Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's interesting to watch Michael play basketball. Though he practices all the skills, when he's actually in a game, he rarely dribbles and rarely takes a shot at the hoop. I assume this is because he feels that his ball-handling and shooting skills are not as strong yet as, say, his skills in soccer. But does this mean he's not an asset to his team? Au contraire. He was a great defensive player in soccer, and he's starting to apply that to basketball by using his quickness to ... steal balls! In one of this weekend's two games, for example, he stole the ball from one of the opposing team's best players and quickly passed it to a teammate who converted it into two points! As I yelled from the stands, THAT'S YOUR POINT, MICHAEL!!!

Did wonders for his confidence, too! Apparently, he later told the coach that their team is more likely to win if he had more game time (laugh).

Anyway, my unbiased analysis is that both he and his team overall played much better this weekend than the prior weekend. But. But, they still lost both games (though, by narrower margins than the prior weekend's game, okay?). You should have seen Michael scowling in the car as we drove home. I kept complimenting him and he kept brushing me off. Finally, he succinctly and FIRMLY announced:


Fullstop. Thing is, we don't always win in life. Nor is the win vs lose binary always the appropriate perspective from which to view the results of the gods' weirdo sense of humor. But I didn't reply to his pronouncement. I have to take more time to consider how to address it.

Because I'm aware that his loathing of losing -- his competitiveness -- is one of the reasons he's a survivor from his past. Also a reason why he's done so well in overcoming the late start to his formal schooling (he detests the idea of being behind his peers). It's a quality that'll stand him well in the future.

But it's not always the apt perspective, of course. I just don't know yet how to address it when, by diluting the importance of winning, I'd perhaps dilute the basis to how he's so far lived--survived--so many elements of his younger life.

For now, here's a photo of him all sweaty -- but still muy guapo! -- right after the first game and chewing on the apple slices I cooked for him (recipe: take an apple, wash it, slice it into pieces and discard the core). Actually, even in this photo, you can see ... determination...

Of course, ultimately, he's just fitting his Dad's and Mom's personalities -- sigh: we are all apparently Type-As. And, frankly, I do not like to lose either. Fullstop.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010


What punk skateboarding costume? Here's Michael with part of his Halloween costume as a "Dad" -- specifically, as his shirt says, "#1 Dad of the Year" -- that a classmate made for him.

What I also appreciate about this costume is how it became the lead-in for Michael to acquire his first sports jacket! Woot! He said he needed a jacket "just like Dad's" to look like a Dad!

The first time Michael saw a boy his age wearing a sports jacket a year or so ago, he scoffed at it and thought the guy to be a "nerd". When I reminded him of this incident, he said, "I said that when I was stupid. I don't feel that way anymore"!

Wow! Moi boy is really growing up! Y muy guapo, si?! Since I never got his baby shoes to bronze, as soon as he outgrows this blazer, I'm going to bronze said blazer!

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Ron Sagye La Rue reviews one of Meritage Press' multi-genre pieces, STAGE PRESENCE: CONVERSATIONS WITH FILIPINO AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTISTS edited by jazz musician/scholar/critic/editor/professor Theodore S. Gonzalves. The review appears in JAZZ NEWS!

Yeah! Here's an excerpt below; click HERE for whole thing:
Stage Presence brings together in book form 10 artists: musicians, poets,dancers and choreographers of Filipino ancestry. Mostly known in the Filipino American community,but also in The Philippines. For the purpose of this review I'm focusing on artists influenced by Jazz. Gabe Baltazar Jr.(Filipino father,Japanese mother)a bonafide Jazz musician. Interviewed by Theo Garneau,speaks of his early up-bringing in Hawaii by mainly his grandmother. His father was a musician working jobs-- Baltazar talks candidly about being Filipino/Japanese(it wasn't that common in the 1930s,he played in Filipino bands firstly. Names like Benny Lapot a saxophonist, The Blue Chords, and Bernie Conception.


Makata(poet) Jessica Hagedorn originally from The Philippines came to America in her teens best known for her novels Dogeaters, and Dream Jungle. Has worked with cutting-edge Jazz musicians trombone player Julian Priester(Sun Ra,Max Roach) composed music for her. Hagedorn shares her experience from the 1970s thru the 1980s,on the West Coast of America,San Francisco. And the transition to New York and being influenced by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Having gigs with vibist Jay Hoggard. Jazz musicians backing poets was 'in' during the 1950s and '60s. This is one of the shortest pieces in the book but very informative.

Released in 2007 but unique enough to be timeless, STAGE PRESENCE can be ordered at

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


It's always interesting--usually, interesting-funny!--to see Michael grapple with with the existence of ... girls. Yesterday, he shared that one of his friends finally has a girlfriend. But, he chortled, said friend had asked every girl in their class and "finally one said, Yes!"

"How'd you know he has a girlfriend," I asked (quite relishing this topic). Michael explained that he saw his friend approach the girl and then, a few hours later, they were holding hands. "Like this," he said, offering his hands in the about-to-be-handcuffed post and then clasping them together. To which he then reacted over the whole thing with a big


before pretending to vomit over the side of the sofa.

