I’m participating in a project that is the first public offering of the newly formed Poetry Coalition—twenty-two organizations dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, as well as the important contributions poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
Here are my three poems that I’ve sent out as postcards to fellow Kundiman writers:
After looking at a glittery postcard of Waikiki
But what we don’t see
Are the workers
One of my best friends
She makes aunties
Out of housekeepers
And uncles out of
Of early morning
But we know
The workers are there.
Their jobs, they’re told,
Are to make it look like
On a Postcard is A View From The Sears Tower in Chicago
I think I’ve got the AWP blues. I was nervous about attending without any of the folks I usually attend with, and I was really anxious about being alone most of the time. The universe has a way of reminding me who I am, where I’m from, and where I’m going. And I’m going to keep pushing. My fears dissipated as I saw how folks made time and space for me. As I made time and space for them. As I set boundaries for myself, and accomplished goals, and did a lot of work, even during the conference.
Here are the writing projects that I’m working on at the moment.
I have a chapbook coming out from Mondo Bummer. It should be out by late Spring. More on that later on.
My second book Like a Solid to a Shadow will be coming out from Timeless, Infinite Light by Fall 2017.
I’m sending around and submitting my non-fiction manuscript, which is a collection of essays I’ve published in the past couple of years in various online spaces. It’s called Let Me See You See Me Back, and it’s been rejected maybe three times already? Hoping for more rejections and an eventual home soon.
I’ll be working on my fiction manuscript, which was my graduate school thesis and now shelved novel, Where Did You Get All Those English From? It hella needs to be revised. I’ll also be looking up and researching agents and their wish lists and whatever that looks like. I don’t know the fiction game, but I’m ’bout to find out.
I am also working on a new poetry manuscript, but I’m taking my time with it. It doesn’t have or require the same political urgency that microchips for millions or Like a Solid to a Shadow did. This book, I’m hoping, will be titled Powerhouse. It’s about skin and the ways in which women of color learn about the world. That’s all I’ll say for now.
I think I’m too grown to let my anger get the most of me. I don’t think my anger makes me productive in the moment, but I know it exists within me. I’ve become better at measure cupping my rage.
I can’t act like the current presidency is not a sham, is not fascist, is nothing short of white supremacy.
Today, in class, a student brought up the idea of home as a force. As in, it’s where we are pulled when we have nowhere else to go, it’s where we are safe. Home as a life force. But also, home as in, being forced to be there. We talked about the experiences of immigrants, refugees, and others who make home on the move.
We can’t want more for other people. They have to want it for themselves.
I’m narrowly focused on setting up my future self. I assume she is there.
She said, “Home is where the heart is, right?”
What if home is where the body is?
A student taught me that all of our notes and words might be annotations. What if everything we write is an annotation, is from the margin, is the piece from the rhyme book?
Our homes could be forced right out of us.
I don’t cry out of nowhere. I usually know why.
I too often tell myself that I’m not producing the work I should be writing. That it doesn’t sound like me. That it doesn’t hit the way I need it to.
My second book is coming out this year.
I spend a lot of time listening. It’s good work, but it’s draining. There’s no easy pulling away, plugging up, or closing of my limbs in hearing sounds and voices. Hearing is the kind of sense where, like, you are made to feel like you have to gather all of you to get away from something.
Force is violating. The fibers of our homes get forced apart by policy. By people. By presidents.
I just really think the world finds slick, covert ways to tell me that it doesn’t give a fuck about Filipina girls. Tell me I’m wrong.
We are forced out of our homes.
Too often I wake up with balloons inside my chest. With cranes in my sky. These metal clouds.
A student told me that she came back to my class because she needed to follow her dreams. I let her in. She left.
When my first book came out, I felt like I was giving birth alone.