Sunday, December 02, 2007


Narratives are slippery. Inside the slippage, there’s poetry.

I sat through Moby Dick, the movie, last night (while crocheting scarves for christmas give-aways). Frankly, I don’t remember reading the novel but have heard of it enough to know how it has shaped the cultural imagination of 19th century America.


There is a Prau on my bedside that tells a different sort of journey.

I recall a professor who used to chastise me for using words and concepts out of context. Right now the word ‘bricolage’ comes to mind. Is Prau a bricolage? Jean - a bricoleur?

I am not; I am a fishing woman and so I think of Prau as an ocean to fish from. This is what her abstract poetry offers to me – a water-world full of mystery, stories, and images that gives birth to other creatures and creations.

Question inside the Dream: why don’t you write poetry? Answer: I am afraid of words falling and hurting people.

But this I can do…do a collage on Prau.

There’s always mingling past present tenses. The drowned fluffing and flailing because
the sky is too thin, no tether. Pigafetta’s voyeurism and hunger making history in momentum. Poetics of geodetic control. Migration busting sacredness of the journey.
The body’s tik-tok doesn’t fit. Shifting and aching vicinities -- what did all this traveling mean? Night stammers.
Manong photographers outside the frame. What matters?

On the crossroads I don’t know how to run in place. Catatonia: in this state progress doesn’t exist. California as conveyor of forgetfulness. Crows run flagpoles to the ground. Home is what you choose to forget. This paper house I furnished with loneliness – it became beautiful, a pilgrimage to kool house. A glorious machinery of internal stimuli. In the city and garden, we are angry, indifferent and in love. Like this. Trade.

I’ve lost the connection to holy things. Space once longed for is now repellent. A demon can be your amanuensis. Before going to bed, separate. The great chain of being is a zombie calculus and erotics. I have a crushed heart. I am a story going down, falling forever into universe, eroding my lover down vortics of narrows on Wednesday, August 25, 2004. Dear so and so, why? Frequenting crosswalks, awkwardly we go, but do not linger.

Subject to sentience, the mountains across the bay disappear, framing desire from a distance. I outstrip you through the cracks of fearful foundations revealing the moment. Identities pass by aching for some taste of something to hang along the trembling seams as if it could delete or change the meaning slightly. Promises, promises, promises. Koan – the rest has been disremembered. Empty this boat.

Dear Jean,

I don’t know what I just did above. But your words that I’ve chosen came to me… beckoned by what? I do not know. As I read what I culled afterwards, I felt an affirmation, a gentleness that soothed a sad little corner of my heart that has felt abandoned by a beloved stranger. Having said that, however, what slips through that narrative is the other feeling: a wholeness unto itself.
In Prau (I don’t know why I keep typing ‘pray’) I see glimpses of stories about History: of colonialism crossing the waters, of Manongs on board praus, of their descendants learning to make peace with this crossing. Through music, art, poetry. And then there is that which remains unsaid. Perhaps it cannot be said. Are some truths about this History too horrible for recall? As we have yet to discover what would assuage the safety of recall, those memories will remain at the bottom of the ocean. I pray for the day when our bodies will be strong enough to excavate the depths and bring to the surface the stories waiting to be told. And then perhaps, we can empty the boat of memory and row it to destinies beyond.

What a pleasure and a treasure to know that poets like you can offer this to me, to us.


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