blind / bind / beat

In Poetry, Queer on September 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm


i fell for r. erica doyle on a friday (august 30) after reading this interview,
found out a dear friend, another amazing poet-goddess, knew her over breakfast on monday (september 2),
picked up my copy of proxy at a 7-eleven amazon locker in oakland wednesday night (september 4),
and then glistened in her presence at the poetry center in sf that thursday (september 5).

thank you, universe, for prodding / guiding / leading / bringing me closer
to another amazing queer poet of color in less than a week.


and thank you, erica. i will (be).
sort of.

Labor Day in the Bay

In 365, Food For Thought, Politics on August 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Photo1 (2)

I’m moving to Oakland next month (read: this weekend) but because of the Bay Bridge closure, it’s a little hard for me to haul my books, books and books (some clothes, furniture, maps, posters too) to the other side of the Bay.

So instead, I’m thinking of driving down the coast again, just like I did last week and the week before that. And maybe join in on the fun at the Oakland Alternative Pride (Stas and Cat from THEESATISFACTION were there too last year!) for a bit, for some anti-capitalist, queer-loving, community-building celebration of queer pride.

And then proceed to do the following: read, write, cook, sit, read some more, write some more, eat. I’ve got simple plans, but something’s amiss.

This always happens every time there’s a major U.S. holiday. Except for Christmas and New Year’s Day, I never had any context on the significance of those dates. I was grateful for the day off, or the extended weekend, but I was also that person who would work that day so everyone else in my workplace can have the day off. There would be BBQs, or potlucks, or cook-outs but I was usually indifferent. Sometimes I’d go, more often I stayed at home, doing one of the things listed in the previous paragraph. I guess one could call it a privilege because all my family and friends live in the Bay, and I could see them anytime I wanted to.

And thus my process of thinking about this holiday, the event/s that led to it, what it actually means.

So, Labor Day. According to the Department of Labor, it is a yearly national tribute to the creation of the labor movement and its dedication to the social and economic achievements of workers.

Really though, this holiday cannot sound any more ironic (almost laughable, to be honest) to me because of the current state and realities of the labor movement in the country, even in the Bay.


In 365, Pilipin@, Poetry on August 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I’ve been thinking of Ate Marie lately. Ate Marie still lives in our house in the Philippines, and she’s been there for about 22 years. My youngest sister is also 22 years old and that’s the only reason how I know the length of time she’s spent living in San Juan. Sometimes she would go back to Leyte, her homeland, and she would tell stories of traveling in these huge ships that were filled beyond capacity. Leyte is in the second biggest island of the Philippines, and my sisters and I would always pray that she’d come back safely. Sometimes she would be gone for a week. She’d see family, friends and relatives. Most of the times she stayed with us.

It was common knowledge to my middle sister and I that the youngest was her favorite. Her baby. We would come home from school sometimes and we’d find Ate Marie and my youngest sister sitting outside the house on tiny colored stools. My youngest sister would have baby powder all over her neck and chest – presko naman ng baby – we would say. We would climb the stairs up to the house, and there’d be rice and sinigang, warm and just the right kind of sour, ready on the table. The next morning at around 5:30 (or 6, if you’re me), we’d find the table laden with garlic fried rice and one of the following: longganiza, bacon, spam, hotdog or tocino and eggs. Breakfast is still my favorite meal to this day. 

One Saturday afternoon, my sisters and I were chasing each other around the house when the youngest accidentally hit a table with a glass vase on it. It broke into (not too many) pieces. We cleaned it up and no one noticed until after a few days. When my mom asked, I pointed to my youngest sister. She shook her head and said it wasn’t her. My middle sister and I looked at each other and erupted in disbelief. Ate Marie calmly said: “Babies don’t lie. Where did you put the broken pieces? I’ll throw it away so no one gets hurt.”

I came across Natasha Trethewey’s poem “Housekeeping” again today, and I thought of Ate Marie immediately. Yesterday, a mobilization was held at San Francisco City Hall in support of domestic workers. Ate Marie was hired help for our family (my grandfather, my parents and my sisters) but over the years, she became more than that. She would cover up for me when I would sneak out and stay out late at 14. She listened to me cry after my first heartbreak. On summer afternoons, my sisters, Ate Marie and I would all lay bamboo mats on the living room floor for siesta. Have the windows wide open, the breeze smelling of sampaguita.


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