CorpsePoetics (formerly WinePoetics)
Savasana-inspired poetics and poems (formerly Wine-inspired poetics and poems)

Friday, November 28, 2003  


So my family came up from L.A. to join us for turkey-day. While waiting for them to arrive, I was in the studio working on my novel. Now, as you might glean from reading this blog, when I develop a work, I often find it useful to inhabit the personas of said work (e.g. angels). So, there I was in the studio (I first wrote, novel), behaving in one of the ways that facilitates the writing -- in this case, I was crooning to a Barbie doll with long, black hair (guess who that is) seated in front of a tiny pink computer (you press the keyboard and the screen shows a pink heart).

By the way, this is a "Pinay Barbie" which is different from the usual Barbie. I view a Pinay Barbie as a postcolonial subversion of the Barbie doll for an entirely too complicated reason for me to go into now -- but I mention this as I know certain of youse otherwise would get on moi case for having a Barbie. Anyway...

...there I was crooning to "Marites," the Pinay Barbie and my family arrives. I didn't notice them arrive, which is why my niece Treva apparently was standing, wide-eyed, in the doorway to my studio for a minute watching me interact with Marites....

Later that evening, amicably drying pots and pans (amicably since moi belly was pleasantly full), the conversation gets around to what I sometimes do as a poet, in terms of researching some of my projects. Out of the blue, Treva approaches me and pats me on my left shoulder. She whispers, "It's okay. Everything will be okay."

Treva is 12 years old.

posted by EILEEN | 7:43 AM

Thursday, November 27, 2003  


Okay. As Rhett mischievously recalls, I was interviewed by Sophie the cat at the St. Helena Animal Shelter to see if she'd consent to be my owner. I did attend the interview. In fact, I liked her. Two to three-year-old black cat. Light jade eyes. Soft purring as I stroked her.

Afterwards, Tom said she's just like me. I replied, "What do you mean?"

"A loner. Likes to do her own thing. But very appreciative of receiving attention when she wants it."

Okay....we won't go there further. But there's also one significant issue affecting our cat adoption. As of December 20, our household is due to receive a German Shepherd puppy. So whichever cat we adopt, it would have to be prepared to deal with said puppy.

Sophie apparently wasn't -- something about peeing on counters. That was devastating. The hubby, forthwith, took me to another animal shelter in Sonoma. Shadow. Lovely grey cat. But other issues. Telephoned St. Helena Animal Shelter again. They asked us to come over and be interviewed by Maria.

We went and were interviewed. The thing is, there are hundreds of cats at these animal shelters. So the animal shelter cat people choose which cat shall interview you, based on what you say you are looking for over the phone.

What we need to realize is that cats choose you, not the other way around. While we were making Maria's acquaintance, we were chosen by two other cats: Scarlet and "Ruth." To make a long story short, we decided to be adopted by Scarlet and "Ruth" and will pick them up next Friday. Scarlet has a multicolored -- brown, orange, black, red -- fur that Tom likened to an abstract painting; just gorgeous. "Ruth" is half Siamese, grey, delicate....a clear lady.

We don't know much about Scarlet's background but "Ruth" was dropped off in a litter box with 9 new kittens! "Ruth" is just over one year old but she's already dropped 9 babies -- but that clearly took a toll as nursing turned her into almost skin and bones.

Anyway, the reason I keep putting "Ruth" in quotes is that I've renamed her "Artemis," the virgin goddess of the chase. I don't know -- I sense that the animal shelter people called her a Biblical name to reflect her grace and sacrifices. Well, I wanted to give her a new life (and fatten her up) -- and referred to virginity as, surely, nine babies is enough!

I read a few days back that Catherine changed the name of her cat Winnie to Jude. Then I read Nils say "cat: you can't just change your cat's'll set a sequence of events so vile and reprehensible into motion, irrevocably i might add, that the cosmos just may never recover"

Nils sorta spooked me...but I spoke to the shelter peeps and they said it won't matter for Artemis, The Cat Who Used To Be Ruth, because they'd only had her for two months and so the name they gave her might not have connected yet....and as she's just over a year old, she's still adaptable enough to receive a new name...

Plus, sometimes, the shelter people called her "Ruthie" and I figger if rhyme makes a diff I can always call her "Artie" (and I'll still be happy that Artie is short for Artemis) and, ANYWAY: isn't Artemis a better kitty name than Ruth?


So, today, we spent hours and don't ask how much mula at Petco and Walmart buying FOR TWO CATS AND ONE DOG: beds, blankets, carriers, toys (I confess I went overboard with the catnip toys), Xmas stockings (of course), food (dry food, wet food, and "treats"), litter boxes and litter, leashes (the cat ones have bells on them), dog and cat tags, scratching posts, puppy shampoos, cat bathmat (it's that thing that humans devised and cats probably won't use but which I nonetheless acquired that you place right outside the litter box so the kitties presumably would wipe their paws off on them before returning to rest of house), water and food bowls, fur brushes, and a partridge in a pear's enough to make one dizzy and I did get dizzy. The fact that I got moiself bath beads and new socks while shopping for them aminals didn't alleviate what it took to fill up five shopping baskets....

So, that's the scoop (from the litter box; I have been advised to use clumping litter) on SCARLET and ARTEMIS. Moi new cats!

And now: the story of the dog!

I am blissed to announce Scarlet and Artemis shall have a brother:


He comes with a Bio!

Achilles is a black and tan Brezel German Shepherd
Born October 21, 2003

Dam (Mother): Dam: V Nube vom Magisterdamm, Sch. III (Grand Sire: VA Max della Loggia dei Marcanti)

Sire (Father): VA Neptun von Bad-Boll, Sch. III (Grand Sire: VA Jeck von Noricum)

I don't have photos of Achilles through the internet, but you can see his parents at; they're the second couple in the middle of the page.

Aren't the parents gorgeous? So you can just imagine how their puppy looks; extrapolate from photos here. Perhaps something like the two in the third photo down after the header "MORE HAUS BREZEL PUPS."


Then, because Moi lives on a mountain, I'm now having deer fencing built to create a paddock for them where they'll be separated from the coyotes, big deer, a mountain lion, rattlesnakes, wild turkeys, porcupines, skunks, looooooong-eared wabbits and other wild animals.

Aaaaahhhh yes. Hermit Poetics in the making.....The Angel is preparing her h(e)aven .... stocking where her ark landed with animals (a second German Shepherd is a real possibility) .... a place where gods shall never betray -- what poems might come from such a place?

posted by EILEEN | 12:13 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2003  


Thanks for the attention Nick and Tom.

Tom, I am -- hard to believe -- almost speechless over your paragraphs; so stunned I can't even preen. Let me just say they mean much to me as I know you are a painter as well as a poet, di ba? Salamat.

posted by EILEEN | 11:00 PM


Yum Yum. The adobo party continues its crescendo towards December 8. Today: Jodie Reyes!! With his Italian version and my French appropriation, we've got European representation! (Tho I've lost track: did someone say spam adobo? And I do mean SPAM, not spam!)

And Barbara of the former Had Nothing To Say Blog (yeah, right) continues salivating over adobo (why do I sense seduction poetics lurking here, sweetie?)

But fer crissakes Tatang! Cat fucking adobo? There is indeed a story re Sophie -- or rather non-Sophie -- coming up in a brewing post. But it's not because I ate the cat -- cat pulutan? That's just plain obscene. Worse than that -- I've been meaning to chime in on earlier pinoy posts: ULO NANG ASO!!!???? (although, cackle: I do lub dat inside flip joke y'all!).


Okay. For kicks -- here's an offer: The first non-Filipino to e-mail moi that s/he knows what we Filipino bloggers have been tsismising about as regards ULO NANG ASO will get a bundle of fabulous poetry books as a prize.

posted by EILEEN | 8:12 PM


Well. Now that "great sex" is over, Moi returns online in time to field this letter from moi boy and super-dooper poet Paolo Javier. Paolo writes Mama (that's Moi to youse):

Dear Superfriendz:

I know a lot of the critics have been praising this film (for the most part), but don't be deceived--"The Last Samurai" is an offensive, orientalist nightmare. While most levelheaded people already took this for granted (Tom Cruise clad in samurai armor? & it's NOT a comedy??), I actually thought I'd give the film the benefit of the doubt, esp since the free screening I attended was offered by ACV. Well, I'm not here to state the obvious, but rather to discourage you all from supporting this film. Spend your hard-earned money on something else this Thanksgiving weekend! Just read the following CASTING CALL for the film:

"Casting beautiful Asian women for Warner Bros.' The Last Samurai PremiereAfter-party to be held in Westwood on Dec 1st.. Women will be dressed as village women from the film's wardrobe department and mingle 'in character'through the party, helping to create the ambience of ancient Japan, circa 1870's. There is no pay, but a chance to be part of this year's biggest Hollywood premiere with a guest list including Tom Cruise and the rest of The Last Samurai's fantastic cast!!

