Friday, February 28, 2003
posted by EILEEN |
Oh! I'M A MAMA!!!!!
Ms. WinePoetics just spawned, cough, um, encouraged another poet to start her own blog! Michelle Bautista at
As Michelle explains in her first post, she'll write on anything but "may focus on Kali (a Philippines martial art that I teach), poetry/writing (cuz that's what I do), Macintosh/Apple stuff (cuz that's what they pay me to do) and various other things that run in my life. I'm also planning to post various Asian American and Filipino events in and around the SF Bay area and do reviews on such events."
Michelle's second post is about "Cosmic Blood" performed by Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa aka "the Devil Bunny in Bondage." Glad to see it as I'm also a fan of Gigi, considering her one of the most daring (Pinay) artists out there. Gigi's edge is as jagged -- and yet sinous -- as the blades on kris swords.
I am mentioning kris swords as I am unpacking things out of boxes that have been in storage for nearly three years. I collect kris swords, particularly those with blades where the sheets of metal were fused together by sunlight and sea water. That is, the swordmaker placed the metal sheaves atop each other to form the blade, tossed buckets of seawater over them, and then laid them out to dry under the sun. (I'm not actually sure this process is accurate, but I heard it -- or did I dream it -- and this is the version I prefer to live with as I fondle the salt of those ancient S-shapes.)
Sea and sun. I want to fuse with someone on a beach under a sunlit sky. The line forms over at Stephanie's. (No, I don't know what that means either, I just felt like mentioning the name of the well nourished moon's blogster).
Tonight: Foie gras with toasted brioche and rhubarb jam with the 1998 Kistler Chardonnay (Durell Vineyard). Then something else that I can't recall....
I am freezing....and still the stew in the cauldron remains frozen. I try to be cheerful but this chill .... hurts. If poems are a way to navigate through life, then I am bludgeoned tonight by the lack of a map....
even if that's the way it's supposed to be as Poetry has never authored a map.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
THE POET IS BLOCKED (III) AS THE BELL REMAINS SILENT BEFORE THE COLD
posted by EILEEN |
He writes her about "Frank and John Navin, the two Chicago brothers who front the Aluminum Group." Specifically, he tells her about their album "Happyness" for which the Navins returned "to the futile nightlife rituals they keep pretending will yield satisfying emotional payoffs."
"Futile nightlife rituals" -- this is the phrase still clinging to her eyes. He knows she can't stand being alone, and that she is most alone when unable to write a poem. He knows she is blogging frantically to keep releasing text for those special words that might escape from the regurgitated crowd. Those escapees would run for the darkest forestral underbrush, run and run until breath becomes hiccups, until the throat begins burning, until the knees begin to buckle, until the body finally slumps onto the ground, wet face against loam, heart beating against the earth-pulse of far-off footsteps in black leather guard boots. All this, while the scarlet moon ripens into a pearl.
And when night reaches the apex of darkness, when the moon has taken its shine behind a distant knoll, then the escaped words that momentarily coalesced into a poet's human body begin to fragment away into the air. As they evaporate, the dreaming poet sees them graffiti the night air with (white light!) luminescent lines and stanzas (or prose paragraphs). And the poet inhales the form of the poem (like I inhaled tonight the 1999 Sequoia Grove Cabernet) so that the poet, upon waking, will feel the urge to write, to write, to write....
Such is the hope because, Dear Reticent One Who Writes Me Only When I Am Most Trapped In Longing, you know I believe there can never be enough poems. There can never be enough....!
But when the poem remains a firefly seen only through the window (Googlism on Eileen: "she keeps looking out of the window"), she bows her face. As hair ("pelo en espanol" -- gracias mi amor) falls over her eyes, she releases an ylang-ylang perfume (which is to say, first: a white flower was crushed) that makes certain poets pause, and send her their own poems....such as, today, Mark Palmer who dredged his memory for an old wine poem:
Metamorphosis upon Herrick's The Vine
I dreamed thighs
I with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves to hide
Thosed to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curls about her temples I behung,
And arms and every way
Enthralled my dainty Lucia seemed to a vine. amed thighs
I with rich clusters (hid among
Those part of mine
More like a vine,
Which clusters (hid among
The fancy I awoke;
By my soft nervelets were embraced.
About her long small legs and hands they did surprisoner).
But when I crept with the fancy I awoke;
And with rich maids keep unespied,
Such fleeting one prise;
And every way
So that she could not freely stir
(all part of mine
More like a stock than like a stock than like a vine,
Which maids keep unespied,
So that she could not freely stir
(all parts which maids keep unespied,
Such fleeting pleasures the fancy I awoke;
And with leaves) her temples I behung,
And arms and this mine
Was metamorphosed to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his flesh is mine
Was metamorphosed to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curls about her temples I behung,
And arms and found (ah me!) this mortal part of mine
More like a vine,
Which maids keep unespied,
Such flesh is mine
Was metamorphose part of mine
More like a vine,
Which clusters (hid among small legs and thighs
I with rich crawl,
And with leaves) her neck did enthralled my dainty Lucia seemed this tree.
Methought her waist
By my soft nervelets were embraced.
About her neck did enthrall,
Such fleeting pleasures to hide
Those parts there I took
The leaves to a vine. I dreamed ( !thighs
Thank you, Mark.
And thank you, Distant Poet -- I pleaded for words and you sent me a 572-word non-sequitur. Well, non-sequitur except for the two excerpts I quote, of which the second is "juxtaposing all that messiness against music as clean and clear as a test tube, so it reflects back exactly what it sees. By inhabiting form and genre so thoroughly, the Navins' music negates your remove as a listener and just sits you down right there in the middle of their Prada-dressed dystopia."
Dear Distant and Reticent Poet, would that my "messiness" didn't require so many words for that Poem I search: the Bell whose exactitude needs no more than one high note as steel kisses steel--
That Poem-Bell as true as the rapier-note entering my ears (your eyes) when the steel tips of my witchey boots slash the side of my cold, cold, cold cauldron as cold, cold, cold as your absence...
whenever you are absent...
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
"WORDS" -- KAGANDAHAN NG LOOB
posted by EILEEN |
Sip. Tonight, I am drinking a wine that possesses the sensibility of certain poets who write to me as if I am my persona. Hic. Tonight, the 1998 Burge Family Vineyards Draycott Shiraz: very ripe (o you ripe poets!), a creamy nose of vanilla and oak, concentrated black fruits filling every hidden nook of interior-mouth, and ye olde "long finish." A lush and opulent wine that makes me purr -- as some of you "anonymous" (hah!) poets make her purrrrr....
But enough about me (double hah! I mean, double hic). Let's take a look at what I am reading:
First, fabulous artist Darrell Nettles (www.dnettles.com) shares a joke going around the visual arts community:
CHRISTO ANNOUNCES NEW PROJECT
(Reuters) World famous artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude today announced a new project that is slated to begin immediately. Responding to U.S. Homeland Defense Secretary Ridge's call for artists to rally the cause through anti-terrorist art, Christo has received permission to wrap the White House in Washington D.C., using duct tape and plastic sheeting. Much like the artist's 1995 project "Wrapped Reichstag" in Berlin, "Wrapped White House" will, according to the artists' plan, seal the building and those inside. Of the project the artists said, "We are very excited to use our art making methods in the international fight against terrorists. By wrapping the White House we hope to help keep terrorism under wraps, so to speak." Unlike "Wrapped Reichstag" which was a temporary project, "Wrapped White House" will be the artists' first permanent work of public art.
100,000 square meters (1,076,000 square feet) of clear high-strength polypropylene plastic, and 15,600 meters (51,181 feet) of silver duct tape, 13.2 cm (4 inch) wide, will be used for the wrapping of the White House. The work will be completed in as little as one week. The artists have contacted other artists across the U.S. who are now in-route to Washington D.C. in order to finish this work in record time. Materials have been provided without charge by the German Government. Recalling the "Wrapped Reichstag," German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stated, "Wrapping the symbol of German Democracy was a defining moment for the new Germany. Wrapping the White House will likewise be a defining moment as democracy is restored in America."
Marvelous poet Clayton Couch (and editor of marvelous journal, www.sidereality.com) writes to say, "Have been reading your insightful comments and observations on the political situation in the Philippines, and I'd like to say simply that I probably wouldn't have a clue about what's happening -- and what's been happening -- there were it not for your blog."
Preeeeeeen. Thanks Clayton. Here's more:
From Iraq’s turn at people power?
By Efren Danao
The Philippine Star 02/27/2003
If it worked in the Philippines in 1986 and in Indonesia in 1996, why can’t Iraqi people power topple the long entrenched dictator Saddam Hussein and avert a war in the Middle East?
This was the contention yesterday of a leader of the Iraqi opposition, Dr. Laith Kubba, in an audio-visual conference with members of academe and the press in Jakarta and Manila, from his base in Washington, DC.
Kubba said Saddam, who has been in power since 1979, has instilled fear in the Iraqis.
"But once this mindset is broken, they can act as one against Saddam Hussein and nobody can stop them. We can mobilize the people to bring down Saddam Hussein," Kubba predicted.
In February 1986, Filipinos rose up against dictator Ferdinand Marcos and ended his 20-year-old regime. Ten years later, the Indonesians did the same to President Suharto.
Kubba refuted claims that Hussein is very popular in Iraq, saying there had been four coup attempts against the Iraq president and that 14 of 15 provinces had rebelled against him.
Saddam was "merciless in crushing all opposition, using chemical gas and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians," he said.
"Saddam was never elected by the people. Last October, he called a referendum. We thought it could be a way out of a war so we challenged him to hold a real election with international observers. He never answered our challenge, He knew he would be rejected by the people," the dissident said.
Kubba asserted that the Iraqis want an end to the regime of Saddam Hussein, "and they includes some members of his Cabinet."
He also said that once the first bullets of war are fired against the present regime, the armed forces would turn their guns on the dictator.
"The military in the past was loyal to him because they were beneficiaries of his generosity. But now, he has no money to give things like brand new cars to high military officials. There are no benefits for the military, only risks," Kubba explained.
At the same time, he criticized some members of the Iraqi opposition for giving the impression that Saddam could be ousted only with international assistance.
He admitted getting a bit disillusioned that the opposition in his country did not appear to have fighting spirit, and that Iraqi oppositionists appealing for international assistance are giving the impression that they could not oust Saddam on their own.
Kubba, however, believes that the United States will play a pivotal role in post-Saddam Iraq. He lauded the US for committing to help rebuild Iraq after excising the dictator, even if it takes three years.
"The US has committed not only to knock down Saddam Hussein but also to help Iraq get back on its feet," he said, while noting that the details of this commitment have yet to be ironed out.