Nice. So I said, "Well, at least he's got a girlfriend. When are you going to get one?"

A sincerely SHOCKED look on his face, he near-yelled, "Me? No. Waaaaaay."

Pause. Then he allowed, "Maybe in high school...."

This push-pull re girls is so ... interesting. For instance, for Halloween, he badgered me long and hard to get this punk skateboarding costume with yucko-face mask. Fine, I sighed, and ordered it for him. He was quite pleased. But then, apparently two girls approached him in school yesterday. They said they were making their own costumes and want to do one for a Mom, Dad and baby, and will Michael be the Dad.

Well, notwithstanding all the hoo-haa he professes about girls, he apparently agreed with an understated but immediate(!), "O00h-kaaay..."

Ah: puberty -- you are so amusing!, says Mama Moi who feels: Michael, you can always hold my hand...

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Monday, October 25, 2010


Here's the "long list" of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction awards to be handed out by the Asian American Writers Workshop.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010


Poet's Corner - Fieralingue, one of the wonderful Anny Ballardini's wonderful projects -- just released its Poet-Editor issue, and I'm glad to be able to somewhat represent Meritage Press (even as I'm aware my answers are incomplete; I'm just so pressed for time nowadays). Here's the line-up:

Poet's Corner - Fieralingue

· Brief Introduction
· Charles Alexander - Editor of CHAX PRESS
· Eileen Tabios - Editor of Meritage Press
· Eve Rifkah - Editor of Diner
· Geoffrey Gatza - Editor and Publisher of BlazeVOX
· Janet Holmes - Editor of Ahsahta Press
· John Bloomberg-Rissman - Editor with Alan Baker of Leafe Press
· Julie Carr - Co-Publisher, Counterpath Press
· Mark Weiss - Editor of Junction Press
· Peter Ganick - Editor of chalk editions
· Sam Hamill - Founder & ex-Editor Copper Canyon Press
· William Allegrezza - Editor of Cracked Slab Books and of Moria

Thanks for your efforts, Anny!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010


Michael is now a published poet!! Yay! Please do go check out his poem "Confucius" at Poet's Corner Fieralingue, edited by Anny Ballardini (thanks Anny!)

And speaking of Michael, today was the occasion of his first basketball game. Sadly, the league opener featured his school against the league's best basketball team (the best for the past four years, according to Sam, one of Michael's teammates). Needless to say, Michael's team lost. But I think lessons in competition, in being good sports, in persistence, et al are clearly being learned, regardless of "the score."

Actually, I felt myself really moved this morning as I sat on the bleachers watching them warm up and play. I don't usually spend much time around big groups of 13- and 14-year-old boys. As I watched them, all still in the midst (height?) of their youths, I saw bodies being metaphors for their development: still not fully-formed, often awkward...but often eager to experience and try. It was refreshing -- not a single jaded sensibility in the lot. Anyway, I'm not really articulating why I found the images of these boys so moving; let me just share one image of them -- uh, their backs -- as they begin opening warm-up exercises. Michael is No. 20 (he traded in his earlier number of 14 as there apparently is no famous basketball player with No. 14. Is that right? Well, that's what he thought anyway...)

Blue--my favorite color, and especially when coupled with ... Gold! Parents were instructed, by the way, not to hector from the stand. Sheesh: one person's hectoring is another person's cheering, you know what I mean? What's the point of attending a sports game if one can't get mouthey...?! Well fine: I shall try to comport moiself better in future games (yes, I was chided once...just once, though, and it was the hubby doing the chiding so I'm not sure that counts! I guess a gym is much more intimate quarters than an outdoor soccer field where, once, I had so much fun being a fan...!)

By the way, by the time this is posted, Michael will be off to his first dinner party. Hosted by a classmate, another 13- or 14-year-old boy (!) whose parents apparently introduced him last summer to cooking-from-scratch (obviously an experience my son will never get from me). Anyway, a teen's dinner party?! I get it now -- how, when it comes to children, it's possible for years to fly by so quickly! Sigh. As I finish writing this, I can hear the hubby giving a reminder-lecture to Michael about dining manners -- ah: how far we've come from an orphanage in Bogota...

As regards Michael's dinner party, there were going to be six boys and six girls. So, I'd thought that seating would be boy-girl-boy-girl-et al. But, no, apparently the boys sat on one end of this fancily set-up dining table, and the girls at the other end.

But due to however the seating ended up, there was no room for Michael at the boys' end and he ended up sitting with the girls. So, I asked, did he enjoy that?

He snorted. "No!" he explained-exclaimed. "All they talked about were boys in high school!"

Isn't this all just ... classic!

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There has got to be no better party planner than Steven Fama for Philip Lamantia's birthdays! Go HERE for this year's wondrous celebration! It's very interesting--about Philip’s first big-time appearance in print: the publication of “Five Poems” in the June, 1943 (Series III, No. 2) issue of View, edited by Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler and published between 1940 and 1947. Thanks Steven!

