Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For Ernesto Priego's Not Even Dogs

Said: Poetry
Is like Music

Priego's jainaku
Is like Dance

The Body speaks
In these

Found myself
Following the moves

Flow, Pause,
Piroutte, Undulate, Gyrate

Different rhythm
For another meaning

As Dancing
Is Body speaking

Your Body
Speak for you?
Thank you, Ernesto, for your poetry. The poems remind me a lot of Eric Gamalinda's (before I noticed that he's blurbed this). I was surprised by the bodily resonances...maybe it takes a large dose of single-author haynakus to move my (fat) body!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Thoughts on: Bino Realuyo's The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

Post-Memorial Day confession: I found myself muttering: If You do not wage War, You don't have to memorialize the war dead. I silently gasped at my irreverence. But I felt unrepentant.

In this book, the Poet reminds us of War: also called --
Invasions, Conquests, Domination, Pillage,
Rape, Sabotage, Murder, Genocide, Betrayals

Or whatever pseudonym You want to call it --
War for Freedom, Democracy, Liberty
War to civilize, christianize

But the Poet says: This is how War feels. This is how it Scars us. This is how Pain Lingers. For Flor Contemplacion. Sarah Balabagan. A Hero-father's death refused its due Honor. Comfort women.

War prevents You from knowing that Gods Live Next Door.

You will never know these Gods.
You will never worship them
In your Failure, You become Contempt.
Contempt festers into Hatred.

The Serpent eats its own tail.
You will never know this lesson.

And the gods in whose name
You wage War
Will be Indifferent.

Denying resurrection.
Not even reincarnation.

The distance between You
and Your god will never Heal.

Try the Gods Next Door.
They might have Salve for you.
Maybe even Absolution.

Try Poetry.
As You read these poems
Remember History.

Heal Thyself.

Monday, May 29, 2006

What does it signify?: A Pinay adult film star with a Japanese moniker - Mimi Miyagi -- is running for governor in Nevada as a Republican? Is she using politics to increase her sexual capital? Or is she saying that if Italy can elect a porn star to parliament, maybe Americans will elect same in Nevada? As for her views, I wonder what she thinks of the global trafficking of women as sex slaves? Join the dialogue here:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adding Teresa Ejanda.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bec has started a "Tao Po!" column in Haruah (via Rochita).

Thoughts on poeta en san francisco

I've always been interested in the question: What does decolonization look like in other Art forms? In Poetry, it looks like poeta en san francisco.

Barb draws a map of the heart of colonialism and the not-so-faint traces of it in the City: a city filled with the bodies of the conquered -- Native peoples, Filipinos, Mexicans and other Latinos, Asians, refugees, Vietnam vets, the homeless, abused, the disenfranchised. In the Mission, South of Market, in cathedrals, in sidestreets, in ethnic enclaves of the city.

Poeta is about war in the name of nailed gods masking their patriarchal orientalist gaze. Stare at this apocalypse now and Pray. To the Diwata - she whose power has been repressed, demonized, and split into virgin-whore. She still walks this City and becomes the Mother of the cursed.

Poeta zigzags in time between past and present: colonialism and neocolonialism in the heart of a dying empire. Yes, it is dying.

Orient your gaze upon the depths of the colonial enterprise -- how it projects its own self-hatred onto the bodies of the Other.

Disorient: the gaze is returned in an-Other tongue. Baybayin, Filipino, Spanish, an invented language. This is an attempt to end the poet's obsession with war; it feels like an exorcism. An invocation of angels -- not the angels you would think of -- but the angels of the City's Others -- its immigrants, derelicts, it's non-englishers -- they turn prayers into prophecies, into incantations and warnings about what doesn't last and what remains and what returns. Disrupting religious dualisms and canonicity. The holy is unholy. The unholy is holy.

Re-Orient: with uyayi/lullabies. The body as crossroads of desire: can we recognize each other as we cross paths in the City's dark alleys? Can you offer absolution and deliverance? Offer it to him - the Man, the Patriarch who makes war, the one who baptizes in the name of the nailed god - offer him an amulet. "Build a temple from the detritus" -- to heal this Land of poison. Use your native tongue, Center yourself in his drama. Disarm. Disturb. Disorient. Re-orient in a new direction.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Upton Sinclair: It is difficult to make a man understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lola wields a phallus!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I walked 10K for FANHS-Sonoma County chapter yesterday. There were about a dozen of us from this newly-organized chapter and we raised about $3000 ($800 of that came from you -- so, thank you, dear pledgers!). The Human Race Sonoma County event is the largest of its kind in the U.S.-- yesterday, $1.1Million was raised by 10,000 walkers and runners for their favorite non-profit organization. The local FANHS chapter hopes to do better next year.

