All posts filed under: Uncategorized

MY DEAR YOUNG LADY

1 Please do not   disturb My dear young lady who Walks the streets Holding up A sunflower of a placard She does not sell Herself But is sold By political pimps Nevertheless. 2 Please Do not disturb My dear young lady Who tells/told Her own story Defiant As Sita Tiring Of tiresome Political pimps Demands That Earth swallow her In revolt. 3 Please do not disturb My dear young lady Who Greets the surreptitious swelling Sea With a crown of badjao boats Keen as grass blades Spearing the light Braiding the waves. 4 Please do not disturb My dear young lady She weaves of reeds — blue, yellow and purple – A mat of magic words To sail to the nursery of stars The birthing place of worlds   Her ovaries teem with life Indestructible Impervious to Dictators Demagogues False prophets of gods (and politics) Who themselves suck Strength Power Vindication From vast-vulva-bearing trolls Hashtag:  Irony 5 Please do not disturb My dear young lady She brews a dirge For the forgotten But not …

The Day Manila Fell Silent (Part I)

[Talk at the Bliss on Bliss Studio, New York City;  September 9, 2012;  part of Re-Collection, A Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines] Ironically, the most quiet day in Manila of contemporary times began with noise:  a loud pounding on the glass door of the penthouse apartment where I resided at the time.  The friend who was hollering and shouting and bruising his knuckles on the glass, blurted out, as soon I slid the door open, “martial law na…[martial law already]”  A split second of silence, then I turned and clicked on the radio.  Nothing but white noise.  Turned on the TV.   Nothing but a white screen and static.  The friend, looking pale and distraught, said, “no TV, no radio station… everything’s closed down.”  We eyeballed one another.  I suddenly remembered the last item in the late night news:  a visual of a demolished car, its roof collapsed; a male voice saying that the car of the Secretary of National Defense had been attacked but he was not …

Building a Gestalt

On September 10 of this year, the first batch of students at the AF3IRM Summer School of Women’s Activism graduated, each lighting a candle in memory of a woman of significance in her life.  I have witnessed this ritual time and again, seen the tense pause as each participant dove deep into her personal memory to find that person who summed up, with her own life and fate, the meaning of a commitment to women’s liberation.  As story after story is told briefly, often in a quivering voice — of this woman from Puerto Rico, that woman from the Philippines, of the mother from Guatemala, or another woman from yet another country — their images seem to rise in the circle’s center, witnesses to the eon-long struggle which had involved great-grandmothers, mothers, sisters.  This is the instant of connection, when a gestalt of history is created, when each woman stands with a long line of women stretching back to the dawn of history.             The class had started three Saturdays before;  I used  this poem:   …

Limerick

Turned the caption of the picture below into a parody. Sometimes I crack myself up.    3 pigeons (alas) checked out the tree this morning are you ill, asked one beak prodding a drying branch, or are you just being law-abiding?

Piece at Ms Magazine blog

access here:  http://ow.ly/6e5wM%20#HERvotes While doing research for this, I was struck by two things: a)  Women workers had to create autonomous space for themselves even in terms of organizing as workers to be able to address the specific characteristics of their class oppression;andb)  How women organizing transformed the labor union movement, which in the aftermath of the militancy of women workers, opened its doors to both women workers and black workers. 

AMNESIA

(Written for the Atlas of Transformation, edited by Zybnek Baladran & Vit Havranek, published with the assistance of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague, available at www.artbook.com; 720 pp) The world of healing pays scant attention to a different type of amnesia — that which comes from a surfeit of memory, in contrast to the common medical definition of the disorder as a loss of what should be remembered.  In the amnesia of a surfeit of memory, thought processes are truncated, warped, aborted, so that one plus one never becomes two but rather, diverted from the path of completion by counter-propositions, arguments, labels, myths, artifice and polemics, one plus one remains forever one plus one… Thus, 23 years after his overthrow and on the 92nd anniversary of his birth, the dictator’s widow is treated to a tribute, whereby those in charge of codifying and preserving the best of the national experience labor mightily to produce a few minutes of “fabulousness.”   Opera singers strain their larynxes, prima ballerinas, their ankles while composers wring the …

Meditation on a Death

The first narrative seemed most fitting: he was armed, shooting, when his foes cut him down, a death deserved by a warrior, not perishing from kidney failure, starvation or diarrhea from the pestilential waters of a Third World ghetto, still acting as he preached, courage and kalashnikov in hand despite white hair and beard… Since I’d gotten tired through the years of young men/women doing the killing and dying at the behest of old, older and one-foot-in-the-grave men, dying like an old lion in combat seemed appropriate to bin Laden — an exclamation point calling into question a pattern to which we have somehow become habituated, ever since war was invented. But then the second narrative arrived: he was unarmed, protected by two women, one of whom was shot in the leg, the other killed, as one bullet drilled his forehead and others stitched his chest. He fell on no magic carpet, wasn’t covered by an enchanted tapestry, did not hear the ringing of djinn bells. He died in an unaesthetic house. After a second …

May Day Statement

AFFIRM THE VALUE OF WOMEN’S WORK! From the Home to the Office to the Factory! AF3IRM marches on International Labor Day 2011 in affirmation of the right of workers to self-organize, to collective bargaining, to conduct strikes and other means of struggle for just wages and safe working conditions and to resist ever-intensifying exploitation of labor by capitalists. AF3IRM marches on International Labor Day 2011 to denounce the embedded racism and sexism that enables capital to inflict even more acute exploitation upon women workers. 187 years after the first all-women strike in 1824, women continue to suffer wage disparity. White women workers earn only $0.77 to every dollar a male worker earns; black women, $0.64 and Latinas, $0.52. Over a lifetime, women workers lose $380,000 because of wage discrepancy doing the same job as male workers. Only capitalists and Big Business benefit from social tolerance of racism and sexism. AF3IRM marches on International Labor Day 2011 in condemnation of the continuing attacks on organized labor and labor rights. 186 years since the first all-women union …

Desperately Seeking Antigone

The young heroine of a Greek tragedy elected to bury her younger brother, despite the king’s edict that he should lie dead and exposed to the elements. Not burying the dead is violating their primal right: to lie buried, undisturbed– Requiescat In Pace. This was the core template for one of my short stories: Earthquake Weather. I wrote it in honor of several friends killed by Marcos’s military and left exposed in front of various town halls. Being left unburied was one of the direst punishments inflicted under martial law; the other, ironically, was being buried in unmarked mass graves. What to make, then, of the phenomenon of the dictator himself refrigerated since his death in 1988. Occasionally, through the years, I’d wonder how much it cost, in equipment and power supply, to turn him into a corpsicle. In a country where 80% of mothers cannot afford to refrigerate milk and baby food, this human jerky was symbolic of the excessive self-adulation of the Marcos regime. Freeze-dried or mummified, dead is dead. Let the corpse …