tv [untitled] December 17, 2011 2:31am-3:01am PST
born and raised in sacramento, california. she continues to call northern california her home. and now lives in san francisco. so, with that i'd like to introduce debbie yee as our first speaker. >> this is called jasper john's wagon. >> i have an idea of how the fifth star was killed dear empire not by gunfire at close range, not in the study with the pen knife, not by the umbrella, crushed by the revolving door not jostled or hemorrhaged the narrow drain. we caught the tar and the bullet we came to the body encostic casement of skin rig motor us framed the opened mouths scream. wail for your mother wrap our sons in silken ribbons in a galaxy. the cause has been perp traited. we are adrift on a baron sea.
the fleet diminishes me. who shouts for us now, dear empire? this next one is a postcard for a reason that i kept of harold's club in reno, nevada. i don't know if it exists it's a really old postcard. harold's club made we think of harold and the purple crayon. harold's club. who would figure let loose the boy with the purple crayon. let him conkokt the loses slots in women. let loose his imagination. ended as high as sea gulls or the reverse w's topped with bold topped centers the rudeaments of
the buzzum and life itself. >> pen and ink. in the way we demonstrate speech by quotation marks the ill administrator kapt urs speed by 2 lines of the pen much the trotting horse quoted at the knees all 4 and the lady side saddled atop him frozen in place by crossed hatched marks. courseut to indicate the petticoat aroused into activity by the muscular steed. unintended garden. whether o(inaudible) the propery line, i promise not to water the spring flower and plants that remain as brown stubbel on the chins of my train. take care of dry foilage.
i let the japanese maybel swat the afi ds on it's own. purple spotted brush. 2 calla lillies take root. birds return listening to lost meats all day until dusk beckons them to come to the nest and try again in the morning. this next poem is indian an ina ontholingly. on telegraph avenue it's no longer in existence, the sadness of this. berkeley, late fall. um -- this is from forest hamer who is a bay area poet who wrote berkeley late spring. this is berkeley late fall. i have been browsing the peet
ree section had come to lose the unconcern but persistant rain that followed me in as a trail of damp shoe prints and dripping conscientious hacompanied to a solitude. i ran my right index if anything are across each spine flesh going along volume and groove. imagine the book seller anding by to fold and flatten we down to on an oblong shape and reshelf me into an americay sandwich between the t's and v's stacked up along the unexpected and unknown. i notice that the pe ems i imagine crowding around you were the unquieted the unrequited. distant citizens far from the disposition of the safety of s's the determinant d's and resultant r's where the poems are make believe.
unlike the bumpy organic one i find myself wandering into. this one is about the moon. mabel and maureen. the moon regrets it's father's avd vise, take the night shift. [laughter]. each evening he dressed his forehead in linseed oil and drying powerhouse the expansion of reflection. it's difficult to get shut eye the hours before how the sunshines and how dollar is no curtain wide enough to screen it's rays. he takes out his bag lunching mouthfuls of apple juice and pb and j. on his watchdog garts. diners are darkened, empty much we are not open for you, moon they seem to say. and so said the cart vendors the
waitresses like mabel and maureen. how mabel and lauereen stroll indeed full skirted prichled merrily the moon lit evening arms in other men's arms. this next one is, the next 2, which are my last 2 are something about passing. among us. in the sunken spring as in winter and fall and every season that our teak of spring with souro and jubulation are fragile hearts are as children grabbing drink tumblers spilld and milky. teach finger tips reaches for the stars and night clouds hopeful that we might give respite to our orbegans our earth bound regrets. we ask or wonder in the moments
when we catch ourselves breathing where do the beloved go. in the warm cham bers of the living. we imagine how they might wallow away our earthly number of days playing gin rummy with another grand mother. ladies of historical footnotes. telescope the heavens on capurncus's shirt tales. wounds and so spots pounding out quiet inner drum beats while we traverse the gravity boots. warmed bite disassistant c.j. hunt inner spaces is dusted with enchantments of what love has left us. this is tile.
