Monday, May 31, 2004


the only dream more
painful is the one left
and no-song is better
than a thousand bad ones
--from "Bayani's Tune" by Oscar Penaranda

Just received poet and teacher Oscar Penaranda's first -- and long-desired by many -- poetry collection: FULL DECK (jokers playing) (T'boli Publishing, 2004). It's a moving read -- lots of heart, lots of love, lots of humor, lots of compassion, lots of history ... I could go on, but let me just quote what Oscar wrote inscribed in the copy he sent me:

"All writing is one big poker game."

Here are two poems:

The Fire Hydrant

The fire hydrant squats priest-like
and lonely beside a long
red unparked curb
with long supressed energy
bursts out
in splendor and glory

when the fire raged


Salinlahi / A Different Dreamer

Forgive me

if my dreams were not
made of Hollywood
technicolor soda-pop snow
and golden gate banks and
push button automatic
self-styling hairsprays

Twenty dollars an hour
and where it's even hard
to get a job as a maid they pay
so high and they say
the servants here are richer than the masters there
forgive me

If my dream was just
to someday climb
afrenzied on their highest hill
and sound the conch shells
of my conscience
blast my guts out blowing
somewhere on this earth
there is a noble and tragic
race whose songs
beg for the singing

And believe me there
were times when I too tried
to stil the voices till
the volcanos erupted even

in my sleep I could get
no more peace forgive
me if
my dreams
were not to suck
what is theirs
but to pour what is ours


Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of Oscar's book; I believe you can place the order through the publisher's e-mail: tiboli@comcast.net. Here are some "advance words":

The poet tells you many things -- a mirror reflecting ourselves. And underneath it all, like a hidden stream, reveals all you need to know about life. His beautiful poems have been long overdue.
--Al Robles

Penaranda's poems, like his stories, are lyrical testimonials of what is, what isn't, and an intense longing for what can never be. HIs voice is mature and sensitive, lamenting yet sure. His experience of laboring in the fields of California and in the Alaskan canneries provides him deep erespect for the first generations of Pinoys who paved the path before him. Following in the footsteps of Carlos Bulosan, Penaranda gives witness to the struggle of daily life with dignity and compassion.
--Jeff Tagami

Oscar Penaranda chose Poetry to tell stories, most notably of the Filipino American experience. So why didn't he choose fiction? Because the stories resonate beyond what can be expressed by words. What breathes between the lines of his poems is an ache-ridden love borne of the mating of loss and desire -- a haunting that transcends such references as "There was this/ ragged iron bar/ that by accident crushed my/ toe/ when I with leathered gloves/ worked with steel/ in Alaska..." Fortunately, Poetry also chose Oscar Penaranda as evident in a poem like "A Song" where he sings, "So long as the world/ touches me/ my heart strings will never stop/ playing the music."
--Eileen Tabios


Some nice new hay(na)ku over at Ruby Street and Gila Monster. Don't forget the Submissions Call for the Hay(na)ku Anthology over, of course, at the Hay(na)ku Blog!


Yes, that review reminds me again how I detest how Jeff Clark's poems have been approached of late by various peeps -- e.g. this teacher "of philosophy" reviewer for the SF Chronicle (geez -- can't the Chronicle, a newspaper in a poetry hotbed like the Bay Area, do better?).

I've never met Jeff in person, though he designed Meritage Press' first book, 100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by John Yau and Archie Rand. It was my first foray into publishing and he was extremely gracious -- going beyond the call of "designing" duty to even advise me of things like ISBN numbers etc...

Anyway, I've found Jeff to be nothing but gracious (not to say I know Jeff at all but I do wonder how well he's known by these people ascribing personal traits to him based on how his publishing relationship with FSG has gone down). He's also generous -- he gifted me with a fabulous collaboration he did with Jasper Johns entitled "SUN ON 6." Here's an excerpt from his wonderful poem that seems timely given the idiotic hoo-haa about his work recently out there:

Dead scent pass I'm moving                Iris embalmed                Brutal beam hunts shadow terminals                Butterfly fled the rays                False trance of squares                Circle burns

Sunday, May 30, 2004


My next poetry reading will take place during an evening (6-8 p.m.) reception/celebration on June 10 for the exhibits of Terry Acebo Davis and Melba Abela at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum. These are part of a month-long celebration of Filipino American Art in honor of the 106th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day.

I've been meaning for a while now to visit the Asian Art Museum in a new building on 200 Larkin St., San Francisco -- how totally apt that it'll be Poetry that'll draw me there...

Saturday, May 29, 2004


I've been meaning to comment -- to praise -- Jukka-Pekka Kervinen's latest poems on his Nonlinear Blog, as Mark, Bill and Jean (among others) have quite aptly done. Mark's latest post finally nudged me to make said comment, which is to say, I've been going back and forth with Jukka as he designed my book cover for Menage A Trois With the 21st Century which his xPressed is kindly publishing. And his cover, too, benefits from his poetry's direction of late as text is integrated into helping to form/emphasize the cover image. Well, you'll see when the book is out. But, yes, Peeps -- do check out some, not only interesting but, drop-dead lushly gawgeous stuff over at Jukka's blog. It may benefit from technology, but there is nothing cold about this work....! The result is a welcome paradox that accrues when Jukka shows himself as well to be a brilliant colorist....That scarlet (?) on his May 26 image just bespeaks lipstick!

Friday, May 28, 2004


Moi is bummed at having to miss this weekend's festivities to kick off the Bay Area Poetry Marathon. So Moi and I were doubly enchanted to receive this e-mail with a fantabulous poem from kari edwards!!! (Plus, don't forget to check out this review at this link, on kari's book iduna, one of my fave poetry reads from 2003 titles!)

I wanted to offer you a piece I am working on.. its a park of a much longer piece and a part of what you heard me read... I am not sure if you are going to make it down this sat. for the marathon so I thought I would send it a long..

(title:it continues-)

that is, they say, they suppose, as they say; on a clear day, for example on a clear day, they suppose.

it continues-

they say on a clear day as a categorical imperative, without a categorical debate, on a clear day, that is at the very least not open to debate; that’s to say, they suppose, tapped into the word freedom; and or the fetish, imposed on the word freedom; as they say; a given, recognizable, and or assignable . .

it continues-

as an example, assingable as a given, a word, at the very least, they suppose, self evident, they suppose has been imposed, an imperative non-imperative, imposed and or not thinking this very thinking . . .

one more time-

can not be done doing if its worth its worth is what is steaming is to a beginning. that is; not enough, is enough, not enough in whatever language


in a large room, in a very large room, with very large language in a large room; suppose its a clear day, and this is a very large room with very large language, as a conditional persistence of the room; unable to think of a thing without insisting this is a room that is large, obeying some secret imitation of a large room, in the momentum of large language, that is a imitation of a large room, as an imperative without a departure, with is a given, that is a word given, given in a word, much closer then we think, thinking in terms of a familiarity, that could be a proximity of familiar, and or a haunting familiar in close proximity, anticipating a future, anticipating a potential possible, the advent of the eventual.

as they say-

I remember one sunny afternoon yet to happen, not yet close enough to see the entire event, happening in the needle of the willing. I also remember gravity in silence, as something yet to happen, happening as proof prelude, as the answer before the call, something ahead of an end, that is, they suppose, something that never is, but continues in an insistences of thinking a prior condition, concerning the later, concerning the fog on a horizon; that’s not the fog, that’s not a horizon, but knowing its there in the future, there as a nonrecognizable image, being the fog, concerning itself as the fog, that has an origin, that is a knowing, that has a quantity before it happens, happening outside as identical that could not happen, happening as it happens, contrary to an appearance, contrary to learned techniques, like the hardness of black shoe, with little space for a landing, landing and pretending it never happen, like the shoes and the large room that never happened. pretending to be visible black shoes that are suppose to be a categorical imperative, that never happen, as that incomprehensible thing, a falsetto with inhuman depth, faster then any character, being inhuman in depth, composed of paradise, bitterness and delight.

suppose it happens-

suppose it glistens, suppose its green, suppose I do not know that as they suppose, obligated to nothing, suppose the law of the land being the law of the land, a universal law of the land, a supposed law of the land, a duty for duties sake, because I said so.

so -

this the time of the day day thing happen, evading metaphors, happening in language things, sitting among the dead in preinscribed endings, preinscribing another end, searching for history's marked victims, inscribed with small nouns, inscribed in detail at small resort towns, trying to repeat the unrepeatable, repeating opinions and constitutional readjustment, repeating preinscribed universals, measured in perishable repeatings, replacing destines raptured beauty in restless dog bodies, waiting for visibility perfection in photo finish uprising, virtual harmony on a string . . .

as they say-

suppose I am a fly on the wall paper, or meat flavored cat food, feeling in general, feeling the public in a general, feeling a feeling, feeling the limits of our faculties in a feeling, involved in our destiny, forming the real in a feeling, feeling the real forming an ideal, in a feeling forming our hands, hands without finger hopping for destiny, caught upright in a circle, beyond representation, limited by representation beyond our representation, beyond the ending, ending that ends something else for that special new beginning, that never ended, that forms an ideal, opens the sky, creates birds and certain outlines. that imagined balanced somewhere in an obsession. at the request of the smallest corner with the smallest smile, at the table of the another other in a large room with large language, wearing black shoes, being the other, with no other choice but to refer to another other as the other other in the simplicity of a possible imperative, of the other as the self; the ultimate call home to the other as the self, being the self that forms a single word, with the sum of its parts measured in a single syllable, measured in sea and the rain, measured in the freedom that came, can come, is blazing, is continually burning, that is, suppose as they say, there is a feeling, in a large room. before it happens, happening again at it happens.

