Saturday, October 31, 2009


A long-time pal, Sandra, sent Michael a box of Halloween candy. In keeping with my teaching him manners by having him send out Thank-You-drawings, here's his drawing for Sandra:

Isn't that a cool dragon? Moi son is such a talented artist!

Trick or treating tonight! And I'm so happy that his school is participating in THIS FABULOUS IDEA ON BEHALF OF UNICEF! Grace beats chocolate anytime!

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Friday, October 30, 2009


The Filipino tradition of pagmamano involves showing respect by kissing an elder's hand or raising the hand to touch your forehead. Well, at Berkeley, it happened -- one of the students reached for my hand to touch her forehead.

That was an unexpected First! I was touched but honestly didn't know how to respond. Ach, ye mischievous Poetry angels....and the Chatty One shakes her new cane at them! Just remember that if you ever see my hair gathered into a bun, it's probably for costuming one's self for ... Halloween! Now, off to search for those long-ignored pearls....

...although, Leny, I believe that be "Elder", not "Old" ...

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Thursday, October 29, 2009


FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES--That's what I and Leny received last night following our readings for Filipino Women's Day at UC Berkeley. The flowers are gracing the kitchen, and my eyes are gracing that huge Symphony chocolate bar. Not since Zack Linmark gave me puto following my first San Francisco reading about ten years ago have I received yum-yums after offering poetry. Thank you UC Berkeley. You asked for poems on "empowerment" and yet you all are the ones who've inspired me with your energy, commitment, non-metaphorical activism and much Matalina!

What exactly did I do to earn last night's chocolates? Some blather about being an "intelligent" poet being like a "Pinay navigating one's self through an inherited universe and turning it into a world she also has made". Both require thinking out of the balikbayan box...

And what a treat seeing Joi Barrios again whom I met only once in person and that seven years ago. She's another inspiration: she should be invited as a "Keynote Speaker" over ... somewhere...(wink)

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Meritage Press is featured, along with Momotombo Press, No Tell Books and Omnidawn in an "Indie Publishing" article by Barbara Jane Reyes over at the Poetry Foundation Blog. While I am fine with what I said -- I, after all, said it -- having to summarize Meritage Press (which I consider more to be a project space rather than a print-press) does make me feel a bit in Halloween costume [Pause for a brief pat on back for Moi's timely segue into the current holiday].

To wit, some presses have a vision or goal and they do things to manifest such. Meritage Press has a vision, too, but it's fluid enough to facilitate approaching publishing in the same way I approach the making of a poem, organically with radical flexibility. Which is why I could not have predicted, when I began Meritage Press, how the press would unfold to have done what it has to date (just as I rarely know what my poems will say ahead of their being written).

I don't have the usual submissions-then-assessment/judgement system in Meritage Press. Most of its activities arise organically as a result of at-the-time poetics (meaning, among other things, that much of its projects have ended up being conceptualized and/or commissioned). I'm rarely going to be satisfied with, say, submissions of (finished-ahead-of-Meritage Press' involvement) poetry manuscripts because that process by itself is rarely multi-layered enough to allow the inclusion of other aesthetic/political/cultural elements that far transcend the manifestation of a published book. (In fact, I think, if memory serves correctly, that the only submitted manuscript I've ever published was Bruna Mori's and Matthew Kinney's Derive, which says something about the powerful charm of this collaboration for being plucked offa the transom.

Anyway, speaking of Halloween [Pause for another pat on back and wide grin], our Galatea family is actually commemorating it this year. It falls into the category of previously-ignored activities but which now must have our attention because of our engagement in kid culture. So, this year, our family carved pumpkins for the first time. Yes: first time! That's Michael's first pumpkin up top -- isn't it brilliant!

The hubby had to carve a pumpkin as well in order to show Michael what it is that we U.S.-Americanos do with vegetables when Halloween approaches. Here's the summary photo with Achilles and Gabriela:

If you wish, click on pic for larger image: Don't the holes-instead-of-eyes on moi puppies' faces sorta bespeak Halloween? Whooooo....

Mama Moi proclaims: May yours be scarey...but safe!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Scoop Review of Books' review of Mark Young's PELICAN DREAMING: Poems 1959-2008 starts out promisingly (though I say that mostly because, for some reason, it made me snort out a laugh):
Mark Young is an enigmatic figure in the history of New Zealand literature.

I like enigmatic peeps -- they usually make Moi grin. Anyway, click HERE FOR THE ENTIRE REVIEW by Scott Hamilton; here's an excerpt:
                  Whether he is wandering over Grafton Bridge or lying down in a seedy flat, Young perceives the microcosmos around him in a manner that is both sensuous and objective. Despite his eye for detail, he is never short-sighted: he can appreciate the connections between the little world around him and the rest of the universe. A poem called ‘The Distances’ shows Young’s ability to balance the familiar and the faraway:

                                    I am a believer

in the miracle of shortwave. Quito,

Ecuador or Radio Peking. The NHK

or the VOA. Pop or propaganda –

you have your choice amongst the

electronic music of the night ether.

Caught in its web, I am a Columbus

searching for new countries, turning

the dial slowly, hoping to hear

station identification through the static

& distortion.

                                    This is 1 a.m. Auckland;

a time of dead houses, where only

the streetlamps perforate the darkness.

But in Australia it is

11 p.m. E.S.T., & in Cairo

it is eight hours earlier. To turn

the dial is to turn back the clock.

1 a.m. Auckland. The night is just beginning.

                  With their peculiar combination of super-localism and internationalism, poems like ‘The Distances’ sidestep the terms of the long-winded debates about nationalism and regionalism...

Why not acquire a copy for yourself through HERE?! You won't be sorry! Or, if you will be sorry, it'll be for the right reasons!

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Monday, October 26, 2009


Delighted to share that moi forthcoming Selected Prose Poem book, THE THORN ROSARY, to be released next year by Marsh Hawk Press, will be co-published in the Philippines by "Publisher of the Year" recipient Anvil Publishing. Am purrrrr-ed since it was Anvil who published my very first poetry book, BEYOND LIFE SENTENCES, which received the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award for Poetry (Salamat again! I can't tell you how meaningful it is to have my relatives in the boondocks be able to get a book from their distant relative) -- in part for the prose poems "Life Sentences" which roots all my subsequent attempts at the prose poem form.

