Tuesday, May 31, 2005


So what's better than Meet and Greet?

Ask and Feature, of course!

Thanks to Cyril Wong for asking and then....

SOFTBLOW presents

JENNIFER HARRISON is a Melbourne writer & photographer.
ROSS CLARK is the author of a chapbook of haiku, & 6 volumes of poetry in Brisbane, Australia.
EILEEN R. TABIOS has a new book, "I Take Thee, English For My Beloved" (Marsh Hawk Press) out this year.
CHERYL SNELL is the author of two chapbooks of poetry.

Read their poems at http://www.softblow.com now!


Today, I have absolutely nothing to say. So let me say, I notice that various bloggers are appropriately expressing their gratitude and joy at having had their poems selected by guest editor Tom "Mind/Body" Beckett for the next issue of MiPOesias Revista Literaria.

Tom's taken five of my poems as well....and if he did so because we've slept together, so be it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Pleez. I want photos of Nick Carbo in thongs.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


So the greatest hidden secret in California wine country is Dutch Henry Winery -- just as Moi am the greatest hidden secret in the poetry world (just tossed that in since Moi is practicing drunken boxing, I mean, "winepoetics"). 

We're generally at Dutch Henry every Saturday for lunch coz in addition to having some fabulous wines, they're a dog-friendly winery, which means Achilles and Gabriela can frolic with the winery 's Buggsy and Sadie (the latter not yet pictured on their web site).

Well, today, Tom and I were there as usual having some crostini and cheese while schmoozing with the winemaker Scott Chafen (click here and here -- ain't this dude just a DREAMY LOOKER?) and their Man of Many Talents Gary Koehler.  So what do Scott and Gary reveal?

Apparently, they'd been reading through my book MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY all through the past week -- they'd just open the book at random and read that page's poem to each other.  All week.

"And you should see how we get the accents down!" notes Gary, who knows of what he mouths as his many talents include music-fying -- click here for links to his fab CDs).

So I say something about how, Coz they open MENAGE at random, it's probably a good way to determine just how much erotica or would-be erotica is in the book. Gary nods and offers, A ton!


Anyway, after this past week, Scott and Gary apparently came to agree that their favorite lines are from the poem "Second Language as Gabriela Blunts Edges," to wit these 2 couplets:

"Cunt" is blunt --
"Vagina" is bloodless --

"Pussy" is ridiculous --
""Blunt" is meticulous --

Now, see, to hear those words out loud from these rogues is a tad blush-inducing.  It comes out a bit more cunt, I mean, more blunt than when one is writing out the words in the privacy of the writing studio, you know what I mean?

So I try to say something about how it's about Gabriela Silang learning a new language in the 21st century, mumble something even about "sexual politics," yadda yadda.  And the two just basically give me a blunt stare that bespeaks "Uh huh."

Then Gary asks, "So what was that stuff in some poems where you have some lines scratched out?"

Gary was talking about poems where words were included but with the strike-throughs across the words.  I said something about it being a literary device to hint at something -- a technical strategy that I once thought myself brilliant for concocting until I found out other poets were/are doing the same.

Gary replies, "Oh.  You mean it's sort of like those advertisements for cars?  Like when you put a picture up of a really hot car to get the folks into your store, except that stamped across the photo in very tiny print is the word 'SOLD'?"

At a loss for words on how to respond to that, I cram some crostini in my mouth .... fortunately, a huge vehicle drove up to the winery just then, disgorging a party of 14 celebrating some gal's birthday ... and the discussion on my poetics was quickly forgotten -- as wine will often (thankfully) induce.


Meritage Press Press Release
Contact: MeritagePress@aol.com


Meritage Press is pleased to announce that HYPHEN MAGAZINE, Summer 2005 (http://hyphenmagazine.com/) has chosen Luis H. Francia's poetry collection, MUSEUM OF ABSENCES, to be among its "New and Noteworthy" picks. Hyphen suggests you read Francia's collection, which it succinctly describes as:

"Poet Luis Francia introduces readers to characters such as a Filipino elder reflecting on a lifetime of invisibility, a post 9/11 New Yorker and a middle-aged Cinderella in Museum of Absences (Meritage Press)."

To accommodate their recommendation, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a Summer Reading Special for Francia's book: a 20% discount off of the retail price of $15.00, plus free shipping/handling within the U.S. (a $3.00 value). If you want to bring Francia's stellar poems to the beach this summer, send $12.00 -- checks made out to "Meritage Press" -- and mail to

Eileen Tabios
Publisher, Meritage Press
2101 Sacramento Street
Suite 202
San Francisco, CA 94109

This Special Offer will run through Summer 2005 (expiring Sept. 1, 2005).

More information about Francia's Museum of Absences is available at http://meritagepress.com/museum.htm.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole has been blessed in being used at a number of schools across the country (Namaste to you all). This morning, I received a fun list from one of the professors as to how various student-peeps responded to this book (necessarily edited to protect the innocent...and guilty). The *dark beauty* in Reproductions is always tricky [and suddenly the fallen angels ever-hovering beneath her ceiling start cackling...]:

From the Professor as regards hir students:

--the one who was traumatized
-- the one who used it for therapy
--the one who used it to deal with a cheating boyfriend whose current girlfriend happened to be in the same course!
--the one who took a picture of herself painting red roses on her roommate's nude breasts
--the girlfriend of B____ who now wants to take this class
--the one who danced hula to the hawaiian version of spanish harlem
--the one who played an original composition on his guitar whose brother was diagnosed with cancer during the semester
--the one who created a DVD of beautiful images, each flowing into another
--the one who insisted that these poems are not ethnic enough for an ethnic lit course

--and then there's always the one who just doesn't get it...all of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


to also praise The Hat (Eds. Jordan Davis and Chris Edgar)! And, in fact, I'll reprint below the poems of the Filipino connection, Eric Gamalinda. And Moi do so not just coz Eric's one of moi sweeties but because the version you'll see of "Valley of Marvels" is a slightly updated version from what's printed in The Hat.

I'm also pleased to learn that Eric's new poetry collection Amigo Warfare will come out in Spring 2007. But until then, please to enjoy these two poems by moi GUEST POET ERIC GAMALINDA

Antonio Machado’s Off Season

“Tombs and the dead terrify me.” Yet a young face one day
appears, short of breath, with no good news from Seville.
Collioure in November is barren as the outer planets.
Les Templiers Bar and Hotel is only half-full. The mistral
has shut down the lovely balconies along the promenade
where, at some point, under a windswept moon,
Antonio Machado walks his mother home to die. You can’t tell
by the calm on their faces how they’ve colluded like
streetwise scalawags, how they’ve perfected the illusion.
No one knows that something is about to come amiss,
a pixel will disappear from the screen. The baker is already
filling the alleys with the telltale scent of rising dough.
Someone is singing a ballad in Catalan, a language invisible
to the naked eye. The rookie legionnaires will come later,
but even now their coffins float along the estuary
among the brightly colored kayaks. The castle’s lookout
is only partly lit to save on gas. War is elsewhere
and is always coming near. If you know where to walk
you can follow the shape of a swastika. Young men drink
in soccer bars, as beautiful as the whores they love to fuck,
an empire of salt on each other’s skins. Antonio Machado
throws the windows open. The African wind blusters in.
He has a view of the cemetery. He knows exactly where
his bones will continue to die. He clothes his mother
in his own suit and fixes his hat on her head. He waits for her
to fall asleep in a room they haven’t used in years.
Now he puts on her gown, a wig of twigs, her soft red shoes,
and lies down on his own bed. And just as he knew it,
as the moon drowned in the sea, the devil came
with the rumbling of the garbage truck, sniffed around,
recognized the nauseating cologne, and took him down,
bones and all, into the infralunar of forgetting. This is how
you save someone. This is how you disappear.
No one knows what happened. The messengers still
keep coming. His mailbox still gets plump with mail.
Nothing gets returned to sender. No one eats the roses.