If interested please forward a picture and information ASAP to:

Cheryl Rave
Entertainment Producer
Warner Bros. Special Events
(818)954-3549 phone
(818)954-3011 fax"

(taken from the blog:

Now I don't wanna spoil "TLS" for everyone (it does a good job on its own doing that, believe me), so for those of you who are planning to see it, STOP READING HERE. For those curious to receive the gist of the plot, please read on! & get a sense of why I think the film's title ought to be changed to "AMERICA'S FIRST ASIAN FETISHIST".




1) WHITE MAN (Cruise, playing a general) slaughters a village of innocent "redmen", then, feeling guilty about his actions, looks to atone for his sins in a foreign land,

2) namely Japan. Taken captive by the samurai, he learns the Way of the Warrior, & decides he wants to be one of them. Then,

3) WM gets to live in the house of the family of the samurai leader he'd killed in battle prior to his captivity, but for some magical reason the children of the slain man take a quick liking to him. Not only that,

4) but the slain man's widow finds herself attracted to WM. To add insult to the husband's memory, the widow asks WM to wear her hubby's armor in the final climactic battle between the samurai & the emperor's army. Then,

5) WM is not only able to regain his honor on the field of battle, but also gets to enjoy the spectacle of the emperor's army falling tearfully on their knees in reverence of his heroic actions (actual scene, y'all). Oh, & in case I forget--WM is the ONLY survivor on the samurai side. Then,

6) he is able to sway the emperor away from his most trusted advisor, & to assist in the emperor's decision over the future of the land. Then, looking forward to a life of peace in the country, WM retires

7) to the village of the (now obliterated) samurai army, where he finally gets to shack up with the widow, who is overcome with joy at his return.


Now. The Angel's span is so expansive she can even be ... pragmatic. As we say in poetics: cultural capital is not agreement; it's attention. That is, I'm aware that press, even bad press, might actually increase attendance for a movie -- but Moi figures that if you are aware of the concerns in Paolo's letter, it at least may affect your reception of the movie as something that's not just entertainment...

Peace, y'all.

posted by EILEEN | 9:57 AM


Thanks to Guillermo for sharing Stephen Spender this morning. Seems timely to so many issues being discussed nowadays, like when Spender says:

"If poets are associated with madness it is because some poets have inhabited a world of their own metaphors, taking them quite literally."


From more than one blog pops up the issue of the reality of words (or lack thereof). This is a different issue, of course, from implications of appropriation...although related. But the notion of whether words have meaning is different from how speakers colonize others...


When one writes a poem from hate, it's not surprising when it's a bad poem (which is not to say a good poem is possible....of course "bad" vs "good" are terms I'ma using here simply for curatorial convenience as...uh, this is a post off-the-cuff...)


The advantage -- and disadvantage -- of opposition poetics is that the author doesn't have to think, merely react.


Common sense is that the appropriator proclaims "freedom of speech" while those being appropriated protest. What's (often) not common sense is for the former to act all aggrieved when faced with said protest -- unless one is so super-needy for attention that one no longer discriminates among various types of attention.


To love is to appropriate. But that's not the only kind of love.


I often wonder whether peeps who confuse words with physical acts aren't getting enough sex. Or enough great sex.


I should get offline as I don't get great sex online.

posted by EILEEN | 8:54 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2003  


I love moi horn. It's got a fat velvet ribbon tied up in a bow with its ends dangling off .... my new toy. TOOT.

Gads...what I do to amuse moiself...

posted by EILEEN | 2:23 PM


I forgot to note in this photo of Barry surrounded by a bevy of beauties that there's a book in front of him (gifted by poet-publisher James Meetze):

THE FREQUENCIES by Noah Eli Gordon

I highly recommend it, too! These poetry books -- along with Barry's own OPERA -- make lovely Holiday gifts, y'all!!!

And she raises her latest toy, the brass horn...

posted by EILEEN | 2:09 PM


Was it we who sparked the problem,
seeing rainbows in other folks' oil spills?
--from #32 by Rodney Koeneke

Nine million and one peeps click onto Corpsepoetics and promptly fall off their chairs from the unexpected -- and loud -- sound of a trumpet BLARING STILETTOS INTO THEIR EARS! Once said peeps crawl back onto said chairs again and cautiously and helplessly stare back onto their computer screens, they see the Long-Lashed Angel guiltily looking at them as she tries to hide the brass trumpet within the folds of her voluminous velvet skirts.

Sorry, the Angel whispers. I didn't know the trumpet would blare so loudly...

Then she perks up, eyes glittering. OH, BUT GUESS WHY I WAS TOOTING MOI OWN HORN!!!!????

Peeps sigh and shake their heads. But one besotted peep asks WHY and one is enough for the Angelic Corpse to keep tooting!

Because Rodney Koeneke just proclaimed me -- that's MOI to you! --



She raises the trumpet again but as she sees the peeps duck, she promptly lowers her hand.

Okay, more tooting. But do let me read from Rodney's proclamation! And she whips out a parchment to read his e-mail, uh, florid scrawls on antique paper as to why he designated her Mayor:

Lesley thought the Methodist minister comment was right on-target! It's funny b/c I was raised Lutheran, and the sermon was always my favorite part of the otherwise soul-dulling service--a place where the spoken word was taken seriously and revered like nowhere else in the bland suburban sprawl.

Angel looks up. Isn't that interesting? Recovering the sermonic sensibility! Rodney ain't post-avante! He's avant garde! Then she continues to share his reply to her earlier thoughts on Rouge State:

I'm happy about Tom's comment too; I think a lot about how 'non-poets' (though we're all poets there on the inside somewhere, aren't we?) will respond to my work, and to the work of other writers I admire. On that score, you can't do much better than winning a comparison to the Magic Flute, can you? And from the 'professional' poet, Ms. Wine Poetics herself, what a boost to be compared to John Yau! You'll have no trouble imagining me preening as I read it.

Hmmm, Angel thinks. Wonder what Rodney looks like when he preens...Then she blows a kiss at her peeps and sez, "I do want to share something I told Rodney -- which is that I think we're all born poets and it's the living that often leaches away that aspect of ourselves from, um, ourselves. Anyway, such leaching has certain implications about how we live our Poetry, no?"

She raises her trumpet again just to amuse herself by seeing certain peeps flinch. Okay, okay, she soothes. No more teasing. Here is a poem from the state of which I am the newly-proclaimed MAYOR!!!!

This is just one of the poems that caused Rodney Koeneke's ROUGE STATE (Pavement Saw Press) to win the 2002 Transcontinental Poetry Award!

Space, then, is time made visible by things
so that when the empire strikes back
it's at air, and hits the mustachioed subalterns
               of the preceding century
with a force that splinters our bleacher seats
in history's cramped stockade.

Just as the phallus devolves into a crocus
or a tower in which the old woman's grandchildren
might live, so does the stodgy mulatto
at last learn to swivel in the captain's chair
and insists on your presence tonight at dinner
near the bosprit, towards the wake.

Was it we who sparked the problem,
seeing rainbows in others folks' oil spills?
Or us who deserve credit
for getting the flywheel to purposefully oscillate?
Whose physics hipped the groundlings
to the city's architecture:
ships anchored snugly in the estuaries,
guns poking up at the quays?

Probably April will change us, after years
of gamma rays. The cannonades may be
less terrible; hot couples without much scruple
will tamely saunter the explanades.
It will be Sunday and people will get boozy
behind the modular barriers surrounding the Civinc Center.
We were only making literature:
               Space, then, is time made visible
                               by things.
My greatest achievement that summer
was keeping skinny, while the boulevards
were filling up with words.

posted by EILEEN | 2:06 PM


Meditations on adobo, as Sunny wily-ly points out, is not just about chicken! "Adobo -- eating it, cooking it, talking about it, thinking about it -- is also about memory, colonialism, cultural contact, consumption, family, cuisine, the senses, identity... and it's good to eat too!"

Like, Barbara writes a hay(na)ku:

most tender

simmered in
a pressure cooker.

But one can say Barbara here just encapsulated "Adobo Poetics", to wit: the poet who insists in floating in a pressure cooker is often the most tender to criticism. Or, from fire leaps up the poem. Or, from compressed coal leaks out the diamond....yadda whatever -- it's early in the morning, ya Barbara is gleefully chattering on her blog (I guess she's really inspired by eating) but, Dear, whilst I love moi San Miguel beer (the more kayumangi, the better) -- I also can drink wine with adobo. I'm WinePoetics -- I drink wine with anything since Poetry is about everything....(I sound like I'm about to sermon like a Methodist minister, but that's the story of the next post).

Speaking of simmering, did I read that right? Tatang Rhett wants to cook the Corpse? Honey, y'all don't need spices to find Moi .... uh, spicy.

