KUWENTO (Stories), Self’s First Book

A copy is in Green Library.

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Am Here: ROSEBUD Issue 67 (Spring 2020)

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Felipe II is one hell of a sexy guy, just sayin’. From The Vanishing:

Spanish ambitions took root and flowered in a dream born as a whisper in the ear of a friend of a friend of a friend: Francisco Serrao, Portuguese, who wrote to the Crown from the Moluccas, his words both ardent and teasing.

Part of self’s “Voyager” series of short stories.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Sunday, May 3 at The Digital Sala

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A Book Launched: MsAligned 3

MsAligned Vol. 3: Women Writing About Men launched in the spring. This spring. Which means, during the corona virus epidemic. But it’s out there now, out in the world.

Thank you, Editor Rebecca Thomas. Thank you, Pat Matsueda, Founder of MsAligned. Thank you, El Leon Literary Arts and Manoa Books, for co-publishing. Thank you, Shawna Yang Ryan, for the lovely Introduction. Thank you, Lillian Howan, for soliciting self’s story. Thank you, Melissa Chimera, for the beautiful front-cover art. Thank you, Carly Elizabeth Huggins, for the beautiful back-cover art.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

Mary Archer * Mary Carozza * Ryan Nicole Granados * Lillian Howan * Gerda Govine Ituarte * Caroline Kim * Rachel King * Pat Matsueda * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Jeannine Ouellette * Connie Pan * Ann Pancake * Grace Loh Prasad * Marilyn Stablein * Rebecca Thomas * Marianne Villanueva

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Self’s Dystopia

From First Life (Juked, July 2015)

Ku Ling’s Rule: First Life began in the Dome.

Nervous? Her asked.

I nodded. Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

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Poetry Saturday: Brian Komei Dempster

OVER THE EARTH

— Nanking, 1937

“Over the Earth” by Brian Komei Dempster from Topaz (c) 2013. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.   

I don’t want us
to end here, wondering
who will be first,

our eyes lowered
as the soldiers raise
their blades,

slicing those
ahead of us.
Kneeling by the gutter,

I conjure our home
in fading light.
At the kitchen table

you opened
a bottle of plum wine,
unwrapped paper,

lifted the vein
to filet soft meat.
Now their swords strike

closer, the ground shifts
with each head cut
from its stem,

I hear the thud
of your rolling pin
pounding flour,

the dust rising
like bone smoke.
The edge is near, my love.

Skies darken
into our room,
the clouds a line

of ivory buttons
on the blue silk
of your dress.


Brian Komei Dempster was editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America’s Concentration Camps (Kearney Street Workshop, 2001), which received a 2007 Nissei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home From War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011)

Poetry Monday: Jon Pineda

MISCARRIAGE

from the collection Birthmark (The Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry, 2004)

We’d been trying for months
when, one night, we heard
what sounded like a baby,
its cries sharpening outside.
Our neighbors had gathered
in the backyard & stared
high into one of the trees
where a young raccoon clung
to a branch bending slowly.
There were holes in the trunk
where its mother had nested,
& this one, no bigger than
your hand it seemed, flashed
its eyes in fear when spotlight
ricocheted through leaves.
I think about this animal’s
face, how it was taken away
from the tree boarded up
now, its mother long gone.
I take comfort in forgetting
the details & hold our son.


Jon Pineda was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Tideswater, Virginia. His poetry has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, the Asian Pacific American Journal, Puerto del Sol, and many other publications. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Poetry Wednesday: Chitra Divakaruni

from Chitra Divakaruni’s ravishing poetry collection Black Candle (Calyx Books, 1991)

Bengal Nights

When foxes sing out behind
the bamboo grove and cranes’ wings
whip the black air white,
the child stops her games
and fills a bucket at the pump
and washes. Water flows through
her hot fingers like moonlight,
leeching away the salt.
She plunges her face into it,
opening her mouth
to its cool, rusty taste.
On the verandah the aunt
cleans the lanterns, polishing
narrow chimney-glasses with a blue rag.
The child waits, breathing in
the kerosene smell. The aunt lights
the first lantern. The child sets out
to bring the grandfather home.

One lighted lantern into the night
swings great curved shadows on a path
red as the massy hibiscus on every side
where the child dreams green whiplash snakes
hanging like tendrils, their jewel eyes.
The claws of night lizards
skitter over rocks. Vapors rise
from the pocked phosphorus skin
of the mosquito swamp. Water insects
cry into the hearts of elephant-ears.
The child sets down the lantern,
its oval shell of light,
throws out her arm and whirls
around and around in the blue
breathless air. Her skirt
flares hibiscus-red to touch
the world. In the wheeling
sky, star-studded bats hang
motionless on great leather wings.


Black Candle was Chitra Divakaruni’s first book.

Poetry Tuesday: Genny Lim

from The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women’s Anthology, edited by Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Mayumi Tsutakawa, and Margarita Donnelly (Calyx Books, 1989)

CHILDREN ARE COLOR-BLIND

I never painted myself yellow
the way I coloured the sun when I was five.
The way I colored whitefolks with the “flesh” crayola.
Yellow pages adults thumbed through for restaurants,
taxis, airlines, plumbers . . .
The color of summer squash, corn, eggyolk, innocence and tapioca.

My children knew before they were taught.
They envisioned rainbows emblazoned over alleyways;
Clouds floating over hilltops like a freedom shroud.
With hands clasped, time dragged them along and they followed.

Wind-flushed cheeks persimmon,
eyes dilated like dark pearls staring out the backseat windows,
they speed through childhood like greyhounds
into the knot of night, hills fanning out,
an ocean ending at an underpass,
a horizon blunted by lorries, skyscrapers,
vision blurring at the brink of poverty.

Dani, my three-year-old, recites the alphabet from
billboards flashing by like pages of a cartoon flipbook,
where above, carpetbaggers patrol the freeways like
Olympic gods hustling their hi-tech neon gospel,
looking down from the fast lane,
dropping Kool dreams, booze dreams, fancy car dreams,
fast food dreams, sex dreams and no-tomorrow dreams
like eight balls into your easy psychic pocket.

“Only girls with black hair, black eyes can join!”
My eight-year-old was chided at school for excluding a blonde
from her circle. “Only girls with black hair, black eyes
can join!” taunted the little Asian girls, black hair,
black eyes flashing, mirroring, mimicking what they heard
as the message of the medium, the message of the world-at-large:
“Apartheid, segregation, self-determination!
Segregation, apartheid, revolution!”
Like a contrapuntal hymn, like a curse that refrains in
a melody trapped.

Sometimes at night I touch the children when they’re sleeping
and the coolness of my fingers sends shivers through them that
is a foreshadowing, a guilt imparted.

Dani doesn’t paint herself yellow
the way I colored the sun.
The way she dances in its light as I watch from the shadow.
No, she says green is her favorite color.
“It’s the color of life!”

Story #3 in Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others

Self tried twice to finish Story # 2, Understand.

She finally gave up this evening, and moved on to Story # 3, Division By Zero.

  • Mrs. Rivas was the manipulator in the ward; everyone knew that her attempts were merely gestures, but the aides wearily paid attention to her lest she succeed accidentally.

That sentence is soooo funny. She has a feeling Division By Zero isn’t meant to be funny, though.

Stay tued.

 

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