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.
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.
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.
Some people love the work of Lang Leav, some people don’t. I’ll let readers decide for themselves.
I decided to play with her work, not the same way I played with the sparse words of Rupi Kaur (look for that experiment somewhere in my blog before I take it down), but “sideways” or perhaps “skinways” (haha). I had so much fun that I ended up with an entire sequence of poems. So fun can be productive. Some day I hope to let you know when those poems turn up in a book.
For now, two of those fun responses to Lang Leav, “Eyelid” and “They’re Wrong About You,” have been published on Isele Magazine. I hope you read them and then come back here to let me know what you think. Maybe I’ll tell you (or give hints) of which poems I played with.
Mahilig, mapaghilik, manyakis, mapang-api, mamamatay-tao, magnanakaw, makasarili, manhid, misogynist… magwawakas din ang iyong karimlang ipinakakalat kahalo ng sangsang ng iyong kaluluwa.
The Combative Migrant Voice and Transnational Resistance in Jim Pascual Agustin’s “How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems” – Revolt Magazine
The Woodcarver is not an Executioner
(or F. Sionil Jose May not Grasp This)
“Death to all caught with drugs.”
– F. Sionil Jose
A tree never offers itself to be butchered
in the name of art, or, for that matter,
to be turned into shelter or the handle
of an axe. A woodcarver must remember
this. Like a blind man, his fingertips
must become eyes. He must seek
a new shape and form from one
that used to stand in silence
as it collected rain, invited birds
and wind to sing on its limbs.
To carve something that is no better
than feeding a fire would be a far
This is in response to a post by F. Sionil Jose on Facebook which I quote below:
President Duterte: What to do Now
At long last, the President has brought to the United Nations the International Court of Justice decision nullifying China’s claim on the South China Sea and validating our sovereignty. This happy development should encourage us to pursue further diplomatic negotiations with China as well as support from the international community. It is only with pressure that China may stop bullying us. China is a very close neighbor; we have to deal with China far into the future, with more care than with any other country. Does the government have a calibrated policy to do this? In the meantime, President Duterte is wearied about rampant corruption in his government. China offers a good model. Corrupt officials in China are imprisoned or shot. More extra judicial killings? Ditto with the drug menace he has not stopped. Just do what Singapore does to keep that country drug free. Death to all caught with drugs.
Sibuyas ang iyong mga mata.
Sa dibdib na palaging may dagta,
puso ng saging ang nakaluklok.
Luoy na petsay ang iyong buhok,
butil-butil na balat ng atis,
mga luha mong itinatangis.
Ina ng mga nais ilibing
sa pagkabulok nitong rehimeng
dahas at dilim ang wikang dura,
huwag kang maghintay ng himala.
Sa ‘yong kusina, kinang ng talim.
Sarili mong kuko, may talas din.