Meanwhile, here is the UPDATED schedule for the

(Please to excuse the boldfacing of moi name below but I do have an in with the Chatelaine, after all)

at The Lab, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco
(16th & Mission BART stop: one block east on 16th)

12 noon-----------------Opening
12:30 – 2:10-----------Stephen Ajay, Taylor Brady, Brent Cunningham, Maria Damon, Susan Gevirtz
2:10 – 2:20-------------BREAK
2:20 –3:40--------------Kristen Hanlon, John Isles, Wendy Kramer, Camille Roy

7:00-8:20---------------Betsy Davids, Trane DeVore, kari edwards, Barbara Guest
8:30-9:30---------------Kevin Killian, Aaron Shurin, Carol Snow

at 21 Grand, 449 23rd Street, Oakland
(19th Street BART: four blocks up Broadway, then turn left onto 23rd)

12 noon-----------------Opening
12:30 – 2:20-----------Julie Carr, Rob Halpern, Bill Luoma, James Meetze, Chris Nealon
BREAK-------------------2:10 – 2:20
2:20 –3:40--------------Eleni Stecopoulos, Hugh Steinberg, Eileen Tabios, Stephanie Young

7:00-8:20---------------Rae Armantrout, Maxine Chernoff, Paul Hoover, Laura Moriarity
8:30-9:30---------------Denise Newman, Elizabeth Robinson, Kit Robinson

at The Lab, 2948 16th Street, SF
(16th & Mission BART stop: one block east on 16th)

12 noon---------------Opening
12:30 – 2:10---------Stefani Barber, Laynie Brown, Mary Burger, Del Ray Cross, Steve Dickison
2:10 – 2:20-----------BREAK
2:20 –3:40------------Robert Gluck, Yedda Morrison, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Cynthia Sailers

7:00-8:20-------------Opal Palmer Adisa, Dodie Bellamy, Gillian Conoley, Patricia Dientsfrey
8:30-9:30-------------Edward Foster, Kathleen Fraser, Leslie Scalapino

at 21 Grand, 449 23rd Street, Oakland
(19th Street BART: four blocks up Broadway, then turn left onto 23rd)

12 noon---------------Opening
12:30 – 2:10---------Jim Behrle, Sean Finney, Joanna Fuhrman, Roxi Hamilton, Rodney Koeneke
2:10 – 2:20-----------BREAK
2:20 –4:00------------Hazel McClure, Rusty Morrison, Mike Sikkema, Brian Teare, Elizabeth Treadwell

7:00-8:20-------------Norma Cole, Gloria Frym, Robert Hass, Lyn Hejinian
8:30-9:50-------------Brenda Hillman, Michael Palmer, Bin Ramke

Thursday, May 27, 2004


Thomas Fink is still a proud Papa but nonetheless writes in about moi prior post:

Dear Eileen,
Thank you very much!
I now realize that the word "fleas" in line 4 is 5 letters. Oops! "Furs" would work--nonsensically, of course.

Well, yeah....but then it wouldn't have inspired that rather inspirational riff on moi Achilles scratching himself....which just goes to show the importance of poetic license!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

from the much-loved "Achilles Series"

Please to go on over to the Hay(na)ku Blog for Maya Mason Fink's invention, what her proud Dad, Thomas Fink, calls "a new form based on hay(na)ku: the first line has one word of one letter, the second line two words of two letters each, the third line three words of three letters each, and so on-- if you wish." Here's their example:

am an
old, fat dog
[with many blue fleas].

Hmmmm...I recited this just now to Achilles as said puppy curled about moi ankles. He looked up at me and began to scratch ....

... which reminds me: last week, I took Achilles to the vet because I noticed him scratching so much (and it can't be fleas, blue or otherwise, since I've done the required protection against said fleas). I took him to said vet, despite the fact that that apparently is a major thing that dogs do: scratch. Moi thinking was -- well, it can't hurt to check out this habit (said thinking being a primary reason, no doubt, as to why the vet has began construction on a new medical facility as a result of Moi and Achilles becoming patients. Anyway...)

So, to address the scratching, the vet prescribed Bennadril (sp) for a week in case Achilles has allergies. Well, I thought it was helping him decrease his scratching (though, okay, that might have been wishful thinking on moi part). I also noticed, to moi relief, how much calmer moi puppy seemed last week. Finally! I thought. My puppy is calming down as he matures!!! I was so proud of Achilles....

....then a dog-savvy friend observed two things: First, if I'd just bought Bennadril for humans to give to Achilles, it could have cost $5 instead of the $27 it required to be prescribed by the vet. Secondly, Bennadril makes peeps (and pets) drowsy.

Oh shit! I promptly riposted! I thought the puppy was getting calmer but I've just been drugging him out instead?!!!!

Took him off that $27 med and am about to launch a letter at the vet demanding he name his new facility after Achilles ... who, meanwhile, is back to scratching...


Well, this is a first for me. RUNES, a literary journal, has excerpted my poem in their inaugural issue for purpose of presumably facilitating sales of it on Amazon. But does that Amazon feature of excerpting pages really boost sales? Really?

I've been asked to do that feature on some books (in my role as publisher). It would make sense for me, I think, to do that on something like Pinoy Poetics. But in a poetry anthology where one poem is different from each other? Or even for poetry collections? I dunno...if you poet-publishers or anyone else has an opinion or insight on this practice -- how effective it has been -- Moi would love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, courtesy of Amazon, if you wanna see the only poem (an old poem) I've written on Coltrane....

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


My passion for painting and poetry was inflamed by the bookmaking potentials inherent in this negotiation. Collaboration challenged western history’s insistence on the artist as male progenitor, the genius forging forward on his own. Collaboration between two women would further break down the traditional constructions of the solitary “artiste.” The actual production of these books would also challenge the bookmaker in me. How to produce, using off-set printing, some of the feeling of the “livres des peintres,” but also keep the cost down? We had begun the press with the conviction that the books we publish should be affordable to poets. At the same time I wanted to make the book itself a breathing vehicle for new forms. I was instrumental in initiating this new Kelsey St. Press series. My brother Robert Rosenwasser, who is an artist and designer, was hired by the press to work with me and the artists on our collaborations. He and I work well together; our visual aesthetic aligns. Making collaborations work has been an extreme source of pleasure to me as poet, bookmaker and lover of painting."
--Rena Rosenwasser, from Chain on Kelsey Street Press

What's great about spending time with Rena Rosenwasser and her partner Penny, who visited Galatea this weekend, is that they're generous with sharing bottles from their own wine cellar. Saturday for dinner, they brought absolutely yummy 1991 Chave Hermitage and a 1982 Giuseppe e Figlio Mascarello Barbaresco. All finely followed by, from Galatea's cellar, a 1995 Alios Kraacher Trockenberenauslese Nr. 12 Grande Cuvee Osterreich Neusiedlersee. Lick lips.

Also this weekend, Pride Mountain Vineyards had their second annual open house on Saturday -- yum on the 2003 Viognier, 2002 Merlot and 2002 Cabernet Frank! Bought bottles of each! We also visited a small winery (advantage is that it has a dog Zoe with whom Achilles can play while the Chatelaine smacks her lips over at the wine bar), Zahtila -- we got the 2001 cabernet!

Meanwhile, here's another deal as regards the 2003 Bordeaux purchases: DE FARGUES! In addition to a mixed but, in some cases, potentially great year for Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux, Sauternes (sweet white Bordeaux) also had a great year. The wines have incredibly high sugar and their only weakness may be acidity that is too low for long term aging but how that all works out won't be known for 20 or 30 years. Most people think 2003 is much like 1989 for Sauternes meaning incredibly rich, powerful and opulent wines. Word on the street is that Chateaux d'Yquem may release as a future, which is a rare occurence (it's only happened once and that was in 2000). We are waiting.

