In Between Tongues by Paul Maravillas Jerusalem, the tongue is both muscle and metaphor, an implement of desire and an instrument of language. Reckoning with the archipelagic Philippines and the island nation of Singapore, with the past and the present, with origin and destination, the poet negotiates the boundaries between the two through a perpetual act of code switching, gaining mastery in sleep (“awed, that I had spoken my language fluently”) or in song (“…my tongue, a serpent/ shedding Singapore seasoned skin).” Habitation with any of the two countries is fraught—as with the body of the other—but the invitation remains: “i want/ you:// to find my land,/ occupy me, invent/ the idea of territory, and claim it for yours.”
Paul Maravillas Jerusalem is a Singapore-born Filipino who is an undergraduate student at Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts college in Singapore, where he is a major in Literature. His works have been published by the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and appeared in Likhaan 10: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, SingPoWriMo 2016: The Anthology, and ASINGBOL: An Archaeology of the Singaporean Poetic Form, among others.
Paul Maravillas Jerusalem, In Between Tongues
2017. deciBels series 2. ISBN 978-1-922181-92-3
102mm x 154mm. 26pp.