Asymptote Journal Blog Translation Tuesday Feature

Three translations of my own poems are featured on the website for Asymptote Journal. Maybe one day I’ll get some work published in their print edition. I guess this is a foot in, or a baby toe. Haha.

Here is the link.


Ear of Wax – a first draft

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.

-o-

Underground room

Fake bones?

Tricking tourists


A poem makes the cut

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:


See You Saturday?

This Saturday, 9 October, by fluke I have two online events. It will give me a chance to share my work with a live audience during this time of physical/social distancing.

It would make this lonely craft feel less lonely. Thank you in advance.

San Anselmo Publications will host the launch of CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS.

While at Kulecteratura I hope to discuss HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS.


The Dolphin and the Dolomite B.

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.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/spotlight/10/01/20/up-marine-scientists-explain-why-dumping-dolomite-cant-solve-manila-bay-problems
Image from Wikipedia

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.

-o-


First Zoom Reading

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.

CLICK THIS or type the following (really?) to see the announcement: https://otwpoetry.wixsite.com/off-the-wall/post/jim-agustin


‘Godzilla’ was a metaphor for Hiroshima, and Hollywood whitewashed it

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/godzilla-was-metaphor-hiroshima-hollywood-whitewashed-it-n1236165


New audio recording of “Crocodiles in Belfast” out on Voice Your Passion (YouTube)

Thanks to Ahmed Elbeshlawy, my poems are hopefully reaching new readers. He posted the title poem for my recent book, Crocodiles in Belfast, on his YouTube channel Voice Your Passion.

Here is the link to the recording.


Duterte is a Bully

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.

This is the title poem of my collection published by San Anselmo Press.


New audio recording of “The Breath of Sparrows”

https://youtu.be/Ibtz3Eietg0

WINGS OF SMOKE came out in 2017, and the poem “The Breath of Sparrows” remains the most read post in this little blog of mine.

I was asked to share my reading of the poem, along with a few more. Please let me know what you think

Thanks for visiting.