In the meantime, we did buy on futures 2003 de Fargues which is not the same property as d'Yquem but is a vineyard managed by d'Yquem and is considered junior d'Yquem. De Fargues has never released as a futures offering but did so this year. It is the poor man's d'Yquem. We bought 12 half bottles for $26 a bottle. This offering can be found at Wine Club (three locations in California) or at Wine Exchange. Considering the hype for the 2003 Sauternes and the fall in the price of the dollar versus the Euro, this is a tremendous deal. The full bottles are $50 but because the wine is so intense a half bottle is fine for most purposes. You oenophile peeps should line up to try this wine.

Pay attention to these wine deals noted by the Chatelaine. The last wine deal brought to you on tnis blog on the 2003 Rauzan-Despagne promptly sold out (you wine-peeps among moi 10,000,017 readership must have really hopped onto it!)

Anyway, here also is the weekly update on GALATEA HOUSE WINES:

1995 Pride Reserve Cabernet
1998 Fox Creek McLaren Vale Merlot
R.L. Buller & Son Premium Fine Muscat
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock Las Amigas Merlot Beckstoffer Vineyard
1996 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain cabernet
1999 Turley Zin Old Vines
2001 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1988 Ch. Coutet a Barsac

2003 Joel Gott sauvignon blanc (this wine is not boldfaced as I haven't tasted it as of the time of this post; I picked it up at the local supermarket, curious to try it -- will bold it later if I like it....which is to remind moi peeps, when I boldface the name of a wine on this blog, it means I recommend it)

Monday, May 24, 2004


Synchronicity. I was just haranguing (though enchantingly so in the Chatelaine way) one of moi Listserves about how Poetry is not just a literary matter -- it's a matter of Life. Which is why, the *vision statement* (if you will) of Meritage Press says:

"By acknowledging the multiplicity of aesthetic concerns, Meritage’s interests necessarily encompass a variety of disciplines – politics, culture, identity, science, humor, religion, history, technology, philosophy and wine."

So it doesn't surprise me that Meritage Press author Luis H. Francia recently came out with this article worth reading as regards Abu Ghraib whistle-blower Major General Antonio Taguba at http://www.inq7.net/mag/2004/may/23/mag_2-1.htm. Here's an excerpt:

"Now of course, as with every whistle-blower who's managed to bring the public's attention to some sleazy business, the powers that be want him out of sight, and so the good general is being kicked upstairs, to a desk job in Washington, D.C. I have no doubt Taguba will, if he hasn't already, get flak about his sense of patriotism and perhaps because of his ethnicity as well. Wasn't he supposed to be a loyal little brown brother, tell-me-from-what-floor-to-jump type of guy? I can already hear the whispers, particularly in the Filipino immigrant community: "heretic," "traitor," "walang utang na loob." When you've made it that far as a person of color, the pressure to conform, already tremendous in the military, increases exponentially. All the more reason to applaud Taguba's gutsy act of conscience.

"People have been outraged by the revelations but seem to think the wrongdoings an aberration in the way that the US conducts wars. On the contrary, the US military has consistently condoned, if not encouraged, inhuman behavior ranging from torture to wholesale slaughter in waging wars against non-Western peoples and countries, against, in short, the 'Other.' This is the lingering, poisoned legacy of the age of empire, an Orientalist and racist worldview, that demonizes the enemy, represents him as sub-human, and to whom therefore the standards of humane treatment need not apply.

"In a recent article in The Village Voice (a newsweekly I work and occasionally write for), Nicholas Turse, a historian and scholar at Columbia University, characterizes US military history as one of 'brutal behavior, official and unofficial doctrines that encourage a patent disregard for human life and well-being', marked by 'a persistent failure to publicly recognize prior misdeeds and effectively deal with them.' Such a milieu can only result in a 'doctrine of atrocity,' the term used by the historian Christian Appy, whom Turse quotes. The article enumerates many instances, from water torture during the 1899 Philippine-American War-where the prisoner would be pumped up with water until forced to confess, or expire or pass out-to the 'seven-month string of atrocities' committed by the elite army Tiger Force unit in the US war on Vietnam. In one particularly egregious case, a sergeant was found guilty of the unpremeditated murders of two Vietnamese children (with a bullet each to the head) and 'according to military documents, 'he was sentenced by the court to no punishment."' (Emphasis added) Too bad Turse didn't extend his research to the Philippine-American War, for he would have found more than ample proof for this 'doctrine of atrocity' best exemplified in 1901 by Brigadier General Jacob Smith's order to turn Samar into a 'howling wilderness,'" stating, 'The more you kill and burn the more you will please me,' with anyone over the age of 10 fair game.

"The oddest thing is that to report on these acts of barbarity on the American (presumably morally superior) side is to prompt charges of being anti-patriotic, of whining."


I keep thinking about a poetics of conscience and not just imagination....don't know what to say about it yet, if ever. But, meanwhile, the above from Luis resonates...

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

I got the book down to a published version of 416 pages! Yes! Still thick, but much cheaper than its initial 530-page version!

But 416 pages is still ... 416 pages. I have just agreed to send a table and two chairs off to a future garage sale in Alameda -- with proceeds to help defray the cost of the book. Isn't this just ... something: I'ma literally selling furniture out of my house to finance a poetry book. Huh.

Poetry Poetics: just do what it takes.

Sunday, May 23, 2004


So many ways for Moi to preeeen! Like, today, unexpectedly, I got a poem in the mail written for me by Nick Carbó! THANKS NICK -- here it is with a note about his process, which is interesting too! Pomo, pinoypoetics-style, di ba?


Invisible men beating, yelling in Chinese
She said “a silk yellow moth”
Willingly pinned between my thighs
She said “don’t have time”
Drew away the curtain of hair
He said “my grandmother’s frying pan”
Then lingering there a while as I stood
She said “tooth paste”
The party was in a brownstone
He said “Colorado”
Where I had been ignored or stabbed
He said “a flock of flying forks”
Thighs and the birthmark shaped
She said “papaya seeds”
Were mini dresses while one had
He said “cold capers on cold pizza”
His coat and flung it on the sofa
She said “a double martini”
Gold and red brocade. As he sipped
He said “the eyes of feline filigree”
Tinuing to my breasts while his fingers
He said “Jenny Holtzer’s hair”
Would be appropriate to have invisible men
She said “seven wrought iron horses”
Show. The next time I saw him, he was
He said “chartreuse hearts”
Punch that hole in the canvas.”
She said “a wandering half soul”

*This poem was composed by cut up and collage method using Eileen Tabios’ prose story “Blue Richard” from her book Behind the Blue Canvas (Giraffe, 2004). The process of composing the poem was just as important as the finished product. I cut up a hundred lines and phrases that interested me from the pages of the story. I took a long walk around Chicago on a warm Spring afternoon and ended up on the front steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art where they had a fine retrospective on the artist Lee Bontecou. I took out the cut up lines and threw them along the sidewalk. I asked fourteen complete strangers to pick up a line, read what it said and quickly give me an image the line evoked in them. What appears in the poem are the cut up lines followed by the images given by the people who kindly participated. The order of the lines was determined by the order in which they were picked up. -- Nick Carbo


I'm particularly honored to receive this poem since Nick is such a fine poet. Here's a sample poem from his newly-released book Andalusian Dawn; I'm cutnpasting, too, his publisher's information about his book below:


Did you hear the thrumming storm clouds
passing by Don Carmelo’s house last night?

His donkeys started drawing maps to Nerja,
his goats put on their second-hand suits,

and all you could see were tiny
television sets swarming the property lines.

Within minutes they found me on my porch
and circled above my head, showing

me images of your face, your face watching
your husband’s hands. I can’t wait

to fax my string around your wrists, tie you
to my barometric bed and begin

a correspondence of our flesh. The sky will buzz
as you lick your guilty desires off my chest.


Andalusian Dawn, poems by Nick Carbó
Andalusian Dawn, Nick Carbó’s third full-length poetry collection, is a lush, sensual collection of lyrics on interior and exterior landscapes. Many of the poems are drawn from the geographic and cultural backdrop of Spain, where the poet spent time on a writing residency; others are drawn from the more elusive well of history, biography, and literature itself. Andualusian Dawn is at once Nick Carbó’s most ambitious collection and his most intimate, and establishes him as a major figure of his generation.

Praise for Andalusian Dawn
“In Andalusian Dawn, Nick Carbó creates a new, sweet language. This collection hums with tenderness, revelry, and pays special tribute to the importance of memory. Carbó shows his extraordinary range with this, his newest collection, that will make you want to visit Andalusia and reimagine the geography of your heart’s home.”—Crystal Williams

“The spirits of Lorca, the gypsies who inspired him, and the great poets of al-Andalus, preside over Nick Carbó’s Andalusian Dawn. These poems are filled with a voluble silence in which we hear the ‘cricket-sound dark’ and see ‘millions of fireflies/ burning in rows and rows between us.’ Carbó’s poems, like those of his predecessors, are conflagrations made of music and image.”—Michael Collier

About the Author
Nick Carbó is the author of El Grupo McDonald’s (1995) and Secret Asian Man (2000), which won the Asian American Literary Award. He has edited two anthologies of Philippine literature: Returning a Borrowed Tongue (1996) and Babaylan (2000). He also edited an anthology, Sweet Jesus (2002), with Denise Duhamel. Among his awards are grants in poetry from the NEA and NYFA (1999), and residencies from Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain), Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo.