Valley of Marvels

You must be single-minded
as Humberto Delgarenna, who risked his life
crossing the Valle des Merveilles
to carve his name on Mont Bego.
The year was 1629. He may have fallen
from the crags, his bones now interred
among graffiti, the apothems and zigzags
whose inscrutability was sorcery, medicine,
object of fear. Let that be a lesson
to all who want to be remembered.
You must carry nothing, be a pilgrim or a spy,
disappear quietly, leave no clues. A sailor,
a shipwreck, Saint Elmo’s fire. A hunter
or a shepherd, the words wool and venison
sacred to you. Decipher the enigma
of verdigris. Be metal, be clandestine.
Navigate through shadows, use touch and sound
to recognize the shape of luminance. Learn
a skill, how to carve a rouelle, a flawless
spoke, perfection as an act of worship.
Find your way back to water
through guesswork; begin from the cul-de-sacs
of Tende. And if you discover the seven rivers
to be true, drink and resist
believing you’ve been saved.
You will not be saved. You will walk away
as you were before. You will be a blacksmith
or a vender of flowers. You will make a living
doing what you dislike. You will live so long
no one will recall the midnight you were born.
The mornings will be cold and fierce.
The towns will lose their tools and weapons.
Invaders will come, first the Remedello,
then the Rhone. They will find, clenched
between your teeth, the words dagger and halberd.
They will uncurl from your fingers objects
once marvelous to you: billhook, pickaxe, flint.
Your bones will resemble rock.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Say that quickly three times in a row and I guarantee it'll perk you up!

Seriously, continuing the Chatelaine's stroll through the lists of the world's best poetry presses, I am proud to be part of Ahadada Books which will release this summer my poetry e-chap The Masvikiru Quatrains -- thanks for asking me to the party, Jesse Glass and Daniel Sendecki!

"The Masvikiru Quatrains" were inspired by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen's poetry collection cornucopia. Jukka's inspiration is addressed in this "theory" essay in latest issue of Moria. Two poems from this series also is up as a Shampoo Poetry Prevooo...


I totally forgot I'm a co-sponsor of this below until Patrick reminder. So: GO TO:

Paolo Javier hosts
The Lovely Nowhere 2:

La MaMa Theater's Poetry Electric Presents

"The Lovely Nowhere 2: New Work by Filipino American Poets"

Charles Valle
Lara Stapleton
Patrick Rosal
Sarah Gambito
Jessica Nepomuceno O'Connell
Joseph O. Legaspi

June 7th
La MaMa Club.
74 East 4th St. between 2nd & 3rd
$5 - info 212-475-7710

co-sponsored by Meritage Press and Kundiman

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Moi prior post reminds me to say that I quite appreciate this below from Greg Perry's GRAPEZ Blog:

Have you ever noticed how opinion in the arts is always stated as a goddamn fact? As if it’s some scientific truth. When, in fact, all scientific reality is only theory anyways. I’m beginning to believe there’s only truth and consequences. Or as Anthony Lane wrote in a review that I don’t completely agree with: “Break me a fucking give.”


Those who don't practice "poetry as a way of life" really shouldn't warn against that practice. It'd be no different than formalists warning against "experimental" poets (so to speak). Or vice versa of course...


's current issue -- click here -- will be its last, according to Editor/Publisher Clayton Couch (unless someone new wants to step up as its Managing Editor). Clayton has done a stellar job with this online arts and literary journal -- Sidereality has been one of my favorite e-zines for its generosity of spirit and vision that translated each issue into very worthwhile reads. A sad day, but shouldn't end in sadness ... but a big THANK YOU to Clayton and your staff for having put it out there....


While various folks in poetry blogland weigh in on weighty poetics issues, I weigh in with this more modest query. To wit, remember that Motown hit "Brickhouse" by the Commodores in the 70s?

Certain funk-y peeps start to bebop on their seats and scream-sing:

Oh she's a breeeeeek.....haaaaaawwwwssssss...

She claps her hands over her ears: STOP DAT! Anyway, it just occurs to me -- this image is of a, um, butt-cleavage from a big butt, ain't it?

Well it is, ain't it?!!!!

A tattoooed ass, of course, due to the words...unless youse think they're more like panty-lines from very briefly-cut panties.

Just thought I'd weigh in with that. After all, as I've said many a time and no doubt will repeat again: "such is moi expanse" such that Moi is even a brickhouse.


So I watched "House" for the first time a couple of weeks back, only because that T.V. show followed up on "American Idol." (Well, what do you know? It really does work to raise audience by positioning a show after a hit show.) Anyway, there was mention of this old couple getting it on, for which he needed Viagra or some Viagra-like pills. The thing is, they kept referring to said Viagra as "blue pills." I've never actually seen Viagra -- are those pills, indeed, blue?

Which is all to say, meditating on this deep issue caused me to write a poem partly for my Shopping Project but certainly as inspired by those blue pills. And because Moi always likes to amuse moiself.

And this poem is also for Tom Beckett -- not because I think he needs Viagra, of course (but of course!), but because of his values, which include "attention" (No. 34) and "excess, overflow, obsession. Although, I should note, I like it to be expressed as sparely as possible." (No. 35) Not that this is particularly "spare" below (at least by the standards of Tom's poems) but it does amuse me to tickle Tom:

Shopping Installment No. ____


He ordered me
                                        to buy:

               ripe, red mango
               two masks -- satin and velvet
               falcon's feather
               nipple clamps
               bag of marshmallows
               oils -- "heated musk"
               lipstick -- “scarlet a must”

               salt and vinegar

               hotel rooms at dusk
               strawberries ripen
                                                  -ing into dark chocolate
               red roses -- "thorns intact"
               champagne truffles
               blue pills

               a riding crop

               his 1983 poetry book
               Vox by Nicholson Baker
               his 1984 poetry book
               House of Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata
               his 1986 poetry book
               The Man of Jasmine by Unica Zurn
               his 1987 poetry book

               thin suede gloves

               his 1989 poetry book
               his 1990 poetry book
               his 1992 poetry book
               his 1994 poetry book
               his 1995 poetry book
               his 1997 poetry book

               straight razor (ivory sheath)

               his 1999 poetry book
               his 2000 poetry book
               his 2002 poetry book
               his 2003 poetry book
               his 2005 poetry book
               his 2007 poetry book

because he said because

because he said by age 44 I should have ceased wearing white cotton bras

and because he said

Monday, May 23, 2005



My poem?
Your call.

So this weekend's primary literary exercise was finishing an art essay that reviews Emmy Catedral's installation, performance and drawing works which were exhibited in the recent GEOGRAPHY OF NOW (New York). The essay is naturally all about her, except for this brief excerpt that relates to my poetics, hence moi referencing to it here:

Catedral also noted to me that as she was writing about her project, “I came to a realization that my use of the margin as a subject is possibly even influenced by your bringing attention to the ‘footnote’."

Catedral was referring to a series of “footnote poems” that I conceived to be part of my book
I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005). As evident in this illustration, the poems are not laid on the pages as primary subjects. The pages are blank, except for 1-3 lines of a prose poem printed at the bottom of the pages. They are presented as footnotes, but they are the only text available to be read. And just as Catedral asked gallery attendees to write on her margin-ed pads and become part of the art works, the reader(s) of my poems are asked to imagine the stories being footnoted by my poems -- theoretically, the readers can be the ones to inscribe on the blank sections of the page, thus showing how I, as the poet, gave up authorial control.

(Thanks as ever to Gura Michellefor helping me illustrate my blogs!)

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Some interesting feedback to prior post. And makes me want to say that notwithstanding the humorous POV of the prior post, I don't mind admitting to a certain uneasiness over my mail coming to the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Ssecurity.

It may not be personal to me. The mail that Homeland Security intercepted came from the Philippines and, as one of moi peeps notes, there's a sense that things from the Philippines seem generally under surveillance. It's all creepy -- check out, after all, this link for the report "Resisting Homeland Security: Organizing Against Unjust Removals of U.S. Filipinos"

Here's excerpt:

"Resisting Homeland Security: Organizing Beyond Unjust Removals asserts two main positions that differ from existing knowledge about and interpretation of Filipino deportations post-September 11, 2001:

"First, the deportation of Filipinos must be understood for its particularities. A dangerous misconception is that deportations are uniform in and arbitrary across any and all immigrant groups; that these acts of detention and deportation are simply routine governmental practices to regulate migration flows. Our report links current deportations with the colonial and neocolonial relations between the US and the Philippines. In making the linkage of U.S. early imperial excursion in the Philippine with contemporary removal, detention, and deportation of U.S. Filipinos, we suggest a systematic targeting of Filipinos for deportation.

"Second, the deportation of Filipinos must also be understood under the homeland security regime. Amongst a few misleading generalizations is that post-9/11 legislations and Bush’s global “War on Terror” have no direct impact on the rise of U.S. Filipino deportations. We claim otherwise: homeland security policies detrimentally impact U.S. Filipinos in a multitude ways.

