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.
It’s finally out! CROCODILES IN BELFAST AND OTHER POEMS got stuck with the printers during lockdown in Manila. These photos are courtesy of my publisher, San Anselmo Publications. Order the limited hardbound edition via their Facebook page. I will have to wait for South Africa to open its borders before I can hold my new paper child in my hands. Amazon Kindle also available! https://www.instagram.com/p/CAcR-UbBtqy/?igshid=2m637kbv6wr6
GMA News Online picked up a poem I wrote. Leave a comment on the website to let them know there are readers who appreciate poetry. Maybe share with your friends.
Paghahati sa Iniluwal na Kaban ng Bayan
“Araw-araw, binibilang ang mga nabubuwal…
Sa gutom ay natatakot yaong nag-aagawan,
Kinakalas na ang batas, pumapalag kung masúkol. ”
– “Luwalhati” ni Rebecca T. Añonuevo
Maiging maunawaan na hindi mahika
ang agham. Lohika ang wika nito,
batay sa masusing pagmamasid, paghahanap
ng mga kaugnayang madalas hindi inaasahan.
May sukat na limitado ng panukat,
may panghuhula, ngunit may materyal na
kinahahabian, tila sapot na kay dali ring mapigtal
kung mapapatunayang may ibang posibleng paliwanag.
Kaya dating makatang bula na ngayon
ang lohika, bakit mo tinutuya na tila kakilala
ang Kamatayan? Sa ibang panahon, mapapalampas
sana ito, parang ingay sa perya na naghahatid
ng panandaliang paglimot sa pang-araw-araw na pagod.
Maaari mo pang mala-Hamlet na hawakan
ang bungo ng kung-sinong estranghero,
magyayakyak ka’t magtitili hanggang umusbong
ang lahat ng litid mula leeg hanggang kilikili.
Ngunit sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang rehimen
na iyong sinasamba, katawa-tawa.
Hindi tawang may tuwa,
kundi matinding kapaitan.
Gamitan mo kaya ng agham ang pagbibilang
sa iniluwal na kaban ng bayan?
Hanapan mo kaya ng mga materyal na patunay
ang landas na tinahak ng bawat piso
sa bilyon-bilyong ipinagkatiwala sa tuliro-
kung-magsalita mong poon?
“Tahimik ngayon ang paligid, ngunit di lubhang tahimik,”
ang wika mo. Ang tugon dapat ng Kamatayan,
mula rin sa iyong salita: “Traydor ka
mula’t mula, hindi patas kung lumaban.”
Diyan Mismo sa Flag
“Magkikita na lang tayo diyan sa Rizal Park.
Diyan mismo sa flag ni Rizal magbigti na lang ako.”
– Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 6 Abril 2020
May bunganga ang basurahan. May bunganga
ang imburnal, ang inidoro, ang halimaw na gabi lamang
kung mag-iingay. Samantala, nais magpahinga
ang mga may kaluluwa at pagod ang katawan.
Ngunit kaya nga halimaw ang tawag sa halimaw.
Nanghahalina, nais mangibabaw sa paraang kanyang-kanya.
Maging ang bandila ng bayani na malaon nang yumao,
gagawing pambigti. Akala mo may kakawalang kaluluwa
sa kanyang kalamnang pumipintig lamang
habang nagpapakahayok at nagpapasasa
sa karimlang kinasalampakan.
Kung maaari lang, kumilos sana
ang estatwa ni Pepe,
sipain ka sa bayag.
Ngunit wala ka, eh.
Ay heyt drags.
Apologies for those who cannot read Filipino. I’ll try to work on a translation when I get a chance.
How does one celebrate a birth many years ago when today thousands are dying? You can say it has always been like that. A birth, a thousand or more deaths, all in one moment.
So it is my birthday today and the world seems to be on a wobbly spin – most friends and family I know are staying indoors if they can. Distances made more real.
Then again, it is maybe just us humans. All other creatures go on as they always have, surviving however they can without claiming more than the ground or sky where their bodies are at each moment.
Perspective. A way of looking at things.
So I am thankful for another year around the sun that cares not if I take another breath or my last. Thankful for the words and the silences. For all that I’ve lived through, seen, felt, and been entangled with, that somehow have not brought me to surrender whatever beats inside.
One day all of us may seem like nothing more than dust and silence. A comfort and a challenge.
My incredible publisher, San Anselmo Press, has released my new book of poetry on Amazon Kindle. The print edition is due to follow.
I’m uneasy about telling readers what I try to achieve in a particular work. I can only hope that readers will find something that will resonate with them, something that may unsettle them.
Please consider buying the book or giving it to someone who appreciates poetry.
The price of this Kindle edition varies slightly depending on your location, it seems.
I have always found it an interesting challenge to try and write in response to a prompt – a photo, a work of art, or even just a word. It is one way of looking at something outside of your usual line of vision, a turning away so that you may see things differently.
Thank you to guest editor and great poet Raphael d’Abdon.