Oh, and then Tatang write: "Yes, we want titillation and ecstacy, but we also want to know if you are pulling our legs and winging it." When it comes to poetry, no one can more ecstatically wing it than the Corpse! Spicy preen.

Then Jean (of course you have to become a cook! If I can do cheese and crackers, anyone can cook!) wonders whether Corinne is committing sacrilege with turkey adobo. an age of constructs; Corinne, at least, is putting her pot where her pen is!

Still, Moi is the Mistress of Desecration. No one does French Adobo better. Hah? Well (sheepish cough), that's coq au vin -- I just appropriated it into Filipino....

Anyway. But, to *get real*, we are backchanneling behind the scenes for moi old idea of an ADOBO COOK-OFF!!! We, here being Leny, Sunny and moi (anytime after Dec. 16 daw -- maybe in January after the holidays?). But, okay you Bay Area Flips -- let's chatter.

But until then, check out the first Adobo Hay(na)ku over at Leny's.

And (and this means you, too, Aimee, Michelle, Jodie, Joey, Ian, Erna of maArte and others) don't forget that on blogland (and you don't have to be Pinoy to participate) --

December 8 is Adobo Blog Party!!!!!

If you don't have a blog, you can e-mail Sunny or even Moi and we can post your offering so you can party on with the Adobo Poets!

posted by EILEEN | 8:47 AM

Monday, November 24, 2003  


Thanks to Michelle for photos of the West Coast launch for Barry Schwabsky's OPERA -- like this one with Barry and Michelle!

Then there's this one of Barry surrounded by a bevy of beauties -- oh, wait. I had to say that since I'm in this photo, too!! Preeen. I'm the one caught hiding behind Barry's back as I tried to hide my wings.

What a hoot. I love the Bay Area -- its poets gave such a warm welcome to Barry and his words. Smooches to you all!

posted by EILEEN | 8:11 PM


Moi is humming above the clouds....and now 9,000,001 peeps see her begin to scoop from the sky as she starts to paint her wings a lovely sunlit blue....

She pauses to look at her peeps -- I'm sure you all want to know why I'm purrrrring this morning! Diplomatically, her peeps stifle their sighs and ask: OKAY. WHY?

Flutter long lashes as she preeeeeeens.



OPERA: POEMS 1981-2002
104 PAGES. $14.

Dazzling modulations of phrase and tone mark the twenty-plus years of poetry gathered in this collection of work by art critic and frequent Bookforum contributor Barry Schwabsky. In lines immediate, musical, and moving, Schwabsky's offhand, elliptical precision amounts to a kind of intimate postmodern speech. These are poems lavish with perception, often forming whole poems within poems: "Our pleasure is an imitation / of two people kissing / in the park. And in that dark hemisphere / it's never too late to fool yourself." Opera find spectacles of desire in the quietest corners of our lives. In "Songs for a Light Sleeper," Schwabsky speaks with a lyricism so quietly incantatory that one can imagine his words catching the ear of a precursor, Hart Crane, somewhere in Elysium:

Fictions of wind
the uncreated shadow
down this street

all eyes rimmed
with darkness
which is no possession

requires eloquence
another burnished summer
brush on my cheek

But no cadence can dissolve death, even in a book called Opera. And as Schwabsky cautions, "once you start writing elegies you'll never see the end of them." Still, the closing poems are resonant with a depth that belies their casual air. Despite their discretion they confirm: This collection is a work of burning words.
--Joseph Donahue

posted by EILEEN | 9:26 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2003  


Peep awake on couch has some helpful (Nov. 21) posts on my earlier muttering about how silence might be political or poetically-social. Interesting and stimulating thoughts in the various passages you kindly took the care and time to cite. Thanks for sharing.

posted by EILEEN | 11:48 PM


Adobo is of the hand-made life
The sticky juice of pungent cloves
Clings for days
Clings to your hair and collar
To your pillow and sheets
Carries over into your dreams
Of Home.
--from "The Power of Adobo" by Leny M. Strobel

Sunny invites y'all to an ADOBO PARTY!!!!

December 8 daw ang deadline, y'all.

Sunny and I have a dream of someday doing an Adobo tasting party here in the Bay Area. Someday -- cause sooner or later, we gotta get real and *colonize* naman yun fictional constructions, di ba? I mean, I can't think of a more useless poem than a food poem -- let alone adobo poem -- if you don't end up wrapping physically as well as literally your lips around that succulent meat, licking, biting, chewing....swallowing! If you have never gotten your chin greasy on adobo, don't even expect that poem to resonate!

Sage and poet Al Robles once told me, the best way to get poets to unite is to eat together.

Hmmmm....Manong Al, of course, would be the first to say eating together would go a long ways to solving mucho differences, whether or not we're talking pinoys and/or poetry. So: _______ and _______ (and as many ________s as wanna join), anytime y'all want to eat together, I'll cook (or not cook, whatever).

And where's the San Miguel....?! I'ma ready to toast MABUHAY!

posted by EILEEN | 5:47 PM


Delighted to see Kasey's report on the Mytili Jagannathan and Rodney Koeneke. This was an enjoyable introduction (for me) to Mytili's work -- I don't have much to add to what Kasey said, except that I particularly adored her poem referencing the movie "Kama Sutra." I remember seeing that experience and just floating about on a silken river of colors, colors, colors! Every so often, I also felt myself floating on pleasure, listening to Mytili.

I also was purring during Rodney's reading of poems from his wonderful first book Rouge State. I am glad he wore a white shirt and a pair of black pants as it fit his non-bombastic style of reading which -- though it may not have been what he intended -- reminded me of my childhood Methodist minister sermoning at church. What is a hoot, of course, is how the presentation style contrasted with the narrative nonsense of Rodney's poems. I use "nonsense" only to stress what I thought were poems made of pure music.

I want to digress to share a rare reaction by the hubby -- a rare reaction for Tom rarely goes to poetry readings (for a long reason, partly related to some, um, rather egregious readings I used to drag him to when I was a neophyte poet trying to explore what this poetry world is about). Anyway, to Rodney and Mytili's reading, he -- as is his wont with poetry readings -- surreptitiously brought a book to read in case he got bored. He didn't open it at all. In fact, Tom had this to say about Rodney:

"Reminded me of Mozart and The Magic Flute ... yes, not straight narrative but still accessible because he made it fun ... a real pro ... unexpected, not the usual blah blah..."

Good enough for me! Here's a sample of Rodney's "not the usual blah blah" poems:

I have collected brown envelopes from P.O. boxes,
Taught square dance at the local Sunday school
I have built a chocolate ziggurat of oafter dinner mints
And snacked my way to its dark, funereral bowels.

I have entertained a taste for Nembutal
And find it weaker stimulant than sound Welsh tea.
I have indulged a secret lust for tummy tucks
Then banged up my body like an unclaimed airport bag.

My foyer is dark with pink and womb-like silks.
Beneath this heavy sweater, I can't breathe.
I resolve to make an ending. I politely decline to begin.
Double yet sterile; beginning, I end.


An unexpected bonus to the experience of hearing and seeing Rodney read was to hearken back to the memory I identify as my turning point from being a fiction writer to poet. This was when I stumbled across John Yau's poem "Conversation at Midnight" in the American Poetry Review (long before I met John). I read John's poem -- how it subverted meaning but only to make the words seem more pure through other qualities like sound and rhythm. Rodney's poems offered me a similar experience -- pure music...thus musical integrity.

posted by EILEEN | 1:33 PM


It's all so (sadly) predictable -- poetics, human nature. When one is feeling defensive, it's difficult to listen.

And when one wants to be on the defensive -- particularly when feeling embattled is to relish the receipt of much attention -- it's difficult to listen.

And the tactics, too, are predictable. This whole Whatever problems you have, I have problems, too. So predictable I just need to do a reprise from a recent post:

From my Nov. 19 post: "I am reminded of Japanese American poet David Mura's point that when he talks about the racism he has encountered as an Asian American or Japanese American male, a respondent would say something like, "Oh, I know exactly what you mean and can relate to how awful you must feel! For example, when I ______ [fill in the blank here on some sort of abuse [now I would add anguish] said respondent may have experienced]" -- a strategy that, without dismissing whatever abuse or anguish that respondent experienced, allows for not addressing directly Mura's raised issue on Japanese-Americans' problematic history in the U.S."


What blissful relief to see this and this. Enforced parts of my history: the use of "Filipina" in a Greek dictionary to define "maid"; the use of "monkey" to describe a half-Filipino/half-African American boy; the use of "Filipino" to define "pedophile..." it can go on...and these are examples from people who weren't necessarily *intending* anything awful, but nonetheless....


A time for everything. A time, indeed, to be silent? Be silenced? Can you just shut up and listen?