This brings me to the idea of community organizing and institution building. FANHS Sonoma County is a newly created 501-C3 nonprofit spearheaded by a group of second generation Fil Ams who were born in Sonoma County to parents who were mostly Manongs who intermarried with Mexicans and Native Americans. Since many of them are now retired, they want to devote their time to doing Oral History projects to document the presence of Filipinos in Sonoma County. Their parents were the pioneers who built the only Filipino Community Center in Sonoma County way before the 1965 FIl Am immigrants arrived in Sonoma County in droves.This Center is now an incorporated entity run by the newly arrived immigrants. FANHS wants to eventually get the Center designated as a historical cultural marker in Sonoma County. But first FANHS feels that there is a need for educational programs that would bridge the historical knowledge gap between the Manong generation and the immigrants, hence, the oral history projects.

Here's the irony: The FANHS chapter cannot hold its meetings at the Filipino Community Center without paying a rental fee of $125 each meeting(!!) because FANHS doesn't come under the umbrella of the Center. To come under the umbrella of the Center means to pay dues and be subject to its constitution and by laws.

MAny of the FANHS members are already individual dues-paying members of the Center. The creation of FANHS Sonoma County should be welcomed by the Center since FANHS is a nationally-recognized institution. For the Center to have a FANHS chapter within it is to expand its reach and horizon since local Centers tend to become ingrown over time. The Center is doing a good job of sustaining community locally but in all the years of its existence, it hasn't been linked to any national Fil Am instution -- neither NaFFaa or FANHS. So I would think that FANHS activities would be mutually beneficial to both groups.

There's a saying: Wherever you find two or three Filipinos, there is an association.. This comes from the tendency of factions to emerge whenever a group grows large enough and the maintenance and sustainability of a multitude of projects and goals can become difficult and tense. And perhaps, since we Pinoys tend to prefer harmony rather than confrontations, the recourse is to form a separate group. We have yet to learn how to form separate groups without altogether breaking ties with the group that we break away from.

In this sense, I think the money issue always serves as a convenient excuse. When the Center imposes a rental fee to FANHS meetings (because the constitution mandates it), nothing can be done until a constitutional amendment is made. What a way to create complications where there need not be! Ay sus!!

Anyway -- the walk was fun. Walkers who started to lag at the halfway marker were cheered on by taiko drummers, then by a rock and roll band, and finally at the finish line - a cajun and blues band!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thank you, Eric Gamalinda, for your gift of Beauty and Love in these poems. (via Eileen).

Poetry as Oxygen.

Poetry saved this day...this sad day.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Secret Lives of Punctuations is here!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good report from Ver about the Bulosan Symposium at the Library of Congress!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Notes from a panel discussion on Global Education
April 26, 2006

An Island Girl's Education: Felicity, Survival, Endurance, and Hope

The title of my talk is inspired by a book of poems titled Alchemies of Distance, by an SSU alumna who is not a prof at UH. Carolina Sinavaina Gabbard is a Samoan American poet, an Island girl. I would like to read an excerpt from the review of her book that I wrote for an online poetry review journal.
 Excerpt…

 Im glad to have this opportunity to look back and reflect on my global education at SSU in 1990 as a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. The degree program that I created with the three faculty members who served on my committee (one of whom is Roshni) paved the way to a path of felicity, endurance, survival and hope (if this doesn’t become clear at the end of my talk, pls ask qs during q and a). My global education began with these 3 mentors here at SSU – some of them no longer here:

 Through Larry Shinagawa, I learned that, as an MA student, I could cross-enroll at UCBerkeley and take phd level courses in Ethnic Studies; he wrote letters of recommendation so I could study with Ron Takaki, Norma Alarcon, and Carlos Munoz. I also became his teaching assistant and which eventually led to my first teaching assignment: to teach a course on Asian American Women.