"As we forge ahead, fighting the ugly heads reared by the Homeland Security regime, we realize that the struggles for immigrant justice can no longer be fought within the frameworks of immigrant rights and citizenship advocacy. Rather, the new homeland security regime dramatically subsumes 'immigrant advocacy' into 'national security' concerns. In our work with Filipino immigrants, citizens and non-citizens, we are learning that tactics that simply approach the issue of removal, detention, and deportation through immigrant rights advocacy no longer suffice."

Thing is, I intially wrote a rant, then decided instead to use humor in the prior post. But the ugly thing about all this Security shit, as my peep points out, is that it generates paranoia, distrust, fear of speaking out, etc. I am doubling back to look at how I self-censored a rant and lapsed into humor. I don't like that about myself. I don't want to practice fear as part of my poetics -- it gets in the way of lucidity.

So I'm writing this post as a bookmark for myself and not be inadvertently part of why the "issue of [Filipinio] deportation remains invisible to many. [Despite] ... increase in the number of deportation of U.S. Filipino in recent years, this phenomenon remains understudied and unexamined."

Our culture suffers from a lack of deep examination of many issues. Here's one modest, but a first, step...

Saturday, May 21, 2005


The new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has three primary missions: Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.
--from the Homeland Security website

To be interested in spreading something like Poetry is to be open to subversive ways of, uh, marketing. So, I am happy to announce that thanks to Moi's latest efforts, poetry and art has infiltrated the ranks of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That is, at my request, another poet had sent me a packet of articles about art and poetry. That packet arrived in the snailmail open and with a bright green tape emblazoned across the package. On said green tape, black words proclaim


The inspection tape, by the way, affirms something I've long suspected about our government, to wit, that it can use any tip it receives as regards aesthetics. That shade of green used for its tape is nothing less than bilious. Really egregious shade that makes the viewer's throat convulse for some vomitrus reaction.

But, in any event, I hope the border inspectors learned about art and poetry as they perused those articles I'd requested. I don't know if your engagement will facilitate or work against your mission to battle terrorism. I just wanted to note that, by opening my mail, do you see how easily Poetry infiltrates even the most defensive territory?

But lookit. Enjoy, enjoy! Poetry welcomes even you federal suits!

Friday, May 20, 2005


My ears are ringing -- but thank you Annabelle for this 21-Gun Salute. That woke Moi up better than coffee this morning. And what a way to bring in the weekend! Happy Friday!


P.S. Annabelle was one of the many people who helped make possible "Poems Form/From The Six Directions". I'm reminded to thank her, and others (you know who you are) who promoted this project as I just picked up some paintings and mixed-media pieces from that series which had been exhibited by SF State's Poetry Center and the California Historial Society. Wouldn't you know, all the dollar and $20 bills I'd pinned on part of the installation were returned to me safe and sound. Yadda! Which is also to say: it's impossible to steal from Poetry; all of it is a gift.



ESSAYS AGAINST RUIN, poems by Brian Clements (startling, powerful and lyrical -- glad to be introduced to Brian's work this way)

THE CICERONE, poem by Mark Young (fascinating page-turner -- Mark Young is one of those poets who's just writing at the top of his game ....

FAULTY ELECTRIC WIRING, poems by Ruel S. De Vera

BURNING IN PARADISE, poems by Michael Madsen (an actor as well, whose book contains introduction by Dennis Hopper who claims he likes Madsen better than Kerouac -- which generates this "How to get published tip: become well-known in a profession first that's accepted by popular culture and then a book is eeeeeeasy to come by....) Anyway, I dunno -- I enjoyed this book, but, maaaan, I wish he'd have allowed someone to do some copyediting; quite a number of lines slackened from lack of judicious pruning)

POLLOCK'S POLKA, poems by Clementine C. Rabassa

DUNE HEATH, poems by Allen Planz

INVISIBLE BRIDE, poems by Tony Tost

FACE BEFORE AGAINST, poem by Isabelle Garron, trans. from the French by Sarah Riggs

CITY M, poem by Melissa Buzzeo


THE BLUE ROCK COLLECTION, poems by Forrest Gander and artwork by Rikki Ducornet

THE YEAR OF PLEASURES, novel by Elizabeth Berg


1982 Sociando-Mallet

1996 Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenach Blewitt Springs Vineyard

1993 St. Hallet Old Block Shiraz Barossa

1997 Pahlmeyer

2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay

2003 Dutch Henry merlot (barrel tasting)

2004 Dutch Henry cabernet (barrel tasting)

2004 Dutch Henry chardonnay (barrel tasting)

2003 Dutch Henry cabernet reserve base (barrel tasting)

2004 Joel Gott sauvignon blanc (good barbecue wine)

1994 Remelluri Rioja (outstanding)

1990 Domaine Trevallon Les Baux

2001 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

Thursday, May 19, 2005


"Inside, nothing is what it appears to be. Characters and images shift, rebel and flee. It's as if the contributors want to remind us that nothing is permanent. Perhaps it is the mercurial times we live in. But for us, and the writers and artists on the following pages, it is art -- and the creative act itself -- that are the constants."
--Editors' Letter, 1111

Oh I loved tonight for so many many reasons!!! The crowd -- huge!!! -- for poetry and art. The venue not being the typical venue that sometimes emphasizes a sense of marginality for poetry in culture -- this DEN a furniture store which generously opens up its space for readings and, thus (for me), a sense of poetry in the immediacy of people's lives. The poetry and the art exhibits on the walls all being so sensitively elegant to make one swoon -- including the images of Katie Lewis and Sean McFarland which synchronistically, I thought, mirrored what I was trying to do with the "semicolon" poems I read. My fabulously talented (and down to hearth/heart) co-readers Victor LaValle and Peter Orner. The introductions by 1111 coeditors Youmna Chala and Brent Foster Jones -- as well as the loving and generous introduction of Moi by Steffi Drewes......GADS!!! I am so tired of poets complaining about their lots .... and I hadn't realized how tired (bored) I was of poets' complaints until I saw tonight's manifestation of LOVE LOVE LOVE for poetry and art.

Well, yadda, I am fortified to continue moving forward...!

Even the food wasn't marginalized -- generous free trays of shrimps, vegetables, cheeses, fruits, various crackers with a multiplicity of yummy slatherings and wines that transcended typical poetry-reading quality wines! ALL OF IT bespoke a generosity that actually was more generous for its matter-of-fact sensibility for taking poetry and art so seriously that its taking seriously was not obvious!

Worth noting the lovely time I had catching up with turbulent and brilliant and poet David Hess...

After my reading, warmth. Such that even when I had to go to the ladies room and stood in ye olde lines for bathroom stalls, I couldn't mind the lines since the waiting time was perfect for people again expressing so sincerely their love for the reading....I really should spend more time on lines going into bathrooms (even the ones where toilets don't flush!).

I'm punch drunk as I write this, not necessarily from the wines but from tonight's ... GRACE.

To paraphrase an Ilokano saying, God is the One who benefits...and will return the favor.

Thank you.


courtesy of Richard Lopez's digital camera! In the following order, in front of Headquarters for the Arts building before the reading began, that's me with Richard, me with Jim, and Jean.


From Youmna Chlala and Brent Foster Jones, Editors of 1111!!!!

Please join us for a reading and reception to celebrate the second issue of Eleven Eleven {1111}, journal of literature and art at California College of the Arts.

Readings by Victor LaValle, Peter Orner, and Eileen Tabios. Visual Art by Sean McFarland and Katie Lewis.

Thursday, May 19, 2005
6:30-8:30 p.m.
at DEN ( 849 Valencia Street b/t 19th and 20th in San Francisco )

Volume 2 of {1111} features writing and artworks by Alison Bing, Ernesto Caivano, Joseph Lease, Conor McGrady, Nami Mun, Wangechi Mutu, William Swanson, and more. Interviews with Aleksandar Hemon and Fritz Haeg.

Food and wine by Café 101.