Are you strong enough to shut up? Are you a good enough poet to know when form must equal content and, thus, be silent?


When someone mentions an issue, there is an issue here to be addressed and that issue may not just be a means for you to talk about yourself.


The paradox is that when an issue is raised that affects one's poetry practice, it's difficult for people to listen and not just dig in to defend their style of poetry....when, if anything indeed should be fluid, it should be Poetry.


Sometimes, when one is mired in opposition poetics, a poet ironically ends up exacerbating his/her victimhood by wallowing in such. To be informed by opposition is not the same as to be formed by opposition.


To be informed by opposition is not the same as to be formed by opposition. This, for example, is why I -- as someone interested in the effects of colonialism -- write ekphrastically, Love Poems, food poems, beauty of sunset poems.


From my background of engagement in the Asian American literary movement, I am aware of the tension between autobiography and aesthetics, particularly when the former is of the type that lends itself to easy(ier) consummation via what's considered exotic or politically correct, etc. My eye, therefore, often goes dubious when I see certain Asian American poets make a big deal about their family backgrounds in their poems and bios. This, though, is difficult to straddle as I must also try to be aware of when my skepticism might prevent me from listening to those stories.


Shall we look at things from the standpoint of energy-generation? One can burn oil to create electricity. To create electricity is a good result, but unless one includes pollution-control mechanisms in the oil-burning equipment, one also ends up polluting the air. It's okay to rely on imagination for making poems, poems being the good result. But if the poet doesn't care about responsibility (not at all the same thing as censorship, mind you), the poet often ends up also creating pollution.


Pollution only ends up being subjective -- i.e. one person's pollution is another person's work of art -- if one believes Poetry is mere words.

posted by EILEEN | 11:52 AM


Saturday dinner. Coq au vin for 17 people, including stellar young artists Stella Lai and Chris Oliveria. With the latter's help, the former installed DO NOT TOUCH ME on my walls; the installation is comprised of those words spelled out by teeeeeeny Che-Che masks. That's the kind of graffiti I liked. Afterwards, dinner. The wines -- yes, yes you grumpy oenophiles who think I've been ignoring you, this post is for youse:

1996 Chartron et Trebachet Chevalier Montrachet Clos des Chevaliers
1996 Bacio Divino
(Napa Valley Super Tuscan blend of cabernet, sangiovese, petite syrah, merlot and cabernet franc)
1995 Henschke Mont Adelstone Shiraz
1991 Barca Vehla
1994 Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris Vendage Tardive
1976 Adolf Rhinehardt Ockfener Bockstein

Afterwards, 1985 Grahams port with cigars. Life is good. Did I even mention I cooked the coq?

posted by EILEEN | 12:39 AM

Saturday, November 22, 2003  


Jodie Reyes offers an interesting examination of poetry, using economics. In particular, what caught this former economist's eye (oh, yah: I've done that, too -- I don't just write Whitman-like; I live Whitman-like) is this excerpt:

The thing is, different languages have different demand curves. The demand curve for, say, French or German poetry is much higher than the demand curve for, say, Filipino or Tibetan poetry.

Jodie's discussion focused on translations. I'm thinking, now, not on translations but more generally as regards Poetry. The "demand curve" concept is a great metaphor for moi point -- which more poet peeps should understand -- that poetry is not about competition (no fixed supply and demand). If anything, the more wonderful poems are written, the more demand there is for poems, or the demand curve rises.

Until I read Jodie's post, I hadn't thought of the demand curve aspect to Poetry -- which seems to me just another way of proving the karmic nature of Poetry. For instance, the more you draw attention to other people's wonderful work, the more attention inevitably will return to your own poems....because the demand curve rises.

So, for positive energy for Poetry -- lift that demand curve! -- here's Moi praising *another* poet (though all I really want to do is pat my own lovely shoulders), Jodie's reflections on Jose Garcia Villa:

Check out Jodie Reyes' fabulous "VILLA,NELLE" inspired by Jose Garcia Villa, as well as his very useful essay about how he came to write the poem -- specifically the incorporation of Villa's two conventions for which he had become (at one point) famous: the reversed consonance and the comma. (And, teachers: Jodie's presentation, too, may be helpful for students.)

posted by EILEEN | 12:06 PM

Friday, November 21, 2003  


Has Moi been overly talkative today?

But you've been riveted, right?

Well, it's partly to distract myself from having been unnerved by two forays into pet stores today. I thought I'd shop for those thingies -- you know, those trays that cats pee in -- in anticipation of, hopefully, passing the interview with Sophie tomorrow (Sophie's the kitty at the animal shelter who's going to interview moi to see if she wants to go home with my wings). But, geeeeeeez, all those accouterments -- I don't recall any of those rhinestoned collars or polka-dotted mouse toys or catnip-stuffed abstract stuffed animals et al ever existing 30 years ago when I had a cat! I got dizzy...then started being chased by the store owner's blind 16-year-old dog who wanted to hump my leg or something. I unfurled and flew out of the store! Well, I'll try again tomorrow...

But whilst I'm on, may I just say to you pinoy poets posting your hay(na)ku -- you do know that I ain't fluent in Tagalog, right? I'ma just saying....having said that, I have Faith! Leny that your Tagalog hay(na)ku is absolutely brilliant!

But, hey: a new Hay(na)ku poet!! Corinne Domingo and check out hers entitled "what he said"! Good (and pungent) one, Sweetie!

Okay, I got Mail Order Brides and Two Poets to attend to....have a good evening.

Oh behalf of Barry and Moi, thank you for your support, Chris!

posted by EILEEN | 5:34 PM


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posted by EILEEN | 4:14 PM


Moi God!
Do you mean

cheeks could
have been sugar-sanded!?

Lovely Face
"Raggedy and Raw"!?

Aimee! Ay, naku!! I mean, Hay(na)ku! Unnerved wingtips pats at her cheeks until, feeling their unchanged softness, the wings are soothed...

posted by EILEEN | 3:51 PM


Like, how can silence be political? Or, when we're talking about Poetry, how can silence be social? (I am not positing anything; I am sincerely questioning because I don't know the answers.)

Thus, I liked seeing this helpful post on GENDER today from kari edwards.

I also am looking forward to hearing this evening during:

Koeneke & Jagannathan @ SPT

FRIDAY, NOV. 21st, 7:30 p.m.
Timken Lecture Hall, CCA (formerly California College of Arts and Crafts)
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco (just off the intersection of 16th and Wisconsin)
$5–$10 sliding scale, free to SPT members
See for more details.

MYTILI JAGANNATHAN was selected for a Pew Fellowship in 2002; her work has appeared in Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics, Combo, Interlope, and Mirage; and is forthcoming in the anthology Cities of Chance: An Anthology of New Poetry from the United States and Brazil. She joins us from Philadelphia in celebration of the publication of her new chapbook ACTS by David Hadbawnik's habenicht press.

RODNEY KOENEKE was born in Omaha in 1968 and grew up in Tucson and Los Angeles. He’s lived in or about San Francisco since 1986. He has published a book of history, Empires of the Mind: I.A. Richards and Basic English in China, 1929–1979 (Stanford UP, 2003); Rouge State is his first full-length poetry collection.

posted by EILEEN | 12:14 PM


Young Gun Poet and children's book author Tony Robles saw something at St. Patricks that amused him. So he wrote a poem about it. Then he sent the poem to Moi. Then Moi posts it below because, yah, it's a tickle!

Huh. Subtext -- so when some of moi peeps think of desecration, they think of me....why is that?

Regardless, the poem is a hoot -- and there certainly are a heck of a lot more subtexts in this poem than moi attempt just now to make the history of colonialism, immigrant and diasporic suffering, homelessness, religious hypocrisy, poverty and so on all about me (lovely -- preeen -- though Moi may be):

Holy Water
by Tony Robles

The church has
stood for nearly
a century

Its bricks have

Bricks held together
by a mixture of
straw, bone and

The elderly attend

Business folks, working
class folks drop in
during the course
of the day

Walking by one afternoon,
i witnessed the

utter blasphemy
of the
worst kind

A manong
with a baseball
cap pushing
a shopping basket

with grace and
no shame

walked up
to the front of
the church

unzipped his
pants and urinated
on the wall

walked by

some looked,
some pretended not
to notice

The manong
was oblivious

The sun was
out and a homeless
man nearby sat on
the ground next to

an empty
cup of

I walked


posted by EILEEN | 11:49 AM


Tatang Rhett is doing wonderful things ala dialogue with the hay(na)ku form, while its fever still simmers on As-Is!

Rhett, for your innovative work, I hereby designate you the December featured poet at Meritage Press's "Babaylan Speaks" column! We'll talk!

