Tag Archives: Jim Pascual Agustin

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


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.


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.


May Talas Din

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.

-o-

https://r3.rappler.com/move-ph/155140-left-burn-effigy-duterte-authoritarian-tendencies


Isa pang tugon sa pag-iingay ng DDS

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.”

-o-


Diyan Mismo sa Flag







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.

-o-

Apologies for those who cannot read Filipino. I’ll try to work on a translation when I get a chance.


Dust and silence

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.