Delighted further to announce that THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, forthcoming next year from Meritage Press, will be co-published by that leading avant garde publisher xPress(ed) helmed by radiant Finn Jukka-Pekka Kervinen. This means that we've just created a lovely triptych of hay(na)ku anthologies (the first (and now officially sold-out) HERE and the second HERE) -- and I am blessed to have collaborated on this series with Jukka!

Woot! National borders always fall below poetry -- as they should.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's sweet, isn't it? How my teensy novel got me the chops to do a blurb for THIS?! Well, do check out indeed Michelle Cruz Skinner's IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS!

Meanwhile, here's another newly-concocted blurb, this one for Lars Palm's forthcoming chap good behavior:
These are wonderful parenthetical novellas. Within "a snap of ... fingers," these inquisitions -- ranging over Pinocchio to addressing cats to white colonialism in Zimbabwe -- provide a welcome "kick in the head".
--Eileen Tabios

And speaking of recent relishes, here's my latest Relished W(h)ine List:

FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR, poems (in manuscript) by Lars Palm

1000 VIEWS OF "GIRL SINGING", multi-genre anthology of translations/collaborations edited by John Bloomberg-Rissman

BOSQUEJOS / SKETCHES, poemas by Edwin Agustin Lozada (am re-reading these poems by a former member of Rosa Montoya Bailes Flamenco as we'd chatted flamenco during Litquake when I read from my flamenco book Nota Bene Eiswein)

SUENOS ANONIMOS / ANONYMOUS DREAMS, poemas by Edwin Agustin Lozada


CATCH LIGHT, poems by Sarah O'Brien (what a lovely luminescent debut of a collection!)

THIRD BODY, poems by Michel Delville, Trans. by Gian Lombardo

LEAFLETS: POEMS 1965-1968 by Adrienne Rich

NAVIGATE, AMELIA EARHART'S LETTERS HOME, poems by Rebecca Loudon (every word in this collection is necessary -- which is amazing because, as a project-oriented collection and given its nature, it stood the risk of containing poems-as-placeholders. The vibrant energy here does not cancel discipline.)

THE METHOD, poems by Sasha Steensen


PLAY, poems by Liz Waldner

EVEN BEFORE MY OWN NAME, poems by Tracy Koretsky

BY WAY OF, four-chap collection of poems by Matthew Nienow, Emily Carr, Diana Woodcock and Diana Alvarez (I really like Toadlily Press' publisher's concept of four chaps in one book)


BEATS OF NAROPA edited by Anne Waldman and Laura Wright

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, artist's book by Ben Luzzato




THE RETURNS, fiction shorts by Dennis Barone

REACHING OUT, novel by Francisco Jimenez

SHADOW MAN, novel by Cody McFadyen

THE DARKER SIDE, novel by Cody McFadyen

A PLAGUE OF SECRETS, novel by John Lescroart

THE SCARECROW, novel by Michael Connelly

PACIFIC BEAT, novel by T. Jefferson Parker

STORM RUNNERS, novel by T. Jefferson Parker

MOST WANTED, novel by Michele Martinez

THE FINISHING SCHOOL, novel by Michele Martinez

1994 Serafini & Vidotto
1997 Behrens & Hitchcock syrah Napa Valley
1991 Chateau Reynella "Basket Pressed" Cabernet McLaren Vale
2003 Rausan Despagne
2007 Acacia Pinot hour NV/Carneros
1994 Dow
2005 The Grail of Liss Shiraz
2004 Peter Michael "La Carriere" chardonnay
2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling-Spatlese
2002 Chevalier Montrachet "La Cabotte" Domaine Brouchard Pere & Fils
2004 Dancing Hares
1989 Gaja Sori San Lorenzo
1982 Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou
1997 Jones Family Vineyard cabernet
2001 Thierry Allemand Cornas
1853 Whitwhams Millenium Port Royal Reserve (a pre-phylloxera wine!)

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Saturday, October 24, 2009


Steven Fama is one of the great gifts to poetry. Poets are lucky if he comes to read their poems. And for his birthday celebration for Philip Lamantia this year (birthday actually was yesterday), he offers something unique: a reading of poems written to, after and inspired by Philip Lamantia. Click on summary of poets below for the link:
Here follows what I’ll for shorthand call Lamantia poems by Robert Duncan (1956), Michael McClure (1961), Clark Coolidge (1963), Ransom Lomatewama (1987), Penelope Rosemont (1992), Garrett Caples (1999), Will Alexander (2000), Lisa Jarnot (2001), Donald Sidney-Fryer (2003), John Olson (2006), and Eileen Tabios (2009). The parenthetical dates are the years the poems were published, except in the case of Coolidge, where it reflects the date the poem was written.

Reading now the excerpts Steven chose from the poems I wrote for Philip, I am struck again by just how special Philip was/is -- the most utterly marvelous and divine poet I've ever met.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


In his English class this week, Michael and his classmates were taught how to write a narrative essay. And, specifically, an essay about what happened during the recent storms that passed our way. Well, imagine moi surprise when he wrote what also ended up being a reading report about the Litquake reading and his first attendance of a poetry reading! To wit, Michael's narrative:
Last week when it rained, my family and I traveled to San Francisco. My mom was due to give a poetry reading.

At first, the traffic was bad because of the rain. So we took many streets before we arrived at the apartment. Then we changed our clothes in preparation for my mom's and other people's literary readings.

Then we went to dinner. I ate chicken, shrimp and French Fries. Then we went to the gallery for my mom's performance. The gallery showed the paintings of many artists. The ones I liked had many colors.

After that tour of the gallery, the poets began to read their poems. My mom was one of four [actually six] readers, and she read last. I liked her poems about flamenco.

Once it was over, my family and I said goodby to the persons. Then we went home. It was not raining anymore.

