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
and all contained
within. In her glass
gown she glides
down the long hallway
until she reaches
Glass on glass:
face of invisibility.
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.
the gritty surface,
welcomes the bite
of rough iron
glass! O, how the hand
its own mind,
an Other for
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,
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”
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
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
a beautiful wildness
occasionally other things
she glows, too
several projects (languages,
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
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
as much as
we write: right
when we write.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
--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:
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...