Please RSVP or ask questions at eleveneleven@cca.edu.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Editor/publisher Bill Allegrezza writes:

check out the new issue of moria (www.moriapoetry.com). it includes poetry by kari edwards, chuck stebelton, mIEKAL aND, vincent blafard, mark kanak, jennifer firestone, john dooly, andrew cliburn, dennis formento, christopher eaton; a collaborative piece by steve dalachinsky and jukka-pekka kervinen; a theoretical piece by eileen tabios ; and reviews on derek white and wendy sorin, donna kuhn, catherine daly, raymond bianchi, thomas fink, and the book pinoy poetics.

as usual i'm looking for exciting experimental poetry for the next issues. i'm especially interested in mixed media work. i have a streaming server at my disposal and can accommodate many types of work broadly defined as poetic, so feel free to send me whatever you can manage to create.

i'm also especially interested in hosting more theoretical pieces on the nature of contemporary poetry/poetics.

bill allegrezza

for those of you who are curious, moria has had distinct visitors (not counting spiders/bots) from 54 countries already in may.

Thanks to Veronica Montes for reviewing Pinoy Poetics!

Nice going on the readership, Bill. And, thanks, too for your blog's pool hall english on moi English (which I replicate below because it's complimentary and that's what Moi thrives on):

From P-Ramblings Blog:
i just finished reading eileen tabios' I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved. the work is massive, containing poetry, criticism, theory, drama, and other forms; moreover, tabios' language is at times stunning, sensual, violent, accusatory, and profound. her voice in my ear is like a mix of whitman and levertov. as with whitman in calamus, i want to jump in and join him, but all the while i hear the absense of love that levertov captures in works like the evening train. more than with typical poetry books, i feel that in reading this text i have encountered an alternate way of life, i.e. tabios creates a world in which poetry matters or does not matter in that it is a part of life.

Bill, btw, adds:

(eileen, if you ever need 10 poets in the midwest for a stage, let me know, for we are not as squeamish as poets on the coasts.)

Chuckle. Moithinks Bill was referring to this excerpt from a play that's also in moi ENGLISH BRICK -- to wit, "But Seriously, When I Was Jasper John's Filipino Lover..." Oh ye "bourgeois" Bay Area poets! What am I talking about? Well, you gotta get that brick to understand that punch line! Officially out Sept. 1 but it may be at SPD soon...


'Twas a blessing to meet and read with Indigo Moore in my debooo reading in Sacramento last night. I was so happy to see the venue be an art gallery, Headquarter for the Arts -- and thanks to Jean, Jim and Richard, among the po-bloggers, for participating. I think this was actually my first time in Sacramento and don't know much about it -- but there is clearly a vibrant poetry community. Had lovely discussions with several attendees afterwards, including Sacramento's new poet laureate Julia Connor.

So we're all busy and all, which only makes it ever so special when a curator of a reading series goes yet another extra step to offer a really nice introduction that goes beyond reciting the bios of the readers. My heartfelt gratitude to Third Tuesday Reading Series curator Arturo Mantecon who immersed himself in my poems, and then wrote a poem-introduction! Thanks for sharing this, Art (it's a lovely poem -- you could even change that title [grin] coz it certainly works without me!):


A labyrinth is thought
to be a chambered hell,
an inescapable house
of maddening,
endless choices,
dreadful in its liberty,
frightening in its oppressive,
relentless prospect
of the bestial monstrous,
but her wonderfully imperfect house
is like that of Daedalus,
in errorem variorum
ambage viarum
but rather
like a set pleasure,
a staged and rehearsed dream
where the wanderer
is delighted
by an informing confusion
and led
by his own ideas
toward that satisfaction
never achieved,
toward that place
where naming ends
and night begins...

She lays down the thread
from the inexhaustible
web of Penelope
to ensure
we never reach
that ignorant night
where our feet are stayed
by eternity
and conducts us
along a skein
of logical adventure,
for just as all deciduous fruit
are the children of the rose,
is every quick and dead thing
caught in the thick aspic
of all the quivering plenum
of thought:
from roses
to plums
to fathoms
to the sea
to the mist
to the clouds
to the ozone-rending
of the lightning.

Take up the thread;
let the wool of it worm
through the eyes
of your fingers,
step lightly,
do not fear
to hesitate,
With maundering mouth,
the recent record
of her words
and pray
that it never ends.

Arturo Mantecón, May 2005

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I'll be blathering sublimely here this eve -- driving up to Sacramento with Jean and Jim (ROADTRIP!)

Third Tuesday Reading Series
Headquarters for the Arts
1719 25th Street (25th and R Streets)
Sacramento, CA
Eileen Tabios and Indigo Moor (aka Joel Grier).
Free to the public.


Melcher and Schooler concluded that some kinds of memory - especially one that is shaky to begin with - "can, at least under some circumstances, be disrupted by attempts at committing it to words". As Schooler summed it up elsewhere, some things are better left unsaid.
--from article below

Meanwhile, relevant to my (which is to say, also Missy WinePoetics') recent shopping lists, Barry Schwabskysends over this very interesting article in The Guardian -- much of the observations about wine jargon, says Missy WinePoetics, is actually applicable to the articulation of this critter that has been called "poetics".

Note that the article says reception to its views are "mixed" within the oenophilia community. Well, this amnesiac, I mean, oenophiliac is actually delighted! I don't know if I've explicitly stated before that my entry into wine was actually through its "impossible" jargon. Well, now you know!

Vino vocabulary

Tuesday May 17, 2005
The Guardian

Enjoyed that wine? If you want to remember the flavour, don't try to describe it, Marc Abrahams advises

When novices talk about this wine or that, the more they talk, the more they're talking baloney. An experiment has proved it.

Some experiments are more fun than others. This was one of the some. Joseph Melcher and Jonathan Schooler of the University of Pittsburgh carried it out, wrote it up and then published it in 1996 in the Journal of Memory and Language, to the mixed dismay and delight of the oenophile community.

The pair were pursuing some curious things they (and others) had noticed about language and memory. First, language is rich in words to describe taste, smell, sight and other perceptions, yet people often find it difficult to describe a memorable taste or seemingly unforgettable smell. And second, fuzzy new memories sometimes get twisted out of shape.

Wine experts are trained to recognise, reliably, the basic tastes and smells of their trade. Their professional lingo may sound loopy and pretentious but, to at least some of those who toil in the wine industry, the words really do have specific meanings. Melcher and Schooler offer this example of a wine expert's professional patter: "earthy on the nose ... the tannins could be called round ... the fruit has a very short finish". But coming from a wining newby, or an incompetent, this technical terminology might be mere frou-frou - and memory-mangling frou-frou at that.

The experiment involved some red wine, and two groups of people. (There was actually a third group, but for simplicity's sake I won't describe it here.) There were moderate drinkers who had experience with red wine but were untrained or badly trained at describing it. And there were heavy-drinking experts who "had developed an extensive vocabulary dedicated to taste and odour detection and classification that enables them to significantly exceed novices in describing wine".

The novices were shown how to swirl, smell, taste and spit. The wine was served in opaque plastic cups, arranged on trays, accompanied by French bread and distilled water.

The test was simple. Everyone sampled two different wines. A while later, they sipped from a larger collection of wines, trying to identify which of those were the same as the original two wines. The experts did a pretty good job of it. The others also did an OK job, unless - unless! - they had tried, between the first and second tastings, to describe the first wines verbally.

Melcher and Schooler concluded that some kinds of memory - especially one that is shaky to begin with - "can, at least under some circumstances, be disrupted by attempts at committing it to words". As Schooler summed it up elsewhere, some things are better left unsaid.

· Marc Abrahams is editor of the bimonthly magazine Annals of Improbable Research (www.improbable.com), and organiser of the Ig Nobel Prize

Monday, May 16, 2005


to blogland. It's so nice to have Annabelle's gentle-ness in poetry blogosphere. On one level, I've watched this young poet grow and I've been grateful for that witnessing. Here's an excerpt from her writings:

By day--the streets of the City are dry and the sound of my footsteps are as hoarse as an old man’s cough. The Chevron gas station across the street is a 24-hour diner serving $2.29/gallon unleaded gasoline to an endless flow of hungry vehicles.

The movement of life in San Francisco reeks with poetry--its signature fog swirls in a melancholy dance at the edge of Ocean Beach while the sun filters through a pensive overcast in the Mission District. Early risers sit concentrated and still in coffeehouses like mannequins in a storefront window while feral cats escape human contact and scurry through secret passageways in the thickets of Golden Gate Park.

Every season is the Summer of Love here in a city that dreams while it is awake. It’s a town that sweats with an identity...