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Friday, October 22, 2010


The New Reality: Economic flatness. Mirrors my purchasing activity for poetry books or other books written by poets. Well, at least I'm still buying poetry (pun intended). Here's my latest list of po-purchases:

BOUGH BREAKS by Tamiko Beyer

THE FAR MOSQUE by Kazim Ali (a rare occasion for me to so love a particular work, in this case BRIGHT FELON, that it led me to search prior work by the poet)


MIDNIGHT'S GATE, essays by Bei Dao

CHILDREN OF DREAMS, memoir by Lorilyn Roberts



Thursday, October 21, 2010


I apologize. Due to family medical matter, I have had to cancel my appearance next week at
Thursday OCT 28
Poetry Center Book Award Reading
Eileen Tabios (award judge) with Archives video of Barbara Guest
4:30 pm @ the Poetry Center, HUM 512, SFSU, free

Photograph of Barbara Guest by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003.

Please note that the event itself is not cancelled. There will be a reading via audio & video of Barbara & her work -- still very much worth attending.



... though the definition of Bliss is when I'm usually seated between them and I'm stroking both. Wow: really lowers the blood pressure! Grin.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It's just wonderful to keep seeing the hay(na)ku make new friends around the world! Here's the LATEST (love how that poem ends!).

Oh my, The Hay(na)ku Postcards continue to grow! Look at that poetic form's latest travel map!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We had our first parent-teacher conference this morning where Michael's teachers updated us on his progress. That's where I saw that Michael wrote a cinquain for his Humanities Class! Oh my! I will share it with the world in the Editor's Introduction to the forthcoming issue of Galatea Resurrects! Until then, here he is showing me and Achilles his brand spankin' new basketball uniform! So proud and proud!

Such a star!

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Monday, October 18, 2010


But yes, Dears, when I do post about my son and my dogs (and the hubby, cats, the big burly men, cooking, etc), it is a poetics.

Specifically, it is a poetics of not telling other poets how to write or what to write.

That's important, too.

Especially when audience so often relies on one's perception of community, of what might attract others to your poems.

Poor community--you get so much inflicted on you, dear word.

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Love small town living! This weekend, Michael and Achilles participated in a local annual rite as part of "Harvest Weekend": the "legendary" St. Helena Pet Parade!

Here's Michael and Achilles waiting for the festivities to start. I think the idea was to channel Hemingway in Key West....okay--I actually just made that up because they were supposed to be costumed as "favorite literary characters" and this was the best that one could muster for "costumes." I could always cite King Kamehameha of some children's book but, whatever...:

Clearly, however, others had no problem costuming themselves more ornately:

And, Aaaaaaww! There's the human batman and the pooch Robin!

O moi gawd! Is that legal to spray paint that poodle that way? Even when perpetrated to match his human/bee? Buzzzzzz:

Actually, speaking of the buzz, junior bee-keeper Michael and Achilles had a chance to check out the trailer where a beekeeper kept his hives. The hubby actually went up to the beekeeper, whose name escapes me, for help in harvesting our honey--perhaps this weekend!

Finally, the parade started--and it had to start, but of course, with some high school cheerleaders!

Here's Michael and Achilles parading down the one-block! Yes, did I mention that this entire "legendary parade" occurred within the span of ... one block! Love these small towns! Tho, given that the peeps in question were aminals, one block probably is a great idea:

Here's one of the crowd pleasers besides Achilles--two pooches costumed as bride and groom!

Great job, guys!

Actually, I think the whole thing was a bit much for Achilles -- moithinks the pressure to maintain his cool handsomeness overloaded him a tad. He spent the rest of the day blanketing my leather couch!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010


John writes in response to my recent posts about Michael's reluctance to use "Love":
I'm really enjoying your series of posts re: Michael's saying don't signwith "love", etc. I think it's great how quickly he's become so utterly secure in his parents' love that he can turn into a normal teenage boy, so to speak, and "reject" what he knows will always be there.

Once, when I was 13 and away from home, I wrote my parents a letter and signed it

Your son,
John Rissman

I don't know *what* I was thinking (that they'd forgotten me? That they wouldn't know who just plain "John" was?), but they saved it and talked about it for years and thought it was really funny.

Anyhow, it's lovely to read about a happy family.

Love, (!)

Thanks John! Nice to see how maturity brings the confidence to use the word "Love"! In turn, your email reminded me of how Michael signed off on his Happy Anniversary card to us. He signed off with:
Best Wishes,

The hubby read it out loud, read it again louder, then looked at Michael with a raised eyebrow. "Best wishes?" he repeated.

It'll be a tale to repeat over the years, just like John's story! I look forward to ribbing him about it for ... decades!

Meanwhile, here is his latest genius science project (Do note, she dryly adds because El Hijo previously noted it to her about himself and thus his car, the No. 1 moniker on the car...):

Pretty clever how the mousetrap becomes the engine, yah?

Keep thriving, Son. And may you blossom into the self-confidence, maturity and wisdom to know the value of the word "Love"!


Friday, October 15, 2010


Delighted that one of the longest poems I've written to date, "The Erotic Life of Art: A Séance with William Carlos Williams" is part of the issue of long poems in Octopus Magazine #14.