The constraints on his essay were that each new paragraph would begin with phrases that facilitate narrative: "At first," "Then," "After that", and "Once it was over". It's a giggle, ain't it!

And I most definitely recommend where Michael "ate chicken, shrimp and French Fries" -- the Peruvian restaurant LIMON deservedly famous for its superb cuisine!


Unfortunately, in other academic (pun intended) matters, I recently was not as helpful. First quarter grades are being sent out this week and I apparently cost Michael an "A" in PE. What happened was he came down with a slight cold a few weeks back. So I'd suggested to him that day that he ask to be excused from physical activity in PE so that he can preserve his energies for soccer practice later that day; after all, I figured he'd get physical exercise from soccer.

Well, the PE teacher said (aptly, with hindsight) that if he wasn't able to do PE, he shouldn't be able to do soccer practice either. At the time, I thought the PE teacher was just defending his/her turf and thought it silly. So I brought Michael to soccer practice anyway (and the PE teacher saw him there!).

Now, in the real world, that's the kind of choice that one makes when one's trying to be effective -- and perhaps in the real world one would say my call was the right call. After all, his team would come to win a soccer championship and those victories are possible only because his team practiced, practiced, and practiced. But, I was wrong. I didn't think about the implications of discounting school, or of discounting a teacher's instructions.

So chalk it up to newbie-parenting. For the quarter, his PE grade fell from A to a B+ ... all because Mom was not as smart as she thought. Sheesh: I thought having to cook every day was hard...

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


I always appreciate being invited by U.C. Berkeley to do something or other. Throughout my high school days, I'd always hoped to attend UCB. Though they accepted me, I thought to go to Barnard College just because I was curious about New York City. I thought I'd transfer to UCB after my freshman year but it took me 20 years instead to move to the Bay Area. Still, U.C. Berkeley is a sentimental favorite...

...which is another reason I am so gratified and honored that I've been asked to speak next Wednesday at the UC Berkeley Day of Filipino Women 2009. Maraming Salamat!

After I finished bragging about this singular honor to Achilles (that's moi dog slumbering by my ankles who barely flapped a tail in response), I got curious as to why they asked me -- well, apparently, it's for my "empowering poetry." Now that really made me preen. I generally refuse to tell people (tho occasionally lapse on) how to engage with/through poetry (whether it's the writing and reading of, let alone the responding to, poems) -- so when they themselves read mi poemas and the effect is empowerment, I raise my hands in a Mabuhay! Didacticism loses again!

I'll be carpooling to UCB with fellow speaker Leny M. Strobel, which is not just fortunate for the Berkeley audience but for me. Because the theme this year is "On Becoming Matalina" (which latter word is a feminizing of matalino, or intelligent). I am sure Leny has got intelligence covered...I'll just, as is moi wont, blather. I have the beginning of my speech -- I'ma thinking along the lines of:
There is a particular difficulty to being a "Filipina poet" -- a position I've observed to be outside of historical/current praxis of so-called "ethnic" or "ethnic-American" poetry....

Wait, that sounds boring. Perhaps I'll just dance. In any event, because I'm not intelligent, I have to interrupt moiself here to look up the definition of "praxis"...all these words so love to jam into the Chatelaine's Brain and then when she finally spits them out, she's forgotten what they mean -- so focused is she instead on, on, on... why, yes: CHAMPIONSHIP SOCCER!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I've finally managed to organize the manuscript for THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT, curated by Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ernesto Priego and Moi. I continue to be amazed at the hay(na)ku's popularity: about 90 poets and artists will be represented in the print anthology which will be published in 2010 by Meritage Press. Woot!

But right now I'm chortling over how, okay, possibly eight of these 90 authors/artists may not be poets or artists per se. I do know they're editors -- one of the chained hay(na)ku collaborations was put together on the spur of the moment during an editorial staff get-together at Global Security & Engineering Solutions, A Division of L-3 Communications. Yep, that be a military contractor, y'all -- they specialize in, ahem, "...Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance". Well, monitor this: poetry has infiltrated them!

Moreover, their collaboration was actually published in their newsletter this July! How kewl is that?! Said newsletter mentions the anthology, Meritage Press, and describes the "21st century Filipino word-count form of poetry" called the hay(na)ku. I love it -- widening poetry's audience!

Meanwhile, yes, do look out for next year's THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT anthology! It promises to be yet another unique offering from Moi's "small but mighty press" (thank you for the blurb, Kevin Killian!) Meanwhile, let's all try for this:


World, I'll trade you poetry books for guns anytime you wanna lay 'em down! I'm a farmer after all; I can use some new ploughshares.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I create abstract personal systems to investigate my own perception of time through the world around me. In my drawings, repetitive lines or marks create a visual build-up of time that has passed. "Memories of the Past at the Present" is an interpretation of the idea that the present is made up of both the past and the incipient future.
--Rebekah May

I enjoy including "About The Cover" sections in my books (e.g. The Secret Lives of Punctuations and Nota Bene Eiswein) -- it's another way to discuss poetry and/or its effects. So I was delighted to see that 1000 VIEWS OF GIRL SINGING includes such a section, and I loved it so much that I got permission to post the entire thing for your reading pleasure! The artist Rebekah May (whose website is worth checking out!) did a wonderfully inventive collaboration with ten other artists -- mirroring the collaborative approach of the book's poetry. Here is what Rebekah first presented to the participating artists -- I love the idea of riffing off of the Fibonacci sequence:
Having a selection of artists follow the directions allowed me to create a collaborative cover with unique variations on a theme, just like the interpretations of the poem “Girl Singing” in this anthology. These are the directions:

1) Draw a square that’s about a quarter of an inch

2) Draw another square the same size next to the 1st square

3) Draw a square the size of the first 2 squares combined on top of the first two squares

4) Draw a square the size of the first 3 squares combined to the right of the other squares

5) Draw a square the size of the first 4 squares combined below the first 4 squares

6) Draw a square the size of the first 5 squares combined to the left of the first 5 squares

7) Draw a square the size of the first 6 squares combined on top of the first 6 squares

8) Draw a square the same size as the first 7 squares combined to the right of the first 7 squares

9) Draw a line that connects the squares in the order that you drew them

Below is a drawing of the Fibonacci sequence.