AND I also love how Annabelle begins many of her posts with a gas price watch (I think one of her windows overlooks a gasoline station price sign). The Shopping Project has made me more attuned to commodities -- and it seems to me that watching the flow of gas prices is also an interesting "constraint" for affecting the flow of writing, as in:

Chevron Gas Prices o' the Day (19th Avenue)

There are times when I wake up and wonder if everything that I left behind in my slumbering hours will still be there if I return to that same dream. At this very moment I have survived the dreaded Friday the 13th. As a matter of fact, it has been one of my better days—got up, stretched, did some deep breathing and onward to work—had lunch with friends, had dinner with friends, and noticed that the gas prices have actually gone “down” again by another 2 cents. This still does not signify progress, just the possibility that I may be able to fill my gas tank with $25 as opposed to $30.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


This time, a comment on Moi Shopping Blog morphs into a poem by poet-novelist-lawyer-DADDY Jim Ryals:

Six Years Old
--for Ian

1 set of wrist guards
1 set of knee guards
1 set of elbow guards . . .

For Ian's new roller blading obsession.

1 bottle of wine . . .

For Dad's nerves.

Friday, May 13, 2005


The Barriadas as a Model of Public Art
The barriada lives parasitically: it clings onto land that doesn't belong to it, its building-materials are left-overs from the father-city, its means of nourishment is to tie into services (electricity, heat, water) that are directed elsewhere. The barriada lives in the father, in the place owned by the father, but on its own time, like a cancer.
--Vito Acconcini

Moi am jazzed to see that Emmy Catedral created a "Margins Blog" (and my latest link). Included in Emmy's new blog are very interesting photos from her PANCAKE SHOW!

Those margins hanging from the ceiling--whew! I'm going to be meditating on these works for a while. I plan to write about them. So keep those pics on jpeg files, Emmy -- I'm sure I'll be needing them at some point!

Here's an excerpt from Emmy's blog notes on her margin-alized (grin) project:

I have been thinking about Acconci's writings on Public Art...It was kismet that I came across his writing in Tom Finkelpearl's book Dialogues in Public Art, as I was just beginning to reexamine the legal pad. From Public Space in a private Time he writes:

Life on the Edge: Marginality as the Center of Public Art
Inside the gallery/museum, the artist functions as the center of a particular system; once outside that system, the artist is lost between worlds ­p; the artist's position, in our culture, is marginal. The public artist can turn that marginality to his/her advantage. The public artist is forced, physically, off to the side; the public artist is asked to deal not with the building but with the sidewalk, not with the road but with the benches at the side of the road, not with the city but with the bridges from city to city. Outside and in between centers, the public artist is under cover; public art functions, literally, as a marginal note: it can comment on, and contradict, the main body of the text of a culture.

From Dialogues In Public Art:

"Yes, if we're asked to deal with extra space, marginal space, we can turn that extra space into a cancer: what this superfluous space can do is disease the main space, undercut the main space..."

Before installing, I asked the other participating artists to claim whatever space they wanted for the show so that I could work with the remaining nooks and crannies. The pictures above are of one of said nooks. I wanted to create a kind of swarm made of literal margins, create a lush, life-like form out of factory produced office paper...while attempting to make a sensory experience out of surfaces made for language.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Third Tuesday Reading Series
Headquarters for the Arts
1719 25th Street (25th and R Streets)
Sacramento, CA
Eileen Tabios and Indigo Moor (aka Joel Grier).

Free to the public.

The series is curated by Arturo Mantecon. If you read Moi, then you (think you) know who I am. And, here's information on my co-reader Indigo Moor:

Indigo Moor is a poet and lecturer who teaches workshops at colleges and universities across the country. He is a 2003 and 2004 recipient of Cave Canem's Writing fellowship in poetry. His manuscript Tap-Root was selected as a finalist for the T.S. Eliot prize in Poetry. Offered a 2005 scholarship to the Summer Literary Series in St. Petersburg Russia, his work has appeared in the Xavier Review, LA Review, Mochila Review, Boston University's The Comment, the Pushcart Prize nominated Out of the Blue Artists Unite, and the Cave Canem Ten Year Anthology.

From Youmna Chlala and Brent Foster Jones, Editors of 1111!!!!

Please join us for a reading and reception to celebrate the second issue of Eleven Eleven {1111}, journal of literature and art at California College of the Arts.

Readings by Victor LaValle, Peter Orner, and Eileen Tabios. Visual Art by Sean McFarland and Katie Lewis.

Thursday, May 19, 2005
6:30-8:30 p.m.
at DEN ( 849 Valencia Street b/t 19th and 20th in San Francisco )

Volume 2 of {1111} features writing and artworks by Alison Bing, Ernesto Caivano, Joseph Lease, Conor McGrady, Nami Mun, Wangechi Mutu, William Swanson, and more. Interviews with Aleksandar Hemon and Fritz Haeg.

Food and wine by Café 101.

Please RSVP or ask questions at eleveneleven@cca.edu.


Jonathan notes John Yau's many wonderful points as regards poet-artist collaborations, which means I need to put on my publisher's hat (and she takes off her farming hat) to plug


which features etchings-based collabs between John and Archie Rand. But included in this book is an essay by John which discusses how he and Archie approach their collaborations (so that image doesn't privilege itself over text and vice versa) and working (a la O'Hara) on the nerve ... something that Archie came to do later with Robert Creeley.

Well? So get the book from SPD! Or email me for a direct-from-publisher discount.


Feeling all Martha Stewart-like, off I go this morning to traipse down the mountain towards the vegetable garden. I was looking forward to harvesting strawberries for moi breakfast cereal. Dawgs loping by moi enchanting ankles as sun shone brightly overhead -- life is good! [Note to self: buy some denim overalls and a rainbow array of bandanas...]

But then, I arrive at moi patch and what do I not see? I DO NOT SEE the dozen red plump strawberries I recall from yesterday lying in wait for my plucking fingers.

Aghast, I raise my chin to screetch at the birds. In so doing, a nearby movement stills my readied throat and I turn my face toward said movement.

Felix. Building a stone fence for future table grape vines. He catches my eye (the squinting one). I notice his face is red and it ain't from the sun.

I yell in my mind. Forthwith, I part luscious lips to let loose words to mirror my thoughts.

But he suddenly speaks (dude rarely utters so this is a momentous event) and motions towards another patch of the garden. I look over to see my eight corn stalks wilting. Oh shit, I say out loud instead.

I rush on over to coo at the corn while Felix lumbers over to the garden hose, volunteering to water the garden.

"Thanks," I yell at him before continuing to check the rest of garden. I think the timing mechanism on the hoses is off, hence no watering.

Later, of course -- later as when I've parked myself in front of the computer for some blog hoo-haa -- I realize that he distracted me from punishment for his strawberry thievery. It's not like he hadn't been seeing the corn wilt prior to this morning when, all of a sudden all concerned, he volunteered to water.

Damn it. I so detest store-bought strawberries -- they always taste like soft wood. Which is probably why Safeway keeps running those "Two for the Price of One" specials.

There's a poem in this tale but who gives a shit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


by devotion I mean exactly that...The future is a great, beautiful mystery. I don't make plans, I just walk forward and pick things I encounter on that trip. And I am grateful of everything I have found so far, and everything I will find in future.
--from Jukka-Pekka Kervinen interview on Will to Exchange

Peck-peck-pecking at Jukka's prose to release my own version of poems is like that artist (was it Janine Antonini?) eating her way through a slab of chocolate to create art. Pure bliss.


I would be remiss if I didn't thank (I first typed "think") Lawrence Waldron for hosting me at CUNY-LaGuardia last week. It was one of the most memorable contexts in which I'd done a poetry reading since my offerings were combined with Larry's slide-presentation and discussion of "costumbrismo" in the arts of the Caribbean and the Philippines.

Lawrence explained that "costumbrismo is a style of colonial era art wherein the customs, the dress and the physical surroundings of the local people, the 'natives' if you will, are depicted with a surveying eye that seems at once romantic yet ethnographic. Ultimately, there is not much interest in individuals as such, but rather, the individuals become mannequiins or props for their cultural signifiers.

"Costumbrismo was (and sometimes still IS) applied by artists of the Caribbean, Latin America and the Philippines who paint scenes and portraits with titles like 'Negress,' "Jibaro', 'Sampaguita Vendor' or 'Bontoc Man'. The costumbrismo artist learns the techniques of Western art and captures the 'spirit' of his time and place with prodigious talent and keen attention to costmetic details."

For a particularly troublesome example, click on this link for Amorsolo's painting of "Princess Urduja". Would a Muslim woman actually show herself bare-breasted in this manner?