Nice to see moi seance with the good doctor. I wrote it years ago during a stay at MacDowell and forgot all about it. I stumbled across it earlier this year when I was cleaning up files. Hmm: I wonder what else I might unearth if I kept cleaning files...

Thanks to editors Zachary Schomburg and Mathias Svalina, fine poets as well as editors. Here's their announcement below:
Octopus 14 is online. This issue features 16 long poems from 16 poets, reviews & recoveries.

Poems by
J. Michael Martinez :: Jeff Alessandrelli :: Brandon Downing
Katie Peterson :: Andy Fitch :: Jesse Lichtenstein
Amy King :: Samuel Amadon :: Julie Doxsee
Molly Gaudry :: Michael Rerick :: Eileen R. Tabios
Dot Devota :: Claire Becker :: Jennifer Denrow
Zvonko Karanović transl. by Ana Božičević

Not Blessed by Harold Abramowitz, reviewed by Janice Lee
Under the Quick by Molly Bendall, reviewed by Suzette Bishop
Sum of Every Lost Ship by Allison Titus, reviewed by David Carillo
Mr. Worthington's Beautiful Experiments on Splashes, reviewed by Sommer Browning

Applesauce by June Arnold, recovered by Gina Abelkop
The Girl with the Stone in Her Lap by Irene McKinney, recovered by Nick Ripatrazone
Where the Weather Suits My Clothes by John Godfrey, recovered by Bryan Beck
Trench Town Rock by Kamau Brathwaite’s
& Standing Wave by John Taggart, recovered by Susan Scarlata
The Journals by Paul Blackburn, recovered by Joseph Hall
The Anathemata by David Jones, recovered by Sara Nicholson


Thursday, October 14, 2010


A colorful sunset over Galatea...

Photo by Jane who runs marathons through Napa Valley.

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Like Moi was saying, why would I let a 14-year-old boy rule moi life anyway? So, after I "dutifully apologized" for signing off with "Love, Mom" in an email to Michael, I picked up the phone and:
Moi: Hi.

The Hubby: Yes?

Moi: Do me a favor.

The Hubby (with a sigh quickly bitten off--why is that, Hub?): Yes?

Moi: Email Michael, say, a Congratulations over his latest math score...

The Hubby: Okay.

Moi: Wait, that's not all. You have to sign off with "Love, Dad"

After an explanation, the Hubby saw the wisdom of, uh, not letting a 14-year-old boy rule his parents' lives, and did as I requested.

The Hubby later forwarded Michael's reply (he's doing very well with English-acquisition, but the occasional linguistic fumbles are to be expected):
From: Michael Pollock
To: Pollock, Thomas R.
Subject: RE: my test dotay.

Dad, whaen you are sending me an E-mail. Don't use love.
I also warn you as mom.

To which the Hubby shared his reply: "LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. And today is misspelled as is when. BUT I LOVE YOU ANYWAY."

So Michael, later that evening, was complaining to me about his loving Dad. I finally asked him why he has such a problem with the "love" sign-off. He succinctly replied, "Mom! It's not cool!"

Cool? As adolescently-defined?! Snort. I simply snorted at him, then turned back to my cooking (yes, I was cooking. I was frying ham. If you have constructive criticism--like, Ham should be baked, oh my!--keep it to yourself.) Which is to say, since serving Michael ham, I've been mentally going through my email address book, considering whom I can recruit to email Michael with the sign-off

That's what happens when you get a poet for a Mom. It becomes hard to abide by the parenting advice I got yesterday from one of the carpool moms. She noted that it's been suggested that, when it comes to parenting teens, the parent would be well-advised to

                  WEAR BEIGE AND LIE LOW

Well, what do you think the odds are of the Chatelaine becoming ... beige?

Hint: Take a look at my book covers on left column of the blog. (And while at it, order some of them to experience the importance of COLOR(!) in one's life!) E.G., our mutual autobiography:

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ooooh. Here's a post I can begin by simply copying what Mark Young said! To wit:
Better Homes Through Poems

Reb Livingston has organized a new shopfront at Lulu. She writes about it slightly more fully at We Who Are About To Die, but I've excerpted below part of her post.

"There are a number of other independent poetry presses who use Lulu for printing and distribution. One hurdle for us is that it’s not really easy to find our books on Lulu if you don’t specifically know what you’re looking for. There are A LOT of poetry titles. If one quickly browsed the poetry category, one might get the impression that there aren’t any books she’d be interested in. I’ve been thinking of ways to address this hurdle and came up with Better Homes Through Poems. It’s an indie-cooperative bookstore featuring over 100 titles from Bloof Books, Blue and Yellow Dog Press, Coconut Books, Dusie Press Books, Horse Less Press, Meritage Press, No Tell Books, Otoliths Books, Scrambler Books and more to come.