About Cherry Grove Collections
Cherry Grove Collections is a poetry publisher dedicated to the art of lyric in poetry. We seek to publish collections that sing the essential human songs of our times. We publish collections of poetry through two annual contests—Lyre: A Poetry Series and the Cherry Grove Collections Poetry Prize.

Ordering Information
Andalusian Dawn is available from Ingram
www.Amazon.com and www.bn.com
ISBN: 1-932339-44-2
softcover, 88 pages, $16.00

Saturday, May 22, 2004


"Re: your puppy's penis story [scroll below], which I just read this morning. At least he doesn't lie on his back and piss in your face when you change his diaper, which happens all the time with male human puppies."

Thank you Sandy. I wanted to know that....


To bring the poem into the world
is to bring the world into the poem
--from "Conjuration #5"

Moi always thought the Six Directions Poetry Project has, as oenophiles would put it, a "long finish" -- or as I've put it elsewhere, infinite expanse. Yes, I can be hyperbolic: after all, Moi is talking about one of Moi projects....

Anyway, Six Directions continues to stretch. Newly inputted at the Gallery area of the Marsh Hawk Press website is a reproduction of the quilt made by New York-based quilter Alice Brody on one of my Six Directions poems, "Wine Tasting Notes." Isn't it beautiful?

Marsh Hawk put the image online as part of a new feature to highlight visual art related to its poets, which, incidentally, is one of the unifying thingies within this particular collective: an interest in not just poetry but the visual arts.

And the quilt is also featured online as it will be one of the items auctioned in December when there shall be a gallery exhibition/ poetry reading featuring an auction of various art works for the benefit of Marsh Hawk which is, after all, a nonprofit! More details to come later about this benefit exhibition in New York City. Meanwhile, do go lookit that quilt -- it's just lovely and I'm honored that "Wine Tasting Notes" inspired it. The poem will be in I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved, my 2005 book from Marsh Hawk.

Friday, May 21, 2004

from a whole buncha series Moi is developin'...

"Eileen Tabios alone is worth losing your dinner over."

Why, thank you Tatang! (I think....nice diction, bro...)

Anyway, lemme PREEN. It's particularly nice for moi bleary eyes to read Tatang Rhett's generous comments as said eyes are bleary from having had to look at PINOYPOETICS umpteen times in the past 3 days (man -- when a Pinoy poet gets goin', sure hard to shut hir up!) So, lessee, the manuscript began at 530 pages. Due to various economy-saving gestures, we got it down to 464 pages. I thought that was as good as it gets. But we thought of single-spacing sample poems and we're down now to 421 pages!!!!! (And, btw, the poems look better single-spaced anyway). So Melissa, the book designer woke me with an e-mail this morning saying, I can either delete five pages or add three (for the total to match the "signature" count).

I'ma revving up and tightening up my belt (have I said lately that halos should be belts, not crowns?). I'ma gonna see if there's five pages in there that I can squeeze out. Then maybe publishing this book won't make me go eat into my shoe budget this year -- which would be good as puppy Achilles chewed up my favorite pair of everyday shoes, which made me sad because the shoes were silver and often elicited much admiring glances from traffic.....


Thursday, May 20, 2004

from the "Achilles Series"

says, after watching the Chatelaine interact with moi puppy Achilles, "Put a collar on me. I want to be your animal."


"Cameron was a counter. He vomited nineteen times to San Francisco. He liked to count everything."
--from The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan

Thanks, Mark, from this luddite on the referral-counting how-tos. But, Tom!!!! Your #1 Position seems at risk!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

from the ever-popular "Achilles Series"
--a post for Rodney Koenecke who I am sure is more competent than I am at "big babies"!

Moi heart is palpitating.

Dare I say -- okay, let Moi say -- for a number of weeks now, a rather unbecoming grimace has been settling all too often on moi lovely face. And it settles because, for said number of weeks now, I would sight that ... pink thingie ... sticking out from out of that hairy, um, foreskin of Achilles.

Bear with me. I may have been with many childish men in the past but, nonetheless, I have never before raised a male child of any sort. So ... I really have to confess that I am consistently befuddled by the sight of my baby, I mean, puppy Achilles' penis.

I mean, Achilles is just a puppy so everything about him is fresh in that infant way. His penis is pink and glistens like newly chewed, saliva-slathered bubblegum.

By the way, the tip of Achilles' penis, upon popping out, is sort of slanted -- which is kinda fascinating, when I can't help but think about it (and, okay, sometimes I can't help it) -- because it reminds me of my best friend from college, S___ who went on to become an obstetrician. And S___ used to tell me stories of her early days of delivering babies and, if said babies were male , she'd also sometimes circumcise them right then and there. And, being new at this thing, she'd sometimes slice those penises slanted....and she'd always feel guilty. So, one day, S____ told the nurses about it. And, you know, quite often nurses know as much as newbie-doctors. And said nurses told S____, "Don't worry 'bout it. We've seen that before. Usually, the boys grow up and their ladies are ever grateful the knife wasn't wielded straight...."

Something like that ...

Where was Moi?

Oh, yes: Moi's heart is palpitating.

No, not just because Achilles' penis has been sticking out full-frontally all day. It's because I just got back from the veterinarian's where he had his first of two shots to protect against rattlesnake bites...and, whilst at said vet's office, another patient came by with her massive female dog.

And Achilles loves to play with other dogs and forthwith dragged Moi over to the dog to play. And that female dog -- is it "bitch" that's the apt word? -- stuck her head between Achilles' legs and started guzzling Achilles' penis!

Well! I never!

So Mama Moi yanked back Achilles, all concerned and such. I mean, how would you like it if you just met someone and the first thing said someone went after was your genitals?

Later, a dog-savvy friend would explain to me that it's not about going after genitals. Dog-savvy friend explains that they were just sniffing each other.


Moi heart is still palpitating.

from the series: "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

It'sa wrung dry and Moi is still squeezing and squeezing.

So, what drives up a book's cost? Page count, dears. When I planned Pinoy Poetics, I thought this book would be a 350-page anthology type. Well, it came in at 530 pages and Moi is too compassionate to kick out poets.

So I've been squeezing and squeezing Pinoy Poetics and now we're down to 464 pages. Well, yadda. But I want to squeeze it down by yet another 8 pages (books are put together from 16-page "signatures" and so you have to reduce in counts of half-signatures, or 8 pages).

I and the book designer have already minimized the margins as much as the printer will allow us. I've already deleted the extra two pages that would have appeared before the full Title Page (aesthetics? what's that?). We've already reduced the font sizes as much as we can without forcing readers to go blind. But whilst interested in reducing costs, I'm also trying to avoid using tissue-thin paper.....which is to say, I'm holding on to springing for 60 lb. vs 50 lb. paper (I long ago dropped my ideal 70 lb. weight). But just now, my book designer noticed at the same time Moi did (which is to say, brilliant minds think alike!) -- hey, we can single-space the sample poems sprinkled throughout the poetics essays!


Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. So....back to it!

When the cookie jar is empty of pennies, scrunch those pages!

Which is not to say, of course, that the book won't be GORGEOUS. After all, its publisher is, Preeen, drop-dead etcetera...!

Ah yes! Moi can see the light at the end of the tunnel...unclench those wings soon, and fly towards cobalt sky...!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


So, kultureflash's relatively new "Poem of the Week" feature has been providing nice reading....and Moi contribution this week hopefully doesn't diminish the pleasure (that bit of self-deprecation is dedicated to Mark Young). Still, what exactly was that comment in the Introduction again about moi poems just being at "the edge of the bearable"? Luckily, I can hide behind Ron Silliman for which Moi is grateful....(Now, 'twasn't moi idea for Ron to be quoted over at kultureflash but -- Sip the lovely Tinto Pesquera Ribera Del Duero -- I sure am getting a lot of hay from Ron's blog post on me last year; why do I have the feeling that I'll be 85 and rocking on moi rocking chair and I or someone nearby still be spouting off, Hey -- remember when Ron Silliman once said ....)

