conduct this concert of violence
with such precision, in the end, with the slightest
twitch of the master’s brow, the dog
flies swifter than a bullet, finishing off a prey.

Israel, which are you?

-o-

 

I’m not sure if I’ve posted these here before. But I feel I need to share them right now. I don’t often post comments to articles I read online. This time I had to. The article can be found HERE.

A dilemma for the party responsible for mass slaughter of a people in an open air prison?
Through the years various war crimes (as documented by the UN and other international bodies) were committed repeatedly by Israel and not a single Israeli official or Israeli have ever been tried. Now we are seeing worse atrocities for they know they can get away with it again.
It takes a certain imagination to accept a twisted view of history. Israel is an occupying power and Palestinians are under one of the thickest military boots in the world.
The oppressed has become the oppressor and, in full battle gear, continues to call himself the victim. And the people who are desperately trying to defend themselves are branded militants and terrorists. Having a starched uniform and being armed to the teeth (paid for in billions of US dollars a year) as well as having extensive control of dominant media are apparently the way to keep oneself from being called a terrorist state. For it seems terror-spreading weapons manufactured with quality control (to ensure precise kills and widespread destructive powers) make all the difference.
Yes, there are Israelis who oppose the Zionist madness, and they need to shout out louder against this atrocity to prove to the world that this is not how they wish to be seen by the the rest of humanity.
Meanwhile, the number of people worldwide who are waking up despite the dominant media’s relentless support of Israel continues to rise. They take to the streets or spread the truth through various means.
One last thing. Apparently there is a vast wealth sitting in Gaza. Is it all about greed then?
-o-

 


Versions Old, Revised,…Final?

moth wings blurred up

 

In January 2011 my two books were born: Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin. I was elated to have those two books published (both by UST Publishing House) for it had been a long gap since the last collection (Salimbayan, 1994). Soon after I wrote the first draft of the following poem. This one eventually joined a new set of poems that would become Sound Before Water (UST Publishing House, 2013), a much slimmer volume than the previous two which contain poetry from over 15 years. In a forthcoming review of this new collection this poem gets mentioned for the oddity of its title. I am posting this version – the one that is now in the book, as if being in book form makes it final! – perhaps as an invitation to adopt my paper children and make room for them in a new home.

It pains me not to be in the same country where these paper children are born. All I can do from where I am is tell as many people online how much I wish and hope the best for them. I will post a link to the review once it is available. For now, I share this with you.

 

How to Sell a Child Door to Door
for Karu and Skin, my paper children

tell them this child has no parent
and can only bring joy
to its new home
bring light and promise
into the room
as it silently sits
in their hands

even as the world burns
outside the window

tell them everything
they want to hear
that might make them smile

anything just to get
this child’s little foot
in the door

do not bat an eyelid
should the child
gasp at fragments
of moth wings
by the kettle

no one invites sorrow
into their lives

-o-