tv [untitled] March 8, 2013 4:00am-4:30am PST
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. anywhere. memory does have a home land. it appeared to me once in the memory of a phone call our mother's bright flame for amy. before i could say, how are you. amy said, a wonder thing happen indeed a conference in japan last month much i was walking with a japanese woman talking about literature when she stopped, turned to me and said, are we still college eyes to you for what we did to your mother in chien and i apologize to you.
amy laughed when she said anger disappeared from my life from my very body when my new friend spoke to me. when she acknowledged my childhood grieve and offered hope in the form of an apology. thank you. [applause] >> our next reader is grace angel. she is painter, poet and photographer. married and has 2 girls she is an event planner and art's fundraiser. her works have been exhibited in the bay area and international. she's working on poems entitled, from a fanatic heart. grace. written at a time when i'd say
was my hungry period. the first is bones. my bones are bleached white under your stare while you warm your hands under my open wounds i swallow the air you exheal and pluck the bones from your rib cage and i will make a man out of you. my bones memorized the weight of your since. they are brittle with forgiveness. my thighs unfold as you press the palm of your hand against my curving spine and plant your bones inside my garden. this one is draft it's the one in thean tholology. he smoothed the wrinkles on my bell and he sucked my bitter fruit. we plowed an ocean in my navel
and sowed mountains of regrets into fields. we allowed only the memory of water to sustain our thirst. we dreamt of rain and listened for our trees to bare fruit. >> the next is inspired by my mother, are we all? this is garden. the gate to my mother's garden opened always trees flirt with shadows and the grass says my same. asleep in flowered boxes pay for rain. i open always the gate to my mother's garden. i will plant my sum in a clay pot an offering to jealous gods
and stretch my arms like branches bearing fruft foregiveness. this was inspired by my mother who likes to sew. always had an old singer sewing machine and i bought her a new one but she never uses it. this is called cloth. her cracked lipped clenched to thread a dulling needle. the folds of my mother's dress are sewn with blody hands. tattered promises and button holes filled with bottomless dreams. her she was held up with borrowed strent. she asked, when will i have a home? one day i uttered. i will plant around my house she
said. green ooh vy will grow and the cat will lay to the grass dreaming of snow. >> my mother's dress i folded in the suitcase. what slowly devour the fabric quietly releasing my mother's scent. caught in the decaying cloth. i'm sorry. i'm sorry about that. this piece was inspired by you know what happens to people during the war. and the war affects not only people that are in the middle of the war but generations
therefore. this is called, which means flash fire and a wild sharp blades of grass that grows all over the philippines. the room was soaked with the fragrance of mangos. my mind is buzzing with flies. in the other room, my mother is mumbling and crying in her sleep. every night she dreams of the young american solder, the prisoner of war she had seen as a child in the philippineses. he was a blue eyed giant towering over the japanese soldiers. his khaki uniform was torn and stained with dried blood and mud. the faded white tag across his shirt read, private d packston. the solders marched him to the
river and made him kneel bite coconut trees on the riverbanks much the japanese officer drew his long sword, dip it in the running water, swung it high and one swoop, cut the american's head off. seconds before the blade hit him the american shouted something. perhaps his mother's name or a lover he had back home. may be it was the name of his god. he called out, but it did not matter. his head turned circles in the air before landing with a small that you had on the soft muddy banks of the river. my mother opened her mouth and tried to scream as the head
rolled past her feet. on the far hills red sparks littered dark skies like fire flies swimming. the crackling of the burning grass hiszed at the quiet country night. my mother wis perred. in the last stages of the war the retrieving army would burn the dry grass. my mother's family came upon the burnt out fields and found the body of a dog still smoking from the fire. it's tongue was sticking out of his charred skull. my mother heard it whine. it's only the wind my grand mother told her. but the clouds above stood still. there was no wind that day. it is almost dawn.
she is quiet now. mother, i said, stroking her hair and forehead. she opens her eyes and for a moment creeps me with a blank stare as if i was part of the nightmare. but she smiles and the past restores itself. i kept you up again my mother said. no. it was the heat, i answered softly. inhealing the frayingance of mangos that drifted in from the orchard. and bowed my head to the mercy of the flies. my last piece is about what it was like what it might feel like to be dead. i was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. luckily i'm here but there were
sleepless nights i thought, what would it be like to be dead. so -- >> the dead listened with her ice. their voices heavy with regret drop like grain on deaf pavements where children listen and trace their shadow. they dance memorize steps on wooden stairways. they sleep with their eyes open dreaming of half eaten cake. low hum of a car radio. the feel of water. the taste of skin. thank you. [applause]. closing out our evening of readers is ahn wa received msa
of creative writing. and the ardela literary composition prize in creative nonfiction. her work has been published in several an tholologies including our cheers to muses. in addition to writing and performing she published and hand bound artist books and is a photographer and print maker. lives and creates in oakland. i would like to introduce ahmwa. [applause] flesh of my flesh. the woman who invented clothes was a woman. she knew the power of a well placed leash. knew there was no looking back. once man laid himself upon her
he was cleave into her. need the clay of her. she knew then shield always need a sheath. a shield from shame. the early pain of having been divided. >> first sin. forgive me for coveting my mother's breast until it bled iodine to deceive me. 165. you cried when i left for california. you and bastand figure the driveway. i didn't expect that from you. wasn't prepare for the weeping that would last until i cross the the state border. when i got to oakland my emotions leaked like a wildfire.