"These are books by such poets as Tom Beckett, Kristy Bowen, Shanna Compton, Bruce Covey, Mark Cunningham, Peter Davis, Denise Duhamel, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Raymond Farr, Elisa Gabbert, Kimiko Hahn, Shafer Hall, Shane Jones, Jennifer L. Knox, Sueyuen Juliette Lee, Amy Lemmon, Reb Livingston, Karen Llagas, Rebecca Loudon, Valerie Loveland, Natalie Lyalin, Kendra Grant Malone, Gina Myers, Danielle Pafunda, Karl Parker, Kathleen Rooney, Larry Sawyer, Ravi Shankar, Paul Siegell, Eileen R. Tabios, Elizabeth Treadwell, Nico Vassilakis, Mark Young and many others.

"It’s certainly worth your time to visit. Go on now . . . support independent poetry publishing and live a better life."

Better Homes Through Poems can be found HERE.

Thanks to Reb for putting this "storefront" together. And I'm also pleased to announce that Better Homes Through Poems is the recipient of Galatea Resurrects #15's Publisher Prize! Ach: so many many reasons to write for Galatea Resurrects!

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Oh so sue me! I just emailed Michael and, in contradiction to his prior admonitions and order, signed off with "Love, Mom"!

Why would I let a 14-year-old boy rule moi life anyway? Especially when he emails me that he just got his latest math result and it's 88%!!! A real B+, that he accomplished all on his own! A continued progress in his math! It wasn't that long ago, after all, that he came to me as a 13-year-old who can barely subtract!

So proud of you, son!

No wonder I've changed the title of my memoir about you to

                  SON SHINE

! Get it, sunshine?

Anyway, keep thriving and blossoming, dear...



In other matters related to furthering his education, Michael did something new this weekend. He cooked! He cooked because he finally realized that I consider kitchen gizmos just to be sculptures! Whatever! The more he cooks, the less I do so this is all GREAT NEWS!

Here's a shot of Michael photographing his thumbs-up to himself for cooking a breakfast omelette with prosciutto, asiago and parmesan cheeses, and freshly-harvested tomatoes!

Life is good! Well, except for the drapery lady. Is the universe conspiring against Moi? Said lady came over this morning to measure the living room windows for drapes. She ends up telling me about shrimp scampi and some other berry dessert that I should try because they're easy. Duh. Do you know how many people have come up to me over the years(!) well-meaningfully with "easy" recipes? Ask me if I've ever used any of the aprons peeps send over as gag gifts. Go ahead. Or, don't bother: you can guess at the answer.

UPDATE: Michael just emailed: “Mom I told that when you sent me a message don’t said “Love Mom”, because I don’t like.”

I dutifully replied, “ooops. sorry.”

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I got chastised. Michael got his first email account through his school a couple of months back to facilitate homework and teacher communications. Well, we were scrolling through his email account last night to address some computer glitch, and we saw my very first email to him which I'd sent as regards his Chinese food homework. He pointed at the email and said,
"Mom, in the future, please do not sign with 'Love'."

That is, I'd signed off with "Love, Mom."

E. Gads. Save me from adolescents.

So I just sent him my second email this morning (about that computer glitch). I felt ... something ... when I had to go back and edit my "Love, Mom" into simply, "Mom."

Something akin to that burr from experiencing food poisoning. It just didn't ... feel right ... to edit out "Love."

But I recovered. Fortunately, in our family, the phrase is redundant anyway. "Mom" inherently means "Love."

Here's a photo of a pyjama-ed Michael with Achilles -- it's a blessing how animals, especially dogs, allow self-conscious teen boys to display affection, to display Love:

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ernesto Priego's Hay(na)ku Postcard Project is one of the most loving travelogues I've witnessed....and now I'm glad to be part of it via Achilles. Here's moi dawg looking at reading Ernesto's postcard (and a different shot is up at the Hay(na)ku Postcard blog) while snacking on some left-over Galatea wedding treat cookies!

If you click on each photo of the postcard being read, you'll get to see where around the world the hay(na)ku is traveling! I call it / "Map of / Love"!

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Moi is honored that "eileen tabios" inaugurates Jean Vengua's newest blog, The Commonwealth Cafe, particularly as said blog reflects Jean's important and necessary project of further recovering Filipino-American writings. I got to be the subject as a result of being the first Filipino to become part of UCSD Libraries' Archive for New Poetry ... even as I would have loved to be archived the way Fred and Dorothy Cordova conduct the National Pinoy Archive in Seattle.

Anyway, as a result of finding a new file-home, I've been doing some prep work on how to organize and what to choose for sending over to ANP (hm: I just realized the initials--the Archive might be interested in my and Nick Carbo's early NPA chuckle-movement, a poetry moment punning of the pinoy New People's Army). And one of the most important topics I've stumbled across is the difficulty of archiving folks living in the "digital age." To wit, much of my work has been fostered within the internet. How does one archive emails, blogs, etc? Even the hay(na)ku wouldn't have been possible without an internet-based community.

Ever heard of "disk-in-the-box" problem? That's when people save their stuff on disks and send them over to archival repositories, and many of these disks are never touched again, facing the risk of aging out. Libraries need servers upon which to transfer these electronic materials but ever-strained financial resources make such difficult.