Participating Artists were Zina Al-Shukri, Claire Belby, Pablo Cristi, Joshua Ferris, Patrick Hillman, Justin Hurty, Cameron Kelly, Hilary Pecis, Maya Ruznic, and Ashley Lauren Saks.

What I adore about the artists' approach was how they created something new based on poetry, rather than the more common book cover method of finding an "illustration" to use as a cover image. I thank these artists for their openness and their work which resulted in this book cover:

There is a further & helpful discussion of the background to (and larger-size book cover image at) 1000 VIEWS OF GIRL SINGING over at Zeitgeist Spam. Editor John Bloomberg-Rissman is soon to be off to Europe to release the book at the London Small Publishers Fair. Do check out the Leafe Press table for this release!

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Monday, October 19, 2009


Lovely tho soccer is, I really have to give Michael more means to develop his art. He has a natural talent -- check out this sketch that he did in a hospital waiting room recently during the many trips we were taking with Mom; I think he doodled it out in less than five seconds (yep, on some legal pad I had in moi purse):

In another five seconds, he probably could have gotten as good as this from a Roman wall painting in Pompeii (around 70 AD):

I swear: with a little more training, Michael could probably achieve something as great as Caravaggio's "Basket of Fruit" (c.1599):

Yes, I know: as a proud Mama, Moi can be quite ... scarey ...

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Sunday, October 18, 2009


But on the way to SF for his first poetry reading experience, Michael and his team played another game -- and they won 5-0. I hollered so hard from the sidelines that I'm surprised I was able to do a poetry reading hours later!

But this game was also when I observed again what a myth it seems to be about how the "Little League" should operate, to wit, that it's not who wins or lose but that everyone has a good time. I'm not the only one on the sidelines who get all agitated over caring about the results. When we hit the 5-0 level, the hubby muttered out loud: "It should be 7-0 by now!"

That's when one of the other chuckling parents explained to us newbie parents that these games aren't supposed to be a rout -- that when we hit a score like 5-0, coaches typically re-assign the best forwards to play defense (as what occurred on our team). Yadda. But as I was listening to this explanation, one of the kids from the other side -- A BIG KID! -- shoved Michael aside in a move that was obvious to all, making Moi let loose with:


I was being ironic, but that nuance didn't come through. All that came through were the guffaws that greeted my holler from another set of parents exiting the field after their games were over. I looked over at them and paraphrased DeNiro, "You all laughing at me?!"

Big, burly Dad grinned and said, "Yep."

Well, nuff said. But let me tell you something: It's a good time when we win, and when we lose the cheer on parents' faces is often a d*mn lie. Or, as John Bloomberg-Rissman shares in a soccer poem he sent, written in the 1990s when his son Sam was also playing soccer:

Stern gods on the sidelines
Clamor for victory
While the young in bright colors
Race after a ball.

When things go wrong
Out on the field
The stern gods run their fingers
Through their thinning hair.

But, you know, I should set a better example for good sportsmanship. So let me end on a classier note with another soccer poem by John -- who does also capture just how enchanting the sight is of little girls playing soccer:

The shouts of boys as they run
Rise through the air            shimmering
Like heat off a parking lot
Rise as they run
           One after the other
                      Kicking a soccer ball.

Someone hollers “Sam!”
He passes the ball – precision,
Right in the mouth of the goal –
Ryan kicks it in.

Giotto’s angels up above
Loop for joy
           In a pure blue sky.
And O the green of the grass
           Upon which
           The boys’ feet fly.

A brightness beyond banners
Waves on the breeze.

A 13 year old girl
Rolls by in shin guards
Tight shorts and cleats –
           Artemis –
           Boudicca –
           One of the Pink Panthers –
           A warrior queen.


If you have a soccer poem, do feel free to keep sending to Moi!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009


will be tonight, HERE.

And I've got my little spiel to him prepared: it's when I raise my hands to encompass the reading and explain:
Hijo -- esta es la razon por la cual estoy loca.


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Friday, October 16, 2009


Although 1,000 VIEWS OF GIRL SINGING won't be released until November 13, 2009 at the London Small Publishers Fair, it is now available through Amazon for ordering (and early sales figures are already strong -- why don'tcha see what's up with these melodic palabras?!).

To remind (from an earlier post):

...GIRL SINGING is global music produced, in many cases, among strangers from nearly 50 poets worldwide....based on a song, that is poem (inspired by a Jose Garcia Villa poem), I wrote when I was exploring poem-as-song back in the day. I certainly didn't know back then that the poem's desire for audience inherently means the poem-song is really a chorus (or, at a minimum, a duet).

There are poems who just talk the talk. Then there are poems who are lucky enough to find a reader who paused and paid attention for as long as that poem required to release its full blossoming, in this case, on the universal e-stage -- THANK YOU to editor John Bloomberg-Rissman for making this project sing on a world stage!

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Thursday, October 15, 2009



You know, standards have slipped. Since when has journalism's WHAT, WHO, WHY, WHERE, WHEN & HOW deleted the WHO?!!! They should be including the names of the players, especially since they're publishing their photos! (The author was never dead, Peeps!)

I don't just speak as a Soccer Mom, mind you. I'm a credentialed journalist with credits like The New York Times to moi name! Sheesh.

Still, it's a nice bit of news since it comes on the heels of a conversation with this kid that "due date" is a date-certain, not a date when one negotiates with a teacher for a few more days to do homework...


If any of you want to send me a soccer poem, I'll send you a comp copy of any of my poetry books...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Due to other things going on in my (vs "moi") life, I rarely do readings nowadays. But for this Saturday, I agreed to do a reading just so I can bring Michael and introduce him to a *poetry reading*. So, you are invited -- would love to see you as it's unlikely I'll do anymore readings this year after this one, which is part of that huge celebration in San Francisco known as LITQUAKE:

10/17/2009 LITQUAKE Reading

Poets Luis Francia, Maiana Minahal, & Eileen Tabios and Prose/Fiction Writers Jenesha de Rivera & Benito Vergara
at Fabric 8
3318 22nd Street (@ Valencia)
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009
8:30-9:30 PM


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Oh I could mention where you can see some new poems -- Moi hangin' out with the Romans over at the fabulously eclectic EOAGH! (Thanks mucho much to editor Tim Peterson.) There: I menched it!

