Joseph Schwarzkopf

Joseph (known to some as Butch) is a Western Sydney based poet and visual media artist, born to Filipino immigrants. He enjoys doing laundry, long walks through Kmart, and late nights at Mr. Crackles in Darlinghurst. His practice explores the varied experiences of the Filipino diaspora in Australia. His works have been published in UNSWeetened Literary Journal, UTS Writers’ Anthology, and the Australian Poetry Anthology. Joseph’s favourite word is pie.


Naaalala Ko

I remember Ate Maria, waking me up for school, I’d get ready, go to the corner shop
             and get Dad the paper, pack my lunch and walk down to Torres.
I remember coming home, exhausted, but there was always a meal on the table,
             and Manang would bring over her kids and we’d study together.
I remember on Sundays, we’d all rush out of church to get home for the family breakfast
             every Lolo, Lola, Tito, Tita, Ate, Kuya, Pamangkin, Ninong, Ninang, Kapatid – we
             were all there.
I remember meeting up with my barkada, we were the street’s breakdance crew,Enzo
             would bring the linoleum and Jek would carry the boombox – we’d battle with
             groups from the other streets at the rotunda where there was a basketball court.
I remember when Jepoy first got a colour TV – the entire street would gather round his
             house, sit in his lounge room, peer through his windows.
I remember Aling Alice and the Sari Sari store she has at the front of her house – it
             was the street’s centre – the easiest place to meet and you could get nearly
             anything you ever needed there.
I remember Gagalangin, the safe side of the most dangerous, densely populated district
             of Manila – Tondo. Smokey Mountain was on the other side. My Kuya Bino was
             the gangsta of our area.
I remember Manila, crowded, busy, beautiful – cleaner that it is now.
I remember leaving the house I was born in, the last time I saw the stove where I’d greet
             Mom each day, the last time I touched the floor where I’d slept each night, the
             last time I closed the door.