Anyway, it's all of it a blessing, of course, and not just Moi -- but also I -- am thankful...


of Paolo Javier who sends the following (there's a hidden narrative methinks in the ordering of the blurbs below):

the time at the end of this writing
poems by Paolo Javier

In his first collection of poetry, 'The Time At The End Of This Writing', Paolo Javier asks, "Would you like to see your present now or later?" He answers by overlapping his present life in New York with his childhood spent in Manila and Cairo and imagined senior years referred to as “The Lid To The Great Jar." Javier's poems sail over the handlebars of a Huffy bicycle; saunter through the city onto balconies with lovers; respond to the visual art of Manuel Ocampo and curse a botched reading of Tagalog. Words exalt, tease, and desire, with a youthful sense of being old enough to reflect on moments either cherished or indignantly "shorn of any relevance to this day." Through it all, there is an insistence on admitting to what is reached for.

Advance Praise for "The Time At The End Of This Writing":
"Paolo Javier's confident, emotionally variable poems work at a point where sensory information runs into the artistic reality of building and negotiating surfaces. But instead of giving in to one force or the other they inhabit the mess that collision makes, insisting that art and life remain tangled up. "I don't want to be another story, you know?" one asks, knowing story is part of the deal of moving through time at all. These are perceptive poems; that there is pleasure despite it all in never knowing what might happen next is no small part of what they know."
- Anselm Berrigan, author of 'Zero Star Hotel' (Edge Books)

"One of Paolo Javier’s poems is four words: “the words/the spaces”. In The Time At The End Of This Writing, the words are ahead of the time they’re in at present—throughout. Paolo Javier makes words be beside images or beside spaces—equality and separation of space and image and word that’s a 3D sculpture wherein the courting lover always in bed and out in NYC flies up to his intended and appears to be Paolo Javier (translated as say Berrigan). By the end of the writing, that person is apparently someone over fifty with some other given life in place (whereas Paolo Javier is young, in his twenties), the someone over fifty not a character or “voice” as ventriloquism but ventriloquism of space and words that undo and at once heighten the previous spaces new like pressing the lips to the page."
- Leslie Scalapino, author of 'Zither & Autobiography’ (Wesleyan University Press)

"Hip, sexy, energetic, Paolo Javier gives mad respect to his artistic and poetic predecessors in 'The Time At The End Of This Writing'. His voice is clear and tender, these poems controlled in disruptions of narrative, never falling into obscure terrain. They are skillfully crafted and tight, a pleasure to roll off the tongue and view on the page. This Original Brown Boy has given us a lovely and fierce collection of poems that dismantle how ethnic writers in North America are expected to write. It's about time."
- Barbara Jane Reyes, author of 'Gravities of Center' (Arkipelago Books)

"Paolo Javier may end his book by "submitting” to Rilke, Neruda and Berrigan. But not with a bowed head. He submits to Poetry's Call and deservedly ascends the crowded shelves with his first book equal to those whose works he imbibed, but then alchemized into his history as a poet. His history as the "Original Brown Boy" Poet. By forming original poems, Javier subverts the colonialism that imposed a language upon his ancestors. He does so by finding the gold not previously found by other poets whose first language is English. Piquant, passionate, perky, panting, "pointy" Paolo-poems result from Javier's refusal to "lament the decisions that made me." In no uncertain English terms, Paolo dares, "Fuck me." Which is to say, Fuck lineage -- dismissively as well as lovingly."
- Eileen Tabios, author of 'Reproductions From An Empty Flagpole’ (Marsh Hawk)

the time at the end of this writing
Paolo Javier
96 Pages
ISBN 0-9732233-1-6
Paperback / 5.75” x 7.75”
Retail Price $12.95 (USD)/ $17.95 (CDN)
Ordering Information: http://www.ahadadabooks.com/

Monday, May 17, 2004


So Moi is swamped at the moment with big burly men on the mountain creating stone fences (yum -- those biceps!)...and so what a relief to be able to post by simply plaigarizing from another blog! Chad Parenteau writes, among other things:

In appreciation of Eileen Tabios, I present my first hay(na)ku:

GW Bush at Heaven's Gates

me in.
Let me in!

Awwwww...you know, the hay(na)ku is not that different from, um, other things -- where the first time is always special....


Thanks, Chad!


Dear Noah,


Sunday, May 16, 2004


Friday with Joe & Beverley and Scott & Sophia:
1997 Gaston Huet Vouvray Cuvee Constance
1999 Torbreck Steading
1998 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet
1982 Vieux Che. Certan
1998 The Napa Valley Reserve

Saturday with Harry & Barbara and Jim:
1998 Kistler chardonnay
2001 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1998 Jones Family Cabernet
1996 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
(fabulous as it blossomed into the all too rare "peacock's tail" phase which is when a pinot noir opens up and becomes astoundingly fabulous; drank it again the following night and, while good, had lost the peacock though it'd been stored with the wine pumped out)

Sunday with Harry & Barbara:
1996 Chevalier Montrachet Charton Trebuchet
1998 Lafite

2001 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1979 Beaulieu Vineyard Private Reserve Napa Valley cabernet
1998 Behrens & Hitchcock cabernet "Cuvee Juanita"
1994 Tinto Pesquera Ribera Del Duero


Thanks to Nick Piombino for acknowledging "Bolt," the last poem I wrote on GASPS, my poem-blog. This reminds me to ... pause, and consider again how I've not been writing poems for a while now -- a long while, by moi standards as I used to be quite prolific. In fact, prior to "Bolt," the last poem I wrote was:

Dear Poem,

Where are you?


I've written two new poems since "Bolt" -- and both were commissioned (so to speak) by others (one by an artist I'm collaborating with and the other for potential posting on the web site of Achilles' breeder).

And I've been thinking a lot about "commissioned" poems -- and how that relates to my significantly decreased output of new poems. I suspect that my decreased output may be related to preparing my 2005 book for Marsh Hawk Press which will be a thick book. I've been looking over all these poems I've written...and, I guess, wondering just how important it is for them to be inflicted on the reading public. I keep thinking, "I've written so much and ...."

And that's the point: I keep thinking "I've written so much and ...." -- and I don't really know what to say after the ellipsis but I do know that I am feeling some discontent, some restlessness, some dissatisfaction over the whole thing, about poetry-writing. It has nothing to do with the quality of the work -- but about something else, though I yet can't articulate it (though obviously I'm trying as I'm blogging).

Truthfully, I am thinking that for the foreseeable future, to the extent that (my) Poetry is at all controlled by my intentions, I won't write new poems unless someone "commissions" a poem. Which is not to say I can accommodate all requests (because the -- my -- poems tend to transcend intention including any identified goals), but that the request itself first must exist...

If I go this path, will there always be a request for Moi to write a new poem? Another way to look at it -- am I willing for my poems to remain silent based on others' decisions (which, politically if not aesthetically, certainly goes against moi grain....)? This is all either foolish ... or an Act of Faith? I don't know, of course, but I sort of find ... delicious ... the idea that my future poems are truly exposed to the risk of whether someone (for whatever reason) wants them. That they are birthed in specific response to ... Desire.

I've frequently blathered about moi belief that the poet begins a poem but it's the reader/audience who completes said poem. I'm wondering if this constraint -- that my new poems must be began by others -- is a twist, and so what kind of said twist is this?

I like that "commissioned" poems are requested. That poses its own challenge, sure. But, for me, in my itched-up mood, the request seems to be providing me with the thought that -- here then is a reason for a new poem to exist....

"...a reason for a new poem to exist" -- many implications to such a phrasing, no? Anyway, I'm itchy but also inarticulate over all this. So until I know what more to say about Moi itched-up poetic state, here's my latest commissioned poem -- what else but a poem about the Chatelaine's beloved Achilles:


She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities,
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead....

Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long
--from "The Shield of Achilles" by W.H. Auden

The difference between reality
And myth is Paris

Missing his target
As the Trojan War raged.

But immortality entailed
Centuries of wanderings

And now Achilles seeks
Sanctuary from the armor

He left outside the Iron Gate
Gilded in gold: "Galatea."

No longer "ironhearted"
And "man-slaying," Achilles

Roams among the vines
And olive trees once wished

For him by Thetis, a mother
with “shining breasts" in

An ancient myth now relegated
To dusty tomes. For from another

Ancient tale, Galatea stepped off
A pedestal to become both human

Flesh and St. Helena landscape
Where the grasses, when swayed

By gentle breezes, whisper the sun
-lit thoughts of the Chatelaine:

"Welcome Home, Achilles."

from "The Achilles Series"

Sigh. What Moi does for this puppy! So, being a German Shepherd puppy, Achilles looks like he grows 1.5 pounds every day! Which means his diet, e.g. calcium intake, is important! But Achilles has also learned to play on my besottedness for him. His latest is that, unless I don't feed him from moi loving hands, he won't eat.