 Roshni Rustomji required/mandated that I submit a portfolio of my written work that has been published in the Phil and in the US. It never occurred to me that the journalistic writing I have done amounted to much or mattered to anyone but myself but putting together this portfolio was a very affirming process – as one who comes from an island nation that was under four centuries of colonial rule, this was the first step towards the process of decolonizing myself.

 My deep abiding relationship with Roshni has continued over the years. She introduced me to the world of mythology, specially to Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of Heaven and Earth, to the surrealist painter Remedios Varo, Mirrha Katarina, and to the power of dreaming and storytelling. One of the projects we worked on together was the first anthology about the inter-ethnic encounters of people of Asian descent in the Americas (Canada, US, Caribbean, Latin America). Roshni wanted to focus on the with other non-dominant groups – a departure from the usual anthologies about minority-majority (usually white) groups.

 Joyce Chong, the third person on my committee, invited me to work with her in developing modules for an intercultural communication workshop…which we conducted together for the nonprofit community in Sonoma County.

 Additionally, I also took advantage of the free counseling program and I benefited greatly from meeting with Joaquin Sanchez where most of the time we just talked about our shared colonial history and experience, curanderismo, and Carlos Castaneda’s advice on what it means to be impeccably responsible for one’s actions.

 All my mentors introduced me to other mentors, to new opportunities to get published in academic journals and books, to academic conferences, to community-based research, and community organizing. More importantly, I was initiated into alternative ways of constructing knowledge.

 Our shared vision, passion, and commitment to communities of color and their histories and experience in the global diaspora further enhanced my relationship with these mentors. These mentors helped me understand that by linking the empowerment of communities of color in the US to the public good and to civic life – we affirm the importance of working towards a more just and equitable world.

 When I began my doctoral program at USF, I continued to teach in the AMCS department. In 1996, after graduating from my doctoral program in International and Multicultural Education, I also began to teach in the Hutchins School…and later in the Hutchins degree completion program.

 I’m glad to have had the opportunity to teach in the Hutchins Degree Completion program because the course work is intentionally designed to reflect a global perspective. As part of the teaching cohort, I was challenged to expand the boundaries of my own discipline of ethnic studies. I learned to include perspectives from the environmental and ecology movement; learned about the corporate global economy’s effects on the global South; and the global South’s response to corporate globalization. The course also required students to read about Taoism, indigenous narratives, and texts on developing integral consciousness.

 This need to listen to the different perspectives of people around the world (especially to indigenous peoples, the fourth world and the third worlds and to non-western ways of thinking and perceiving), I believe, is important to the shaping of a truly global education. In my own education, I owe a debt of gratitude to: Christian Palestinian American Edward Said’s work on Orientalism, Chicano anthropologist Renato Rosaldo’s work on re-doing anthropology, Brazilian Educator Freire’s transformative pedagogy, Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano’s satirical look at the North, Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldua’s work on mestizaje consciousness, Black British scholar Paul Gilroy’s work on postcolonial melancholia, and the many Filipino postcolonial and indigenization scholars –to name just a few of the teachers that helped me develop a critical consciousness, and a language thinking and writing about my experience as an Island girl transplanted in the North American continent.

 I am unapologetic in naming myself as a postcolonial subject even though I am equally aware that this label is more of a function of ideology than anything else, a strategic essentialism so to speak. However, postcolonial studies and related disciplines provide the dialectic reflection needed to balance the tendency of the US/West to dominate the conversation, the theorizing, and the dissemination of knowledge about the way things ought to be in the world.

 I am therefore interested in enlarging the spaces for dialogic imagination and reflection that might eventually lead us to moments of transcendence, of the loosening of rigid boundaries, and the embrace of otherness. I am interested in learning to listen to voices that I otherwise might not hear amidst the noise of advertising and of bombs falling. I am learning to be comfortable with difference and with the ability to hold the concept of ambiguity as an open-ended conversation.
 Stuart Hall, a respected media and cultural studies scholar, calls for a politics without guarantees (the way guarantees in the past have always led to the totalizing gaze, the way religion, science, and anthropology have been used to guarantee the certainty of western superiority). Hall says that in the midst of the lack of guarantees, we must practice a politics of critique informed by what is ethical and just.

 In my teaching and writing, I try to practice this advice…(end with excerpt from A Book of Her Own).

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