I'm over-simplifying the challenges that librarians/archivists face in the digital age. I'm new into exploring this and danged if I don't already anticipate having to do what I was trying to avoid: lapse to the print-out. At least for certain material.

Anyhoo, it's all interesting. Someone should really do a conference on how to come up with consistent policies and frameworks for digital archiving...(hint, you!)

But even if this problem is resolved, what I also know is that (at least in my case), archiving Moi will be an imperfect result. To choose what to send over to a public archives is to edit. Courtesy (e.g., for people's privacy) as much as honesty is going to affect my decisions on what to reveal. And, that's okay with Moi: poetry transcends autobiography.

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Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been reading a lot of adoption-related memoirs. A good thing as, it looks like I'll be writing one on Michael's first two years with the hubby and Moi. My working title, a la Whitman, is


Depending on how the book turns out, it's likely that it'll be used for a big fundraising event planned next year for the orphan advocacy organization, Kidsave, as well as Michael's former orphanage. Kidsave (like many nonprofits) has seen donations plummet as a result of the recession. So the hubby and I are helping Michael plan a fundraiser to be held at la casa. It's also a way to teach Michael about being concerned about others and helping out those in need.

You'll likely see, therefore, a ramp-up of Michael-related blog posts in the future as I rush now to put together a book manuscript. And that's just fine. I love to talk about how wonderful my son is, and I just know you love to hear about it--the gravy on the side being my befuddlement with certain parenting duties (what, more cooking?!). So: Onward! To wit:

Things are finally adding up. Though I happily boast over any achievement by Michael -- like his SUPER DUPER MATH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD last year -- I have to say that I never really believed he warranted all those "A" math grades (yes, I can separate between moi preening and reality). This reflects one of my beefs with his previous school -- they subsidized students' grades with homework results. But, basically, this can mean that if a student had a committed parent available for homework (like Michael did with Moi), that student was likely to get a higher grade than another student whose parents may not have been helping out. It can be de facto a parenting grade versus a math grade! At one point, Michael was in a situation of getting Cs in his in-class tests but with those grades overshadowed by the As he got in homework because I kept making him do the problems over and over until he got them right!

How has the state of public education come to be so dysfunctional as to believe, what, form over content? (This ain't poetry so there is a difference here...) Once, we raised our concerns at his prior school and they looked at us with that look that meant: What are you complaining about? Isn't he getting A's? And you should hear all the other stories I hear about grade inflation -- sheesh, let's get real! This is why I love Michael's current school, Blue Oak, which is both tougher academically but also more capable of real teaching. I think he got a D in his very first math test in 8th grade (which was appropriate for someone who was behind and had been reliant mostly on Moi instead of a trained math teacher for his math training). But, for his second test, he got a solid B! With nice commentary by his teacher:

Great progress, hijo! That "B" means more to me than his 7th grade A's because I know Michael did it all on his own (not much homework aid from Mama Moi this year as we also teach him to become more independent). This means that, at least in math, Michael is now on par with his peers despite his late start in formal schooling ....and the peers in question are some of the academically-best 8th graders in the Napa Valley area. Woot!

For a moment there, I actually felt like I LOVE ALGEBRA! (Real algebra vs the metaphorical one-grin.)

Okay, I could go on. But let me stop with the Mama Moi boasting and share now my other recently relishes: my latest Recently Relished W(h)ine List. Go tomatoes!

1 stalk of "miner's weed"
110 stalks of green onion
99 strawberries
2 artichokes
2 cherries
19 zucchini
4 stalks of scallions
37 summer squash
14 cucumbers
793 tomatoes
67 figs
16 bell peppers
87 leaves of basil (Michael "harvests" them leaf by leaf)
15 cucumbers
3 squash blossoms
260 chives
27 jalapenos
19 bunches of house grapes
10 stalks of thyme
3 squash blossoms
2 peaches (a bit unripe; our first of the season!)

I-FORMATION, BOOK 1, poems by Anne Gorrick (gorgeous!)

1000 SONNETS by Tim Atkins (kewl & nifty!)

ITERATION NETS, poems by Karla Kelsey

PARABLE OF HIDE AND SEEK, poems by Chad Sweeney

RULES FOR DRINKING FORTIES, poems by Rodney Koeneke (nifty & kewl!)

ANGELS FOR THE BURNING, poems by David Mura

AMNESIAC, poems by Duriel E. Harris

BOUGH BREAKS, poems by Tamiko Beyer (in book "proof" form--fabulous and I can't wait to share it with the world as a Meritage Press release)

HOLDING PLACE, poems by Michael Slosek




JUAN, memoir by Karl Price




NEGOTIATING EARL SPENCER: OR HOW AN ANGLOPHILE TEACHER FOUND A SON IN SIBERIA, memoir by Jean C. Michael (what a godawful book. Remember--to get on my Relished List is simply to be a book that I finished, regardless of what I thought of it. I abandon many books so to be a finished read by Moi is something, even if it's a ... godawful book)