He said that Iraq after Saddam would still be politically weak, and there are fears that there would be infighting among the various opposition groups for supremacy.
"And the Iraqi armed forces might be a part of the new government should they go against Saddam Hussein and negotiate with the United States," he said.
Pause. Ms. WinePoetics suddenly realizes how politics often sour the taste of what's purpling her wine glass. So she decides to review some research on her true "poetics": Beauty, leading her to stumble across some some Filipino superstitions (thanks M.B.):
"--pinching the bridge of the nose so it won't be so flat (though Chinese believe a large flat nose is the sign of a prosperous person)
--that a young girl takes the blood of her first menses and wipes it on her face so her face will be beautiful
--using your (clean) underwear to wash your face so you'll be famous..."
But she suddenly recalls one of her earliest memories: she is a toddler swathed in a white lace dress. She is seated on her father's lap beneath the shade of a leafy tree in Candon (Philippines). She is his only daughter and he simply adores her. But while he croons at her, he gently caresses her nose outward as if to mold it to bear a more elongated tip. Huh. Ms. WinePoetics now reaches up to her nose, rubs it, and gets agitated. Her nose never did grow much. And since she also had never enacted the second tip above for Beauty, she stands and goes towards the bureau where a drawer is replete with clean underwear.
Pause. But she simply stands with a hand on the drawer pull. Fame? What's the point of fame? Does it write poems?
Oh Hic, she thinks. No succor there either. And so she returns to sit on her computer chair where, sipping at her glass, she continues scrolling through her e-mails until she finds something to cheer her up. And of course she does -- tonight (more preeeeen!), a poem from a "young-er" poet entitled
which she enjoys with much cheerful hic-cupping. Next, she reads a missive on more Beauty, the "Pinay" way:
"maningning" (sparkling -- poor translation)
These Tagalog words, says her correspondent, "describe qualities of beauty but there is still so much lost in translation here...all these adjectives are also tied to the concept of inner beauty (kagandahan ng loob) without which the physical attributes wouldn't count for much."
Ms. WinePoetics reaches up to caress her nose (or, she thinks she's caressing it though she can't really feel as the shiraz has numbed said nose). But she continues to lovingly rub her small nose, cheerfully thinking now, Poor nose. May the eyes hovering over your paltry landscape never cease receiving the loving words of poets, poets, poets....particularly the most marginalized ones who walk the earth forever hiding their wings under the most tattered of overcoats....
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
THE POET IS BLOCKED (II)
posted by EILEEN |
BUT CONTINUES TO BREATHE
And she receives someone's dream -- a story that ends with the plea:
"Please continue this story."
She picks up the paper from her printer. Yes -- it's still there. That e-mailed story sent by a poet she has never met, and a reader who now wants her to finish the tale cupped within her compassionate palms.
But this is his story, not hers. This is his hunger, not hers. Once, in a dream, she heard him ask, "But what about your hunger?" She didn't answer in the dream. Had she answered, she might have (lied and) said, "I always keep my hunger leashed."
This is his story, his hunger. She rears at seeing her fingers repeat the thought for emphasis. She knows she often uses repetition to deny. Still, she looks towards one of the many mirrors on her walls (the one of cracked glass within a gold-gilded frame) and insists to the woman with wounded eyes: This is his story, his hunger.
But what is signified by one's ache for someone else to finish the fable one is writing? Is this due to an observation by a French artist (whose name naturally escapes her flawed memory): "masturbation is the loneliest of all the arts"?
Dear You, she now begins to release on her blog-screen. I am ancient with little appetite left for voyeurism. E-mail me your blood, skin, teeth, bones, saliva, veins, sweat, hair, breath, semen. E-mail me all of your shames. Then I might be moved to obviate the publicly impish wink and tongue the scar on my lower lip before revealing the ending you court in your dreams.
Although, I suppose I should clarify that I also know -- and is this not why you write me? -- that what you want is not really an "ending" to a tale in which you are mired.
You want simply a new possibility for a poem -- specifically those poems catnapping amidst my lashes (o strands of black silk). Dear One, I am Ms. WinePoetics. Words are easy. If you want to court me, try __________________.
And as she sends off her reply, her impassive face lacks any sign of satisfaction. She knows better than to find comfort in a stranger's courtship. The cauldron by the window where she brews her poems remains cold cold cold...
Must her Weltanschauung remain the position of leashed Hunger?
Fortunately, she was visited today by a yogi [http://www.spayoga.com/home.htm]. Liza whispered to her third eye: "Breathe to find the end of the string."
Inhale. Exhale. Liza also counseled, "Breathe with integrity."
And in the integral breathing towards the end of the string, she discovers remorse over David Hess. (Amazing, this post, too, is about David "http://heathensinheat.blogspot.com"!) Peeps, did you notice how I didn't mention David's name once in the prior post? Oh, my lapse hurt his feelings! Hic! And the survivor of the First Annual Boston Alternative Poetry Festival even wrote (and my eyes tear up again as I read his post, shared here in edited form, i.e. without the X-rated material):
So I guess it's over?
I will cherish the memories Eileen. I will never forget how you used to call me "Sweetie," hiccuping each time, and offering to tie me up in your cellar containing the finest wines in the world.
I wouldn't have said no.
I will miss being your fav ice cream, cyber boy toy, but I guess we all must move on in life.
May many more glasses keep you in good spirits,
No, no, no!!!! (C'mon -- can you resist? As I was saying, I said to David: No, no, no!!!!). I said, "Please take me back. I was an idiot. I didn't know to treasure what I had while I....had it -- you. You! I'll mention you again on my blog!"
Then the drama queen sniffled.
And David put the TV on mute long enough to respond, "Okay I forgive you for not mentioning me. But you spoiled me Eileen, spoiled me, when all I wanted was to be tied to the back of your car. Here's some kleenex signed by me, Dave."
Relieved, Ms. WinePoetics clutched at his kleenex, blew her nose, and returned it to him. Diplomatically (for once), the heathen didn't say anything as he ... gingerly took back the damp tissue.
Then Ms. WinePoetics takes a sip (1999 Domaine A.-F. Gros Buorgogne Hautes-Cotes De Nuits), and shares a poem from Juaniyo "J" Arcellana's poetry and prose collection, Under The Breadfruit Tree: Poems and Stories (De La Salle University Press, 2002). As she knows that her favorite heathen often stays up late blathering to the night air, she dedicates J's poem to the prince among men-poets now tossing soggy kleenex out of the window onto, unfortunately, his landlord's head:
Cheers be to you, my friend
without a hand to hold nor a story
to tell, sometimes it is better to
let matters take care of themselves
and focus instead on the long-winded
sad music of our ancestors.
Raise a glass, dear friend,
to the spirit and its elements,
to the angels and demons who never
wore a halo nor gave a damn, respectively,
in all the wildness of our days
and the nights ground to uneven dust.
Drink up, drink up, my friend
for tomorrow laughter will be rare
as cufflinks on a sleeveless shirt
and sleep will be even harder to come by
when insomniacs rule the earth
begging for a drink or two to still
the sot-filled hours.
Monday, February 24, 2003
"A DIFFERENT SENSE OF POWER"
posted by EILEEN |
"Stephen Paul Miller in "Art is Boring" dares to raise the dialogical imperative as a general foundation for the development of coalitions and for the barely imaginable democracy without reserve."
--from A Different Sense of Power by Thomas Fink
I begin this post with the above epigraph because poet and critic Thomas Fink's collection of essays A Different Sense of Power: Problems of Community In Late-Twentieth-Century U.S. Poetry (Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001) is quite relevant reading for the tensions now facing us in the Middle East and Asia. All irony aside, I believe Poetry's expanse includes the news and I'm delighted to use Tom's book as a springboard for discussion. Discussion, after all, is what's finding short shrift in the Bush administration's approaches.
In the book's Chapter 3 essay entitled "Probing Coalition and Broad Community: Melvin Dixon, Joseph Lease, Stephen Paul Miller, and Gloria Anzaldua," Tom presents a discussion about Stephen Paul Miller's investigations on the possibilities for a democracy amid the first Bush administration's undemocratic handling of the Gulf War. Bush, Sr.'s machinations in orchestrating the 1992 Gulf War and the negative consequences of that war as well as its media coverage all resonate given ongoing developments today.
Stephen asks in his long (113 pages), skinny poem "Art is Boring for the Same Reason We Stayed in Vietnam" (1992):
Tom notes that "the erroneous linkage of conversation and 'appeasement' to which Miller calls attention suggests the macho posture that 'real men' right wrongs through violent physical force and 'wimps' fall back on reason." But a "refusal to engage in dialogue with one whose 'crimes' are widely deplored does not necessarily decrease the chance that the 'offenders' will continue or intensify the same pattern of behavior. While respectful conversation at least has the potential to help others perceive advantages in transforming their conduct, aggression countering an aggression against another party often expands rather than contains a burgeoning of destruction." It's tough to excerpt from the essay; it should be read in its entirety given the *like father, like son* approaches applied to Iraq.
In a different chapter entitled "The Effacement, (Re-)tracing, and Reconstruction of History: Carolyn Forche, Joseph Lease, Martin Espada, and Gloria Anzaldua," Tom notes a lesson (from the U.S. experience with Puerto Rico) that also applies to the aftermath of invading Iraq: real growth of a country's GNP takes time and investment, which may be in contradiction with the bias of major U.S. dominated multinationals (that may represent the Bush/Cheney interests) in maximizing short-term profit.
Even before the Middle East and Asian crises, I would have recommended A Different Sense of Power for its wise study of -- and I'm just going to quote from the book description here because I don't want the wine in my glass to influence my own summation of this rigorously-researched and written book -- "a variety of social poets who utilize diverse aesthetic strategies to address issues of in/visibility, the erasure and reconstruction of history, and issues of inclusivity and exclusivity in formations of community. Issues of community raised involve race/ethnicity, gender, class and sexual preference." The book is comprised of three long chapters. In addition to the two I mentioned above, the first chapter is entitled "Problematizing Visibility: Thylias Moss, John yau, and Denise Duhamel."
I wasn't surprised that my last post elicited a few comments. Let me reprint one e-mail, this from Michelle Bautista who said she wanted to reply specifically to the last post's comment from one correspondent who observed that "The problem with the anti-war movement, as I see it, and I've not read close to everything!, is that they are very articulate in what they are against, but they do not fully and specifically say what positive things the U.S. gov't should do to stop violent attacks on people, buildings, etc." Michelle replies:
"There is always a choice, some choices are harder than others, some consequences are difficult, but there is always a choice, because it always comes down to, what price do you wish to pay? So, lets move from war (which is ultimately full of destruction) and turn to creation.