Meanwhile, as I adore kari edwards and I adore Michelle Bautista, I adore seeing Michelle guest on kari's transdada blog! Here's an excerpt from Michelle's essay on "Gender and Pronouns in the Philippines," referencing the Filipino martial arts form of kali:

The kali itself stresses that all people contain male and female energy and that we must really be both regardless of physical named gender. It's the understanding of how these energies blend, integrate and work together that make it so powerful an art.

All these Pin@y good vibes helps alleviate one of my residual discomforts from last night. I was at a posh dinner. Sat next to an 80-year-old woman. It was clear she had some problems "socializing" with me, though she acted nice. Finally, she JUST HAD TO TELL ME: her maid is Filipina.

Well, so of course off I went on a discourse on economic development issues in the Philippines that has resulted partly in the "brain drain" as well as the growth of the overseas domestic worker industry .... when what I really wanted to share -- but couldn't because it's a secret -- is how Filipinos have a grand master plan to take over the universe and the domestic workers are the front-line of that army....

*"NPA," of course, means "New Poets Army...." what did youse (and you know who youse are) think I mean?

posted by EILEEN | 9:06 AM

Thursday, November 20, 2003  


"Basil King's art has taken a different path since his student days," writes poet-art critic Vincent Katz. While his first love was abstract expressionism, he has forged a rugged independent surrealism. "King makes use of a free reference to human physiognomy ... allowing the emotional and formal valences to take precedence," Katz writes.
--from a Marsh Hawk Press press release

What a bounty in today's mail! I LOVE LOVE LOVE receiving poems! First, three books from Stephen Vincent :

WALKING by Stephen Vincent (Junction Press, 1983)
BY LINGUAL WHOLES by Victor Hernandez Cruz (Momo's Press, 1982)
THE POETRY READING: A CONTEMPORARY COMPENDIUM ON LANGUAGE & PERFORMANCE edited by Stephen Vincent & Ellen Zweig (Momo's Press, 1981)

Thanks Stephen! I'll have more to say on these wonderful works later.

Basil King also sent me his latest publication, MIRAGE: A POEM IN 22 SECTIONS -- a seminal work as it completes his "MIRAGE project" which previously was reflected in three other books: THE COMPLETE MINIATURES (Stop Press, 1997), DEVOTIONS (Stop Press, 1997) and WARP SPASM (Spuyten Duyvil, 2001).

As with the books Stephen sent, I'll write more on MIRAGE later as Ms. Winepoetics is exhausted, having just returned from a five-course wine-tasting dinner where the wines didn't really knit (ugh!). But, for now, here is a sample from MIRAGE , a collection of poems and memoir...this makes me weepy:


Frank O'Hara, 1926-1966

Dear Frank,
The last time I saw you you'd come to my studio in the Anderson Theater and we'd crossed the street to my apartment at 57 Second Avenue. You, Martha and I had dinner, and afterwards, sitting in a chair with a drink, hyou said you were going to Fire Island for a few days. That when you returned -- you gave me a date -- I was to be sure to phone you at the museum. You said what I was doing in the studio was going to take a long time. That I shouldn't have to worry about Martha and the girls. It was my job to devote myself to the work -- and that it was time to find monies for me. That I wasn't to worry.

I walked into the lobby of 57 Second and coming out of the elevator were Joe LeSueur, Frank Lima and Sheila -- all crying. They saw me and one of them said, "Frank is dead."

Frank, we moved to Brooklyn just before Thanksgiving, 1969. Martha and I still live in the same house. Except for a teaching stint in Michigan lasting two years and one summer, we have never been away from New York for more than a month. You were right. It took a long time. Since 1985, I've also been writing Poems called ":A Painter's Bestiary." Poems about other painters' work. I think you'd appreciate them. Martha and I were in Manhattan last night to see our daughter Hetty dance. Some things do feel concrete. Some things are. On this big table are ten sketches in preparation for a self-portrait, drawings of Jacks for the card series, and many small paintings for the "Mirage."

Frank, some things haven't changed. They've gone backwards. Roi's photograph was in the New York Times the other day. He was on the steps of Newark's City Hall demanding a civilian review board because of police shootings of teenagers.

We saw Esteban and Harriet Vicente last month. Esteban is painting -- painting his way to heaven. Oh Frank, I think of Henvy V telling his Catherine, "We are the makers of manners." Of manners -- you, Frank,...

posted by EILEEN | 11:24 PM


Sweetie Aimee suggests through the As/Is Blog that I scrub moi lovely face with tangerines!

Complexion tips on poetry blogland!

Poetry! What a wonderfully expansive expanse you offer!


And, yes, Li -- I love the duck/pate analogy for meeting writers in person. Here's another hoot of an excerpt from Margaret Atwood's NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING (Anchor Books):

"A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures," says Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray, puncturing the early-Romantic great-poet idea by taking it to its logical conclusion -- the logical conclusion being that if poetry is self-expression and a great poet puts the good stuff in himself into his work, there's not much of him left over for his life. "The mere fact of having published a second-rate book of sonnets makes a man quite irrestible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize."

Of course, as someone who lives greatly as well as writes greatly, I don't necessarily agree with the above. But Moi do plan to remember this excerpt whenever I inexplicably lapse in the future and write an egregious poem. Flutter long lashes...


Flutter long lashes again! Rhett! I am so honored! Check out his new Hay(na)ku blog, please. Naturally, a poem blog can only be uplifted by poems dedicated to or about Moi:

The Fallen Angel
by Rhett Pascual


what did
I tell you
................................................she's the
................................................fallen angel savant

angel savant
a great avant

................................................feels like
................................................a post avant

go with
me on this

................................................then are
.................................................the people's hero


Speaking of "pin@ys," Barbara Jane Reyes points you to a New York book launch for NOT HOME, BUT HERE: WRITING FROM THE FILIPINO DIASPORA, ed. Luisa Igloria (Anvil, 2003). One of my WinePoetics essays is in this anthology, though I won't be at the launch. I hope this book doesn't end up being one of those publications that publish me but don't send me a contributor's copy. (Barbara, do you have your copy yet and how'd ya get it?).

posted by EILEEN | 10:29 AM


Red Eyes. I'm blubbering this morning.

Why? Nine million and one peeps ask. Coz lookit what Sweetie Michelle Bautista wrote about Sweetie Barry Schwabsky's OPERA over at the Gura Blog! Thanks Michelle -- when a poem inspires another poem, that's Poetry continuing to work its magic....!

Here's an excerpt of Michelle's lovely poem:

ride. ride. read. ride.
resist. read. rose. rose.
red. rose. read. red. reread.
Hold on.

pleasure is the new pain. clenched. water, sugar, tea,
rose petals fall. Like holding your breath. like poems
never written. like wishes that come true. like lungs
boiling black tea. like secrets of birth. you asked me
to stay.

posted by EILEEN | 9:52 AM


There's an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine -- "Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pate."
--Margaret Atwood

I relished almost every word in Margaret Atwood's NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING (Anchor Books).

Here's an excerpt:

Back in 1972, I did a one-person poetry-reading tour the length of the Ottawa River Valley. This was then a somewhat remote area and not thickly strewn with bookstores; I went by bus, carted my own books with me to sell -- I was good at making change, having once worked at a sports-equipment fair -- and at one stage I hauled these books around behind me on a toboggan, due to a flash blizzard. In the four small towns I visited, I was the first poet to appear within living memory, or possibly ever. The readings were packed, not because people loved either poetry or me, but because they'd already seen that week's movie. The two best questions I got asked were, "Is your hair really like that or do you get it done?" and "How much money do you make?" Neither of these were hostile questions. Both were pertinent.

posted by EILEEN | 12:01 AM

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  


How to address the very basic tension between

--those who believe in the fluidity (or impurity) of language (and identity)


--the fact that words must contain (specific or mutually-agreed-upon) meanings for "Others" -- and especially the previously ignored, dispossessed, silenced and abused -- in order for said Others to obviate their silencing -- to, indeed, *Talk Story*?

Culture is abstract but also specific. Problems are specific. I am reminded of Japanese American poet David Mura's point that when he talks about the racism he has encountered as an Asian American or Japanese American male, a respondent would say something like, "Oh, I know exactly what you mean and can relate to how awful you must feel!  For example, when I ______ [fill in the blank here on some sort of abuse said said respondent may have experienced]" -- a strategy that, without dismissing whatever abuse that respondent experienced, allows for not addressing directly Mura's raised issue on Japanese-Americans' problematic history in the U.S.


This issue is linked, too, to the inherent narcissism (notwithstanding its other merits) in appropriation poetics.

posted by EILEEN | 8:58 PM


Garlic, lots of garlic
Will scare off the aswang
Who would spin a curse
On a newborn
On a young virgin
On the other woman
But such nonsense
Mother said, is only for fools.
--from "The Power of Adobo" by Leny M. Strobel

Clap, wingtips clap! She pauses her morning blog jog to applaud: Rhett: you go you hay(na)ku master!