SAVING LEVI: LEFT TO DIE...DESTINED TO LIVE, memoir by Lisa Misraje Bentley


MERCY, novel by Julie Garwood

LAND OF THE HEART, novel by Tracie Peterson

THE BARGAIN BRIDE, novel by Barbara Metzger

THE LOCK ARTIST, novel by Steve Hamilton

NEVER LOVE A LAWMAN, memoir by Jo Goodman

2005 Molly Dooker Shiraz "The Boxer"
2002 Jones Family cabernet NV
2007 Aubert Reuling
2007 Tra Vigne Chardonnay
2007 Tra Vigne Cabernet
2009 Dutch Henry Sauvignon Blanc
2007 Walter Hansel Russian River chardonnay
2005 Dancing Hares cabernet
2004 Dutch Henry cabernet
2007 Dutch Henry zinfandel
2007 Aubrey chardonnay Ritchie vineyard Sonoma Coast
Schramsberg sparkling wine
1988 Lafite (moi wedding anniversary wine! Thanks Tom: I know the cellar was loathe to let that bottle go!)

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Sunday, October 10, 2010


there was Babaylan Poetics.



This weekend, the hubby and I celebrated our 24th year wedding anniversary! More special than usual as we celebrated it with a son! Here's a photo of the anniversary cards and an anniversary present to the hubby:

Yes, for our 24th millionth anniverary, I gave him a box of Mallomars. It's better than what he got me: nothing(1). This is the state of blessedness -- when gifts are superflous because one has everything through Love. Speaking of love, here's the interior of Michael's handmade card:

In case you can't read it, Michael wrote:
Dad and Mom
I expect you two to be great parents for me. Happy anniversary mom and dad. Best wishes, Michael, Achilles, Gabriela, Artemis and Escarlet

He expects us to be "great parents"...? That's undoubtedly a metaphor for us giving him a PSP, a Blackberry, and all sorts of electronic gizmos that we've so far refused. He's obviously picked up English quickly, she dryly adds...

My card to the hubby was of the two frogs and the interior continues the front saying so that the wish is, "I'll love you (open the card) until I croak." Funny, yah?

Actually, it's lame. It's lame that a poet of a gazillion words such as moiself cannot come up with a poem. I heard the same thing during the recent wedding -- why don't I write a poem? Why, indeed?

I really suck at the so-called "occasional poem." I won't speculate as to why, but I suspect it's ill-fit for me is ... purrfectly appropos. After all, for the discerning poet, every moment can be an occasion...!

(1) I exagerrate--the wonderful hubby did take me to dinner at Martini House and popped open the last bottle of '88 Lafite from the wine cellar! And classic teen-hood indeed that instead of having one of MH's fabulous desserts, we had to go to a local ice cream parlor for Michael....We have a child now!

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Saturday, October 09, 2010


I'm weepy and all a-sniffley. With happiness! Michael has a job -- his FIRST JOB! Here he is at work:

Well, yes, of course I have higher ambitions for him than to end up just washing cars. But this is his first money-making job (I don't really count the bonuses that Abuelita paid him for grades--$10 for an "A", $5 for a "B", nothing for a "C", that he pays us $5 for a "D", and he pays us $10 for an "F"). For each car he washes, he gets $10! 'Twas my idea for helping him learn about working and, later, budgeting, etc.

O moi gawd you should have seen me earlier today hounding the folks at that Big Box Store on what to buy for washing cars (I usually go to a car wash). I came back with a bagful of supplies and the first thing the hubby observes is I should have bought more than one drying-towel. Excuze Moi? How is Moi supposed to know? I have never dried a car in my life; if I end up with a wet car, I just let it, you know, drip-dry...!

(Anyway, you more experienced parent-peeps can tell me if I'm too generous or too stingy. The hubby and I have no idea -- we're just into our second year of parenting, okay?!)

And I'm also weepy because: I DO NOT TAKE THESE MILESTONES FOR GRANTED. Many children who age out of orphanages end up not sufficiently educated to get decent-paying (or legal) jobs.

Okay, I gotta go -- I want to listen to the hubby ponderously explain how, when he was Michael's age, washing cars (along with mowing lawns) was what he used to do to earn extra funds ... which is how he began acquiring wines, but that's another story...

Keep thriving, moi boy!

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Thursday, October 07, 2010


Okay: I'm not a soccer mom this year. Instead, I'm a basketball mom. Here's Michael yesterday, in red shorts, at his first practice:

I think I've bragged before that he's a natural athlete. Well, in the few minutes I had a chance to watch him play, he displayed the same speed that made him faboo on the soccer field; for basketball, he enjoys stealing balls.

His only problem is that he can't shoot basketballs into the hoop, which is logical given he didn't really play this sport until a couple of months ago. There's no shortcut to practice, and most of the U.S.-American boys on his team grew up shooting hoops.

Well, fortunately, Mama Moi actually had some wisdom to impart. Yes--ME. Yes--we're still talking about basketball! What you don't know about Moi is that, in 7th grade, I and my good pal Sandy were an undefeated doubles basketball team in the local playground! Yep, we were! It didn't last, however, since I stopped growing and everybody else did to become taller basketball players. I am just a couple of hairs over five feet, fyi.