Last year, former president Bill Clinton came and spoke at Berkeley. Now, let's let go of moral judgements and what not for a second, because there were a few things he said that have made me look at world politics in a different way and have justified my peacenik stance (but note that I'm not writing this from notes but from memory impressions).
The way he believed in fighting terrorism is through economic advancement -- that if these sons/daughters didn't grow up in such blight and hardship then they wouldn't be pushed so much to the brink and extent that would say, "F**k it, I'll go blow myself up because there is no other voice I have." Think about it, what would make educated middle class people take up arms. (It takes educated people to fly jets into buildings). Terrorists don't care if they die in the process, they have NOTHING else to lose. It's a level of desperation that for most people who have always had something in their lives have really a hard time comprehending.
And why do they have nothing to lose? Because there are economic embargoes that keep basic goods out of their hands, because they cannot feed their families, because we're not talking single digit unemployment we're talking majority unemployment, because their own countries are under such massive debt to the richer countries that they will never be able to have positive gross national products. (Yes, yes, you argue it's like that because of a dictator. But this happens in countries with democratic electoral systems too) And when you grow up thinking hey maybe if I get an education, my life will be better and I can improve the lives of my people, doesn't work out, well, there's gotta be some bitterness there. When you feel like the world doesn't include you, you either disappear or find a way to force the world to acknowledge you.
So what's the alternative? One thing the past president mentioned: forgive debt. If we (the rich nation) could forgive some of their country's debt in exchange that they use the money they save to feed and educate their children, create small business loan programs to create self-sustaining economies on a local level, assist in reviving devastated natural resources. The U.S. did do that and does have a handful of programs throughout the world implemented right now.
People in the world are no different than we are. On a basic level, they must eat, sleep and clothe themselves and feed and take care of their children. When a person can't do that on a basic level, a sense of dignity is denied them. And when one loses that dignity particularly in the eyes of their children, what would you do to get that back? And don't lie and say, well, I would never go out and kill someone. maybe you wouldn't, then again maybe you would. Most of us on the internet have never been pushed THAT far. We HAVE something, we HAVE computers.
And so what if instead of spending billions of dollars on this war, that money was given to states and local governments to create renewable sources of energy. What if every house in Nevada, Arizona, Texas had solar panels and weren't using electricity but feeding it back into the system, who the hell needs oil? What if we pumped those resources into the pushing forward the time table for Hydrogen and electric powered vehicles to make them more affordable to every joe schmoe? We are a nation built on innovation, of inventing what we needed. We, in essence, were a creative nation. note the past tense. (As a writer, I'm quite partial to that ideal). I mean, if we built a model of a world that doesn't need oil, it creates a brand new economy. No oil, no tankers running aground and destroying coastland, no devastation of ecosystems to go looking for it.
I am against the war because they want to destroy first then build later, when I believe we already have the parts we need to create peace. I also believe our economy has moved from innovation (building/creating things we need) to just detrimental consumerism (buying stuff we don't really need and that use up more resources than they're worth). We don't buy American because America doesn't invent much of anything anymore. We have gotten lazy on our laurels. Yeah, so we were innovators in mass producing cars, but we're not the innovators in improving those cars today.
And the last thing he said that struck/stuck me, 'build the world you want to see'."
Thanks Michelle. Passion. It so moves me, passionately. Sip. Tonight, a glass of the 1997 Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot (Napa Valley) after it was opened four days ago. Still fine, which confirms the excellent structure of this very passionate wine.
War -- leaves a bad taste. So let me end with a poem instead -- this from a book I received in today's snailmail: Juaniyo "J" Arcellana's poetry and prose collection, Under The Breadfruit Tree: Poems and Stories (De La Salle University Press, 2002). (Thanks J!) This is a fabulous and long-overdue book by J who has been called (but A.Y. -- were you serious?) "The James Dean of Philippine Literature." Synchronicity: how interesting (but unsurprising) that one of J's poems does address the times -- specifically what happens without what Thomas Fink calls "the dialogical imperative as a general foundation for the development of coalitions and ... democracy":
Space of muted words
Nowhere else does this road lead;
saxophones of lime,
wooden face of sunken ships,
and it looks like bad weather.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
SWAMP OF WORDS: "IT'S THE POVERTY, STUPID" (AKA: WHY CERTAIN POETS -- I.E. ME -- CAN'T SHUT UP ON THE WAR, AND HAVE YOU READ ONE OF MY BAD WAR POEMS LATELY?)...AND THEN THE GREEK SANG: O LOVELY COBALT DAY
posted by EILEEN |
(--for T.F. because you're Buddhist)
And she pauses to observe that whenever she is "frozen in hesitation," her words tumble out even more -- as into awkwardly long titles...
Leap. When in doubt, Leap! So some of you are writing to me as if I'm an expert on military strategy! This is an area I know absolutely nothing about. But, I shall rise to this latest rumor about Ms. WinePoetics and -- to extend the lineage of poets against the war blathering about things they know nothing about -- let me pontificate. To wit (to witless, to wit):
First, I'm U.S.-American but also Filipino. As a matter of policy and ensuring I continue to be fed by various members of the Filipino community (yo, pinoys: haven't had kare-kare in a while, okay?!) -- I am against the idea of the "United States" being defined as "nation-builder." But, sigh: it's time to get real (and not just ideal) on words re. Iraq.
It's gonna happen, okay. The U.S. is going to invade Iraq. I actually have some theories on how they'll do it, but as Clausewitz once said, "A battle plan is only good until the first bullet is fired." So, I'll just go directly to the aftermath -- that is, after the U.S. wins on the military terrain because, of course, they will win...at least on this particular military terrain.
In the aftermath of military engagement, the U.S. will want IMMEDIATELY to stabilize Iraq to prove how life improves due to their involvement. It's quite to the advantage of the U.S., Britain and fortunately the Iraqui people that there be a clearly identifiable improvement in Iraq to help support the decision to invade. Some pundits in the press are worriedly noting the costs -- as much as another $100 billion on top of combat costs that have been estimated at $40 billion. Peeps -- $140 billion is a lot of money. Obviously. But it is affordable by a country -- the U.S. -- with a multi-trillion-based economy (I think $13-14 trillion, peeps). U.N. backing and international support is helpful for many reasons, including spreading the cost of the war; but the U.S. can afford to do this alone, if need be.
Leap to the Philippines. Today, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's administration denied reports that U.S. troops will engage in combat in the Philippines. The U.S. soldiers are supposed to be there in either advisory roles or be under the orders of Philippine military leadership -- yeah, right on that latter factor. I mean, right there in the field, can you imagine Americans taking orders from Filipinos? Loud snort!
But why is the U.S. invested in helping the Philippines fight the Abu Sayyaf rebels? Or as the Washington Post just said in an editorial entitled "Why are we in Jolo?" -- sending combat soldiers to the Philippines, "though dwarfed, perhaps, by the scale of the impending war with Iraq, sounds like a substantial and potentially treacherous campaign. // Yet neither the president nor any senior official has explained to the country why young Americans might need to die for this new cause – nor has Congress, which is on recess, discussed it. Whatever the merits of the Philippine operation, that is a bad start."
Let me, brilliant military strategist that I am, share some light on this issue by first sharing a friend's theory and then my more specific response. My friend's theory -- which he notes applies to both Iraq and the Philippines -- is that the Bush administration basically has decided that the best way to fight terrorism is to address the pockets of poverty and corruption which spawns terrorists. Note how the U.S. has repeated several times that it wants Iraq intact and whole after the end of military engagement. (Read implication: it's not the invasion but the way the aftermath unfolds that may determine whether militarily engaging Iraq will back-fire on the U.S. Following combat, interests may end up coalescing on ensuring the plight of the Iraqui people will improve significantly.)
By neat coincidence, Iraq (unlike one of its neighbors) is quite a promising country where, absent a dictator or otherwise totalitarian regime, the people can get their act together to create a viable economy and political entity. The Iraquis are hard-working, intelligent, etc. people who've just found themselves beneath Saddam's heavy ass. Topple the mustachioed man and you'll see a population more than capable of becoming one of the lights of the 21st century (forgive the metaphorical approach, peeps, but it's not as if I claimed to know what I'm talking about...still, ya get the point, right?).
So, ironic, isn't it? As regards my friend's theory, I don't think the Bush administration is motivated at all by altruism, but in this matter this administration actually may intersect with peaceniks (like moi) who appropriately observe that (at least long term) the best way to fight terrorism is to fight what spawns them: poverty as exacerbated by incompetent and/or corrupt leadership.
Let me chime in with more centavos: Peeps, it's also just a matter of time -- the U.S. is going to have to get off the Korean peninsula. (On one level, the Koreans are like the Vietnamese: this is one stubborn populace the U.S. does not want to mess with.) Where would be a great alternative for the U.S. to transfer its Asian military presence? You got it -- the Philippines. This assumes that future Philippine leadership will be unable to get its domestic act together such that it'll sell out any lessons it learned from its colonial history with the U.S. for dollars that would help prop up the economy -- I'd like to think that won't happen but....poverty doesn't just breed more poverty. It breeds despair and cynicism....this topic is now putting me in a bad mood. There is a bit of convenience here for longer-term U.S. geopolitical strategies in terms of how the terrorist threat in the Southern Philippines has allowed the U.S. to re-engage (and re-engage militarily) with the Philippines. (The nature of U.S. military involvement and the extent of Filipino opposition to such, as it currently unfolds, give clues as to whether the U.S. can successfully court its way back into the Philippines.)
Yuck. This topic is clouding my mental sky and threatens to put me in a filthy mood.
Bad mood -- I'm not in a mood for a bad mood. So, let me change topics -- after all, I'm just another poet blathering on about the war. She thinks to check her morning mail. Of course, an e-mail from David Hess. Click and read. Pats the computer as if it is David's rock-hewn bicep. Replies, "Yes, Dear One, don't sniffle. I promise to buy a dozen pairs of silk stockings just for you." Next.
But just as she is about to continue on to the next e-mail, she wonders if David said something about her on his blog. So off she goes to "http://heathensinheat.blogspot.com/." Yep. Yep. And, hmmm...Kent Johnson, a man she's never met, is on David's blog commenting on her underwear. Huh. How interesting, she thinks, that the promise of weblogs has deteriorated to someone she's never met (and whose name she wonders whether she should mention as she's never been sure as to whether he actually exists) taking due note of her panties.
