Recent poetry reading at a fundraiser

Fundraiser poetry reading

I read two poems “Diaspora” and “Pin Drop” at a recent fundraiser event for refugees from Burma and for an orphanage in Burma. Click on the link above to get to the video.

New Facebook is launched

I’ve created a Facebook Page for my writing projects on the arts in and of Burma/Myanmar. Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/myanmarartsproject.

Feel free to Like it and follow it. Check in later for more updates on that page and here as well.

New book in the works

I’m planning to release a self published book of a selection of my short proses in near future. It is entitled “Man on the Moon and Other Short Proses”. List of the selected works are below:

First Night Awakening
Our Way
Shade
Man on the Moon
What in the World
What the Liver Told Me
Letter from Mother to Daughter
A Boat on the Sea
Too Close to the Sun
The Bus Untitled
Sickness
Backyard Dance
The Mystery of Milk on the Table
Red Shoes

In the meantime, I am in the research phase of my book on the art movement in Burma, particularly the alternative and underground arts. This will be the first project for the Facebook site I’ll be launching that focuses on my writing projects. The site should come alive in a week or so. Check back in for updates.

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Update on this writer’s journey

I have decided to return to my writing. Though I have been writing every few months, I cannot say I’ve been devoting myself to the path as a writer. Now I feel ready to return and travel this journey. It will come in a different form as I had done in the past. I may not be as prolific. My writing genres and styles may differ. Nevertheless my voice will carry me through.

In this new beginning, I will launch a Facebook site for my projects. There are many dreams, visions, ideas, experiences that pair along with my desire to express them through my writings. Writing will be the vehicle. It is a creative and procreative process. I want to breath life in through the writings. Writing used to be what keeps me alive. And now I’m going to bring life into writing. It is a new development as a writer.

I will announce the launching of the project once I have set up the Facebook site. I’ve already started the early stage of the process of this resurrection. Stay tuned.

mirror

this mirror is cracked
from the lower right side
branching up and across

it has been cracked since I was born
it has been said it was cracked because I was born.

up close
you will see the red in the crack
it does not run but tethers on surface
a follower of the crevice

this mirror is cracked
i am afraid to touch it
lest I cut myself and bleed.

I am the remainder

I just ate a plate of steamed white rice with salted dried fish and kim chi. That was my dinner. As I consumed the food, more for sustenance than for taste at the moment, I pondered upon how a simple meal could be delicious when hungry. I was then reminded of a memory several years ago, when an office mate had made a comment about the smell of my lunch. It was a typical “Asian” encounter that left me feeling quite different, yet again. I am reminded of my other-ness in this community, in this country.

I would have to hide my Asian-ness if I am to be considerate of the majority and blend in without offense to other’s sensitivities. I would have to remove my Asian-ness, and what would remain is just me. Just me without all the things I grew up with, void of the familiar that have been in my world up until now. But removing these things from me doesn’t remove my make-up. I am still this Asian in my heart and soul. So I become the remainder, left after all the losses that come with assimilation. Being a remainder is painful, because I am the source which reminds me of what have been lost. I cannot rid myself of me. I have to bear my own burden, day in and day out, with every cross-cultural encounter. Each decision I have to consciously or unconsciously make about disappearing while being a remainder, or sticking out like a sore thumb only to bear the hits of the hammer, I am inflicted with pain. The redundancy and endlessness of it all takes its toll. I do not know how much longer I can let myself be chipped away silently before dissipating. Yet I am the remainder so there will always be some of me left. And whenever there is some of me left, there will always be a chipping away. There is no escape.

I am not used to helplessness and I am used to helplessness both at the same time. An immigrant is a fighter, a survivor who transcends geography and peoples to better one’s life and those of one’s future generations. There is nothing helpless about this survival. Yet, being a remainder of what one lost to survive is a helpless cycle of suffering where there is no escape.

Can I choose not to be a remainder? Can I be a creator instead? What would it take? How alienating will that be?

This reflection is inspired by Dr Robert Storolow’s article “On Being a Remainder” in Psychology Today.

juxtaposition: reflection

I.

I am a writer
I speak
A poet:
I emote

I am a voice
I resonate
A truth:
I bare

When my skeletons are
skinned over with
bullet proof vest and sheath

I suffocate.

II.

Nobody wants to see
a naked old lady’s
wrinkles folded over cellulite
arthritic fingers contorted by Dupuytren’s

III.

Botox and cosmetics
will not hide away
what nature has began

I only wear thanakha on my face
I do not like this mask I’ve been handed.

IV.

The mask is all we want to see.
After all, we have eyes/
we are not blind.

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