So, yes yes I know better but....for the umpteenth time now,there I was on moi knees and elbows sticking moi lovely hands into his dog dish (gross with wet kibble mixed with cottage cheese and slices of beet salad) and scooping out small mounds to place before his nose. He would then lazily stick out his tongue for a lick to see if he liked moi cooking and his breakfast, before opening his mouth to eat from my hand. And we go through that until he finally finished his meal.

It was cute the first time.

Sigh. I don't plan to keep doing this -- just wait until he's not such a puppy anymore and he can just starve if he won't do what normal dogs do. Oh, wait -- there's over five months left to Achilles' puppy-dom. And the Chatelaine looks at her fingers and whispers: AND YE SHALL GET MORE AND MORE INTIMATE WITH KIBBLE...!

Anyway, the other thing I'm doing is that I am moving apartments in San Francisco, as of June 1, just to enter a pet-friendly building. For this puppy, I give up my views of the Golden Gate Bridge and a second bedroom, just to enter said pet-friendly building. So that when I need to leave the mountain for the city I can bring his handsomeness with me. So much trouble I go through for this pup. So, as a reminder, here's the Meritage Press special I'ma running on Luis Francia's forthcoming poetry collection, with the SF address updated below. IT'S A GOOD DEAL! CHECK IT OUT!

Meritage Press Announcement
Contact: Eileen Tabios at MeritagePress@aol.com

Meritage Press is pleased to announce the publication of a new poetry collection by Luis H. Francia, Museum of Absences, copublished with the University of the Philippines Press and due to be released this summer.

Museum of Absences grew out of Francia's insistent sense of the void that haunts our contemporary lives, whether because of politics, faith, history, or personal circumstance. With such themes as loss, transcendent love, and revelation, the book's three sections introduce us to a wide array of personae, from a Filipino old-timer looking back on a life of invisibility, to Cinderella in middle age, from a grandson communing with his deceased grandparents to a New Yorker responding to the horror of 9/11. However different the masks, the poet's voice remains consistently lyrical, with language heightened by irony, metaphor, and musicality. This collection is marked by poetic inventiveness--in a disaffected age, surely one of our most valuable resources.

Francia's collection has received advance praise, as follows:

In Museum of Absences we see a poet writing at the height of his virile, vatic powers. Luis H. Francia's themes of love, loss, and redemption weave through the collection with the expert hand of a Stéphane Mallarmé or a Federico Fellini. His uniquely New York poetic responses to the tragedy of 9/11 are some of the finest I have come across. This is a book you will return to again and again.
--Nick Carbo, author of Andalusian Dawn

In Luis H. Francia's Museum of Absences, the halls and corridors are lined with poems that assert their presence and history against indifference, erasure, and oblivion. These are poems that bristle with kinetic energy: They step out of their frames, ultimately refusing the cold elegance of a display case in order to run amok in the streets, start fires, stage rebellions, sing and fuck and love even in the shadow of apocalypse. Despite the variety in this collection, Francia's subject remains the Filipino:"The beauty of our darkness//... Our delicate bones, our/ Millennial colonial contradictions/ The humanity of the subjugated//...the thoughts of a brown man/ ...in the season of aridity." He gathers up the different fragments of our selves and treats them as reliquaries, uncovering their grammar and meaning, all the while offering the startling perspectives of "an aerialist of uncommon grace."
--Luisa Igloria, author of In the Garden of Three Islands and Encanto

Luis H. Francia is the author of the semiautobiographical Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, honored with the 2002 PEN Center Open Book and the 2002 Asian American Writers literary awards. A winner of the Palanca Poetry Prize, one of the Philippines’ most prestigious literary honors, Francia has two earlier books of poems--Her Beauty Likes Me Well (with David Friedman) and The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems, as well as a collection of reviews and essays, Memories of Overdevelopment. He edited Brown River, White Ocean: A Twentieth Century Anthology of Philippine Literature in English; as well as Flippin’: Filipinos on America, with Eric Gamalinda as coeditor; and, along with Angel Velasco Shaw, Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. He writes,in New York, for The Village Voice and The Nation, and, in Manila, for The Sunday Inquirer Magazine. A tale of two cities--Manila and New York--Francia teaches at New York University.

In anticipation of Museum of Absences' summer release, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a Pre-Publication Special.  For $12 (vs the U.S. retail price of $15) and free shipping/handling within the United States (normally a $3 value) per book, you can reserve a signed copy. This special ends on June 30, 2004.  Please send checks, made out to "Meritage Press"  to

Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press
2275 Broadway, #312
San Francisco, CA 94115*

Though mail will be forwarded, you might as well send orders after June 1, 2004 to

Eileen Tabios
2101 Sacramento Street, #303
San Francisco, CA 94109

Saturday, May 15, 2004


Found shadowboxes through wineries' wooden boxes used to cradle bottles of wines. After pulling out the bottle(s) to drink the wine(s):

Interior painted a vivid cobalt. Nothing less, nothing more ... than pure sky and ocean, than pure icelandic eye...

Thursday, May 13, 2004


Ah: contests. So check out moi publisher Marsh Hawk Press' website for a photo of the entries to its first annual poetry contest. All stacked up on the dining table of MHP Managing Editor Sandy McIntosh...


Well moi, moi, moi....I mean, my, my, my. Thoughts of moi are ... uh, being thought!

So, first, thanks to Michael for thinking of me -- I like those thoughts.

Then, check out this ABSOLUTELY PURRRR-INDUCING NOTE from Monica Fauble who, along with Steve Kirbach, create the wonderful blog Hatstuck Snarl! (Thanks so much, Monica!)

Steve introduced me to the hay(na)ku, and I find the form addictive. I started flipping the haynaku over (3, 2, 1), and then I stretched the form and tried 3, 2, 3 (so that the last line comes full circle back to the first line.)

I wrote the following poem while stuck in the airport on a layover in Detroit. I hope you enjoy it.

Monica Fauble, Haynaku Fan


(for Eileen Tabios)

The new Hay(na)ku
wraps back
to its beginning.

like the
sound of your

name Eileen. Tabios.
Tablet. Tourbook.
Let’s take that

trip (admit, we
have both
been wanting) together.

At the airport,
indigesting cheese
pizza, we soak

in imitation cherry
bars of
Budweiser vats while

I sulk in
lonely headless
grief. (Eileen, this

is beginning to
sound like
that lyric I

thought new form
might pull
me away from.)

Stewardesses in blue,
their breasts
pinned with wings,

gold-roped pilots
(I almost
typed “pirates”) and

one tattooed boy
(his leg
touches mine but

he doesn’t notice)
who takes
a nearby seat.

Sapphios (Eileen, Sapphios=
you cum
my girl Sappho)

I think this
man might
serve as our

lovely young object
of eros.
Inked with antiquity,

characters from script
that only
his skin remembers,

I would offer
my tongue
as easy victim

to be tutored,
or perhaps
this unsuspecting traveler,

our walking, fleshy,
pictograph, would
prefer the gift

of my fingers.
(Can you
imagine the shock

of the alter
then?) Either
way Eilppho, this

poem is a
dream and
pen flexing; you’re

alive in some
life I’ve
never met and

my imagined reverie.
Meanwhile I,
I am words

unraveling. I’ve reworked
myself (even
muscle comes apart)

to be a
beautiful not
-yet-airborne girl;

attempting a pleasure
trip, instead
I’m thick with

raw unsalted almonds.
These nails
are chipped, hair

a wreck, hands
slick with
plastic bottle sweat.

In short, I’m
sitting here
a mess. True,

I woke at
6, admit
I’m more than

tired, but stationed
here (bored)
my body bears

its own secret
time, emits
huge relentless hunger.

Pink greedy tongue
flicks 3-
2-3, begs

speech than
six words total.


Sandy McIntosh often amuses moi (though for reasons he doesn't necessarily intend). Anyway, he cheered me up this morning again when he sent me an excerpt from a long poem he's currently working on for his next poetry collection,The After-Death History of My Mother(forthcoming in 2005 from Marsh Hawk Press). Here's the excerpt -- it's a hoot:

“This is how I get the girls,” Max whispers,

about to read
his poetry.
“Yes,” I whisper back.
“I’d like to see you do that.”

I really would, since Max’s poetry
is sentimental horseshit,
in my opinion,
and nobody could fall for it.

And yet, he begins to read,
and I watch the girls look up with interest,
at his story of brothers
in their little town, and how sad when one disappears
in autumn, in the lake, under running tide,
at sunset.

Others are taken
by his story of first love—her
parting words to him—heartbreaking
yet delicious artless irony,
and hilarious because of it …

… and so on he reads,
and on,

until, I swear, every woman in the room
is taken, and,
in truth, I may be a little taken,

When he’s done, the girls collect around,
some teary eyed and wistful
smiles, but all with pens
for him to sign
the books he’s thoughtfully brought
to sell. (“Always carry your books,”
he sotto voce instructs. “You never know when
your market will get hot.”)