In the same post: Iraq and her panties. Weblogs -- no wonder some peeps want to constrain your space -- look at how bloggers can just go rabidly undisciplined (but did anyone twist your elbow to come here?). As if the form of a blog can't avoid being a swamp -- I mean, c'mon: blog blog blog swampy-poo (she rears up: she thinks she's being too influenced by a heated heathen). Anyway, where was she? Oh, yes: the unveiled relationship between Iraq and the silk and lace fragments adorning her body. She refuses to consider the juxtaposition inappropriate since she practices a poetry of interconnectedness. But said juxtaposition also reminds her of a predecessor: Athena.
THE CONTEMPLATIVE ATHENA
MARBLE, 470-460 B.C.
Acropolis Museum, Athens
Here, Athena, head bent forward, stands before a stele, gazing intently at it as she leans on her spear. She wears a crested helmet pushed up on her head and a long woolen peplos similar to the garment worn by Eunor's "Athena." Its long folds follow her stance rather than falling vertically as gravity demands. The raised heel of the left foot causes the skirt to form a lovely pattern of folds over the heel, a subtle clue to the fact that she stands with her weight on one leg like the "Kritios Boy" and Euenor's "Athena."
The subject of the relief has been interpreted in several ways. Athena contemplating a stele might be the dedication of a victorious athlete or perhaps the dedication of the stone masons who completed the fortification of the Acropolis under Kimon in the late 460s. The stele could also have served as a boundary marker for Athena's sanctuary on the Acropolis, where the relief was found. In a more abstract interpretation, the stele might represent the power of the written word...
And I am reminded of Athena, not just because of David Hess's ruminations on the Greeks, but also because "The Contemplative Athena" reflects my poetics, which I once described through ascribing it to another statue, the "Kritios Boy":
The Kritios Boy is a statue that broke the 150-year-old tradition of the kouros stance. The traditional stance was full-frontal, impassive ... the Kritios Boy has a bent knee and seems, in the words of Greek art scholar Jerome Pollit (with whom I'll be traveling), "frozen in hesitation." That story touches me — this rebellion against tradition for the freedom to be uncertain.
--from Interview at http://home.jps.net/~nada/tabios.htm
I guess this is all to say, despite my blather (and in response to one of you who wrote me specifically to observe "The problem with the anti-war movement, as I see it, and I've not read close to everything!, is that they are very articulate in what they are against, but they do not fully and specifically say what positive things the U.S. gov't should do to stop violent attacks on people, buildings, etc.") my thoughts on the implications of pre-emptive military strategy are currently "frozen in hesitation." I mean, it is true that the leadership of both Iraq and the Philippines have not responded adequately or responsively to the development needs of their countries. Yet, the U.S. also invaded the Philippines over a century ago presumably to guide their "little brown brothers." So it's not like "pre-emptiveness" is a new strategy for the U.S. Anyway....
Synchronistically (for the 9th time in this blog she posits that the role of the poet is to connect dots of synchronicity), the description of "The Contemplative Athena" is from the monograph THE GREEK MIRACLE for the 1993 exhibits featuring, as noted in the subtitle, "Classical Sculpture From the Dawn of Democracy - The Fifth Century B.C." The exhibits took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) and National Gallery of Art (Washington). Among the introductory essays in the monograph was a statement from then President of the United States and father of the current U.S. President, George Bush. In a July 2, 1992 letter, the senior George Bush wrote:
"At a time when peoples around the world are beginning to establish systems of representative government, at a time when national elections have reminded Americans of the importance of having, and exercising, the right to vote, it is fitting that we commemorate the birth of democratic ideals some 2,500 years ago. What better way to celebrate the origins of democracy than with this magnificent exhibition of ancient Greek sculptures...."
From democracy's principle of self-determination to whatever principle(s) underlies pre-emptive invasion: Baby, we've come a long way....
....And I am left, still standing, but with head bowed....frozen in hesitation: inarticulate despite a babble of words....
This morning, I woke to a long-gone poet re-entering my space -- in his eyes glimmered a new poem written from fragments of one of my poems. This morning, I woke to the songs of two bluebirds, each atop my roof's copper fineals pointing at a light-blue sky. This morning, I woke to a poet fragmenting my song and consequently understood that, always, we shall never stop sharing the same sky....Please: more blue songs, more blue songs....these ecstatic days of blue songs....these all-too rare days of, simply, song....
Hoping now to sing instead of to blather, she eyes the bottles on her shelf and she starts to hum. Well now, should it be the 1998 Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache (Blewitt Springs Vineyard)....?
Saturday, February 22, 2003
SURREALISM: A LAST CHANCE FOR BAY AREA PEEPS TO SEE A FABULOUS EXHIBIT
posted by EILEEN |
Peeps: Who else but WinePoetics' six million fans should get the scoop of my latest Scintillating Dialogue with David "Heathen In Heat" Hess -- which all began when, as I was busily researching Gambian palm wine, AOL's Instant Message (IM) screen pops up on my screen with the question:
"Are you drunk yet?"
Startled by the question and the fact that someone is IM-ing her (this being a feature she rarely utilizes), she looks at whose head had just poked through her screen. It's Mr. Las Vegas. Brilliantly, she replies, "Uh, hello?"
Inexplicably, David proclaims, "Yves Saint Laurent! I am Yves Saint Laurent!"
She sighs, but before she can comment, David continues, "And I do have a torso!"
Compassionately, she responds, "And I'm sure it is delectable, dear. What can I do for you this eve?"
David: "Lock me in your prison cell! I won't complain!"
She looks behind her for her "prison cell." All she sees is a witch cooing over a cauldron by the window. So, desperate to distract David from his request (which she's sure is just a metaphorical plea to be bound by her silk stockings, but she's down to her last pair and she'd rather use it for an upcoming dinner), she blurts out, "Did you know that military combat by U.S. troops in the Philippines goes against a Philippine Supreme Court ruling that U.S. troops only can shoot in self-defense, and that the Philippine Constitution prohibits the presence of foreign military facilities and troops unless covered by a treaty."
David: "Drink a whole bottle! Do it for me: Dave, your fav ice cream!"
She looks at the decent house wine bottle of the 2000 Monticello Chardonnay next to her computer. She replies, "Okay."
But David isn't done. David continues: "So you like bernstein dirty dancing?"
Sip. More relaxed now, she amiably goes with the flow, "I take it you refer to your poem in honor of the 25th anniversary of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, founded by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews (though the creation of the name of the magazine remains a highly contested parking space), through which you've decided to slap together a poetical-critical hybrid, a bricolage if you will. Inspired by Ron's commentary on the structure of Watten's Complete Thought, you took sentences and phrases from Bernstein's My Way: Speeches and Poems and used them to create what you call Complete Bernstein, or The Pedagogical Imagination."
David: "So you like bernstein dirty dancing?"
Lovely She: "Well, more accurately, I just like dirty dancing."
David: "This is a serious interview!"
Increasingly amiable She: "A serious interview? I'd better start lying!"
To begin lying, she helpfully suggests: "Maybe you should do what I do: have a lover in every city. Then when you travel around you never get lonely."
David: "Excellent idea. So when are you coming to do Las Vegas?"
Uh, oh, she thinks. So, once more, she tries to change the subject by passing on an e-mail she just received from Anna Naruta (who designed Garrett Caples' fabulous poetry chapbook er, um; see Meritage Press link).
Anna's Subject Header is on "Surrealist books -- besides the famous ones so far published by Eileen Tabios" -- well! Preen!:
Hi Eileen! This is Anna. This is totally last minute, but I just saw this great show at the Legion of Honor "Max Ernst: Surrealism in Artists' Books." It is so unbelievably good and inspirational! The books shown are complete works of art, and really get the wheels of the mind turning. You would love this show. The only problem is, it's only open one day more, Sunday Feb 23. (9:30-5). The info is online at http://www.thinker.org/legion/exhibitions/index.asp
Thanks Anna. And, uh, thanks David -- you are surrealism unbound.
Friday, February 21, 2003
THE POET IS BLOCKED
posted by EILEEN |
She decides to coo. Coo at cold cauldron. Peering over edge of big cauldron, she coos a music an attentive bystander characterizes as "coaxing." What she does not say but you, the bystander, translates to hear are:
Muse Serenade Muse Serenade Muse
"if this is where I must look for you
then this is where I'll find you"
--from "Modotti" by Adrienne Rich
Surely, this can be simple
Perhaps I only wanted "not to be alone"
And you are in love with the wanting wanting
Or have I reversed our positions -- does it matter
Is this a necessary measuring
I do not know if A. Farnesiana grow where our memory placed them
I know we heard the breeze hiccup into a more robust wind
I do know our eyes remained partnered despite the stinging of blown leaves
Their thorn tips glinted silver, had we looked at them
We did not look past each other (we could not dislodge The Other)
One silver tip gashed small rubies against your cheek
So I lifted my hand to your blood, questions suddenly dissonant and irrelevant
I write this, I write this, I write this
Elsewhere in the distance but within that same space where you remain constant as bystander, the sound of a cork makes you feel relief. The relief is on her behalf as you remain agitated, agitated. As foretold by the doppelganger of the long-haired lady you are helpless against watching, a glass obviates emptiness to receive: 1997 Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot (Napa Valley).
ON LANGUAGE POETRY -- THE OBSCURE FILIPINO CONNECTION REVEALED HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME TO CELEBRATE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF L=A=-N=G=U=A=G=E (EDS. CHARLES BERNSTEIN AND BRUCE ANDREWS)
posted by EILEEN |
(--after Michael Moore)
In a TOTALLY UNSURPRISING result, the U.S. and Philippines announced yesterday that -- contrary to their earlier bul..., cough, their earlier proclamations of limiting U.S. military involvement to "advisory" roles -- hundreds of U.S. special operations troops soon will take frontline combat roles.
The joint offensive is expected to start in March, with the exact date to be determined by the Manila government. About 350 U.S. special operations forces, mostly Army Green Berets, will be involved in the offensive in the Sulu Archipelago, with much of the effort focused on the island of Jolo. They will be supported by about 400 more U.S. troops based to the north in the port city of Zamboanga. In addition to the U.S. special operations forces and the support personnel, a team of about 1,000 Marines aboard Navy ships off the coast of the Sulu Archipelago will be available to respond on short notice with air power, logistics help and medical aid.
U.S. officials have said in recent days that they have new information showing a stronger link than previously believed between the Philippine rebels and other international terrorist groups. This may or may not be true -- who am I to second-guess? I'm just a farmer whose farming career, to date, can be encapsulated in a single 300-pound harvest of olives from one tree (which is to say, I seem to be as (in)competent with farming as I am with poetry...or yoga).
