Gasps
Thursday, March 15, 2007
 
I AM RETIRING THIS BLOG

and my new poem-blog will be here at the BEACH HOUSE.

You are always welcome to read poems with me at the beach. See you there!

Friday, July 07, 2006
 
THE LIST AS NARRATIVE

Am preparing the manuscript for my 2007, THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES (Marsh Hawk Press). Here's a list poem I just wrote for it, where each line is comprised of the title of book written by Ferdinand Marcos. I've often been fascinated by how the stringing together of book titles can create poems. In this case, I consider the narrative from these lines/titles a mirror to the sad, latter 20th century history of the Philippines:


Towards The New Filipino Society


A Budget for National Self-Reliance

Achievement: The Incontestible Factor

An Introduction to the Politics of Transition

An Ideology for Filipinos

Ang Demokratikong Rebolusyon sa Pilipinas (The Democratic Revolution in the Philippines)

Challenge and Response

Demokrasya: Rebolusyon ng Ating Panahon (Today's Revolution: Democracy)

Essays on Aspects of Philippine Development Toward the New Society

Five Years of the New Society

In Search of Alternatives: The Third World in an Age of Crisis

Isang Ideolohiya Para sa Pilipino (One Ideology for Filipino)

Limang Taon ng Bagong Lipunan (Five Years of the New Society)

Marcos' Notes for the Cancun Summit

Nakatipontiponan Dagiti Dandaniw, Dallot, Sarindaniw, Salaysay, Sarita, Drama, Kankanta, Babaniw

National Discipline: The Key to Our Future

New Filipinism: The Turning Point

Notes on the New Society of the Philippines

Notes on the New Society of the Philippines II: The Rebellion of the Poor

Progress and Martial Law

Report to the Nation

Strength Through Crisis, Growth in Freedom

Tadhana: The History of the Filipino People (Destiny: The History of the Filipino People)

The Democratic Revolution in the Philippines

The Epic of Nation-Building

The Four-Year Development Plan of the Philippines

The New Philippine Republic: A Third World Approach to Democracy

The Philippines' Stake in Vietnam

The Third World Challenge

The United Nations: 40 Years After

Today's Revolution: Democracy

Toward a New Partnership: The Filipino Ideology

Towards a Filipino Ideology

Towards the New Society

Friday, April 14, 2006
 
THE GLASS CHATELAINE

Suddenly, the castle
is all glass--

the walls, the roofs
the turret

and all contained
within. In her glass

gown she glides
down the long hallway

until she reaches
the mirror.

Glass on glass:
face of invisibility.

She bows
as she drops a tear

she cannot see
but hears when

it fragments against
granite turned glass.

"Hearing is the last
sense to die."

But when her hand
falls to her side

and touches the key
hanging from her waist

she feels the harsh
grit of antique metal.

She clutches
the gritty surface,

welcomes the bite
of rough iron

against flesh--not
glass! O, how the hand

often bears
its own mind,

an Other for
intention-ridden brain.

As when you write
a poem on X, only

to say Y or Z or A.
The familiar path begets

the courage to raise
chin, then eyes

even as she dreads
another glass reflection.

Still not her face.
but what skids the mind

is her father's flesh.
His lips move

to promise, "You
will never crack."

Suddenly, the castle
is again of stone,

warm against her
bare, non-glass feet.

Wooden doors open
along the hallway,

each revealing
a dog or cat--

happy eyes and oh-so-pink
tongues amidst furs

as warm as red velvet
and her father's gaze.

My turn, she thinks
with her glass brain.

To hurt is to
feel is to live.

My turn, she thinks.
She thinks, My turn!

The thorn-ridden stemg
rows into a rose

Thursday, February 23, 2006
 
YOUR FILIPINA PEN PAL

is the name of a new collaborative blog that explores the Filipina pen pal phenomena. This is a poem created by appropriating the appropriator -- the text of one of these "husbands". I'll reprint the post below (there are some notes on poetic form below poem):


COUPLETS AND COUPLINGS
--for the husband who penned the essay “Filipina ladies, Asian penpals and my Philippines penpal experience”


1)
When I first started writing Asian Filipina ladies,
I did not know what it meant to have a penpal.

I happened to see pictures of beautiful Filipina ladies
on a website, and I just got this overwhelming desire

to contact them. There is something about a Filipina,
and Asian lady in general, that is so appealing yet hard

to explain at the same time. Is it the traditional values
of a Filipina, or perhaps their beautiful smiles? Or

maybe it is the beautiful long black hair and sweet
disposition that can only be found in an Asian lady

from the Philippines. Whatever it is, once I saw
this website of Asian penpals looking for partners in life

I knew my destiny.


2)
Is this really about my desire to be with an Asian Filipina
penpal, or is it about my dislike for American women?

This is a sore spot for many ladies in this country and I realize
this. Some of my closest and dearest friends are American women.

If you do not believe me, I am sorry but it is true. It is also not
about likes and dislikes. For me it is about compatibility

as a married couple. I just happen to find Asian women more
traditional and less competitive, and that is what I desire.

I know, the old stereotype that I need someone to push around
comes up all the time. Let’s face it, finding a lady to push

around in the USA is not that difficult. I do not need to travel
10,000 miles to find a Filipina for that. What it is about for me

is being able to admit that men and women are different. I know
there are certain things my wife can do better than me, and that

is just the way it will always be. My wife also realizes that I am
better at handling some things. Filipina ladies understand this,

which means there is no need for this constant 50/50 power struggle.