To each girl he whispers something,
in answer to her praise. I can’t quite
make out what he says,
but he says it with sincerity.
(“Oh yes,” he instructs me
afterwards. “You must learn
to do
really well.”)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


I just finished John Berger's novel A PAINTER OF OUR TIME, a fictionalized account of a diary by a painter. Here's an excerpt that begins with the primary character, Janos Lavin, addressing his wife -- an excerpt I chose because one of the primary ideas behind "The Chatelaine's Poetics" is how Art can be very much the enemy of politic(ian)s:

"My dear Diana, You are now asleep. You use even sleep as a weapon, as a comment on the constant disappointment you suffer whilst awake. If you could snore, you would -- to push the lesson home.

"I look round this garage of a studio. We have lived in it for nearly twenty years -- another fact in your armoury.

"Tonight we quarrelled about the coffee-pot -- what an excuse! Does the humiliation of it ever strike you? As you settle down afterwards to write letters to your relatives and friends. And is that also a designed comment, because I never write letters to where I once belonged?

"I have been to look at you. You are asleep, but not quite as I imagined. Your mouth is slightly open -- unkissed and worldless. Your hand is loose on the pillow, as if it were holding an invisible sheaf of papers. Our histories maybe.

"We quarrel about coffee-pots or politics. But that is only because we cannot quarrel about what separates us. Once we did -- a hundred years ago.

"You lie like a knight in his armour. That is not a woman's way of lying. It is terrible. But it is impressive. You wanted to fight, but because the fight never existed and so could never be won or lost, you now have to fight all the time. It is a bad habit, but if I sit back very calmly, I know that it is not the worst of bad habits....

"You wanted to fight. But you also wanted to see the outcome. Whereas in my struggle you never can. And so you deduced 'no outcome' means 'failure'. And you put your lipstick on in the morning more carefully to hide it. And you searched in your bitter disappointment -- keeping your questioning eyes away from me because you knew I wouldn't give you an answer -- you searched for the cause. And you found my politics. You accuse me of my politics. But, believe me, if I were politically involved you could then have had your fight -- beside me and beside thousands of others whose greatest virtue is that they have no sense of failure, who, on the contrary, have an unshakeable belief in their continuing success. No, the Communist in me is our scapegoat. The enemy is the artist, with his inconclusive one-man struggle. And you are right , you being you: he is the enemy. And in this you are in agreement with the Communist leaders...."


The above is also to say, the days of "The Chatelaine's Poetics" are inevitably finite -- and I am glad.


Moi just copyedited a 500-plus page book. Moithinks am cross-eyed.

Which is to say: I bloody well need a drink....which is to say, yes, it's that time again to post the update on Galatea's House Wines. But for waiting so patiently, I first shall introduce you to a deal so good its e-mail was titled SMOKIN' GUN!!! Cough. Anyway, here is as great a wine value as is out there:

{2003 Bordeaux Futures}

An Astonishing Effort!

Wine Club Santa Ana

Parker 90-93 Points
2003 Rauzan-Despagne

The 2003 Rauzan-Despagne is reminiscent of a French version of Napa's Harlan Estate. An astonishing effort, it offers smoky espresso notes intermixed with creme de cassis and graphite in a powerful, concentrated, deep, chewy, loaded style. It should drink well for 5-10 years.
--Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

It is natural to focus on the great Bordeaux estates that sell for the highest prices, but Bordeaux desperately needs more producers like the Despagnes to produce wines such as this since more than 90% of the entire viticultural area is generic appellations such as Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur. Bravo!

To place an order contact:
Frank Hanson Jr
(800) 966-5432

Yadda. Please note I know nothing about Frank Hanson Jr, nor is he related to Moi -- so this isn't a non-transparent attempt for me to boost his business. Also to remember, these are "futures", which means you pay now and they deliver to you in about two years if certain idiots in positions of power hasn't managed to totally fuck up the world by then. Sip. And here are Galatea's House Wines this week:

2001 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1996 Williams Selyem Anderson Valley chardonnay

1995 Artadi El Paisan (sp), a Rioja
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock Las Amigas Merlot Beckstoffer Vineyards Napa
1996 Behrens & Hitchcock merlot
1998 Beaux Freres pinot noir
(liquid blueberries!)
1997 Turley Napa Valley Charbono (very special -- there are only 17 acres in the entire Napa Valley which grow the charbono grape)
1998 Williams Selyem pinot noir
1993 Henschke cabernet

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Among the traits exhibited by General -- and Filipino American -- Antonio M. Taguba are katarungan (social justice), dangal (honor), paninindigan (courage of one's conviction), and lakas ng loob (inner strength), as discussed on the Pagbabalikloob Listserve. Filipino-Americans are talking about how Taguba's sense of justice was influenced by having seen his Bataan veterano father suffer at the hands of the U.S. government.

I'm sure I need not direct you to numerous sources now citing Taguba's report on Abu Ghraib. But it's worth emphasizing, too, how he is now being and likely to continue to be punished for his honesty. He already has been demoted, with the NYTimes reporting: "General Taguba has served as a brigade commander, but he has not held a division command, a step often seen as as a prerequisite for those who aspire to the Army's very highest ranks. The Pentagon announced Friday that he would soon take a new post in Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for reserve affairs, a move that in Army culture is not seen as a major promotion."

Being punished for not diluting bad news has precedent in this Administration: "On August 1, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld replaced General Shinseki (who consequently retired) as Army Chief of Staff with General Peter J. Schoomaker after Shineski "questioned the cakewalk scenario, and told Congress (that February) that we would need several hundred thousand soldiers in Iraq to put an end to the violence against our troops and against each other."

These effects seem logical given the nature of the military bureaucracy. As The New Yorker puts it:

The official chain of command flows from General Sanchez, in Iraq, to Abizaid, and on to Rumsfeld and President Bush. “You’ve got to match action, or nonaction, with interests,” the Pentagon official said. “What is the motive for not being forthcoming? They foresaw major diplomatic problems.”

Secrecy and wishful thinking, the Pentagon official said, are defining characteristics of Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, and shaped its response to the reports from Abu Ghraib. “They always want to delay the release of bad news—in the hope that something good will break,” he said.

The article goes on to say that the "same deliberate indifference to bad news was evident in the past year, the Pentagon official said, when the Army conducted a series of elaborate war games. Planners would present best-case, moderate-case, and worst-case scenarios, in an effort to assess where the Iraq war was headed and to estimate future troop needs. In every case, the number of troops actually required exceeded the worst-case analysis. Nevertheless, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and civilian officials in the Pentagon continued to insist that future planning be based on the most optimistic scenario."

I've done risk analyses in the past and can tell you that most worthwhile recommendations are based on a reasonable case (the moderate case), with coverage planned in case of the "worst case." Only idiots plan based on "optimistic" or "best-case" scenarios -- when those best scenarios occur, that's icing on the cake but that's not what you plan for. This is really basic and it's ridiculous, if the article is correct, for Pentagon planning to be based on optimistic scenarios.

But then again, the reliance on optimistic scenarios also reflects the leadership to which the military reports: the Administration. Here is a not unusual example of people offering conclusions not based on an appropriate analysis of a situation but based on what they think the higher-ups want to hear.*

Taguba chose not to compromise his conclusions. He is now being punished. The concluding article in The New Yorker:

Ryder may have protected himself, but Taguba did not. “He’s not regarded as a hero in some circles in the Pentagon,” a retired Army major general said of Taguba. “He’s the guy who blew the whistle, and the Army will pay the price for his integrity. The leadership does not like to have people make bad news public.”

Footnote*: Perhaps it's just part of human nature that people tell others what they think said others want to hear (particularly if something like careers are at stake). During my recent visit to Sonoma, I had a chance to catch up with Cal Strobel who took the photograph for my Reproductions' book cover. Cal, a former engineer, just finished the first draft of what looks like a fascinating book that details his experience in the geothermal industry. The book discusses how he had a stellar record in analyzing such projects over his colleagues -- an anomaly that others often asked him to explain when he received the same type of training (including risk analysis type training) as his peers. The difference, Cal said, is that he "listened to the earth" and offered up what he heard -- versus other colleagues who brought preconceptions to their analyses based on what they thought their bosses wanted to hear.

This post, too, is all relevant to ... "Lucidity Poetics"


Preeeeeeen. Preen (and clean the feathers of this shit beyond the Iron Gate)....

So, moi latest preening is over a book Meritage Press is copublishing this summer. I've mentioned before the poetry/art collaboration "[WAYS]" coming up between Barry Schwabsky and Korean artist Hong Seung-Hye. Well, Moi preens because "[WAYS]" introduces an innovative (or, as bad-ass Pinays would put it -- "in -- no -- ba -- tib") poetic form called



Barry invented the form but, in the spirit of "community" that comes so easily -- preen -- to Chatelaine's Poetics, the form was so named by yet another poet: the enchanting and yoga-hewn Stephanie Young.