Then, she continues jogging and pauses before another blog to note: Decolonialism scholar and poet (yes you are!) Leny M. Strobel (whose adobo poem is fast becoming a classic among foodies) writes,

I realize I still don't like tooting my own horn. Maybe it's because "ang Pilipino hindi nagbibilang" (Filipinos don't always want/need to keep track of who is doing what for whom; we just do without thinking of being recompensed for it), according to MC Canlas.

In doing so, Dr. Strobel reveals one of the subtexts to why I continually preeeen on moi blog.

So I preen not just because I'm vain (though enchantingly so, don't you think?). I preen because I am a decolonized Filipino!

Gads. I'ma so deep.

Black wings cross across her chest so that wingtips can pat both shoulders....even as the angels overhead snort....whilst one angel can be heard whispering to the others, "Maybe she should stop writing posts before her first cup of coffee...."

posted by EILEEN | 8:34 AM


A soul drenched in the milk of marble
goes through the floor of an evening
that rides lost on a naked virgin
It gains power over the dull man:
It is a soul sucked by lepers

What liquid hour shall river
its song on my cat
with the neck of all space?
--from "Plumage of Recognition" by Philip Lamantia

I interview Sophie -- uh, excuse me, Sophie interviews me -- this Saturday to see if she'll want to come home with me. Sophie is a one-and-a-half-year-old cat. I haven't had a pet in about 30 years. But now that I live on a mountain, I figure....and so made an appointment at the local animal shelter.

I'm actually sort of nervous. All I can think of at the moment on this furry topic is a story I recently read somewhere....something about the difference between dogs' and cats' tongues. To wit:

A dog licks you if said dog likes you.

A cat licks you if you taste good.

Then, what with my wings, don't you think a cat will think me a gigantic bird? Forget the licking -- maybe a cat would consider me a perpetual Thanksgiving turkey dinner and just want to chew on me year-round? My delicate skin scars easily, you know....and my concern is obviously shared by the other angels, some of whom are now hissing, thereby showing fearsomely sharp-tipped teeth, at me ....

She licks a wingtip. Pretty yummy, she thinks. But is that good as regards Sophie the Cat?

posted by EILEEN | 12:01 AM

Tuesday, November 18, 2003  


am lovely.
Most writers aren't.
--"Self-promotional Hay(na)ku" by Tom Beckett

As-Is! And Mark Young, Joseph Garver, Sweetie Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Tom Beckett continue the hay(na)ku fever! All that's enough to uplift me despite Parking Ticket Poetics! (Particularly since I find myself rather sucky at this hay(na)ku form, notwithstanding having concocted it with Richard Brautigan's and Jack Kerouac's help -- Thanks for the shout-out, Tatang Rhett, but the form wasn't cooked from just from the Flips Listserve...and, hey, the involvement of these American poets -- seems apt since it's a Filipino but "diasporic" form.)

Anyway. What? "Parking Ticket Poetics", youse ask? Well, Moi explains: I, quite aggravated and itchy, had to mail $35 today to the Department of Motor Vehicles Etcetera Department. Coz I apparently parked my car last week at a street in San Francisco when said street was due for its regular street cleaning.

Now, the signs on each street specify street cleaning times so that peeps won't park during those times. Obviously, I misread that sign. But I know why I misread that sign! Because rather than seeing that sign's words, I was seeing the text of a poem-in-progress dangling before my mind's eyes!

Damned poem!

This happens to other poets, right? Like -- you're in the thrall of a poem and it sorta takes over until you finally vomit it out resolved (or not resolved) on paper?

Huh. Although. $35 is pretty cheap for the price this particular poem cost me. You should see the other costs I've had to _______ well, never mind: a story for another post someday! Must go offline to, you got it, scrutinize moi wine cellar for the next bottle....!


Oh, but wait. One more thing: Chad wants to know if we've met before. Sweetie (and if you read this blog, you risk being called "Sweetie"), if you've met me, you would remember as I am drop-dead ("corpse", get it?) gorgeous. Just ask -- uh, lessee: who should I pick, she thinks, fluttering her lashes -- Guillermo and he'll tell you just how lovely I am!

Okay, on that note, I can go.... oh wait again. Just as I was going to post-and-leave, poet and oenophile Rena Rosenwasser e-mails the following below. If only as a Kelsey Street Board Member, I certainly must repeat it below (I've mentioned this in a prior post but it's worth repeating!):

On behalf of Kelsey St. Press and the entire Board:

We urge all residents of California who support maintaining the California Arts Council to please consider purchasing an Arts License Plate.

You can sign up on-line at

Right now due to slashes in the state arts budget, some of the only revenues going towards the arts are from the purchases of Arts License Plates.  For $30* you can have a Wayne Thibaud designed plate for your car.  You will also be actively supporting the state's commitment to literature, dance, music and the visual arts.  Without the CAC's presence small presses like ourselves would cease to exist.  This is a critical time for all of us to show our support of the arts.

Please forward this message to reach as wide an audience as possible.

* Dang. To think my parking ticket would have more than covered Wayne Thiebaud!

posted by EILEEN | 8:45 PM


Yesterday: physical therapy on my back. At one point, burning stones heaped against my shoulder blades. The very air on fire....

Nobody ever talks about the debilitating toll taken by wings -- heavy muscled wings -- when borne by human shoulders. To be a fallen angel, of course, is to be transrace: neither angel or human but a combination of both.

Transcreature, trance-creature, trance-ndence....

Of course: when I say I fly, I mean, I am writing poems.

So, I am one chapter away from completing the book for which the "100" poems at Gasps had provided footnotes. Its latest working title:


Yes, a critic would label it "mixed genre." I call it all --all of it! -- a "poem."

Okay. Interested publishers, line up on the left. A long line, no doubt, for this *experimental work*. Yeah, right: long line: wingtip smacks air! Okay, I'ma gonna brew up a publisher from moi cauldron! O come to me...

Flap, flap! And off she goes with a hum under her breath for her poems conjure ... and a mending wing carefully cradled against her lovely breasts....

posted by EILEEN | 10:29 AM


There's a strain of hay(na)ku fever running through that "crazy place" As-Is! Latest are Michael Bogue and my latest link Harry Stammer! Preeeeeeen: moi form is catching! Don't ever let anyone tell you moi never, uh, extended poetic legacy! (Wingtip smack: you are so full of ....)

But Michael, Sweetie, this ain't one:

Writer's write

A hay(na)ku is comprised of

Two words
Three (3) words

Here's my excremental hay(na)ku -- a sequence:

learn how
to count shit!

the way
Michael and Harry

you know
birds have penises?

Okay. So, believe it or not, I just realized that birds have penises so I thought....I'd share that with y'all nine million peeps!

Ugh. Late night. Methinks I need a cup of coffee...

posted by EILEEN | 8:09 AM

Monday, November 17, 2003  


penis on a bird

posted by EILEEN | 8:40 AM

Saturday, November 15, 2003  


Here is the seed of all resistance. Here is its ratio:

O, the grieving vowel

zero, the mouth of astonishment

In a word, the uncanny reflection of an unfinished world.
--from "The Emergency" by Andrew Joron

Reading -- and highly recommend -- Andrew Joron's new book, FATHOM (Black Square Editions, 2003). Andrew's tour de force opens with a poetics statement....and said structure reminds me that I need to write such a poetics statement, too, for my next book to come out from Marsh Hawk Press. My book's title will be I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED. The poetics statement I am reminded to write will explain why the biggest mistake I have ever made as a person and as a poet is to have "married" Poetry.


While I was recently in New York, a poet called me a "Muse." (Specifically a Muse "deus ex machina.") I detest any truth in this characterization. I loathe this role whose nature makes me betray myself.


The title poem is like many in Andrew's latest collection for being wonderfully cerebral and evocative -- offering a night music like the sound of glass shattering in some distance, and yet generating a sort of trembling whose strands include a deliciousness in shivering. Here is an excerpt from "Fathom":

"The face of the Other who refuses to wake
Resembles a clock.

That entry was lost, that was the entrance
To this Time of writing--

               where the eyes of effacement were hoarded."


I negate this post for it negates me. But I won’t delete it. I retain it to remind myself…

posted by EILEEN | 11:26 PM

Friday, November 14, 2003  


peeps of
the world unite!
--"Hay(na)ku Manifesto for Eileen Tabios" by Tom Beckett

OH MOI GOD!!!! I mean, AY NAKU!!!

Thomas Fink and Tom Beckett are posting hay(na)ku on As/Is!!!!

Long lashes dampen as she sniffles. Such sweeties y'all are.

Salamat! I feel so honored I don't even mind that seeing your hay(na)ku on the screen startled me offa my chair and I'm now rubbing my sore ass from falling to the floor!