Still. Nonetheless, I note that the action is taking place on some of the more impoverished areas of the southern Philippines. Which leads me to recall a depressing conversation I once shared with a Philippine-based poet. Being a Philippine-based poet, he should have known better (I would have thought) than to unhesitatingly swallow governmental propaganda when he parroted that the majority of the Philippines' population support the presence of the U.S. military. Undoubtedly, that's what the surveys indeed indicate. But what I replied was that anyone who delved deeper into the situation -- and you don't need to be Einstein here -- probably would conclude that it's not so much that the population is for more U.S. involvement but that they simply are for something that would improve the status quo (read: poverty) which has not been adequately addressed by Manila's recent administrations.
So, on one level, I viewed yesterday's news as yet another manifestation of the failure of Filipino politicians to attend to their own. Having said that, I feel compelled to attempt to bolster the global reputation of the Filipino. You see, Dear Non-Filipino Peeps who are reading me, Filipinos are actually the most dominant force underlying globalization. One of our generals, the writer Jessica Zafra, unfortunately has already outed this strategy so I'm not revealing any secrets here by noting:
There are millions (much more than the documented five million) Filipino overseas workers situated around the world. You may think they're just dusting your sideboards, taking good care of your babies or cooking of your next dinner. But these people are actually our front-line warriors in taking over the world. They are touted -- as they should be -- as "heroes" for providing much support to the Philippine economy, remitting back about U.S.$10 billion (500 billion pesos) a year. But they're also preparing for the Filipino take-over of the universe.
In my case, I am colonizing -- well, such an ugly word, let me rephrase -- I am "Filipinizing" Language Poetry. You see, all this time I've been enchantingly blathering about questioning narrative because, in Philippine history, narrative was necessary in English's role as an imperialist tool. But my approach was really my way of infiltrating the network of Language and other experimental Poets -- in a way, this is a compliment to Language Poets since I wouldn't have been interested in sneaking around their camp if I didn't acknowledge the significances of their contributions. (I didn't sleep in their beds but I did place lovely heart-shaped chocolates on their pillows.)
And, being the genius strategist that I am, my strategy worked! After all, it was Charles Bernstein himself who invited me (in 1998 or 1999) to join the Suny Buffalo Poetics Listserve. And now, most recently, Ron Silliman has mentioned me in his blog (indeed, he's mentioned me TWICE! Preen.). Ron last mentioned me in his February 15, 2003 when he included my name from what was then a list of over 5,000 "Poets Against The War." Let's explore this very significant detail. Sip late morning coffee. Why would he have chosen me? Now, a plausible explanation is that, since he reads my blog, he has come to be as enamoured with me as everyone is upon reading WinePoetics. But perhaps it's because Ron has noted my presence in that sector of the poetry world which meets with his approval (though candidly, my introduction to LangPo was a famous Language Poet telling me "one can't really write like a machine" so, again, when it comes to theory I'm just a bastardized child). Progress, progress.....In the next years ahead, many poets attuned to experimentation/innovation/whatever-that-word-is shall be using "leaps" and "preens" in their poems to reflect the Filipinization of the Language Poetry tradition. Call it the Filipino Left-Turn of Post-Langpo (or not. Whatever.)
Anyway, already, we have evidence of my very significant impact that is part of the ongoing Filipinization of the universe. That is, though he didn't use the words "leaps" and "preens," David Hess did use the word "wine" in his poem dedicated -- appropriately -- to me (see his February 18, 2003 post at http://heathensinheat.blogspot.com). Incidentally, I should offer a public apology here for calling David my "flavor of the week" in a prior post as that makes it sound like I plan to discard him at week's end. The subtext, Sweetie, was that I consider you as lickable as ice cream. Feel better now?
So, moving onward: Dear Ones, the news you read about Filipinos may not always show us in a positive light. But don't underestimate us -- we are major mojo ever-lurking within surrounding shadows. And whenever we rear our faces beneath a light, we are so lovely you won't be able to resist.
So, once more: Congratulations to Charles Bernstein and other Language Poets for your historic achievement. It is an honor to Filipinize y'all.
Relatedly, as regards this weekend's global rallies for peace, well, that of course was just the world taking its cue from us Filipinos again. Let me explain and end this post with the words of Genevieve Villamora, a member of D.C. Asians for Peace and Justice who helped organize Filipino American participation in the anti-war/peace rallies here in DC. As activist Jon Melegrito says about her, "It's heartening to see many of our young people actively engaged. U.S.-born Genevieve is in her mid-20s. She graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and works with the Washington Public Policy office of the Women's Division of the United Methodist Church."
People Power, Revisited
by Genevieve Villamora
When I was 8 years old, people power came to me in the form of a short-sleeved, lemon yellow, thick cotton t-shirt. The front of it was emblazoned with a giant hand with the index finger and thumb extended in the shape of an "L." In the Philippines several time zones away, my cousins were skipping classes to march through the streets. Relatives in Manila sent pictures of themselves with their L-shaped hands exuberantly thrust toward the camera. At home in Chicago, the evening news showed an endless sea of people protesting, sitting on top of jeepneys, carrying signs and banners. I wore the shirt to gym class, with a vague notion of its connection to the heady rush of events taking place in the Bayan.
Since then, I have been learning about "people power" and how it can make magical things happen. When I was in college, it moved hundreds of co-eds to take over a main thoroughfare in one of D.C.'s busiest shopping districts in protest of violence against women. During the 1960's, it brought the civil rights struggle into the headlines and the evening news. It dismantled the apartheid government in South Africa. I have been organizing against the "war on terrorism" for the past year with D.C. Asians for Peace and Justice (DCAPJ) because I think that I have a responsibility to tell my government that it does not represent me and it is acting unjustly in my name. I have to believe that the power of people acting together for justice can make history.
I still have a nametag from one of DCAPJ's first meetings. It was made by one of the youngest members of the group with markers and construction paper, and in an 8-year-old's careful handwriting, it says "Hi! My name is Genevieve." That evening over rice, noodles and dumplings, we each talked about why -- as Chinese-, Japanese-, Korean-, Taiwanese-, Vietnamese-, and Filipino-Americans -- we felt moved to organize for justice and peace in a climate of fear and violence.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons. The map of Asia is pocked with the large, indelible footprints of U.S. foreign policy and military intervention. The bombed-out streets of Kabul are not so far from the killing fields of Cambodia. The presence of U.S. troops raises the ire of locals in Karachi and as it did in the Philippines when they were in Clark and Subic. As immigrants and the children of immigrants, those histories have followed us here. I remember them when someone tells me that I don't "look American" and when I hear that other countries have been added to the INS's "special registration" list.
At a protest in Washington, DC in April 2002, someone in the DCAPJ contingent gave me a blue paper triangle to wear that said, "Nabil Al-Marabi, Kuwaiti - DISAPPEARED in the USA." That triangle is sitting on my desk as I write this. It has become wrinkled and two of the triangle's points have started to curl with age. I wonder where Nabil Al-Marabi is now, if he has been released or deported. What happened to his family? People come to the United States to escape such things -- disappearances, secret courts, torture in detention -- and now they are happening right here at our doorstep.
Of course, you don't hear about them every day. You may not even have heard about them at all. It's easy to be protected from bad news. Sometimes when I'm at the grocery store trying to choose a brand of orange juice or waiting in line for tickets at the movies, I can forget about the deployments of thousands of U.S. troops to the Middle East and what they will do there. I go about my business, making a mental note to buy more lotion and going out to dinner with friends. But then while waiting for the bus on a cold January evening, I wonder what the weather is like in Baghdad. I look at the two teenage girls giggling at the bus stop next to me and I wonder how close they are in age to the two schoolgirls run over by a U.S. Army tank in South Korea. The world rushes back in, and I choose to be engaged with it.
Last weekend, I protested for peace here in Washington with over 200,000 concerned individuals. The contingent that DCAPJ was marching with included hundreds of Asian Americans from the D.C.-metropolitan area, New York, and New Jersey (among other places.) Drummers from the Korean-American Cultural Center kept our spirits up. I stayed warm with steaming cups of tea from the thermos in my backpack. I felt strong and hopeful as I marched together with titos, lolas, and kabataan chanting, "Maki baka! Hwag ma takot!" People power is back.
To Genevieve and Charles* (note that suddenly logical combination of a Filipino with a Langpo poet), I raise a toast with the wine that shall colonize, cough, Filipinize.... my glass this evening: the 1997 Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot (Napa Valley).
[*Speaking of (older) poets encouraging (younger) poets (a hot topic in some places), Charles -- I don't know if you read blogs but if you do, thanks again for supporting my first book BLACK LIGHTNING. I've always held your encouragement dear to my heart. If you and Susan ever make it to Napa Valley, I've got a glass of wine awaiting....]
Thursday, February 20, 2003
posted by EILEEN |
Moonlight, grey seed-pearls, indigo velvet ribbons, silver satin stars, dried blood, the crystal aftermath of tears -- they festoon black leather to form her mask. She stands before you, the mask clasped by a hand stretched out towards you now listening with your eyes. You sense the backdrop of a voluminously-skirted silk gown. You sense but do not see much past the mask held forth before you. You did notice, briefly, the soot-stained sleeve of white lace before your eyes latched onto her mask.
All this is to say, she took off her mask. You can lift your eyes, if you wish, to see -- even memorize -- her face. There is a rumor her face is lovely enough to stop, rather than start, a war so violent it moves the gods to pause in their indifferent shuffling of dirty poker cards. But your eyes remain locked on her mask.
It does not matter. Were you to raise your eyes to see her face, you only would see a heart-shaped mirror beneath her long, dark hair. [Babaylan = priestess-poet]
Thus, do I answer your question: "What is happening when you present a persona on your blog but you keep referencing how you are presenting a persona on your blog?"
She could continue answering. But more wine awaits. Your witnessing of her can never replace the feeling she craves: liquid heating up within her veins: O, nectar of the gods:
1959 d'Yquem. Dark orange, almost brown color. Incredibly intense bouquet of pineapple, orange, starfruit, caramel con leche, vanilla and spice. Full bodied, focused liqueur-like ambrosia of tropical fruits, spice, vanilla, toasted oak. Seamlessly integrated acid and fruit. A long, intense finish.
P.S. TO THE POSTSCRIPT
posted by EILEEN |
Michelle Bautista writes, "I believe in the power of each person to transform the bad energy in the same way writers transform words. The way Turkey hesitates, the way labor refuses, the way France protests, the way 10 million people march for peace."
Protesting the war, of course, need not manifest itself only through the inspiring rallies we saw this weekend around the world. Here are two other ramifications. The first is described in a FORTUNE magazine article about the consequences in the technology sector.