Anyway, so there I was this evening discussing the concept of a lay-up with Michael, noting how it can be easier to score if one banks the ball against the backboard instead of attempting ... NET! I borrowed one of Achilles' toy balls and banked it against the wall into the nearby laundry basket -- SCORE!!

Michael politely listened to and watched my lesson. Then he turned away to hide what I thought was a smirk that flashed across his face. Ah well...

She brightens up and moves to change the subject: So, speaking of Achilles, here he was this weekend monitoring the florist as the wedding flowers were prepared:

And here was Michael practicing photography on some of the flower decorations:

Well, I'd rather have photographs, after all, of flowers than in these final decorated centerpieces, completed with input under Achilles' watchful eye:

Although, I'd like to share, too, one of the most beauteous images I've seen of emptiness. This is a wine decanter that would come to hold the bride's bouquet:

So gorgeous the bride absconded with said decanter (heh). After reading this, no doubt the bride will return it (double heh)... On the other hand, the "theft" shows you probably have good taste after all, notwithstanding your choice for groom!

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I've said it before and what's a blog for but for repeating moiself: to wit, I wish I was as much as a traveler as the hay(na)ku! e.g., OVER HERE! (Gracias, Ernesto!)


Tuesday, October 05, 2010


So what happens when you judge a poetry contest and your fellow judges are John Yau and Sesshu Foster? Well, I discuss being that unexpected critter known as a carpool-Mom while John talks about his (and daughter Cerise's) new dachsund-mix dawg, the mix being why the dog is 28 pounds!!! Whoah!. Sesshu, meanwhile, just keeps dropping off the conference call service.

Anyway, we ultimately chose a recipient of this upcoming Asian American Writers Workshop Poetry Award. Yes, we also discussed the poetics and aesthetics (gotta note that for the record so the winners and contestants don't think we were just schmoozing).

Apparently, the winner will get some etched glass bowl. At one point, I had queried about doing a tie because "this is Poetry: I'm prepared to love everyone", which is to say, share out that prize with as many people as possible. That got John riffing about ties being those things for wrapping up and putting under a Xmas tree, "aren't they?" Such a card. Then John says he might be prepared to do a tie because he got one of those bowls as a co-winner and he'd given it to the other winner for what was supposed to be a sharing arrangement. But it's been many years now, and my tie idea made him think it'd be good to get that bowl back for his daughter's dog's bowl.

By the way, I can't think of a better use for a poetry prize: use it for watering a dog!

Anyway, we are all very pleased at the recipient whose name I'll allow the Workshop to officially announce. We all are very enthusiastic about hir book. I believe the award ceremony will be in early November. Check it out New York City and whoever will be there at that time!

On one of the times Sesshu dropped off the conference call, John and I voted him to be the Judges' representative at the ceremony (yeah--fly there from L.A., Sesshu!). Let's see if that happens, too.


Monday, October 04, 2010


So Galatea hosted a wedding for one of our oldest family friends and the gal with no taste who chose to marry him (with friends like these, yadda yadda). But imagine my STUNNED SURPRISE when their wedding planner came up to me and said she's part of a local poetry group in her 'hood and that she'd Googled me for my poems and loved them etcetera etwonderfuletcetera! I mean, I had to do a mental double-take: it's simply not common for me to be going about my days and meet a stranger who would love my poems! Purrr! "J Lo" rocks!

Oh, wait, this post was about our newly-wed friends. Cough. Anyway, here are photos-- the affair was so full of Love Love Love AND Beauty ... as befits when Poetry is perfuming the air!

Last-minute Wedding preparations by the pool:

The hubby rushing to bring the Kiddush cups, the same cups from which we'd sipped our troth a century ago:

Before things got started, Gabriela and Achilles asked the ringbearer, flowergirl and their Mom to pose:

Wedding guests at their seats awaiting the start of the bridal ceremony:

The flower girl and ring bearer with the rabbi:

The lovely bride escorted by her parents:

The two-into-one family beneath the chuppah:

Being a respectful creature, Achilles wears a yarmulke:

The reception:

African drums against the sunset introduce the bridge and groom at the start of the reception:

Animals rule at Galatea, e.g. the pediment developed from photographs of our cats Artemis and Scarlet as well as Achilles and Gabriela playing tug-of-rope:

The bride and groom aloft, Jewish style:

Achilles was a hit with the girls:

Behind the scenes in kitchen (I show this shot simply to indicate that the kitchen does get used, albeit not by Moi):

Gabriela pooped out early from all the excitement and successful foraging for treats from various food servers:

The groom and Achilles collapsed together at the end of the festivities:

And a lovely bonus was how the wedding occasion probably shaved off a month or two from the final construction completion date as I cracked the whip over the Big, Burly Men in the last two weeks to complete construction as much as they can--and they couldn't complain given the impending wedding!

I don't have a photo now, but six flags flew over Galatea that day: the U.S., Colombia, Philippines, Japan, Israel and Galatea. Thus, is the global village Moi Home...

So, that was fun and ... to all a Good Night!

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