And I could also remind Peeps that the next deadline for Galatea Resurrects reviews is coming up: Nov. 5. There: I menched it!

But I'd really rather continue yammering about sports since I don't know anything about it. To wit:

One of the soccer moms suggested getting sweatshirts for Michael's soccer team -- emblazoned with something like


or something like that. I immediately thought to order more of that sweatshirt than the print run of my last poetry book. Seriously, I did.

Yes, we're talking a poetry book print run and so that may not be a particularly high threshold. But still. After all:

And you know what the best part is of his very first of I predict many trophies? It gives him fortitude for taking my consistent hassling over doing his homework! Go Mom! Because ultimately, Homework Rules Over Sports, kapischkie?!

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Monday, October 12, 2009


Fabulous news! Joyous news! JOY! Here is Michael doing a header in front of his team!

And why are they HAPPY, you ask? Well, with a preening chest and cheeks hurting from grinning so wide, I proclaim: You all are looking at the photo of the winners of this weekend's 2009 Napa Cup for Under-14 Soccer! Michael is far right, front row:

I remember on the Flips List a discussion years ago about good vs bad poets....and Patrick Rosal displaying the rare (rare among would-be poet-critics) grace as well as intelligence about how all poets are important. Specifically, Pat used a baseball metaphor to say (and I paraphrase), "Remember that Little League is important to ensuring the ongoing viability of Major League ..."

Michael and his teammates manifest this poetics. To receive the Napa Cup, they ended up beating the very first team they played in their regular season and who routed them -- about which ignominy I describe HERE.

And I'm particularly proud of Michael because, as usual, he is the smallest kid on the field. He plays defense, and this weekend, he stole many balls from bigger, stronger forwards and, indeed, several of his balls would end up becoming goals for his team. As I overheard one of his teammates during a break saying to Michael in an awed tone: "How could you defend against guys three times bigger than you?!"

Michael displays championship qualities honed in the brutal fire of having to live as a survivor. He displays heart, grit, an incredible work ethic, a refusal to play victim ... -- he teaches me much about Poetry. Indeed, towards the end of the last game, Michael got injured -- a VERY LARGE kid literally stomped on him as that was the only way to stop him. He's fine now but he bled ... for Desire, this kid will bleed and I ... am honored to be his Mom.

I know some of you were expecting my "fabulous news" to be something like a poetry award. That's Little League. Major League is what you risked Poetry to transform you into -- in the small example of my case, Poetry turned me into one of the most important roles possible for a human being (something I believed even in the years when I had no interest in it): being a parent. Because once I allowed myself to be open, Poetry took me outside of my "head" to try to make a difference elsewhere (I think it's how Robert Kelly said, "You have to welcome them. It’s a matter of giving yourself to them and seeing what happens. And that’s how poetry is." Or as Eric Gamalinda also put it, "The most difficult part about writing a poem is not the writing but the process that leads to it, ... And at the end of our lifetime, what matters is not what we have written, but what we have become.") Here is another photo of someone who survived into a Champion:

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Sunday, October 11, 2009


to share but need to await its illustrations. So check here again because...I have some fabulous news....



Saturday, October 10, 2009


If -- and that is an if -- there is a problem with the Nobel being awarded to Pres. Obama, the problem is not in the giving of it. The problem would be in the accepting of it. One need not be the brilliant articulator that he is to be able to say something that begins, "I am honored to receive this award and thank the Nobel Committee blah blah blah ....However, I must respectfully decline as [words to this effect:] I haven't (yet) done diddly to deserve it et al."

In not declining this award, the Prez reminds me of many, ahem, very many poets.

Which seems like a nice way for me to lobby, please, for an award I'd love to receive:

                  The Ig Nobel Prize Winner for Poetry

I notice from the link there's no category for Poetry -- I detest how "Literature" categories often subsume/ignore "Poetry"; one of my books once received "Honorable Mention" in some award I didn't enter but was tossed at me while the top and only other winner was, if memory serves correctly, a work of nonfiction. So can someone inaugurate this ignoble category by giving Moi the Nekkid Bird Attempting To Swallow The Egg sculpture? My citation can run along the lines of:
Poetry: Eileen Tabios, Galatea, California. After writing 102 poetry books, many of which received honors and critical acclaim in addition to wreaking ecological devastation on much of the planet's forests, the poet concedes, "I've failed. I have yet to write a Great Poem."

Vote for Moi, please.

Oh, wait. Apparently, this Ig Noble Prize is only determined by "genuine Nobel Laureates." No vote for the common tao? There go the 9 billion votes moi peeps were going to relay. But, hey, I should at least get Pres. Obama's vote. After all, his Nobel also fits the Ig Nobel's goal: "first make people laugh and then make them think."

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Purrrrrr-ed to be part of two Special Issues on Translation! One viz Print and one viz Online, and, synchronistically, both of my translations relate to a language that will forever be alien to me: Math!

First, Vanitas 4 : Translation is out, and I'm excited to be innit! I've admired the gorgeously-produced Vanitas (Editor Vincent Katz; Contributing Editors Elaine Equi and Raphael Rubinstein) since its first issue, and so am delighted they're including my translation thoughts on and translation of a kari edwards poem comprised of numbers and algebraic notations. (An expanded version of this essay and translation is in Footnotes to Algebra.)