Excerpt From "As the technology industry becomes truly global, consumers angered by a war with Iraq could turn their backs on U.S. products"
Feb 18 2003
By David Kirkpatrick
President Bush's apparent rush to war may have another implication in this time of newly globalized technology-the U.S. industry's already shaky vitality could be at risk. Anti-Americanism, driven by resistance to U.S. policies, is starting to affect sales of U.S. products around the world. Both Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble have seen sales in the Middle East affected. A small upstart brand called Mecca-Cola is gaining adherents in Europe and the Middle East. And a survey recently conducted by Euro RSCG Worldwide found that large majorities of the citizens of many countries-including Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom-felt the "world is becoming too Americanized."
Could American technology sales be affected by these trends? Yes. Neither consumers nor companies have to buy American products anymore in order to have state-of-the-art technologies. An astonishing array of companies have emerged around the world, providing alternatives to American suppliers. Local manufacturer Legend sells more PCs in China alone than Hewlett-Packard, long a regional presence, sells in all of Southwest Asia. [...]
The point is that arrogance about American dominance and hegemony is not justified, at least in the realm of technology. One of our great heritages as a nation is that we have been seen as a just nation, abiding by the rule of law. If we choose to behave otherwise, the consequences, even in technology, could be serious. The day could come when all those globally linked protesters decide to target IBM or Dell. It might become politically unpalatable to buy from companies like these, especially when there are local alternatives. The threats to market share for U.S. tech companies are real enough as it is. A political crisis could seriously hurt their businesses.
Secondly, David Bacon, a journalist and photographer based in the SF Bay, writes from a Labor perspective. David's photos, by way, document the lives of workers, peace and justice, and immigrants throughout the world, particularly from Mexico and the Philippines. His wife is Lillian Galledo, executive director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action here in Oakland, Ca. His photos can be seen on his website: http://dbacon.igc.org.
GLOBAL LABOR REJECTS AN IRAQ WAR
By David Bacon
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (2/19/03) -- After a weekend of demonstrations involving over 10 million people worldwide, protesting an impending U.S. war on Iraq, opposition to the Bush plan in many countries is hardly a question. But U.S. military action may have political costs that go far beyond rising unpopularity. Particularly among unions in many countries, opposition may take a much more concrete form.
On Wednesday, over 200 unions, on all five continents, representing over 130 million members, agreed on a joint statement rejecting a war in Iraq. That declaration questions the U.S. rationale, saying no convincing link exists between the terrorist attacks of September 11 and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, nor evidence for immediate threats from weapons of mass destruction. Unions signing the statement point out that such a war would be fought overwhelmingly by the sons and daughters of workers, and they assert that war hysteria is being used as a pretext for attacks on labor, and to mask the effects of a sinking economy worldwide. The appeal ends by calling on labor to organize opposition in every country.
Such an appeal is unprecedented. During the Vietnam War, the majority of U.S. unions supported involvement until it was almost over. While unions in other countries voiced opposition, there was no common front, much less one organized at the initiative of U.S. labor. The appeal made Wednesday was initiated by U.S. Labor Against the War, a growing coalition including at least five major national unions, three state labor federations, and many locals and labor councils.
That appeal is not simply a flowery statement, but groups together unions who have already taken action. In Britain, where opposition is sharpest, unions have squared off against the support of the Labor government of Tony Blair for an Iraq invasion. On January 9, two train engineers refused to climb into the cab of a locomotive and pull a train from Glasgow to the Glen Douglas military base on Scotland's west coast, the largest weapons store in NATO.
The incident electrified British workers. Not only were the two supported by their union, the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, but the union's general secretary warned Wednesday that those actions would multiply in the event of war. "We do expect more refusals," predicted Mick Rix. He added that the bylaws of the British Trade Union Congress call for an immediate meeting in the event of war, a provision dating from 1918, when many unions sought to prevent the entry of European countries into World War One. "The TUC must be convened, so that industrial action can be considered," Rix warned.
This isn't an idle threat. Already five of Britain's largest and most strategically placed unions have openly defied Blair, and some call for his ouster, even at the cost of the Labour Party's grip on power. It is just one sign of the growing gulf that now divides British unions, not just from the prime minister, but from the party they created decades ago.
In Italy, where unions organized a turnout of over three million people in the streets of Rome over the weekend (the largest demonstration since the end of World War Two), the leftwing General Confederation of Italian Workers (CGIL) made a similar threat. On Tuesday the union's executive council declared its intention of calling a general strike in the event of hostilities.
Italy's unions are locked in bitter conflict with the rightwing government of media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, who has strongly supported the Bush war policy. Enzo Bernardo, director of CGIL's International Department, explained Wednesday that "the big majority of Italians, not just workers, are against the war. We know terrorism in our country," he added, "and this war has nothing to do with resolving it. Our government does not speak for the Italian people."
Pakistani trade union leader Rubina Jamil, President of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation joined the call Wednesday. Her federation represents over 5 million Pakistani workers who, she emphasized, are already familiar with the cost of US military action in Afghanistan, which they oppose. "This war is only for oil," she declared, and threatened that her federation would organize mass demonstrations, including hunger strikes, in front of the US embassy and consulates when any invasion begins. In Pakistan the US depends on the increasingly unpopular regime of President Pervez Musharraf to support its continuing hunt for Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, and mass labor demonstrations against an Iraq war would create huge political problems. Joining in the declaration of international labor opposition was Djeman Hacene, general secretary of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions, who agreed with Jamil that the objective of intervention in Iraq was the pursuit of oil.
Among supporters of the international labor declaration, sentiment is sharpest in those countries where governments have aligned themselves with the Bush administration. The trade union federation of Australia, where Prime Minister Ron Howard has been one of Bush's most vociferous supporters, declared it was "ashamed" of his actions. "He has no mandate from our people," declared Sharron Burrows, the federation's president. She also threatened industrial action in the event of war.
Many rejectionist labor federations represent a much greater percentage of workers in their countries than unions do in the U.S., and can exact a price for political support. In the German elections, unions supported Gerhard Schroeder in his successful reelection bid, when he campaigned against Bush's military policy. Schroeder's victory indicates that other governments also may survive or fall based on their support for war. The political map of many countries could easily be redrawn by bitter labor battles breaking out in factories, ports and railway terminals at the start of an Iraq invasion. In some of those countries, like Britain and Italy, industrial battles may provoke a political realignment, and support for Bush may cost those governments their hold on power.
Hmmm. Or, maybe, I should have the 1996 Etienne Sauzet Batard Montrachet instead tonight....
POSTSCRIPT (AKA, FROM A POETICS OF INTERCONNECTEDNESS)
posted by EILEEN |
So I have a confession to make. I broke the WinePoetics rule with yesterday's post. That is, recall how I try to do these posts on a "first draft, last draft" mode. I wrote yesterday's post like that -- and then I went back and "edited" by deleting one of the OPEN LETTERS. The problem is, I got caught. Bay Area poet (and martial artist, which is why I'm now writing this missive because I don't want the flat of her kali sword smacking my enchanting butt) Michelle Bautista happened to read my missive before I edited it. And then she wrote me an e-mail in response to that first, un-edited post. Sigh. Preen and a Twitch-Leap here for the Dear One who is being lovingly colonized by my language: And, by the way, my butt is the only ass out there to rival J.Lo's, though not necessarily in size but more in terms of the erotic flair with which it wings its way through the air (or something like that).
Twitch-Leap Back. So, this means that I now must reprint the previously deleted OPEN LETTER below so that Michelle's letter, reprinted beneath it, makes sense.
But before I reprint the letter -- sip morning coffee -- let me read it again. Hmmm. So, this letter is tricky. I think I began writing it primarily because of David Hess's responses to those who seemed bothered by the so-called poet-blogging phenomena. Peeps, David is my "flavor of the week" so forgive me for feeling maternal on his rowdy behalf. Of course, David was just the initial impetus and the letter addresses other things related to the blogging phenomena. And, mostly, I think I wanted to take WinePoetics out of the poetry blog debate (which is not to say I can or should wish to), in part because I was uncomfortable with how blog-criticism could work to silence. (And, obviously, it did have that silencing effect on me, otherwise I wouldn't have prevented myself from posting this OPEN LETTER yesterday.)
I wanted to take WinePoetics out of the this poetry blog debate -- specifically the "American" debate -- because it is very insular (as hopefully the letter below explains). My context on silences within the poetry world includes knowing how Filipino English-language poets are so marginalized that (correct me if I'm wrong), none has even made it to a Norton anthology. So all this multicultural bashing -- and attempts to silence -- is, like, not only ridiculous but, for us Pinoys, certainly premature. Anyway, I don't think the letter below addresses my concerns adequately, but I'll just post it as it is for now because I've got other fish to fry (I like using food metaphors for my activities since, as you peeps know, I don't cook). Here's the OPEN LETTER left out from yesterday's post:
DEAR PEEPS WHO PLAN TO ANALYZE THE CURRENT SITUATION OF "AMERICAN POETRY BLOGS"--
Just for the record, Dear Ones, WinePoetics is not part of the "American (poetry) blogging scene" -- at least insofar as I've been sensing such *scene* defined recently. Though I happily -- and graciously, I might preeningly add -- extend gestures to poets who write me, write of me, link me etcetera, the audience for WinePoetics includes not just poets (both experimental and "mainstream" poets), but also Filipino political and cultural activists who may or may not be poets, yogis, at least one anthropologist, visual artists, investment bankers, gourmets and gourmands, wine-lovers and wine-makers, students and teachers, kick-ass martial artists, and a partridge in a pear tree. Nor are my readers located only in the U.S. (which is why I have "six million" readers). And that my audience is more diverse than the poetry community does reflect the poetics over here at WinePoetics.
WinePoetics believes Poetry needs to be *in* the world, which is partly to say -- outside the temporal schools and styles set up by pundits, including those who feel compelled to control how Poetry is supposed to manifest itself. So please don't judge our manner of jism based on whether Ms. WinePoetics is just verbally masturbating (and it's not as if so many of you don't like to watch). The issue of jism (at least the non-Hindu version) is too small relative to the need, say, to obviate the silencing of (historically silenced) Filipino concerns. (Heck, I bet there's at least one avant garde poet out there reading about Filipinos for the first time just because I drink wine and am poeticizing it.) There are larger things at stake in this blog than (i) whether the concerns of Ms. WinePoetics remain too personal; (ii) whether this blog space maximizes the possibilities (technological or otherwise) of this space (and maybe the blog persona's consistent self-preening is the perfect persona for this space if form is to match content, ya know what I mean?); and whether...whatever, I've lost my train of thought. Hic.
The point is: this blog is not about YOU. It's about me, me, me and my effect on you. As another reader wrote (and this reader, I didn't pay), "People choose to come and read you. I believe that I as a reader must come to you and see how your views challenge my image of the world and understand mine is not the only image."