The result, says Lawrence, are how "these Ollers, Cazabons and Amorsolos learn every early to see their people, and thus themselves, as 'the other' or at least 'the subject' and set about assiduously to capture these in art's material gaze. As they hover above their nations, flitting here and there to fix that gaze upon a still ife with bananas, a sunset beind an iconic stand of palms, a maiden stooped by a limpid creek, are they not seeing with 'the borrowed eye'?"

Much adobo for thought, no? Lawrence found useful, btw, the book Caribbean Art by Veerle Poupeye in exploring these thoughts.

Naturally, whenever I'm faced with deep issues, I go to others so that I can pretend to be smart when later I pontificate on deep matters. In discussing this with poet-scholar Leny, she said the discussion reminds her of the postcolonial literature in The Empire Writes Back and how the development of literature may begin with literature written by colonizers depicting the natives, then literature written by the natives under the tutelage of the colonizers, then literature written by natives that begin to show independence and resistance.

So, Lawrence had suggested a relationship between costumbrismo and the "english as borrowed tongue" (or as I amended that phrase "enforced tongue") concept due to the use of English by U.S.-Americans to implement colonial rule during the early 20th century.

Lawrence traced costumbrismo primarily through the first two steps (which I assume was because he had to introduce the concept to the students before said concept can be discussed). Where I came in was to offer, via my writings, an example of the third step -- writing beyond the other-ing gaze, whether by the colonizers or colonialized. I also mentioned though that in the visual arts, there do exist contemporary "works of resistance" by such artists as Santi Bose or Manuel Ocampo; but then again, their works are not likely the ones hanging over the sofas of the elite families whose monies, not insignificantly, often end up financing expensive art monographs that, in turn, can become the written record for a nation's art, di ba?

Also, partly in preparation for this talk, I'd communicated earlier with some folks back in the Philippines about the local art scene there. One poet shared a link of an exhibit currently running in Manila. The works I saw were not that different from anything I could see in the galleries of Chelsea, New York or Culver City, California ... which may be costumbrismo in its contemporary manifestations indeed.

But I noted that one element that makes complicated the third phase -- specifically, that may make it difficult to see the unfolding as linearly as from Steps 1 to 3 -- is the effect of globalization. At some point -- with the internet and other global village-inducing technological progress -- what may occur here is just the same thing that occured pre-Spanish colonization, a back-and-forth engagement with other influences beyond physical/national borders.

This may have a parallel in the role of English. At one point, there had been a short-lived attempt by some poets in the Philippines to avoid writing poems in English ... for a variety of reasons but no doubt including the history of English in the Philippines. But that movement didn't go anywhere and, according to one poet I was discussing this topic with, poets want to write in English if only as a means of getting published. By publication, we're not just talking about publication beyond the Philippine borders but in the sense that some important venues within the Philippines publish in English.

Fast-forward to today where there is actually a movement to revive better education in the English-language as a means for the Philippines to be competitive in the global arena -- globalization!

In looking at this particular context, I am (happily) struck by how far I feel my poetics have developed beyond the colonial frame. But in order for me to get there, as I told the panel attendees, I had to address colonialism. Or as I put it, in order for me to write a book titled "I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved", I had to write eight other poetry collections exploring colonialism's significance for me. So that, today, if I call myself a "transcolonial" poet -- there's reference within that word to transcendence (and "transgressive," thank you Jean and Leny for applying that to my work) but the reference to colonialism still exist within that word. I'm going beyond colonialism but not by denying its effects, implications and history.

And I think that's significant in some recent dialogues that I've witnessed recently in a number of different contexts. This includes where someone posited colonialism is an old issue and where another said in another context that there's no such thing as Filipino postcolonialism since the problems created by colonialism still exist. That is, I think there's a difference between someone who no longer wishes to wrestle within a "colonial" framework but only after having addressed it versus just flinging up one's hands to ignore its historical reality (a reality that gets further complicated in the context of the Philippines whose history has long been diasporic, way before the 300-year Spanish rule and where engagements used to be more harmonious and more representative of Filipino traits of community-making, than the battles for (self-)rule that they became in more recent centuries).

Now, the effects of modern-day globalization -- I suspect -- are nowhere near as addressed as the effects of identified colonial acts, even as the latter is not yet fully unpacked (which may be impossible to do anyway). I, for one, am ashamed to say I've not even begun to address globalization which I suspect will be more difficult -- yet more important -- for me because I won't be able to do so from somewhat of a "distance" that I'd addresssed colonialism.

I have not, for example, even addressed the point of view of trees and how they feel about laying down themselves for books that will never be read....and the Chatelaine pauses to look at the over 2,000 poetry books that poets have sent to date for a future project that will renew their lives from "inventory" (Reference "The Commerce of Poetry" project).

Eh, I could go on but not only are you no longer awake but neither am I. And as this is just a blog not some scholarly journal, I'll leave this here -- partly to remind me to take out an old political science thesis I once did on socio-economic development in the Philippines to see if that's relevant today in where I suspect my work is now going. And hopefully, I can address these issues more meaningfully in the future.

Meanwhile, thanks, too, to Tom Fink whose class read some poems from the English brick and which I was happy to have a chance to read out loud to them. Tom also had an absolutely wonderful display of paintings in his office -- four related to the hay(na)ku and the other series had to do with his Fink-ization of the influences of Pollock, Rothko and deKooning. Beautiful work, Tom!

I am grateful for the chance to visit CUNY-LaGuardia -- I learn more from the wonderful professors there as the modest contributions I made to their programs. Lawrence -- looking forward to your future book on post-Costumbrismo!


over here and it's an EXCELLENT READ.

Synchronistically, a few hours ago I was copyediting through the manuscript of my 2006 book, The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I, which includes two poetic series inspired by Jukka's 2004 poetry collections, cornucopia and obeyed dilemma. My process that began with ear-catching the simmering music within Jukka's prose blocks will be in a poetics essay in the next issue of Moria Poetry.

Here are two and a half paragraphs from that essay:

Jukka wrote cornucopia as a sample of what he calls "statistical writing." Basically, the poem results from a computer program, in this case one that utilizes three statistical distributions—uniform, binomial, and Gaussian (normal)—to avoid patterns. The (pattern) exception is that, in punctuation, a period is used each time the program encounters a space in its source vocabulary. For cornucopia, Jukka’s sources were excerpts from John Locke’s “The Essay of Toleration” and Antonio Gramsci’s "Letters from Prison.”

[...T]he reason why
cornucopia works as a poem is the strength of its poetic music--as soundscape--such that reading through it effortlessly allowed me to write new poems which I intended as pure (abstract) music. This leads me to the other reason why I like collaborating with Jukka: we may begin from disparate if not opposite points, but we end up in the same space for the poem: music.

[...] I hadn’t intended to write poems as I read through
cornucopia, but I found that each page offered a new poem. Specifically, each line on the page generated a three word line. For each line, the first word is followed by a colon so that the next two words offers a relationship to the first word based on said colon (I happened to be in the midst of investigating the colon punctuation mark when I began writing this series). Because the diction is based more on sound (music) vs. narrative meaning, I wanted to push the challenge of creating a colon-based relationship within each three-word line.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.
--from The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa

Here's a post I was just gonna blog...until it occurred to me that I can integrate it for my Shopping Project -- that is, that here is yet another hidden story behind a purchase, in this case a ballet ticket. These stories come up effortlessly now -- cracking the pavements to give me their Spring. Okay -- I'ma paying attention! More lucidity poetics!

Notes for Installation No. ____:

Because I know absolutely nothing about it, let me discuss ballet.

So I saw a performance by New York City Ballet last Thursday whilst Moi was wreaking havoc (but in my own enchanting way) in New York. Thing is, one of the performances was the well-known "Stars and Stripes" choreographed by George Balanchine and which premiered in 1958.

"Stars and Stripes" offers five "campaigns," each of which uses different Sousa themes. The 4th campaign is a pas de deux, variations, and coda set to the Liberty Bell and El Capitan marches. Sousa (1854-1932), of course, is an important figure in the history of bands and band music, and was known as the "March King."

And "Stars and Stripes" had been performed for many memorable occasions, for presidents, governors, yadda yadda yadda. It's such a favorite with the public that Thursday was not the first time I saw this performed -- and I'm a ballet ignoramus as well as someone who hasn't had a chance to see said ballet in over a year (maybe two years).

