GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE, Ten Years On: A Poem by Luisa Igloria

2013 is the 10-year anniversary of the publication of Going Home to a Landscape, the Filipino women’s anthology self edited with Virginia Cerenio, and which the wonderful folks at Calyx published.  Amazing.

Over and over, as self pored over the submissions, she was struck about the slipperiness of the concept “Home.”

The title could only have been thus (It was borrowed from a poem by Shirley Ancheta, whose two poems in the anthology were absolutely powerhouse)

Here’s one of the poems, Luisa Igloria’s “Chinatown, Moon Festival” :

The streets branch
like narrow harbors.
During flood time,
the waters rise here,
the color of dry crusts,
old amber, verdigris.

We tell ourselves we have come
in search of curly tree-fungi, seared
eggplants, bamboo shoots — a different
way to return vividness to the jaded
mouth. And because it is the moon’s
festival, we will return bearing
tins of cakes heavy with lotus
seed paste, a thin oil
oozing from the yellow of ducks
eggs, their gilded secret.

In the drugstore down the way,
vegetal roots and animal horns
lie peacably curled in their liquid
solutions. A wave of scent
washes over me — ginseng, hawthorn
root, dark plum, licorice stems.

I breathe it all in, and, breathing, walk
over the little footbridge with torn
paper lanterns, over the creek
with its layers of scum and human refuse.

Later, one evening, I will lift
the last sliver of cake from its box
and my insides will bruise
from a sweetness mingled of all
these forsaken colors. The tongue
will withdraw a little, anticipating
release and remembrance, what it knows
of experience passing away with such

The simplest acts, also the most
extravagant: what we take
into our bodies, the small
gestures of ordinary life —
that knocking at the door of a deeper
hunger; how, after we have entered the foyer,
we want to know what it is that shines
so warmly from behind
the other closed doors.

It’s always taste that brings self back to her childhood over there.

The cover of the book was a painting by Dixie Galapon, a nurse from San Diego: “Tropical Landscape II”

Margarita Donnelly of Calyx at AWP Denver with M. Evelina Galang, and Becky, Calyx's new Senior Editor.  Evelina's in the anthology with an excerpt from her novel, ONE TRIBE.

Margarita Donnelly of Calyx at AWP Denver with M. Evelina Galang, and Becky, Calyx’s new Senior Editor. Evelina’s in the anthology with an excerpt from her novel, ONE TRIBE.

Justified Season 4 = Magnificence

Episode 4.9 ended less than an hour ago.

Self is just loving the drama this season.

Here are some things she’s noticed:

  • Everyone in Harlan County wears super-tight jeans.  Self is of course referring to the men:  Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder.  If you happen to be a man, one without a predilection for wearing super-tight jeans, you are a minor character.  GET OVER IT.
  • This episode marks only the second time this season that she’s heard Timothy Olyphant say “Shut up.”  She loves the whole “Shut up” thang.  Raylan always says it to a perp.  It occurs to self that part of Raylan’s appeal is that he makes you think he’s doing you a favor when he pulls a gun on you.  Shoot me, Raylan!  Just shoot me!
  • Raylan’s father is dead.  Dead as a doornail.  There will be no Second Act for Raylan’s dad.
  • The character of Ava has undergone quite a transformation since Season 1.  Self will never forget how Ava crept into Raylan’s life:  she was a battered wife who shot her husband, and Raylan had just moved back to Harlan County.  Now that Ava has turned into such a Hard-Ass, self wonders where her character can go next.  Maybe Ava will be converted to evangelical Christianity!  Maybe she and Boyd will split!  Maybe she gets pregnant!
  • The preacher’s sister makes an appearance, looking so exceptionally wan.  She is being strangled by Grade B Gerard Depardieu and cocaine addict Colt when Tim Gutterson arrives, just in the nick of time.  Later, she and Tim Gutterson have an intimate conversation in a squad car.  Self thinks she knows where this thread is going.  Saint + Ex-Sniper = hello, fascination!
  • There has been no Erica Taziel, not for weeks and weeks.  She doesn’t even appear in a panning background shot.
  • Art, Raylan’s boss, has a tirade.  Self loves when Art goes into a tirade.  It’s always about something Raylan did or didn’t do.  What endurance Art has:  coping with the Raylan drama must be exhausting.  Give Art a medal, already!
  • Self thinks she likes “Justified” better when Raylan is left to do his thing.  Whenever Ex-Wife Winona or that woman who was married to a fighter put in an appearance, the narrative gets pulled into odd directions.  It is just fine, in self’s humble opinion, for Raylan to remain unattached for the rest of the show’s life.  Because Olyphant is so gorgeous, it’s hugely ironic to see him having such bad luck with women.  It’s the In-Joke of all In-Jokes.
  • Self loves the scene where a rotund police officer tries to arrest two people:  they laugh at him and tell him to run along.  Self has a new appreciation for people who decide to be cops, especially if their beat turns out to be the old neighborhood.
  • Why is Ella May such a thorn in everyone’s side?  She’s a poor waif who wouldn’t hurt a fly.  About the only transgression Ella May is guilty of is escaping from her would-be murderer.  People, why can everyone not understand that Ella May DOES NOT WANT TO DIE?  Who can blame her?  It is so nice to be alive.  To want to be alive is not a crime, is it?  But because Ella May has not obliged by conking off, now everyone is competing to end her miserable life.  Is this justice?  What kind of people would sink to such a low of moral turpitude?
  • Self loved the closing scene.  Raylan is having a chat with the prisoner he was escorting to a new facility, the one who killed Raylan’s dad.  Raylan tells the Orange Jumpsuit that the last conversation he had with his Dad was heartwarming —  or words to that effect.  Then, THE END!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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