Contributors to Vanitas 4 : Translation form a stellar cast which includes: Tim Atkins, Mary Jo Bang, Charles Bernstein, Lindsey Boldt, Augusto de Campos, Sean Casey, Mark Du Charme, Alan Davies, Brandon Downing, Joanna Fuhrman, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jack Hirschman, Jen Hofer, Ron Horning, Lisa Jarnot, Mary Maxwell, David Meltzer, Jess Morse, Ron Padgett & Bill Zavatsky, Ray DiPalma, Charles Perrone, Kit Robinson, Raphael Rubinstein, Ed Sanders, Barry Schwabsky, Cedar Sigo & Sara Bilandzija, Eileen R. Tabios, Mónica de la Torre, John Tranter, Paul Violi, Anne Waldman, Lewis Warsh, Dalt Wonk, Laura Wright, Elizabeth Young, and many more. In addition to poems, there are critical texts, examining the work of Borges and Bandeira, Lorca, Haiku, Pindar’s choral songs for young girls, and the poetry scene of the 1970s. The cover and a special insert were created by Francesco Clemente specifically for this issue.

Second, Guest Editor Anny Ballardini sends out an announcement on the just-released Ekleksographia Wave Two: The Translation Special or for the direct link HERE. I'm delighted to offer what Anny aptly calls "a translation of my son".

Eleksographia, a quite witty exercise in "assymetrical publishing" offers the following Table of Contents -- lovely reading!

· William Allegreeza and Galo Ghigliotto translate three Chilean Poets

· A poem by Dennis Barone and translation of Emanuel Carnevali

· Tom Beckett

· Pam Brown translated by Jane Zemiro and Marie Gaulis

· Peter Ciccariello

· Jon Corelis on Sappho and the Archpoet

· Alexander Dickow translates Max Jacob

· Linh Dinh translates Marco Giovenale

· Joseph Duemer on the Ching Phu Ngam

· James Finnegan

· Farideh Hassanzadeh (Mostafavi) and Christina Pacosz on Nima Yushij

· Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

· Amy King

· Bill Lavender translates Arthur Rimbaud

· Hank Lazer

· Charles Martin

· Zeljko Mitic translated by Zeljko Mitic, Jr.

· Richard Jeffrey Newman translates the Shahnameh

· Biljana D. Obradović translates Bratislav Milanović

· Obododimma Oha tranlates Ogonna Agu

· Michael Rothenberg translated by Vincent Dussol

· Larissa Shmailo translates Yuri Arabov

· Barry Schwabsky translates Paul Éluard

· Elizabeth Smither

· Alan Sondheim

· Yerra Sugarman translates Celia Dropkin

· Eileen Tabios translates her son

· Peter Thompson translates Nabil Farès

· Martin J. Walker translates Albert Ehrenstein

· Joel Weishaus translates Po Chu-I

· Mark Weiss translates Max Jacob

Reviews and Essays

Diether Haenicke reviews The Passionate Gardener by Rudolf Borchardt, translated by Henry Martin
Pierre Joris tries to translate Nabil Farès' Bikini
Henry Martin discusses translating All the Errors by Giorgio Manganelli
Ellen Moody reviews translations of Jane Austen in French
Karl Young presents "Some Functions of Translation in 'The Ideal Anthology'"
Daniel Zimmerman reviews La Vita Nuova by Dante, translated by Emanuel di Pasquale

· Anny Ballardini translates Arturo Onofri


I don't try to write poems about my son just because I have a son. I don't mind writing poems about him, though, if I can address it in a different way than the usual family-type poems I come across. "English Lessons", which appears in Ekleksographia, is an example (thanks for the space, Anny!).

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Thursday, October 08, 2009


Six months ago when Michael joined our family, he'd arrived knowing addition, barely knowing subtraction and just being introduced to his multiplication tables. He still hasn't fully memorized said multiplication table, partly because I'd had to cram four years of math, including algebraic concepts, into him in the last two months before his 7th grade started. While that cramming seems to have achieved our goal of wanting him to start his schoolyear on par with his peers, it does mean that full retention of knowledge will take time as there's so much jostling in his lovely tween brain right now. Still, we just got his first quarter report card this week -- he has an A in math. So, ahem:


Meanwhile, last weekend Michael's team won their first soccer game! Yah! I was there on the sideline with a raucously cheering big mouth, a boatload-size cooler of Gatorade and four huge pizzas for the star athletes! Moi is also a proud Soccer Mama! Here are photos from that historic game -- doesn't my son guzzle that Gatorade like a pro?

Speaking of Michael and poetry (crude segue but whatever), he also got a B in learning English, but a C in Spanish which is his first language. The latter can be explained by the different Spanishes out there, and Colombian Spanish is different from Mexican Spanish (which predominates in our area) or American Spanish. The poetics here is that he is doing better in something to which he brings no preconceptions. So learn from my son's report card, Young Poet.

Well, I suppose an alternative explanation is that hanging around Mama Moi with her never-conjugated college espanol might be a bad influence. But I think not -- because my son's life is not about Moi (Young Poet -- and future adoptive parents -- you can learn from that statement, too).

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Bill Allegrezza, himself a savvy poet-critic, affirms, my read of the allegrezza ficcione by Mark Young. It's worth nota bene-ing: the allegrezza ficcione is historic and will come to be considered a 21st century classic (check it out!).

And speaking of Mark Young (and as the allegrezza ficcione also attests), he's one of those erudite poets whose repute is actually based on his poems, rather than his erudition. I mean, I do notice how many poets out there get up-status due to their scholarship -- I respect scholarship but that doesn't necessarily translate to poetic prowess. It's another sign of the times that certain poets get more recognition because of what they're doing as scholars -- Mark's work (do check out his poems!) doesn't need such scaffolding. But I (of course) digress...

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Monday, October 05, 2009


John Olson cracked Moi up recently when he shared this in response to my bemoaning how middle school math has eaten up all my extra time, time that I could have spent going to the movies! John noted some movies about math -- Proof, A Beautiful Mind, Good Will Hunting, Pi, Sneakers, Stand and Deliver, October Sky, and Infinity -- and then shared this speech toward the end of Proof, when Anthony Hopkins reveals his great mathematical formula in his coveted notebook:
"Let X equal the quantity of all quantities of X. Let X equal the cold. It is cold in December. The months of cold equal November through February. There are four months of cold, and four of heat, leaving four months of indeterminate temperature. In February it snows. In March the Lake is a lake of ice. In September the students come back and the bookstores are full. Let X equal the month of full bookstores. The number of books approaches infinity as the number of months of cold approaches four. I will never be as cold now as I will in the future. The future of cold is infinite. The future of heat is the future of cold. The bookstores are infinite and so are never full except in September...”