And you know what? The NYC Ballet performed it well -- enchantingly even! But something was different. What was presented on stage was exuberant dancing at its best. But the times are different. There is an innocence about "Stars and Stripes" that suddenly jarred when one is seeing it, still fresh from (amongst other current events) Abu Ghraib.

How does enchantment suddenly become antiquated? How does patriotism leave a bad taste in one's mouth? The person I was with muttered that NYC Ballet should retire "Stars and Stripes." I don't know. I do think poetry can still be written after Auschwitz.

But I really didn't appreciate forking over $63 for what I thought would be an enjoyable night at the ballet, only to see it become a performance addressing a loss of innocence. That's a story I see everyday and certainly something for which I need not open my wallet. And that's why the President owes me. For starters, $63.00.


I was gonna blog -- I know I've not been as frequent and frequently long in the last, uh, three days ... as y'all have gotten to expect -- and I do have a fab post to, uh, post.

But, right now, I got less than an hour before American Idol and I still gotta feed the dawgs.

So, Seacrest (that'd be a metaphor for Moi) out and off to feed dawgs. Stay tuned, though. I got some brilliance coming up for you beloved 6.5 billion Peeps.


...to wit, the recipient of The Galatea Scholarship to Kundiman's Workshop Retreat at the University of Virginia this year will be Margaret Rhee. Kundiman Executive Director and fabuloso poet Sarah Gambito informs me that

Margaret Rhee graduates in May 2005 from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She has taken advanced courses in poetry, with David St. John, and in fiction with Percival Everett. Margaret is an arts activist and organized a writing/storytelling/performing workshop for Asian American students at USC to develop autobiographical narratives. She has worked in Asian American media as a staff writer for YOLK Magazine and currently is associate editor of Asian American entertainment online publication, ChopBlock. Published interviews include: comedian Margaret Cho, Doug Robb of band Hoobastank and veteran actoress Jodi Long. She is a member of Lodestone Theater Company, an Asian American avant garde troupe in Los Angeles. Currently, she is a recipient of the Disney/ABC scholarship in the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute, a playwriting workshop for plays surrounding the Asian American experience.

Yadda. And for her scholarship, Margaret must send us a poem she would have written during Kundiman's retreat. The Fallen Angels are all a-twitter in anticipation.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I knew there's a reason I'm a lapsed Methodist! Jon Melegrito shares a recollection inspired by the Shopping Project -- about the relationship between Welch's grape juice and, uh, religion? Click here.

Meanwhile, here's notes for another "Installment" to be juxtaposed between my current shopping lists in this future book, COMMODITIES, in which I am merely the author for curatorial convenience -- as this story is really about and by all of us.

Notes for Installment No. ___

While growing up in the Philippines, my and my brothers’ as well as many cousins' favorite aunt was not related to us. We called her "Auntie Paxy" though she was someone who arrived in the area through marriage to a family's neighbor. Auntie Paxy was a favorite because she somehow had access to the PX store at Subic Air Base. This meant that she could buy items that she could later share with our families, like:

Hershey bars
Cracker Jacks
Levis jeans
Old Spice or Bay Rum aftershave
Soap on a rope
Large sized Snicker's bars
Kent cigarettes
Grape Nuts cereal
G.I. Joe toys
Lots and lots of paperback books
Bic pens by the bag
Ream after ream of three hole punch paper
A G.I. Joe lunch box
Hostess Hohos
M & Ms
Oscar Meyer bologna
Puddin' snacks

That Carlo Rossi jug wine tasted like rot gut, but, it was state-side.

What we didn't think we purchased, however, were


Years later, the relatives and neighbors who ended up suffering from high levels of kidney, urinary, nervous and female system health problems. spontaneous abortions, central nervous system problems, irritating skin problems, respiratory troubles, as well as cancer and leukemia, didn't know how to complain. After almost a century of military presence in its former colony, the United States was forced to withdraw from its military bases after the Philippine Senate rejected an extension of the RP-US bases treaty in 1991.*

Auntie Paxy died when her daughter was only two years old. As a young girl, Rosie once created a shrine dedicated to the mother she never had a chance to know. She set up a cardboard box as an "altar." Atop the altar, the smiling face of her very generous mother. Among the colorful ephemera Rosie glued against the sides of the boxes were wrappings from now-eaten candy bars and other sweet snacks, including Snickers, Hostess Hohos, M & Ms, Cracker Jacks, Hershey bars, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

Sunday, May 08, 2005


The Absent Unity of an Unbound Book
Hey I was once a brilliant young frogman philosopher. I'll answer the questions in the order in which they appear in the text. That lifestyle no longer suits; everything I do is a lark.

--from "Populace" by Elizabeth Treadwell

Back and exhausted from New York. Glad to see some backchannels and blog postings that offer shopping-related poems. So, yah, anytime you have a shopping-related poem that you'd like me to post to the Shopping Blog, just email Moi. Meanwhile, here are recent relishes:

BRIDGES, poems by Mike and Joyce Gullickson

PURCHASE OF A DAY, poems by Shawn Walker


ALL POETS WELCOME: THE LOWER EAST SIDE POETRY SCENE IN THE 1960S, edited by Daniel Kane (book and listened to CD)

EUREKA SLOUGH, poems by Joe Massey (echo all the raves this chap is getting -- this is a wonderful collection)

LADY POLYESTER: POEMS PAST & PRESENT by Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta


SKINNY EIGHTH AVENUE, poems by Stephen Paul Miller

Also reread Elizabeth Treadwell's POPULACE, which was synchronistic timing as she affirms how one might write autobiography by utlizing silence -- something of interest to the Installments I'm writing for the Shoopping Project.


TWO DOLLAR BILL, airport store novel by Stuart Woods

, airport store novel by Linda Howard

THE CAPRICES, short stories by Sabina Murray

ALMOST AMERICANS: A QUEST FOR DIGNITY, memoir by Patricia Justiniani McReynolds

Sculptures by Frank Stella @ Paul Kasmin

Handcolored & sculptured etchings and drawings by Jill Parisi @ A.I.R. Gallery

Paintings by Damien Hirst @ Gagosian (the first exhibit by thia artist that I love)

Installation and mixed media works by Andrea Zittel @ Andrea Rosen Gallery

Installation by Niizeki Hiromi @ George Billis

Mixed Media narratives by Gayle Tanaka @ Soho20

1990 Ch. Rausan Segla
1990 Nuites St..-Georges Les Roncieres Domaine Robert Chevillon
1990 Ch. Leoville-Barton
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay Los Carneros
1997 Shiraz Mourvedre "Pressings" Barossa Valley
1989 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo
1996 Finca Dofi Alvaro Palacios Priorat
1994 E & E Black Pepper Shiraz
2001 Behrens & Hitchcock Chez Lunatique Syrah
1989 Luigi Enaudi Barolo
2003 Summers cabernet
2003 Mark West Pinot Noir
2002 Primitivo cabernet
2002 Rodney Strong cabernet

Saturday, May 07, 2005

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

(or "appetizer" for youse peeps with tin ears) for the longer New York report trip I'll probably post after I return to Bay Area tomorrow. It's just that my gracious publisher who's letting me bunk in his home tonight is allowing me some internet access...

Anyway, on Thursday I was walking down Broadway in Manhattan's Upper West Side and stopped off into a used bookstore. The smell of rotting paper nearly drove me out but they had such a large poetry section I had to stop and look-see.

And what did I look-see but two books I decided to get as they've long been on my to-acquire list: invisible bride by Tony Tost and The Polyester Lady by Ophelia Dimalanta (a signed copy and I do believe I know the recipient who later relegated it to a used bookstore but, not to worry, I won't tell).

Thing is, I decided as I was buying the books that, hey, why don't I just trade in for credit the copy I had of Reproductions in my bag since this is, after all, a used book store! So I asked the store owner if I could do so, and he said sure. Which is to say, he took $2 off the total tab.

Two bucks? I thought to myself. But I was too embarassed to take back the book since I already was a bit nervous that he might guess that the book I was trading in was mine, you know what I mean?

So I fake-insouciantly asked, How do you calculate your trades?

He beady-eyed looked at me and sez, Normally, I would have given you 75 cents credit but since you're purchasing something, I decided to give you a buck off each book you're buying.

Oh. Effin' 75 centavos? Moi bleed blood for seven years to write that book and it ends up being worth less than a buck?

Well. I said, Oh. Then I proceeded to pay as quickly as I could so I could leave.

