Author Archives: matangmanok

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017.

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:

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

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”

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.

New poems in Isele Magazine

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.

Sometimes you see things, scary things, in unexpected moments.

Butas-butas ang Iyong Kulambo

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

Photo from Wikimedia

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
greater tragedy.


This is in response to a post by F. Sionil Jose on Facebook which I quote below:

F Sionil Jose

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.