3)
When I went to the Philippines for the first time I saw traditional
values first hand. Asian women as a general rule are very loyal

to their family, so if you want to make it work you better be nice
to her parents, and especially her father. Your pen pal bond

will evaporate into thin air if you make her choose between you
and her family. If a Filipina is forced to choose, you will lose

95% of the time. And even if you win, your life together might be
a living hell.



*****
Notes on Form:
1) The text is almost directly lifted from this earnestly-written drivel as to why Filipinas should be preferred for pen pals from the site “Melinda’s Pen Pals” at http://www.melindaspenpals.com/filipina-penpal-facts.htm.
2) At one point, during multiculturalism’s earlier stages, it was common to see conservative critics dismiss much free verse by poets of color as mere prose chopped up into verse via line breaks. So, I took this prose drivel and chopped it up into a poem. Isn’t it interesting, though, how the form of a poem vs prose can facilitate a second look at a text to emphasize just how drivel-ish it is?
3) I wanna belabor the obvious because though I know my collaborators can get it, the occasional Peep who comes here via Google may not “get” how the couplet form fails at the end of each section (by lapsing into one line only or how, in 3rd section, it becomes truncated). Obviously -- it’s a metaphor.
4) Wink.

Sunday, January 29, 2006
 
BLURBED HAY(NA)KU!

People were quite generous with sending me blurbs for my THE BLURBED BOOK. To warm up for writing the book based on the blurbs, I've been writing hay(na)ku out of each blurb. Here's one blurbed hay(na)ku (titled after each blurber):

DEL RAY CROSS HAY(NA)KU

gets married everytime
she writes
poems

a beautiful wildness
where she
lives

occasionally other things
happen, like
wine

she glows, too
her peeps
blink

several projects (languages,
books, blogs,
forms,

airplanes) at once.



For comparison, here's Del Ray's original blurb:

"eileen tabios gets married everytime she writes a poem. her poetry is a beautiful wildness -- this is where she lives. occasionally other things happen, like wine and even more beauty. she glows, too, like poetry. sometimes her peeps blink in aweness. several projects (languages, books, blogs, new forms, airplanes) at once. sip."

Here's another example:

MICHAEL MAGEE HAY(NA)KU

"My Glorious Melanie
on Squid's
Whelping"

is too an essential act!



And here's Mike's original blurb:

Over the years our company brings in different talent once a month over our lunch hour. I don't know how they got Eileen Tabios -- she is the best we have ever had. In her craft of her storytelling and in her compassionate gutsy tough expression of female experience, she creates unique designs on her 1969 electric typewriter, including strong, graphic images inspired by calcium deposits and mildew, over which she has run a squeegee like a heartbroken woman mourning the loss of her lesbian lover. A sheep, goat, camel or cow can be sacrificed but we should not lose sight of the fact that Eileen Tabios's "My Glorious Melanie on Squid's Whelping" is too an essential act.

It's all amusing to Moi dot dot dot who's warming up, warming up dot dot dot

Thursday, December 22, 2005
 
DIE WE DO

I found the interview with Noah Eli Gordon muy interesante over at the Here Comes Everybody Blog. And when he got to the last Q&A, it spurred a hay(na)ku:

10. What is the relationship between the text and the body in your writing?

That’s simple: I am destroying the body in order to bring out the text.


Here's my hay(na)ku response:

DIE WE DO

Die
we do
as much as

we
live. Then
we write: right

what
we lived
when we write.

Thursday, December 01, 2005
 
SCUMBLE
--after "The Bounty" by Derek Walcott


I cannot remember the name of that seacoast city,
but it trembled


.................................................it is near Dinard
a town with hyphens


Now, so many deaths


.................................................the only art left --
the preparation of grace



*********************

NOTES ON MY SCUMBLING PROCESS (FROM THE CHATELAINE'S POETICS):

IF TITIAN CAN SCUMBLE, SO CAN I!

Cabin fever here on the mountain. Rain, rain, RAIN! Was trapped all morning waiting for dog-player, who then cancelled anyway due to rain, rain, rain! It's pouring so heavily that she said an earlier dog-customer looked at her to proclaim, "Why are we out here? This rain hurts!"

Anyway, while trapped, wrote a new manuscript as a result of my engagement with Mina Loy. Title:

SCUMBLE SCRAMBLE

It's an ekphrastic project, too, hence the ref to "scumble", which is (per Merriam Webster):

scumble \SKUM-bul\ verb
1 a : to make (as color or a painting) less brilliant by covering with a thin coat of opaque or semiopaque color b : to apply (a color) in this manner
*2 : to soften the lines or colors of (a drawing) by rubbing lightly


Moreover, (per MW again): The history of "scumble" is blurry, but the word is thought to be related to the verb "scum," an obsolete form of "skim" (meaning "to pass lightly over"). Scumbling, as first perfected by artists such as Titian, involves passing dry, opaque coats of oil paint over a tinted background to create subtle tones and shadows. But although the painting technique dates to the 16th century, use of the word "scumble" is only known to have begun in the late 18th century. The more generalized "smudge" or "smear" sense appeared even later, in the mid-1800s.

So, while listening to the rain, I thought to scumble the poems in Mina Loy's THE LOST LUNAR BAEDEKER and, hey, another manuscript done!

[After my first scumbling attempt with Derek Walcott's THE BOUNTY, I then went after Mina Loy.]

Well, it's still raining. So, back to yawning with the dawgs...


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