On my way out, he added totally unnecessarily: It's difficult to move Poetry, you know.

Yeah, I thought, as I smiled at him before gliding graciously out the door. Like a constipated bowel movement.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I'm taking off this morning for New York for

Thursday, May 4, 2005 at CUNY-La Guardia, noon to 2 p.m., a poetry reading and panel in Room M106. Curated by Prof. and artist Lawrence Waldron.

Before my reading begins, though, I'll be stopping off at Poet-Prof. Tom Fink's office to see his exhibit of five hay(na)ku paintings!!! I can't wait!

Southhampton College Twenty-eighth Annual MEET THE WRITERS Book Fair which will be held at Southampton College, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NYFriday, May 6th, 20054:00 p. m. to 7:30 p. m.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Coz guess who's the newest reader of moi English brick!!!!

Here she is, and she's in red spandex!


a negative purchase! And about time! To wit, this month's electricity bill shows that, for the first time, Galatea's solar fields generated more power than it used. California residents hooked on to our utility grid benefits....but actually everyone benefits as solar is a clear renewable energy source.

I like alternative energy and renewable energy sources -- I used to help finance them in moi banking days. That's why banking was a needed preparation for my poetry.

Come again? she hears some cynical peeps asking.

Yah, yah! the Chatelaine cheerfully nods at them. A poem is like, say, a cogeneration plant -- its energy is renewable for each, and by each, new reader so that the same poem can fuel an inifinite number of poetry lovers! Cogeneration poetics!

Her eyes twinkle mischievously, and as the cynical peeps lean closer to their computers, they suddenly realize the Chatty One is as beamful as the sun she so loves. Those eyes just lovingly beaming forth rays that would dazzle the sun itself....!


I recently reconnected with a poet-editor who had been among the first to publish me! Mike Gullikson, at one point, had edited THE ENIGMATIST for which he'd taken a poem. Well, we reconnected -- as is common nowadays -- via the internet when, to my pleased surprise, he emailed me out of the blue. Later, he sent me a poem that was apparently inspired by my Gabriela Silang poems (in my Menage book)! How kewl is that?

Kewl. Particularly since his poem would seem to have little to do with my poems. Escept, as I told him, I could see some links via the grey sky, the issues questioning one's destiny, the homespouness of turkey baster, the notion of "dead end street", the imagery of whites against grey, the notion of no one defending Anthony -- all these (I think) are reflective of the Gabriela poems...?

Anyway, here's Mike's note and poem and so glad to meet you again!

fun and interesting reading your blog
in my opinion the best thing a creative person can do is stimulate creativity in someone else
the following poem written 04/30/2005 is indebted to your GABRIELA poems...
you may not see how but if i had not looked at these poems this poem would have never existed...the link may be perspective...


The white building
against a grey sky
the absolute abscence of sunlight'
Anthony in the street
the empty street
a dead-end street.

Anthony playing
Aliens and Astronauts
his ray gun
a discarded turkey baster
part melted, part cracked
impossible for any task
except defending Earth-
yes, Anthony is winning.

The red car
against a grey sky
an unlikely juxtaposition
of circumstance and irony-
Anthony 5 years old
defending the Earth
no one defending him
against the grey sky
against impact
against the red car
against his destiny.

A white van with red lights
contrasts with the grey sky-
there are sorrows enough
to overflow the sewer system-
the turkey baster
sits against the curb
is back to being discarded, useless
just trash-nothing more.
The fate of the Earth ?
Someone else will decide
the empty street

White carnations
on a hillside
against a grey sky.
A row of flowers
uneven and unpredictable
nothing more.


Thank you, Mike!


whom I consider among the most talented artists of her generation (she's in her thirties). Ever, ever brilliant.


I am very grateful for Jesse Glass' obvious deeeeeep reading that surfaced this "warm" review by him of I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED. His review, over at Ahadada Books (and reprinted as well on the Marsh Hawk Press Blog), makes me want to get married again.

Thank you.


P.S. Actually, here's review below (I often repeat things here on this blog, rather than linking to them, as I do use the blog as a journal for other purposes). Besides, it's complimentary so of course Moi must feature it below:

Ahadada Books, May 2, 2005

Notes & Queries » Eileen Tabios: "Warm" Vs. "Cold" Experimentalism
By Jesse Glass

Wit, humor, and a human-centered vision seem to be coming back into focus in experimental writing with Eileen R. Tabios' I Take Thee, English, a massive pleasure to read at 502 pages from Marsh Hawk Press. Tabios shows an impressive mastery of forms and genres as she rings the changes on the confessionalists, the feminists, the gothic bodice rippers from harlequin romances, sound poetry, visual poetry, haiku, prose poetry, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry, and almost every other modern and post-modern form invented, while providing running commentary on the politics of marginalization in America. Yet at the center of it all is the story of a love between two members of two ethnic groups and ultimately a marriage. In this sense Tabios' book is akin to the grand pageants held for the entertainment of guests in which the literary and the metaphysical dimensions of the union that is about to happen are schematized for the edification and the joy of the participants. Think Comus. Think the Chymical Wedding of Hermes Trismegestos. In fine, the real magic of this long poem is that it is enacted on the level of myth and paradigm (albeit deconstructed), as well as being a keep-sake (complete with wonderful pictures) of an actual event. Since so much experimental writing works on the level of cold intellect, where language is laid out on the operating table and worked over with scalpel, trocar and bone saw, it's wonderful to come across these fine poems that take us over the same ground--maybe even further--without losing human warmth in the process. In addition there is a generosity in the writing--a cornucopia of interesting textures of language that calls one back to explore the many dimensions of it, and to perform this vow with literature again and again.

Monday, May 02, 2005


For researching an "Installment" for my Shopping Project, I'd asked members of two Filipino Listserves about the typical contents of their balikbayan boxes. These boxes contain gifts and other sundries by Filipinos traveling back to the Philippines. Gura Michelle shares this photo

[smaller version of photo to come; but you can still see it at Shopping Blog]

about which she writes:

Hi Eileen,

My uncle's family went home to bring my cousin home for burial. But they still packed stuff to bring home to distribute and some stuff to use to cook for the ensuing 24 hour wakes upon their arrival.

The garlic and sugar they could get there, but those kinds of staples are considered expensive even relative to the dollar-peso exchange.

I remember when they took my grandmother home for burial, my mother packed similar things saying it was easier to bring it over than to buy it there.



Thanks Michelle. Separately, I'd mentioned another "Installment" idea to Lawyer-Novelist Jim Ryals -- to be about an aunt in the Philippines who'd derived much cultural cachet from her access (via marriage to a U.S. soldier) to the stores in their local military base:

Your comments about the impact of the base stores, generally called PX, brought back some related, albeit very different memories. I was the son of a naval officer, and for the first 18 years of my life shopped almost exclusively at PX stores. A sample shopping list:

Bass Wejun shoes
Levis jeans
Haynes underwear
Arrow shirts
Old Spice or Bay Rum aftershave for father’s day
Soap on a rope
Large sized Snicker’s bars

(Sneaking off from my parents to go look at the assortment of rifles and handguns right near where the pipe tobacco and cigars were sold)

Cartons of Kent cigarettes (until my father quit smoking in 1975)

Carlo Rossi jug wine (Even when I started drinking, which was at a frightfully young age, I refused to drink it behind my parent’s backs -- talk about rot gut)

Grape Nuts cereal
G.I. Joe toys

Whole milk, sold by the case (my parents used to freeze it, which caused the cream to clot on top resulting in endless fights when I refused to drink)

Lots and lots of paperback books
Bic pens by the bag
Ream after ream of three hole punch paper.
A G.I. Joe lunch box.
Hostess Hohos
Oscar Meyer bologna
Puddin’ snacks

A week before I was 18, my father called me over and ordered me to handover my military identification. He cut it in two with scissors and told me he’d knock me silly if I ever tried to go into the PX again. By law, I was not allowed to enter after turning 18 and such a transgression would have hurt his career, or so he said.

Despite the threat, I went to the PX the next day and reported my card stolen. Got another one that afternoon. Why? Not for the shopping. You see, the drinking age in California was, and remains, 21. However, as every navy brat of my era knew, the clerks at the liquor stores and the waitresses at the bars took one look at the navy issued identification and automatically assumed you were over 21. Beat the hell out of the poor quality fake i.d.’s my non-military friends tried to use.

Thanks for the memories.


You're welcome, Jim. Thanks for the, uh, amusement factor!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?