consider the corn's ear a tiling of pale yellow pillows, tiny. or hexagonal pearls addressed on the bathroom floor. i flip through a 12 month calendar each tile numbered, each 30, each sheet of a dozen passing, passing. thank you. [applause] >> our next speaker is nancy hong. nancy is an artist, writer, children's book ill administrator, curator and art's administrator. devoted her artistic career to the nonprofit art's sector creatingim mags for political, social and community events and causes her writing has been published in severalan tholologies. with that i introduce nancy
hong. >> thank you for coming this is called bread and soup. beneath the bear bulb we gather to eat our evening meal of bread and soup. here behind the mission walls the kind speaks to us in euphemisms we avoids staring at our brown roasts faces, our hard boiled hands and violet veins he mouths his words like a fish careful not to mention china to us who are now fartherless and motherless in this new country. he does not know we created our own miracle that transformed the stale, hard crust into wrich crackling pork skinning. the soup and broth. our lips smack in satisfaction
of this, our only taste of home. >> this piece is on angel island. the angel island immigration station where chinese and otherim grants were detained and interrogated from 1910 to 1940 before they were allowed into america. many adopted false identities in order to escape this strict act. our morning strolls to mountain lake park my wife of 50 years stays a step behind. she needs my arm for balance but avoids my touch. she counts the 10 sign posts. 5 stop signs and 2 mailboxes to our destination. she moves her lips as if remembering. before i came here, i had a
name. 4 palm trees faced us when we landed loomed like guardians to pass the golden gate we tell them what they wanted to hear. on this island of desperate dreams we shed our skins and wore new once. we burned our parents name and let our past curl into smoke. no longer my father's daughter. no longer my husband's wife. only the sea gulls know who i really am. for months we were held in separate rooms the dampness went through the bunks and gnawed our bones the wales of ghosts kept us awake. 32 steps to my father's house.
4 windows facing north. 24 steps to my uncle's house, 2 doors facing south. i have 3 sisters, 2 brothers, 4 cousins on my father's side. now i store the memory in a drawer along with bitter herbs and rhinoceros horns we dine at restaurants on the better side of towns with pink table cloths and real flowers in the vases. we hardly go to china town. before i came here, i held his hand. now my heart is a chinese box of riddels, no one understands. i blew hot soup for her on foggy nights. she trims the ends of my thinning hair, still she can't
forget that day she faced the interrogation officers and said she was my sister. i have not told anyone we move like shadows in a haze of secrets and lies. now stairs fascinate her. she knows the neighbor's house by heart. 21 steps to the door. 9 windows. 1-1/2 bathrooms. she counts every timely visit just to make sure. in case one day she has to know. before i came here, i had a name. >> ships of wind. softly size the swaying trees in
the secret place stilled by time. we toil between the deep brown earth crumbs past frommant toant in orderly procession surrounded by crushed new born grass and flattened flowers. many of us have died here. who's secret [inaudible] we do not know. nor the shift of wind the sudden wake that blocked the sun changes the course and brought with it the endless nights. we enl know the passing of formless clouds o pass the porch forced to forge a new since the coming of the black rain. number 2. there secrets here not ever known. we only carry the sudden weight of memories. not at hair pins, green tea, rice balls wrapped in silken
cloth. melted crayons, moth and marbles. flightless wings in a brown bag. they are safe inside us. neither shift of wind nor sun's cruel wrath can force us from our charge into the endless night we stand our ground monolithic protectors of the broken spirit. 3. there was a place sacred beaconed by time. i remember. the new born grass trampled beneath the earth. no one else should die here. there was a flash, no, 2 secrets locked in a fire ball. the shift of wind the sudden
weight of blue heat formless days worn past, changed since the coming of endless night. >> and my last poem -- speaks to world events. and now i'm also thinking about the atrocities in berma. called the world i leave you. once there were 2 towers then there were none. i searched among the rubble for bones of men. what kind of world i leave you, what's human left of race? what more can i give you to
resurrect your faith? smiles, i give and laughter like rain, flakes of snow that gently splay against the window pain. light transformed to rainbow, sweat from a dancer's brow. giggles of rivers running down mountains, flowers unfolding to face the sky. pain from sclap nal's path. blood from solders punctured hearts still borns pushed from aching wombs this belongs to you. dirt and miracles reborn. sweetness made sweeter by bitter sun and shadow forged as one. once there were 2 towers then there were none.
between the once and the then lay all the hopes and fears of men. this is the world i leave you. ripe and full as a mother's breast. a baby's licking tongue grabbing hand and glistened eyes. thank you. [applause]. our next reader is rashne. lived studies and work indeed india, pakistan, lebanon, the united states and mexico. she is the editor of living in america. poetry and fiction by south asian american writers. encounter people of asian decent in the americas her novel, braided tongue was published in 2003. i introduce rashne. >> i'm reading from a selection from a longer narrative. memory is no longer confused.
it has a home land. from a farm by the late ali. sometimes the circle breaks and the woman meets the child. face-to-face. each one seeing for the first time her strength in the other. a poem by jenny. [inaudible]. after more than a year of e mails and phone conversations, amy,ling and i met at the university of wisconsin in madison. it was sometime during the mid 1980. calcutta was very hot, said amy. i wondered how our conversation about asian american literature veered to calcutta? calcutta was very hot but i got my first doll there.