A prose poem indeed!

Meanwhile, I'ma about putting away this garden, preparing for an upcoming winter garden. So this is probably my last summary for this particular garden, and it proves what earlier "harvests" prove -- my Brown Thumb (which got its training in New York City from putting gifted plants on top of overheated radiators) is still reigning strong -- I mean, this is all I can grow on an entire mountain?! But I shall persevere and Go Green before I go totally white, I tell ya! So here's my latest Relished W(h)ine List:

14 bunches of yellow table grapes
37 bunch of red flame table grapes
23 bunches of Concord grapes
132 green figs
27 black figs
41 red cherry tomatoes
217 golden cherry tomatoes
274 red heirloom tomatoes
56 yellow heirloom tomatoes
4 peaches
5 artichokes
125 green onion stalks
14 onions/scallions
92 strawberries
43 yellow squash
31 zucchini (2 the size of infants, 2 the size of canoes, 2 the size of my arm beneath the elbow)
360 basil leaves
76 lemon cucumbers
28 cucumbers
25 pepper leaves
19 green bell peppers
32 jalapeno peppers
30 mint leaves
30 yellow squash leaves

FORMS OF INTERCESSION, poems by Jayne Pupek (a poet new to me, but whom I immediately recognized as a master. Check out this book!)

BIRD EATING BIRD, poems by Kristin Naca (so lovely to see young poets blossom -- wonderful poems here that make it a cut-above-the-usual-first-book)

AT THE PULSE, poems by Laura Carter (wonderful music with verve and nerve!)

e.s.p., poems by Michael Leong (smart, witty poems that are deceptively philosophical!)

DELIVERED, poems by Sarah Gambito

TERRA LUCIDA, poems by Joseph Donahue

A CONCISE BIOGRAPHY OF SIN, poems by John Samuel Tieman

GLAD STONE CHILDREN, poems by Edmund Berrigan

HOUSE ORGAN Fall 2009, literary journal edited by Kenneth Warren

THE ANTHOLOGIST, novel by Nicholson Baker (lacks the deft dexterity of his VOX. I have to say -- though I think being a poet colored my POV -- this was an excruciating read)

THE FACE OF DEATH, novel by Cody McFadyen

JUDGMENT CALLS, novel by Alafair Burke

DEAD CONNECTION, novel by Alafair Burke

ANGEL'S TIP, novel by Alafair Burke

NEVER TELL A LIE, novel by Hallie Ephron

EVEN, novel by Andrew Grant

HOTHOUSE ORCHID, novel by Stuart Woods

ORCHID BLUES, novel by Stuart Woods

ALL NIGHT LONG, novel by Jayne Ann Krentz

WHITE LIES, novel by Jayne Ann Krentz

THE PENNY PINCHER'S CLUB, novel by Sarah Strohmeyer

2003 Smith & Madrone cabernet NV Spring Mountain
2005 St. Helena High School red wine
2006 St. Helena High School red wine
2006 Ma(i)sonry NV "Illustration
2006 Duckhorn merlot
2003 S__blow (sp) "Mariage"
2006 Whitehall Lane cabernet
Schramsberg sparkling wine
2007 Melka
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock Cuvee Lola
2002 Dead Letter Office Shiraz
2006 Aubert Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
1996 Torbreck "Run Rig" Barossa Valley
1994 Dow
1997 Philip Togni Cabernet
2001 Serpico Dei Feudi Di San Gregorio


Friday, October 02, 2009


I appreciate all the emails regarding moi prior post on health care, including Michael Well's email which I also appreciated because I appreciate people who know their history. With his permission, I'm posting it:

An insightful look at the health care delivery system in America. And as for your peep whom you quoted "I am concerned that the insistence on getting some kind of health care bill done this year is the wrong thing to do because speed is not allowing for a rational debate. I’d rather it get done next year and some real thought go into it — [though] I realize I am one of the lucky ones who is not facing the loss of a loved one or a home because of lack of insurance so I have the luxury of not needing urgent action.... I would respond by saying this:

I have an above average insurance plan. Still we saw premiums rise 29% two years ago, 20% last year and they are negotiating this years plan as I write this and our human resources department tells us it will likely be a double digit percent increase again this year. And while these premiums rise, so do co-pays and there are each year changes in drug formularies that rise our out of pocket costs as well as other reductions in services, all at greater expense.

There is a great fear among many who have coverage that the changes will be something they don't like and therefor, let's take this slow. Yet the increasing costs are continually shedding the insured from the rolls of those covered/protected. Today's insure d at these rates are likely tomorrows uninsured or under-insured. President Harry S Truman took up the cause of health care reform in 1945. Sixty-four years later we are being choked by the costs of health care (to say nothing of the declining quality thereof) and some people believe we are acting too quickly. That we are simply making knee-jerk reactions to a problem. Sixty-four years is hardly knee-jerk.

There are two distinct groups of people out there who are opposed to changing our health care. One is made up of people for who the system is kind of working and the thought of change evokes the fear of the unknown. The other group is made up of people who fundamentally oppose anything that suggests that access to health care is a fundamental right. For this latter group, tomorrow is too soon. They are only interested in continuing this debate till tomorrow because it never comes.

Meanwhile tomorrow there will be fewer covered. Tomorrow, health care will be closer to a commodity that is available to only the privileged.

I realize my comments are largely directed at the issues of access, not quality of care. I don't believe you can have the debate about one without the other. Changes in our health care delivery system must address both in order to achieve meaningful reform.

Thanks for sharing the stories your mother and father because they illustrate core problems within the health care system.

Best wishes,


Thursday, October 01, 2009


My mother nearly died last week and if she had I wouldn't have been able to do anything over her medical establishment's lack of health care (pun intended).

