Monday, February 22, 2010

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 7:44 AM, Sarah Walko wrote:
This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the 'threshold guardian' at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions – also up and down – standing for the limits of the hero's present sphere, or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society danger to the members of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored. The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades

- j. campbell

Friday, February 19, 2010

"...she is catalogue busty Oriental or steamy Latina. The girl next door is waiting for you to shoot your load"

“Young Americans birth gang rape over card games,” Barbara Jane Reyes calls out in her chapbook titled, Cherry, published by Portable Press @ Yo Yo Labs. In her opening poem, “Cherry,” Reyes masterfully evokes the ambiguous space of sexual pleasure within sexual violence. “[T]ears tender,” “ingests,” “pump fire,” and “invites entrance tinseled hostess” is experienced amidst the “liquored push,” “he advances inserts into girl,” “unripe cherry bleed/blow her rupture.” This collection is an absolute must read for those interested in gender and ethnic studies and for those wanting to better understand people in their life who have visceral, seemingly extreme reactions to the objectification of women in the mass media.

Ethnic prejudice and sexual violence, specifically against Filipinas, accumulates in Reyes use of a documentary poetics in the poem “E-Dialogue Over Bitter Chocolate.” News quotes discuss the colonization of the Philippines in relationship to contemporary consumerism: Wired News reports that the Spanish division of Nabisco defends the naming of their chocolate-covered cookie, “Filipinos.” A ten-year old male child to his Filipina nursemaid says, “Hey Cookie, I’m eating you!” After which follows statistics from the Centre for Philippine Concerns-Australia, on murders suspected or perpetrated by “the woman’s employer, husband, de-facto partner, ex-partner, or fiancé.” These images and news reports culminate in the poem’s final two stanzas. The reading experience is far too rewarding to ruin: you’ll have to see for yourself.

No aspect of sexualized ethnic abuse goes unexamined in Reyes inventive, fresh work. Every twist and turn in the poems' subjects provides a new way of seeing. Hope is given to the reader in the strength that we hear in the poet’s voice even when the speaker’s experiences, and by extension the readers’ experiences at times, “[become] tears in the wound, liquid, nude-come-shots, and singing, as we.” (Reyes, Cherry, “Selvedge”)

Cherry by Barbara Jane Reyes, published in 2008 by Portable Press @ Yo Yo Labs, Brooklyn, NY, is available for $7.00 at:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

“Mémoire” by Pierre Reverdy

Memoire is in the French feminine, memory, and in the masculine, memoir and in Reverdy’s poem, the shared experience of two strangers lost in their distinct thoughts and memories. Though this is an isolated state, all humans by virtue of sharing this experience are united in the act. Joined in “un monde plein d’espoir,” a world full of prospect—the potential and constant moment of becoming.
First the speaker is lost in thought with no recognition of what has happened around his body in the tangible world. “Scarcely a minute/And I’ve come back/ Having grasped nothing of all that passed.” We say that we have zoned or spaced out into the “larger sky.” In the last moments of being removed from the physical world, in the mental zone, there always is “The lantern going by/ The footstep overheard” that pulls us out of our mind and back into the material space that we inhabit. The entire world, in the setting of the poem, the zoo, is “in motion” but “someone comes to a stop/ They let go of the world/ And everything in it.” By letting go of the material constraints of our body in the physical world “There’s more space.”
In the open field of thought, imagination and memory we are rewriting our self-narrated autobiography. And as a community of humans, space is one of our largest concerns both personally and politically. Ownership of intellectual property and real estate and personal space and one’s own story is at play in the constant rewriting of history. In the realm of unlimited immaterial space, division of thinking does not prevent the shared human behavior from achieving communion. Each is not alone in the condition of being human that tends toward daydreaming or day-worrying. “All three of us were strangers/ And formed already” finding the potential self and community.