we spent some time in calcutta when we fled to the united states. the doll didn't look like me blond hair and blue ice bought from calcutta. she comforted me when i remember the sounds of the japanese bombs that forced us to leave our home. did you have a dog? an indian doll to comfort you when you were a child? i told amy about my doll named champy and my oldest paternal uncle who resembled chinese ancestors. my uncle was an astounding musician played the violin and k
helo. i would pick up shanty's head and place her ears on the door because her ears were smaller than my ears. i wanted her to listen carefully to the wonderful sound. i may have know in the way children know but my uncle's music would disappear from my life far too soon. he died when he was 40 years old. i tried to tell amy how my grand mother asked everyone why no one could bring her oldest son back to life even after we made great progress in medical science. but in the end, broke my grand mother's heart was her 2 daughters could not come for their brother's funeral. when it explained to her that my aunts who lived in india and
pack tan were considered enemy aliens we looked at us as we were inmates. we are brothers and sisters all of them are my children and went to grieve in the privacy of her prayers. we were quiet for sometime, both of us try to break away from the sounds of bombs and the sounds of grieve that accompany the tearing apart of people. 1 from the other. amy broke our silence. what do you mean pieces of your doll. i had 3 dolls all 3 were shanty. all 3 dolls were made of brittle plastic like material we called cutcha caw. they were hollow the different parts of their bodies were hooked with rubber bands.
whatever held those 3 parts together they always broke within a few weeks and the dolls continued to exist in their separate components. i suspect my male cousin was the deconductor of the dolls. the grownups promised to reconstruct them but didn't have the time to follow up on their promises or forgot i was carrying around parts of dolls. except one aunt. she screamed every time she saw me carrying the 3 sets of legs and arms and 3 heads 234 thericcety carriage i pushed around. to assure my aunt the dolls were doing well. i would reassemble them mixing and matching the different parts of the dolls. may be it was a child's way of
remembering the acts and the passion of iceis in search of her fragmented husband and the passion of [inaudible] tearing apart and putting together her colonizing bright sister. i still love dolls i collect them. what about you asked amy. she was disapointed when i told her that i hadn't cared from dolls since i was in my early teens. in the late 1990's a friend wanted to give me a custom made doll. i requested a chinese young girl doll. and with my friend's permission i gaveamy the doll. the last time i saw the doll was in a collection of dolls aranged with great care in the house by the lake in madison where amy's
memorial was held in 1999. last year, 7 years after amy's death i saw an old woman selling dolls right in front of the young federalist blocking the entrance to the [inaudible] and the conflict torn town. in 2006. and i thought of amy. and her passion for justice. and her love of dolls. later that evening, i thought of amy again. i found my friend shanty at the dining room table watching the television news about iraq. she was touching one of the most grotesque doll i had seen much the doll is 10 inches tall and look as if she was dying offan
rexia. she was in a long gown, of course, blontd hair and green ice. if you can mag manual a bizarre version of a barbie that doll was it. returned from the 15th birthday celebration of friends of the family and the doll was part of the souvenir package given to all the female guests. everyone was given that doll. i was about to make a joke about that doll when i realized that 53 year old shanty was holding on to that doll as if it was a talisman. she turned to the television and said, i hope i never have to eat squirrel meat again. [inaudible] shanta was born in the mountains and grew up as the poorest of poor.
when she was 5 years old her father died and her uncle gave her to a family that owned a small ranch and now owns a [inaudible]. i was in surprise that one time she had eaten squirrel meat but i wonder what brought up the squirrel meat that evening. shanta rocked the doll and told me when she was 4 or younger she found out there were dolls in the world. apparently her father told her about some of the girls in the city had little make believe babies. shanta wanted a doll. her parents laughed and shook their head. her favorite brother went to the mountains, caught the biggest squirrel he could find. kill today, cleaned out the
meat, stuffed the clean squirrel with dry grass and presented the squirrel to shanta as her make believe baby. shanta loved her brother's gift but could never eat squirrel meat. the sound of loud bombs went off. we both jumped. last winter when we heard loud noises we wondered if they were bombs or fire works set off for a celebration or if they were professional or homemade rockets being exchanged with demonstrators and the federalists. shanta put her doll against her shoulder and patted the doll's back in the universal gesture of burping the baby. her last words to me last night were; does anyone know how many
babies and children have been killed in iraq? how many babies and children are being killed or thrown out of their homes all over the world. why does everyone want to ask indigenous pe indigenous people of the world as if we were garbage to be thrown away. when i had told amy [inaudible] madison that the first time i saw the statute of liberty i thought the statute was a huge white unbreakable doll. amy said her memory of the statute was of her little brother crying. what will happen to us now? if the people don't like us where will we go. we have nowhere to go. will they throw us back to the sea. we don't have a home anymore.