Please also remember that WinePoetics initially was set up as a fundraising organ to enable Meritage Press (see link) to publish a new poetry book. Having met the goal of that fundraiser, WinePoetics either could shut down or party. Well: two things. First, WinePoetics apparently is a useful means for certain Philippine-based young poets for seeing how a Filipino poet (that's me) might write differently than the training they receive in their schools ("mainstream" also dominates, after all, in the Philippines). Secondly, excuuuuuse me but I do love to receive back-channeled love poems. As someone who's been married 17 years to the same lawyer (adorable though he is), it's a refreshing experience; so, if you don't mind, I'll just wallow in this space offering more honey to those with, cough, honey back to spare. Besides, sip, I suspect you people sending me your honey might need me more than I need you and, loving sip, who am I not to be compassionate?
So. Now, here's Michelle's e-mail that spurred this morning's post -- a post I already regret as it makes me itch. Hidden frustrations, things left unsaid, and all that. Ach, David -- what I would give right now for you to be standing literally an inch or so from me so you can scratch that spot on my back that I can't reach. Here are the words of Michelle, whom I always listen to as she is my kali Gura (teacher):
I'm sure GMA has faced harsher critiques. She's president of the Philippines after all. But I wouldn't be surprised if you irk some Philippine-[based] Filipinos for your criticism of her. Even the ones that criticize GMA over there will be the first to defend her if someone from the outside says something.
I understand your frustration over the Philippine administration. I'm frustrated with it myself. Yet, I do know that matters are so vast and complex it's hard to say if GMA is slacking off or is really trying. At the same time, don't we all want to know WHY? WHy rampant poverty continues, why we continue the one-sided relationship with the U.S., why can't we leverage the resources that we do have to be able to protect Filipinos around the globe?
At the same time the impending war shows how the U.S. has laid such a heavy hand around the globe to protect American interests that we as Fil-Ams benefit from. It's an awful dysfunctional family we have.
Driving through Davao, riding with some friends who live there, raised their kids there, struggled through various campaigns to help the environment and labor there. People who could have lived anywhere (the husband was Belgium), but decided to live in the Philippines. We follow a jeepney with a large pig in the back. There's a guy in the back of the jeepney whose job is to take the pig crap and toss it out the window. My friend driving declares, "the Philippines is a shit-ty country." We all laugh laced in a bittersweetness.
Oh and I so enjoy people who love to analyze the "scene". It speaks to the idea of "hipness" and "sexiness." It happens in every field -- the whole "in" crowd effect. This need to scientifically dissect how scenes tick. I don't see how blogging is terribly particular to writers and how that can in any way be "hip." But like most "scenes" I have no idea what's going on. In the martial arts scene I don't know much about anyone's lineage and who the "big names" are; same goes for poetry/writing. Then again, for most of my life, I've never been terribly "hip" nor cared much to know what that means or how to acquire it.
Your preening persona on the blog does befit the nature of blogs. They are these windows into people's minds. it's an open door to read people's "journals," except these aren't pink paper with a cheap 5 cent lock and key. Hell, if people are watching, you might as well give a show! It's the reason why people come to Berkeley and stand on plastic buckets and spout off all sorts of opinion from whether the U.S. has a conspiracy against China to whether Jesus was a vampire. Because people are watching, maybe not paying attention, but they do stop to look once in a while and listen. And even if no one listens, sometimes it just feels good to get it all out, like the man who screams, "yoshua" in between his sermons.
Internet too is a fascinating place for writers, really right up our alley. Has it all: anonymity, venue, words, public to the world. Then again, maybe we're just typing with the voices in our heads.
I liked your ending letter of Barbara Guest's book. I can't quite verbalized how I liked it at this very minute. That's what I get for watching a late night Star Trek Voyager, an episode on time travel, which will make your head spin even though it's just entertainment. But why not? Why not make people think about wine, world politics and poetry and still be entertaining? That seems to be the running theme for me today: telling people it's ok to be multiple things, and that it's ok to walk away.
I had a talk with a frustrated [Filipino friend] at lunch... frustrated at how some of the staff just want to deal with the inner conflict of war rather than the very real war coming up,.... as well as this idea that in order to include other people that there is a need to stop promoting the Filipino parts of ourselves in order to include other people... the whole melting pot/uni-culturalism, which I really detest...but that's a whole other discussion.
Then a friend called up, said she was depressed. She picked me up from work and we went shopping for plants and household stuff. She was trying to figure out why she was feeling bad, and been around all sorts of negative energy and why she can't stop overhelping people at work (thus creating too much work for herself, which she isn't paid to do).
Perhaps it's the trickle down effects of world politics or some wacky planet out of sync. Past few weeks, been seeing miscommunication and questioning of long term friendships and drama. Too many occurrences to be coincidental. People are frustrated, stressed, repressed. I have been as well. My overhelping friend said that she's been surrounded by bad energy. I know what she means.
We fear war, want peace, yet can't deal with conflict on a personal level. And if we can't find peace on a personal level, how can we have it on a world scale? As if peace is devoid of disagreement or discussion. I believe in the power of each person to transform the bad energy in the same way writers transform words. The way Turkey hesitates, the way labor refuses, the way France protests, the way 10 million people march for peace.
Ok, let me stop now, I'm not feeling very coherent. Lots of stuff to process from today. I'll email again tomorrow, um, later today, after
a few good dreams.
Pause. You know, there are human faces underlying all of these words that we share with each other. And I am really embarassed now that I chose to censor my initial impetus to post the above OPEN LETTER. I don't think this is the time to lose sight of our....humanity.
War is in the air and it is exacerbating Fear.
This evening, I suspect I shall drink again*.
* Perhaps the 1996 Charton & Trebuchet Chevalier Montrachet
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
OPEN LETTERS (WITH AN IRRITATED UNDERTONE BECAUSE, IN THE DISTANCE, DRUMS BEAT OUT....IMPENDING WAR)
posted by EILEEN |
DEAR PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO--
I woke up this morning to the news that Turkey has put off any decision on whether to allow U.S. forces onto its soil as part of a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The delay is reported to be due to the two parties' inability to agree on the size of a multi-billion-dollar aid package for Ankara. Apparently, the U.S. is only offering $6 billion in grants and up to $20 billion in loan guarantees versus Turkey's demand for more than $30 billion.
Now, I am sharing this with you because I want you to note how much more adept Turkey is in negotiating with the U.S. Whether or not the U.S. gives Turkey more money, do you notice the firmness of Turkey's resolve? So what I want to know is why you and the Philippines are so incompetent with getting more monetary aid (not to mention persuading the U.S. to address their failure to provide benefits to Filipino war veterans) when the U.S. clearly desires to renew its military presence in the Philippines?
Hello? Surely you realize that it's not coincidental that violence escalated in the southern Philippines as soon as you RUSHED to welcome back the presence of the U.S. military there right after 9-1-1? Also, do the initials C I A ring a harsh-sounding bell? Planted destabilization -- that's such a classic snoop strategy that it's become fodder for numerous Hollywood B-movies, you know? (Do you?)
And, by the way, I'm not impressed that you've decided not to stand for re-election. To me, it only means you lack the vision necessary for a leader who'd hang in there in the face of the country's travails. But, hey, you got a place in history, right? The check-mark next to the category "President of the Philippines"? The check-mark next to the category "Father-Daughter Presidency"? And after you leave office, you then can spend the rest of your life as comfortable as you've ever been, WITHOUT having made a meaningful diff in the poverty of this country that is forced to send its brightest brains overseas, partly so it can wash toilets around the world. Way to go -- have a good time at the State Dinner with Bush this coming April....
By the way, I'm coming out in public here. But just so you know, my views aren't unique. Today, I got an e-mail from another Filipino commenting as regards your recent lousy negotiating posture with the U.S. government: "I think GMA is scared to leverage that need. A whole colonialized mentality factor that how could the U.S. ever need us more than we need them."
"Colonial mentality" -- does that phrase sound familiar?
And as regards your decision not to run for re-election as if that's some sort of "give" (remind me: how were you doing in the polls anyway?), this person also noted: " I see it as bailing while the getting is not a total disaster, though that's arguable." My (and others') sentiment exactly.
You put me in a lousy mood despite the 2000 Turley Paso Robles Zin (Pesenti Vineyard) in my glass tonight. Okay. I need to improve my mood. Next letter.
DEAR DAVID HESS--
You are the sexiest 29-year-old I've met over the past week. Anne Bancroft, particularly at her age, would be lucky to have you lotioning her ankles. I am sure you will be a hit with the geriatric community of Las Vegas. And a good thing about that community is that, in case the need arises, you probably can outrun its members. Smooches.
Someone e-mailed me that various analysts are saying that President Bush is ignoring the protests "because he feels most cities are liberals and aren't the strongholds that he won in the election. So really, places like Davenport, Iowa and Little Rock, Arkansas need to boost their numbers for Bush to listen. If they do vote, they don't vote for him anyway. The president no longer feels that he represents all the people, just the ones who voted for him. // He also may race to war before those midwest town protests grow, hoping to get it 'over with' with minimal 'American casualties' to quell the protests. So, it's possible that he may push faster to war."
But these analysts also apparently noted that the protests may influence Tony Blair because the people who did vote for him ARE marching in the streets. So, dear Brits, do keep protesting loudly as your leader may listen more closely than ours.
DEAR ALL (#1)--
Signatures are still being gathered for this letter whose topic was first raised on our January 29, 2003 posts. If you wish to sign (and you don't have to be Filipino to sign off on this), just e-mail me:
The Military Order of the Carabao
The Army and Navy Club
901 17th NW
Washington DC 20006-2503.
Dear Military Order,
We are writing to you to share the concerns of the Filipino community -- concerns that also should be shared by anyone interested in fairness and correct education about history. We have two requests:
1) Please correct the information on your web site which refers to "Philippine Insurection." The use of the word "Insurrection" is factually erroneous. It was NOT a Philippine "Insurrection." It was an appropriate Philippine defensive response to what was then an invasion by the United States. It was not an "Insurrection" for that word implies that the U.S. armed forces then represented either civil authority or an established government against which the people were rebelling.
2) Please amend the name of your Order by deleting the reference to "Carabao." As the reference to the Philippine water buffalo occurs as a result of the Philippine-U.S. War through which the U.S. invaded and then colonized the Philippines, we do not feel it appropriate for the Military Order to continue this imperialist practice by co-opting the carabao into its name today.
Given that the Philippines and the United States today are close allies, we hope that you will be sensitive to making this change -- which only results in having your site more truthfully reflect what actually happened.
Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing back from you on your response to this matter.
1. Eileen Tabios, "Babaylan Speaks," Meritage Press
47 OTHER SIGNATORIES/ORGANIZATIONS TO DATE
Your name here...