After that! Moi? Grumpy?


posted by EILEEN | 4:44 PM


Durian is a fruit: a big, green thorny fruit. But wait, it is not just another exotic and expensive fruit from South East Asia. In fact, it is considered "King of the Fruit" throughout the region. Personally, I think that is an understatement of the millenium since we Asian are humble people. In fact, the actual status of Durian is "THE GOD OF ALL FRUIT!". No kidding! Yeah, yeah, I know, some (unadventurous) people would rather die than to smell the STINK of a durian.
--from Durian Online (DOL)

The world's greatest musician happens to live in the Philippines: Jose "Joey" Ayala. His fans call him "Joey Ayala" but I like calling him "Jose" as it's more grown-up and -- though don't trust moi memory on this -- I believe he and I once had a conversation where we mutually agreed we should both grow up. Uh, I hope he's doing better than I am on this goal...

Anyway, Jose -- the only poet I know to poeticize stinky-smelling but sweet-tasting durian (okay: who's got the dirty minds?) -- just began a blog and I'm mentioned in today's post!!! Da problema is he visited one of my Philippine publishers, specifically the one who's putting out my erotica any month now. Hope Jose doesn't give me a string of pinoy puns based on moi content.

Meanwhile, Leny's post on Mail Order Brides reminds me that Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery is opening an exhibition by performance/visual installation artists "Mail Order Brides" comprised of Eliza "Neneng" Barrios, Reanne "Immaculata" Estrada, and Jenifer "Baby" Wofford. The three perform as a group but also work individually. I'm not yet familiar the others but I consider Reanne Estrada to be among the most promising artists of her generation. Check them out!

I'm cutnpasting below information about M.O.B.'s exhibition opening next Friday; I hope to go there and then go hear Rodney Koenecke (just got Rouge State -- thanks Rodney!) with Mytili Jaganathan at Small Press Traffic. Scroll down also for information on their reading. Come spend next Friday eve with moi!

Mail Order Brides/M.O.B.
Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery is pleased to present "Honeymoon Suite Nothings" an exhibition of work by the Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. (Eliza "Neneng" Barrios, Reanne "Immaculata" Estrada, and Jenifer "Baby" Wofford).  The exhibition will run from November 21st through December 20th.  An artists' reception will be held on Friday, December 21st from 6-8pm.

"Honeymoon Suite Nothings" features digital prints inspired by a place that, according to Umberto Eco in Travels in Hyperreality, "the poor words with which natural human speech is provided cannot suffice to describe."  Born of the uncompromising vision of former beauty queen and avid accordion player Phyllis Madonna, the Madonna Inn is a pilgrimage for the imagination, a mental Mecca for California artists and retirees alike. It has the most uncanny ability to be at once wholesome, opulent, and debauched.  Much like the Dolphin Hotel of Haruki Murakami's "A Wild Sheep Chase" and "Dansu Dansu Dansu," the Madonna Inn suggests that our immediate realities are tentative, at best. Between the walls of each compartmentalized theme room, fantasy and reality reconcile and cease to exist as contradictory states. One suspects that the profusion of mirrors in each of the suites IS in fact a network of portals to other worlds, darker dimensions?

It is in this sovereign visual universe of Rococo cherubs and rock waterfall showers, in the spirit of double meanings and hidden realities, that the Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. hold their annual strategic planning meetings. All of the Madonna Inn tableaux were shot on 35 mm print film during one such retreat and printed as large-format digital files during an artist residency at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. are a trio of california based Filipina-American artists engaged in (wedded to) a collaborative process of cultural investigation. Eliza "Neneng" Barrios, Reanne "Immaculata" Estrada and Jenifer "Baby' Wofford have worked together since 1994, in diverse creative endeavors such as photographic psychodramas, public service posters, karaoke videos, and museum make-overs.  They have exhibited at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, and New Image Art in Los Angeles and in the Bay Area at the De Young Museum, the Triton Museum, the Luggage Store Gallery, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Art Commission Chinatown Gallery. They have completed public art projects for the San Francisco Art Commission's Market Street Art in Transit Program and a mobile video projection throughout the city of Charlotte. The Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. have also screened at various film and video festivals throughout the U.S. such as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, New York's Mix Festival and Chicks With Flicks, and Detroit's Museum of New Art.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
lizabeth oliveria gallery
49 geary street, suite 411
san francisco, ca 94108
415*229*1138 (t)
415*229*1139 (f)

FRIDAY, NOV. 21st, 7:30 p.m.
Timken Lecture Hall, CCA (formerly California College of Arts and
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco (just off the intersection of 16th and
$5-$10 sliding scale, free to SPT members
See for more details

MYTILI JAGANNATHAN was selected for a Pew Fellowship in 2002; her work has appeared in Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics, Combo, Interlope, and Mirage; and is forthcoming in the anthology "Cities of Chance: An Anthology of New Poetry from thw United States and Brazil." She joins us from Philadelphia in celebration of the publication of her new chapbook ACTS by David Hadbawnik's habenicht press.

RODNEY KOENEKE was born in Omaha in 1968 and grew up in Tucson and Los Angeles.  He's lived in or about San Francisco since 1986.  He has published a book of history, "Empires of the Mind: I.A. Richards and Basic English in China, 1929-1979" (Stanford UP, 2003);  "Rouge State" is his first full-length poetry collection.

And here are some advance words on Rodney's book!

"In Rouge State, Rodney Koeneke puts the blush back on the demotic.  His idiomatic montage is a careening screed dictated from a state of alert, all puns intended to turn the hose back on a culture run literally amuck, and whose marquee reads: Raw, Red, Rouge, Incarnadine.  Welcome to these states!"
--Michael Gizzi

"Cannily an(a)esthet(ic)izing the misogynist and orientalist phantasms that are projected onto the digital plateaux of its own prosodic bravado, this is how Naked Lunch might have turned out if it had been written by Robert Browning having a sex change operation.  There can be but one sordid bordello of this magnitude, and Koeneke has erected it squarely at the fissure where the simulacrul Middle America of Pop Warner and bubble top vans collides with a paracolonial hallucination of Eastern inscrutability inhabited by five-dollar houris and hack oud players. These elegant verses have teeth, and be warned: behind each incisor lurks a Dunciad."
--K. Silem Mohammad

posted by EILEEN | 4:28 PM


(--after “On God (En Garde),” an essay by Archie Rand)

The farmers are monitoring the sky. Rain dilutes sweetness in the grapes. Knuckles knot into themselves, mimic the knees of hundred-year-old grapevines. The cabernet hang like purple testicles. I am always fingering a bunch. Sometimes I pinch off a globe, split its skin before my lips and suck at its membrane. The farmers measure brix mathematically. I want my body to determine truth like Cezanne painted rocks instead of images. When I see the winged shadow glide over the fruit-laden fields of September’s wine country, I know better than to question how my body doubles over. How my mouth gasps. I feel blood flowing out of a creature, somewhere, felled on its path. Its last vision will be a vulture’s open beak. Sweetness, let the harvest begin under the most livid sun. “Sweetness”—perhaps I mean You, dear “God.” Lord, I am praying for life and living—I am making poems.


The above poem was first published in xStream (thanks to poet-editor Jukka!). The poem is also featured in "Definitions," a section in my latest poetry manuscript ENGLISH FLIRTS that's comprised of one-paragraph prose poems all written out a la "first draft, last draft." The poems were written in response to the "word of the day" sent to me by Merriam-Webster. For a while, I subscribed to this program so that I would use their e-mailed words as titles for new poems; the process allowed me to write poems that transcended intention or the limits of my imagination as regards the birth of new poems. Of course, in the process, I also expanded my vocabulary which is why I remain a subscriber to MW's program (though I no longer use it to generate poems) -- perhaps this is a program to recommend to your students?

posted by EILEEN | 7:28 AM

Thursday, November 13, 2003  


A Sweetie writes in with question: "you're just making up the angels and elves, right?"

Moi answer: "This is a Poetry Space, Sweetie. Nothing is fictionalized. It's all true. It's all real."

And allow moi to add: it's such a hoot watching my angels chase after the scampering elves! Oh! And there goes an angel ascending now with an elf clutching her white ankle! Watta hoot!

Holidays always arrive early for Mis. WinePoetics...and the official start this year was last night at La Table Restaurant where Dutch Henry sponsored a wine tasting dinner. The wines just keep getting better and better at this winery -- kudos to winemaker Scott Chafen -- which also presents some of the best deals in California for fine wine! Recommended from Dutch Henry as all were yummy from last night:

Chardonnay, Los Carneros, 2000
Argos Meritage, Napa Valley, 2000
Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 1999
Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2000

Make these part of your Holiday drinking! Poetry in the glass!

posted by EILEEN | 9:24 AM

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  


Blue was wings.
--from "Red" by Ted Hughes

Just finished Diane Middlebrook's biography of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath: Diane Middlebrook, Her Husband: Hughes and Plath (Viking, 2003). Made the morning turbulent.