Stephanie named Barry's form in her "advance words" for "[WAYS]" as follows:

"Barry Schwabsky has put together a new form. I’m calling it the disappearing sonnet comb. Were this comb in the hands of another poet, the poem might not disappear so completely. But the tooth of Schwabsky’s poem, the line running through each reiteration, gathering and pulling repeated words to itself in the reverse of static cling, is there to remind us that objects in the poem, or the poem itself, may fail to appear. This page, left intentionally blank, says the poem, every time. The library is burned. The kisses are misdirected. Haven’t you ever / pressed the right key into the wrong / door in the right hotel the wrong night? Of course we have. And like the poet, we know it’s unlikely that anything can be said at all. And yet we keep pressing our key to the door. We keep breathing. We keep breathing. We keep breathing."

Yadda! Need Moi say more? Blink at her 10,000,015 peeps. Then: Well of course Moi can always say more! Like, though the book presents Barry's poem in a unique manner due to the artistry of Seung-Hye, the text was first published in Kevin Killian's and Dodie Bellamy's MIRAGE and we all knows hows innobatib Kevin and Dodie are!!! So, do please to keep tabs on this blog for future information about "[WAYS]" and a pre-release discounted price for this innobatib book coming out in Summer 2004! Eh, let Moi add a few more exclamation points over this bit of INNOBATIB POETRY NEWS! To wit:


And the Chatelaine ceases typing to pick up a lovely comb and begin combing her lovely hair to begin ... what most assuredly will be a lovely day...!

Monday, May 10, 2004


Just got off the phone with comadre Catalina Cariaga. Her book CULTURAL EVIDENCE (Subpress, 1999) just went into second printing! YESSS! If you haven't yet checked out her poetry, do so do so!

And I was on the phone with Catie because we were discussing her appearance in PINOYPOETICS! So speaking of said PINOYPOETICS, Click on this link for the anthology's cover that was just placed on moi Meritage Press website: it rocks! The cover reproduces a painting by Noe Hernandez.


is arguably moi favorite flower. Thanks to Michelle's reports on what the Chatelaine did yesterday (no need for me to further elucidate as I think you got it all). I mean, if I'ma gonna leave Achilles on the mountain, Moi better leave it for something GOOD and ... yesterday was GOOD.

By the way, Michelle cracks me up as regards this:

"Perhaps "lost" isn't quite the word, maybe it's "not quite found."

How nicely put!


the unpublished manuscript Instrument & Amplifier by James Meetze is one of the most pleasurable poetry collections I've ever read (you can get a quite enjoyable hors d'ouevres from his chapbook SERENADES). James writes Music and Silence in a manner evoking the eternal "music of the spheres" (as certain alchemists would put it). He is the first poet among his generation to remind me of this particular theory on harmony that date back to Pythagoras. Unfortunately, Moi is also consistently verging on senility and can't elucidate now on said theory; but for now -- thanks for sharing, James!

Sunday, May 09, 2004


Thank you Leny for your feedback on my recent lectures at your classes. As regards this excerpt:

and while their questions may not have been as complex as the questions of students in creative writing or poetry classes, I think they got the idea of what it means to think outside the box in order to understand and engage the "other". Since these are two sections of a GE ethnic lit class, to try to relate "poetry as a way of life" to their different majors (biology, kinesiology, business, political science, etc) is a tall order given the fragmented and compartmentalized nature of academic disiplines

I will note that I didn't find your students' questions any less "complex" just because they weren't majoring/focused on creative writing or poetry. In fact, in general, I find questions by non-writers/poets to be more challenging on a different level ...

... which also reminds me to share my amusement at one of your students who kept (plaintively) insisting, "But I like being in the box. It's safe and comfortable!"

I finally replied, "The box is also a coffin..."

But, hey, later the student came up after class and we joshed some more....I think I splintered at least one plank in her box (and my hand doesn't even hurt like Uma Thurman's in "Kill Bill 2" -- which I just saw -- when Uma's character punches through the wood-en coffin in which she'd been buried alive....)

Sip (a nice Barossa shiraz this eve...)

Saturday, May 08, 2004

from the Achilles Series


Achilles is 6 1/2 months old and over 70 pounds. Big Boy. Which is why Alpha Male trainer Brandt snapped the metaphorical leash at me the other day. That is, Achilles doesn't need as much training as Moi apparently does.

"Why, what do you mean?!" Moi asked when Brandt chastised Moi.

Well, I spoil the puppy, is apparently the upshot. Which is why it makes sense that it takes Achilles a long while to obey my commands.

And, Brandt noted -- this is the critical development period for Achilles. If I don't stop being so soft on him, he'll become so big before I know it and not be able to control him except through commands which, to date, he mostly obeys at his leisure....!

So, this morning, when I ordered Achilles to "Come" and he yawned his teeth (such white, purty teeth), I snapped the leash HARD against his collar!

He was STUNNED!! I doubt he was physically hurt -- but the idea that Mommy Moi would even do that....well, the puppy was SHOCKED!!!

Then Achilles gave me the most forlorn look! Like, how could Moi even think to do that...?!

I hid it but....MOI WAS DEVASTATED.

Sure, now he comes when I order "Come" but ... still ... Puppy seared the Chatelaine with that look ... thus, as Moi was saying:


This definitely means ice cream for Moi's lunch.

Friday, May 07, 2004


A Double Hay(na)ku With Ducktail

just posted
clarification re. submissions

hay(na)ku anthology

from mark and

uh, jean...

Prof. Leny M. Strobel is "DA BOMB!!!!!" Of course, the first time she heard that bomba phrase from one of her students, the very ladylike Leny said, "Huh? Bomb? I don't bomb....!"

Anyway, I delivered guest lectures to two of Leny's classes last night at Sonoma State University. Went very well. The icing was when, afterwards, I returned to Leny's home and got fed. Yum. Cal Strobel (who happened to be the photographer who shot the cover image for moi Reproductions) cooked salmon, carrots, asparagus and rice. But check it out -- the rice was made the microwaveable way and, what do you know, it worked!!!! Then cake and strawberries for dessert! Yum! Fabuloso with the bottle of 1996 Behrens & Hitchcock merlot that I brought over from Charles D'Amboise's wine cellar....gads: I LOVE FOOD!

Anyway, one item of dinner conversation was that, apparently, Leny had mentioned to Ianthe Brautigan that I'd discussed her and her father Richard Brautigan on moi blog while talking about how Richard B. had helped inspire moi conceptualization of this poetic form now known the world over as the HAY(NA)KU!!! To which Ianthe had apparently replied:

"What's a blog?"


from the beloved "Achilles" series

Oooooops. The Chatelaine just inadvertently witnessed Achilles wrapping up one of his bones in blue (specifically cobalt) satin. I guess the Adored Puppy is going to give one of his bones as a Mama's Day Present. Awwwwwww. Sniffle. And have I mentioned how quickly Achilles is growing....? Sniffle again.

Also, Achilles is just gorgeous now. And, for once, you don't need to take moi word for it. We sent photos to his breeder and said breeder replies, "He is developing beautifully, a gorgeous head and beautiful pigment..." Sniffle again again.

And we're also in discussions with the breeder because the Chatelaine has decided to get a second German puppy so that Achilles won't be lonely in his backyard when said Chatelaine is not around. This time, a female. Mothering -- such an important task!

Anyway, here's another way to celebrate Mother's Day -- hope to see you at either event this Sunday:

The Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Public Library presents:

Transcending Nostalgia: Filipino Writings in Diaspora

Please join us for the Bay Area launch of three Filipino-authored books:

BEHIND THE BLUE CANVAS, Stories by Eileen Tabios
NOT HOME BUT HERE, Edited by Luisa Igloria
OUR OWN VOICE, Edited by Reme Grefalda

Featuring Reme Grefalda, Luisa Igloria, Barbara Jane Reyes, Leny Mendoza Strobel, Eileen Tabios, and Jean Vengua

Sunday May 9, 2004 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

As this event takes place on Mother's Day and all panelists are daughters and/or mothers, please consider including this event in your celebration of mothers. Note that the time (1-4 p.m.) means you can fit this in after brunch or before dinner!~

Latino/Hispanic Community Room Main Library Lower Level

100 Larkin Street (at Grove) 415.557.4277

Copies of these authors' publications will be available for sale and signing.

All programs at the Library are free.




THE reception!!
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley CA 94705
Sunday, May 9th, Mother's Day, 2004
5-7pm, doors open @ 4:30pm
donations @ door always welcome
magazine sales:::::::$5 w/student ID;
$7-$10 sliding scale for non-student
artists of Issue 17 as always, receive one copy of m #17
beverages (all non-alcoholic) will be sold by the café @ La Peña

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