DEAR ALL (#2)--
I've just read Barbara Guest's latest book, Forces of the Imagination: Writing on Writing (Kelsey Street Press, 2003). This is a collection drawn from talks, published and unpublished essays, poems and short pieces -- writings that span a number of decades. It is breathtaking -- lushly gorgeous and wise. Do yourself a favor and get this book! In fact, I'm going to end this post with some of Ms. Guest's words. Here is an excerpt from the book's first essay entitled "Radical Poetics and Conservative Poetry."
Because of its ability to recognize a subject not for its substantive value, but for its definition, conservative poetry takes issue with reality as it assembles itself in a poem. For instance a planted tree is seen as planted with roots in the ground, perhaps a nearby trowel and a parent or child further off to the left watching the clearly delineated leaves, and the moral is an esteemed one placing value on the absoluteness of growing things.
The radical tree might be made of bones and the only true to its recognition is that the poet has called it a bone-tree. And yet this tree is about growth and these are the eminent qualities of bones. But the radical poet draws no moral from the assemblage. The moral is in the hands of the reader.
In conservative poetry the poets live in a complementary world, without being aware of what surrounds them. They exist in a space hemmed in by other trees that are called "real trees." This poetry offers the promise of reality, yet in a defined space the poem, itself, is never free.
The radical poem suffers from a few of the same difficulties, but in the defenestrating process of saying something new the structure of the poem suffers and the poet becomes engaged in a search for supports that will hold together the poem; and these supports are so new themselves, like spandex, they must be marketed to realize their future. And this uses up invaluable creative time.
Sip. Note that the bold-faced emphasis is mine. Sip. And last but not least, I wish to end with one more of Ms. Guest's sentences -- because this one aptly describes why, in her own blog space, Ms. WinePoetics MUST preen!
The radical issues of a poem are infinite and this accounts for the immodesty of the poet who confronts endless space.
Good Night, Deer Peeps.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
THE ROUGH DELIGHTS OF PEOPLE POWER
posted by EILEEN |
The Philippines has birthed so many magnificent creations -- including me. Sip. A more recent Filipino invention is the use of "People Power" to rid itself of corrupt politicians. In 1986, the first People Power movement ("Edsa 1") helped topple Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship. In 2001, the second People Power movement ("Edsa 2") helped kick out the incompetent president Joseph Estrada. Well, as this weekend illustrated, the world has wised up to "People Power" as "A Peaceful Alternative for the 21st Century." You can see more about this theme in a site set up by Vic Zamora: http://home.pacbell.net/vyzamora/PeoplePower.htm.
Sip. I'm finishing up the rough delights of the 2001 Irouleguy Domaine Etxegaraya. ("Rough delights" -- hmmm: could be sex instead of wine, eh...but, this is WinePoetics!) And though today's headlines include (as yours truly anticipated) "Bush Shrugs Off War Protesters," I want to keep applauding the peace proponents who went out to rally this weekend. Here's an informal survey of the global peace rallies over the weekend. Several rally records were set. What do these war-mongering (or apathetic) politicians think? That we're not going to vote? Kudos to these people who were counted by David Koff in an informal survey whose results I share below; these numbers must understate (hear that politicians? UNDERSTATE) anti-war sentiment since they don't include those driving by protesters and honking in solidarity even as they couldn't stay for the public pockets of rallies.
David Koff explains in an e-mail sent around the internet today that his tallies come from a number of media websites; other sources are noted parenthetically.
"When possible," David explains, "I've tried to reference each number of demonstrators by its appropriate news source. One important note: while the police are notorious for minimizing the figures for those attending a demonstration, protest organizers are just as gifted in inflating those figures. The numbers I've listed are, I think, a happy medium."
Here are the results of David's count, with countries listed alphabetically:
Washington, D.C.:50,000 (BBC)
Raleigh, NC: 7,000 (news-observer.com)
Austin, TX: 10,000 (austin360.com)
Houston: 3,000 (chron.com)
Santa Fe, NM: 4,500 (www.currentargus.com)
Santa Cruz, CA: 5,000 (indymedia)
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: 500 (the.honoluluadvertiser.com)
Los Angeles, CA: 30,000 (Reuters)
Seattle, WA: 20,000 (seattlepi.com)
Detroit, MI: 2,000 (freep.com)
San Diego, CA: 5,000 (signonsandiego.com)
Minneapolis, MN: 7,500 (star tribune)
Lansing, MI: 1,500 (lsj.com)
Colorado Springs, CO: 3,300 (KVOR Radio)
New York, NY: 350,000 (NY Times, CNN)
Philadelphia, PA: 10,000 (NBC 10 News)
Little Rock, AK: 500 (IndyMedia, CNN)
Portland, ME: 1,400 (IndyMedia)
Chicago: 3,000 (IndyMedia)
Davenport, Iowa: 100 (CNN)
Buenos Aires: 50,000 (www.lanacion.com.ar)
Sydney: 250,000 (smh.com.au, yahoo news)
Bellingen: 2,500 (Indymedia)
Canberra: 16,000 (Reuters)
Adelade: 100,000 (abc.net.au) * possibly the biggest rally in city's history
Hobart: 10,000 (ABC)
Lismore: 5,000 (Indymedia)
Melbourne: 50,000 (smh.com.au) * biggest since Vietnam War
Newcastle: 18,000 (indymedia)
Perth: 10,000 (ABC)
Warrnambool: 200 (Fairfax)
Byron Bay: 3,000 (indymedia)
Vienna: 15,000 (AP)
Dhaka: 2,000 (AP)
Brussels: 50,000 (AP)
Sao Paolo: 15,000 (noticias.bol.com)
Sofia: 1,200 (www.novinite.com)
Quebec City: 3,000
(All figures provided by www.canoe.ca)
Prague: 500 (AP)
Copenhagen: 25,000 (AP)
Cairo: 2,000 (Palestine Chronicle)
London: 1,000,000 (CNN, NY Times) * largest in British history!!
Paris: 400,000 (AP)
Whole country: 300,000 (CNN)
Berlin: 500,000 (Miami Herald) * possibly the largest since fall of Berlin Wall
Cologne: 10,000 (abcnews.go.com)
Athens: 50,000 (Reuters)
Amsterdam: 70,000 (www.ad.nl)
Budapest: 20,000 (es.news.yahoo.com)
Reykavik: 1,000 (yahoo news)
Dublin: 100,000 (www.online.ie ) * largest in country's history
Belfast: tens of thousands
Tel-Aviv: 2,000 Jews & Palestinians (HaˆAretz)
Rome: 1,000,000 (UPI)
Tokyo: 6,000 (AP, BBC)
Bakaa Refugee Camp: 500 (Palestine Chronicle)
Amman: 2,000 (CNN)
Seoul: *hundreds* (BBC) (star tribune)
Damascus: tens of thousands (BBC)
Kuala Lumpur: 2,000 (www.malaysiakini.com)
Mexico City: 30,000 (Reuters)
Wellington: 5,000 (Common Dreams)
Auckland: 9,000 (scoop.co.nz)
Oslo: 60,000 (AP)
Total for whole country: 100,000 (www.aftenposten.no)
Islamabad: hundreds (BBC)
Lahore: hundreds (yahoo news)
Gaza: 15,000 (AFP)
Manila: 6,000 (Rai)
Warsaw: 2,500 (http://www1.gazeta.pl)
(both stats from es.news.yahoo.com)
Moscow: 1,000 outside US Embassy (CNN)
Belgrade: 200 (www.b92.net)
Glasgow: 30,000 (AP)
Cape Town: 5,000 (AP)
Johannesburg: 4,000 (AP)
Durban: 5,000 (www.news24.com)
Barcelona: 1,000,000 (Miami Herald) * possibly the largest EVER in this city
Madrid: 600,000 (Reuters)
Total for entire country: 2,000,000
Stockholm: 35,000 (AP)
Gothenberg: 25,000 (www.svd.se)
Malmo: 3,000 (www.svd.se)
Bern: 40,000 (AP)
Damascus: 200,000 (AP)
Pattani: 10,000 (www.nationmultimedia.com)
Istanbul: 5,000 (cnn)
Monte Video: 50,000 (www.radio36.com.uy)
Undoubtedly, there are more. That is, these numbers are just the tip of the.....she pauses typing as AOL announces: YOU'VE GOT MAIL!. Click on e-mail button. It's from David Hess, the 29-year-old poet currently living in Las Vegas and who blogs at http://heathensinheat.blogspot.com. After reading his e-mail that he signs off as "somewhat innocent" (is that like, somewhat pregnant?), she goes over to his blog. She begins to read his February 18, 2003 post:
I'm afraid Eileen Tabios of WinePoetics has the hots for my blog. (Jim Behrle, I love you with all my jism, but you can't stop us).
Uh, oh, she thinks, quickly reaching for her glass of Basque. A sip for courage, and she continues to read. It's a poem! Dedicated to her! Flabbergasted (well, not really, but she's trying for a modicum of modesty here....), she reads:
Crash into My Vineyards
for Eileen Tabios
Plunder my treasure bare, O dear
Knowledgeable sipper and hiccuper are you
Together we'll shank it, together we'll be yummy...
Pause. Sip. Actually -- not a sip at all; more like a HUGE gulp. "Shank it"?!!! Another gulp. Then she refills her glass. Third gulp. Now she can commence typing....but thinks she'll pass on typing the rest of the poem. Amazingly, Ms. WinePoetics is blushing and it's not from alcohol. If you peeps want to see the whole poem, you'll have to go to his blog....which, she herself does to make sure she didn't imagine what she read the first time...
Nope, she didn't imagine it. There's a poem over at "Heathens in Heat" by a young poet she's never met -- offering his treasure for her plundering. Geez, she thinks. Now what? Gulp, I mean, sip...decorous sip (this is fine wine, after all, not plonk). She reconsiders David's poem (gotta admit -- that's a purty good line about "Raid my soul's refrigerator for the frozen/ Things stored there far too long..." -- a fine take-off on her February 15, 2003 post's description of the state of her refrigerator). And as she considers and reconsiders and considers David's "serenade," the thought of the television talent show "American Idol" comes to mind.
Specifically, she remembers the first time she saw an episode of "American Idol," which was towards the end of its first season. And there was this baby-faced white guy in an Afro named Justin who was joshing around with one of the judges, Paula Abdul. And during the jocular back-and-forth, Paula, clearly the older woman, said something to Jason -- a thought that now arises as I consider how 29-year-old David Hess is writing an ode to 42-year-old me:
"Honey, if I was ten years older, it could work."*
* Footnote Poem
--for David Hess
But unlike the others, they were poets.