So many ... emotions, conflicting emotions, resulting from this book.

Among them: as soon as I read the last page, I was immediately compelled to take down Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters, which, of course, are his poems about his life with Sylvia Plath. Middlebrook's work makes me read these poems with fresh eyes -- more empathetic eyes.

This morning -- and as someone who loves to tinker with the concept of color as narrative -- I'm particularly moved by the last poem in Birthday Letters, "Red." Here's an excerpt:

When you had your way finally
Our room was red. A judgement chamber.
Shut casket for gems. The carpet of blood
Patterned with darkenings, congealments.
The curtains -- ruby corduroy blood.
Sheer blood-falls from ceiling to floor.
The cushions the same. The same
Raw carmine along the window-seat.
A throbbing cell. Aztec altar -- temple.

Only the bookshelves escaped into whiteness.

Yep, I read "the bookshelves escaped into whiteness" as alluding to (poetry) books on the shelves containing redemption by offering poems alchemized from troubled experiences. But I also don't believe the poem is a rationale for making certain decisions in life. This is a conclusion I am still in the middle of making true. Which is to say, up until literally this point of writing this, as a poet I have been incredibly stupid. No need to go into details -- and certainly, this is not to say I won't be stupid in the future. But, even stupidity should be something a poet should try to make new....

"Red" ends with Hughes' meditation over what happens to be my favorite color, blue:

Everything you painted you painted white
Then splashed it with roses, defeated it,
Leaned over it, dripping roses,
Weeping roses, and more roses.
Then sometimes, among them, a little blue

Blue was better for you. Blue was wings.
Kingfisher blue silks from San Francisco
Folded your pregnancy
In crucible caresses.
Blue was your kindly spirit -- not a ghoul
But electrified, a guardian, thoughful.

In the pit of red
You hid from the bone-clinic whiteness.

But the jewel you lost was blue.

Synchronicity: there must be a reason, of course, why blue is my favorite color. Anyway, no, Mike, I haven't found my lost poem (thanks for the kind words). But it's okay. It was just another poem from a series that I think I've been whittling for far too long; I see the bone appear as white as the empty page. Time to move on....the sky today over St. Helena is seamless, sunlit blue. Time for poems where my wings shall become the only dark clouds against it....until, someday, my black wings, too, shall learn and finally lighten into


posted by EILEEN | 9:32 AM


And since I've just written on Chris Nealon and admire kari edwards, it seems appropriate to pass this on:

The New Brutalism Reading Series Presents:

kari edwards
Chris Nealon

Sunday, November 16th
7-9 PM
at 21 Grand
449 B 23rd St. Oakland
$4 cover for your thirsty maws

Please come see two fabulous Bay Area writers!

Chris Nealon’s poetry raises the lyric to an ironic ecstacy, but is no less sincere for it: “I'm misprision / I'm direct address / Apostrophe a condom / And my stomach hurts Calendula: You Flower / O Chronicle / My Emperor” (from Ecstasy Shield). Nealon was born in Long Island, New York and lived in Boston and Seattle before coming to SF to teach at UC Berkeley in 1996. He has a 2001 chapbook from Black Square Editions, Ecstasy Shield, and a 2001 book from Duke University Press called Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall. Black Square is also bringing out a book of poems, The Joyous Age, next year. He owns tons of flags and haven't illegally downloaded anything.

kari edward’s poetry plays with the fluidity of a gendered subject, creating a text where poetry, prose and hyperreality merge: “I am the night mother in the nubian eight, I am the night buoy asking to sink in the mother. I am the buoy asking to sink in the night mother” (from “a napkin ring for my silent butter”). edwards is a poet, artist and gender activist, winner of New Langton Art’s Bay Area Award in literature (2002), author of iduna, O Books (2003), a day in the life of p. , subpress collective (2002), a diary of lies - Belladonna #27 by Belladonna Books (2002), obLiqUE paRt(itON): colLABorationS, xPress(ed) (2002), and post/(pink) Scarlet Press (2000). She is also the poetry editor of I.F.G.E’s Transgender -Tapestry: a International Publication on Transgender issues. Her work has been exhibited throughout the united states, including denver art museum, new orleans contemporary art museum, university of california-san diego, and university of massachusetts - amherst. edwards’ work can also be found in Experimental Theology, Public Text 0.2., Seattle Research Institute (2003), Blood and Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard, Painted leaf Press (2000), Aufgabe, Fracture, Bombay Gin, Mirage/Period(ical), Van Gogh’s Ear, Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics, Pom2, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Narrativity,Bathhouse, The Journal of Bisexuality, Milk Magizine, Moria, Boog City, and The International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies.

posted by EILEEN | 7:59 AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  


"Look," I whispered, as the black-eyed angels blotted out a V of sky -- but even then, the melody they leave behind, isn't it a scrap of other melodies, given a new setting, and distracting us from getting back to wherever it was we heard it the first time? I can't tell if I should fight for the original, or just let go and float on new arrangements: is anyone going to be annoyed, or notice? It hurts right here, below the navel ..."
--from "The Joyous Age" by Chris Nealon

And I also enjoyed hanging out with Meritage Press author Garrett Caples during the Small Press Traffic Soiree, partly as he gave me his latest release from his Ferocious Rhino Press: an absolutely nifty limited edition chapbook featuring the title poem of Chris Nealon's forthcoming collection The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, Spring 2004). YaY! for Chris, an extremely talented poet (with whom I enjoyed sharing "exuberant and witty" repartee). Here's another excerpt from the title poem which makes me breathless in anticipation for Chris's book (just BREATHLESS!):

"I guess you could say you have to crack things open to get at the utopia inside; so that there's a rhythm to their separateness from us, whether or not we're able to step to it, and its echoes off the wall of our minute preoccupations trace the independence we so cherish in them. I'm not sure. Either way there's a whole terrain the analogy doesn't cover, where it actually owes a debt to what it can't accomplish, like a sophisticated chaos of horns purchased at the price of a childlike bass line, or the mingled senses of terror and release you get watching a flogging. Trying to describe it makes me unlike myself, but I can't stop--when you've had what I have, a deeply, demonically permissive master, there's really no option but to keep going, even if what you get from that innocence, that endless submission to the words, feels like being fucked with a peppermint stick, it hurts and makes you giggle then it hurts again...."

posted by EILEEN | 10:17 PM


I suppose that I have half-imagined
my remembrances to be fissures
through which this place makes known
the continuance of my absent friends,
as stars sometime were thought the holes
through which angelic light came shining.
--from "The Sense Record" by Jennifer Moxley

For whatever reason, I so loathed today that I took a three hour afternoon nap just to be unconscious through three hours of it.

I was so cranky that several times, I even had the thought: when I read poetics statements, I just wanna tell some poets: Oh, grow up.

(I've had that thought, too, about my own poetics statements....)

How much of this can be attributed to the fact that I'm in the middle of a new biography by Diane Middlebrook, Her Husband: Hughes and Plath -- A Marriage?

Anyway, I looked for medicine and picked up Jennifer Moxley's The Sense Record and other poems. I've heard of her but haven't read much of her poems (though she was on my very loooooong to-follow-up-on-list). I picked up my copy of her book during this weekend's Small Press Traffic soiree.

Well, okay. So I've read Jennifer Moxley and I am so so so so so so pleased that I'm back in a chirpy cheerful moooood! I am always gladdened when I read great poems by a newly-discovered poet. And these poems are beautiful for being worldly, easily fitting into their spaces, gently yet oh so keeeeeenly insightful, balanced, joyously displaying the sheer wonder of wonder... quicksilver but lip-sticked a gay red, poems with small but enchanting noses (which is to say, there isn't a single word/phrase that sticks out from the body of the poem more than it should), fraying edges of a white silk scarf, the architecture of pure white marble etching the seamless blue of a sunlit sky...Ach: you have seen clearly the ancient Helen's face...

Quite obviously, I am so positively struck by Jennifer Moxley's poems that I've gone and done become inarticulate....That's okay. I'm also healed now of today's grumpiness. Thank you, you ...

... you, whoever you are; I know nothing of Jennifer Moxley -- I didn't even know she was Steve Evans' "partner" until I read her bio in the book stating so. Well, dang, Steve: pour only the best bottles for her!

P.S. This postscript to serve primarily as Notes to Moiself, though take from it what you will: reading through The Sense Record also evoked, for me, the lucidity of Molly McQuade's (in)sight(s), the liveliness in spirit of fictionist Amanda Davis, and Barry Schwabsky's post OPERA poems. As regards the latter, granted those poems are not yet in wide circulation, forcing you all to take my word for it for now but, someday, you'll see. Okay: enough blogging; I'm off to play with the elves! The wee ones are scampering all over the place helping me prepare the home for the holidays! I love the holidays!

posted by EILEEN | 7:17 PM