Here's what happened: she'd been feeling poorly over the last several weeks, causing several calls to 9-1-1 and runs to the emergency rooms of Kaiser (which provides her coverage) as well as the local hospital (which is nearer to our house). When she ends up at the local hospital, as I understand it, Kaiser will have to reimburse that hospital for the health care costs WHICH IS WHY Kaiser wants -- and it's success indeed depends on being able to -- bring nearly all health treatment in-house.

But what's even more cost-effective to an institution like Kaiser, of course, is if its members don't get sick or (and it's not the same thing) don't get treated.

So, last Thursday, my mother called Kaiser for a check-up as she'd been feeling poorly all week. When she was received for said check-up, that doctor immediately referred her to their emergency room. Later in the day, I was told by Mom that Kaiser expected to keep her for overnight observation. All well and good as I had been watching her suffer for the past few weeks. Except that later that evening, the emergency room nurse called and said they wanted to discharge her as there seemed nothing wrong with her then.

Ridiculous, but the nurse wasn't interested in hearing my description of her recent ills. Much to her disgruntlement, I insisted then on talking with the doctor. I would come to have very interesting conversations with that doctor (he kept mentioning his 20-year experience and disgruntlement with emergency rooms becoming geriatric care facilities). But despite my warning him that I was sure that if they discharged Mom, I'd only be calling 9-1-1 within another 24 hours, he said she was "stable" and there was no other medical treatment to give her. That probably was true at the time, but I thought it'd be a good idea if Mom was further observed as there's obviously something wrong with her.

He said a lot of her conditions could be because of her age (Mom is nearly 80). I agreed over the distinct possibility of such, but also said that I wasn't convinced we were doing everything medically possible for her. Nonetheless, I couldn't persuade them to keep her and she came home after midnight (right, they couldn't spring for a bed for a few hours to prevent a near 80-year-old from traveling).

Well, it happened. Mom got poorly the following day, I called 9-1-1, and the ambulance took her to the local hospital. At the local hospital -- check it out: they immediately installed a temporary, then the next day, a permanent pacemaker. Absent that pacemaker, Mom would have died.

Kaiser sucks. And this incident of course reminded me of how Kaiser had treated my father in southern California. At one point, Kaiser discharged him from emergency room. My brother picked him up...and while driving home, Dad took a turn for the worse and my brother ended up driving to another Kaiser's emergency room! At that second Kaiser, a doctor asked, "Gee. Why did the other hospital discharged him?" (This incident is raised in the book I wrote for my father, The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes -- google yourself Kaiser and buy my book!) Kaiser's approach is to stabilize patients, then get them out. What this overall approach means is the disincentive to take a deep look at an individual's health situation and try to come up with a large-picture diagnosis -- not to say that there aren't Kaiser doctors who care enough to do this, but the institutional approach disincentivizes this more caring medical approach. In my mother's case, for example, she had been suffering for a while from a combination of diabetes, blood pressure problems and fatigue -- what did it take for a doctor to step back and assess proactively, before an "emergency", that she needs a pacemaker?

The only good thing that came out of this recent incident with Mom -- because this Kaiser management of her has been about cost! -- is that because they discharged her, they ended up losing the pacemaker business and will have to spend money reimbursing the local hospital.

So, I wasn't sure I'd be blogging about this but the news this morning carried this bit of hoo-haa of Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida castigating Republicans for their health care proposals that presumably can be summed up as "The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."

What Grayson is talking about is the Republicans' supposed lack of sympathy for the uninsured. I don't know enough about this particular hoo-haa to take sides, but what I note in this health care debate is the focus on the uninsured vs the insured. That's key, of course. But here's what I learned during this debacle with Mom which also caused me to have several conversations with health care professionals who are right there at ground zero of the debate.

What one doctor is hearing is that health care is moving towards the Kaiser model. I suppose the Kaiser model is more efficient than many other alternative models. But an exponentially high percentage of health care treatment occurs for a person when said person becomes a senior citizen. This is where the model breaks down. Death is inevitable and Kaiser is quite aware of that, and there's no economic incentive to keep prolonging life. Kaiser may be quite effective and fully capable when it comes to treating curable diseases or one-off issues (like cataract surgery), but not when it comes to prolonging life.

I hope my mother can survive being a Kaiser patient. My father didn't.

Meanwhile, any health care plan that doesn't adjust for the difference between geriatric care and other health care is inherently short-sighted (and perhaps that's why there's a generational gap in the amount of support, or lack thereof, for Obama's plan, with senior citizens not as supportive as the younger generations). But watch out, ye politicians: there's a difference between senior citizens whose health care is at risk, and, say, children whose education is also being harmed by political policies. Senior Citizens are more than old enough to vote.

would be Grace
when the

body is rejected
from the

because death
is, not

but, uneconomic, thus
always ill-timed.

a white flower
poking through

sidewalk crack everyone
avoids when

Timing is always
Bad Luck.

is not that
hooded guy

a scythe. Approaching
are the

whose erasers always
transform the

of white roses
into antiseptic

UPDATE: Of course the above doesn't come near to addressing the complexity of health care. But I agree with one Peep who wrote in:
I am concerned that the insistence on getting some kind of health care bill done this year is the wrong thing to do because speed is not allowing for a rational debate. I’d rather it get done next year and some real thought go into it — [though] I realize I am one of the lucky ones who is not facing the loss of a loved one or a home because of lack of insurance so I have the luxury of not needing urgent action....

All of this reminds me of Winston Churchill’s statement about Americans when he was frustrated about FDR’s slowness in joining WW2. He said that Americans can always be relied upon to do the right thing, but only after they’ve tried everything else. Applying it to the health care dilemma, we will get a heath care bill passed, it will be a mess and will not provide a public option thereby allowing insurers to find loopholes on pricing and coverage, and we’ll have to go back in a few years and do the right thing in the right way — and since the Democrats do not have the balls to do the right thing by going it alone (or because a number of them are in the pockets of insurers and pharmacopia) they will end up being blamed for the ultimate failure of this year’s model.

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