they are the kind that destroy you, your security your shell. it almost killed me the home sickness the longing and anger that flawed itself into a stone in my throat. 165 days until i see you again. how many days in a semester. how long before i can go home? sometimes you need to burn everything to begin a new and here there are no science the deaths are not as severe the pure ifkification not complete. to let the natural of the sun have it's way with me. to feel the tips of grass force through the ashes of earth the complicated earth that seechls soft at the surface and yet so deep. that is how i feel the hidden layers of hardness, liquid and flame.
can anything survive at the core. must i always hold people at a distance never let them settle inside me. mother there is not enough room for me in your womb. that's why i left. to seek a home a place where i could grow. 165 miles i crieds, 165 times i missed you today. 165 meals that did not satisfy. 165 was not the number of my dorm room. 165 dollars for a 1 way ticket. 651 the area code home. >> this is a record. phone rings, a set in mother tone asks, what are you eating, how are you getting around? warns me to lock all the locks on the door.
my voice plays over and over half truths with fragmented vietnamese. i don't tell her that the locks have already been locked the click, click change of chain to groove. i don't tell her about my fear. i don't tell her i can't lock out the sirens, smut and paranoia of taxi cabs. the tortured baby crying scents of yeast from the bagel shop. extremes of heat and fall and unexpected rain. i don't tell her that hearing the weariness of her voice i can feel her flannel nightgown wet with my tierce much the smell of ponds cold cream makes me sad. how i long to wrap my arms around her warm bell e. instead i say, i'm fine.
eating, taking subway. i don't tell her that today i wept over a bowel of ph o. >> 100 degrees cellsius. there is no going back you and i. like broth clouded by the blood. so this next poem is actually in the tears to me antholology. a vietnamese woman artist, composure you name it she does it. i wonder if she bakes i never asked her but. this is a buddhist heart. each time i burned my body for you my heart remanipulained in .
i watched the saffron flames engulf me seer my skin, flesh of a plum stripped of it's peel. tender and glowing like mars, i would rise to the sky for you to see me. in those moments i was your torch and we were united. united by the scents the heat the shutter. for love of another i'd say to myself, faithful in muted pain. my hope, my heart extinguishing as you stood there paralyzed each time like a still camera unable to look away. infraction. if my love were smooth and lustrous would you spit me open
and fill me up again. would you kiss the scar you made of me name it and claim me like a mountain. bear witness to holiness where 2 rocks collide. if my was unpenetrable and clear would you search your whole life destroying me just to hold me to the light? i am listening you like rain that slips through fingers missing you like childhood dreams and mother's mill ik. like an earing under a bed. links of moon that pass. with years reflected in glass. the silver seams behind eyes. if you happen to find my love hidden in the openal of your
memory, would you return my uncertainty? my last poem, i'd like to dedicate to all the people who have ever lost someone that they love. and as nancy said you get to a certain age and people start passing away. and it's kind of bizarre when you lose a parent and realize you are a member of some strange society where no one understands how you feel. i want to say this is something that i'd like to share. inheritance. you were stubborn until the end. i felt your spirit tremor in my hand, your fears gach. the hospital room was filled with ice witnesses that denied me the last thing imented from
you to lay curled with you alone once more. to be a girl again and feel the balloon of your belly rise and fall. pat your cheeks soft as apcots. hear your breathing soothe me to sleep. that day i wrapped my arms around the shirt necessary your closet still hanging i felt them fill my grieve felt them hallow in your absence much the waling never ends inside and sometimes i think i have lost you like a hat. misplaced you in the messiness of my surroundings. you see, your stubbornness was woven into me woven into the clothes we both wore. strands that decide where we shared resistance, pushed
>> hi and welcome back to authors who make you think. i appreciate you wanting to think on a beautiful saturday afternoon. 8 years ago in the ban shell at golden gate park. jonathan, one of our readers was there. 20 readers and 8 afternoons and now there are venues around the city. i will read a few poems. the first one is, after the bleeding. it was inspired by 2 photos that
were in the san francisco chronicle in june 2005. the first, i will read the captions. photo captions. and follow with the poem. children watch as police collect pieces of bodies from a suicide bombing. front page photo caption san francisco chronicle june 14, 2005. >> the not guilty verdicts in the michael jackson trial. front page photo caption, san francisco chronicle june 14, 2005. after the bleeding the blood spattered walls draw the gaze of children wanting to see what has caused such a noise. how can they not stair. arms and legs, pieces of torso scattered, the smell of new death and feared hair. they must be asking the same
question. a person who blows themselves up must believe in something. must believe in something or else not. hopelessness degreesed in apnigzs, righteousness disguised in a tuxedo of death much the children don't understand. i being of the dead dying man the bleeding bystanders who left to buy cheese or tobacco. in car bombs suicide bombs and we keep talking as though this will end like the final judgment of that black man who looks white and sleeps with boys but doesn't touch them. after the bleeding the children's shoes will be forever stained in the crimson color of death. who will set the doves free
then. >> the next is sdaefrt on the horizon. i'm sure many of you have seen or heard regularly in the news. my father came from iran so every time i see those headlines and get an article in my e mail i have this moment of panic thinking about my family members in iran who might be the next victims of this terrible war administration this is, disaster on the horizon. it begins with words. daggers of men who bleed their nations of hope kill any promise. here is war, a bag full of hate posturing angry man rhetoric unleashing disaster on the horizon.