Showing posts from August, 2018


for my family, especially the young ones who never met your uncle 

Roy Tabios (Sept. 24, 1958-March 1, 1980)

I've rarely written about my brother Roy. I rarely wrote because it hurts and, in my writings (so far), he inevitably evokes loss.Roy died prematurely at age 21 in a car accident. His death is among the biggest losses my family experienced in the diaspora because there was no reason for it – an accident. His death aborted a whole life of possibilities yet to even start to unfold. I feel the loss of his possibility keenly, in part because he was so intelligent and yet so reticent: a likely late bloomer who never got enough time.
Our other brothers, with whom he spent more time as we grew up, likely will have different points of view as regards Roy. But for me, I felt reticence, even as I know that it would have been temporary. With more time, I know we could have created together a wonderful relationship. In fact, we  connected as two individuals seeing each other for the fir…


On Marissa Sean Cruz's "lewis vauton" (2018)
Identity and authenticity are complicated terms, even before they come up for consideration by diasporics, including immigrants. As a poet, I've seen criticism in some quarters of those not overtly referencing Filipino experiences in their work (such can be one peril of (“abstract”) art by a person of color not moved to spoonfeed visual or literary narrative to anybody). Partly due to my history with such matters, I was drawn to Marissa Sean Cruz’s “lewis vauton” (2018) (1 x 2 ft., acrylic on canvas) as soon as I saw its image online:

Louis Vutton is one of the most faked brands in luxury goods—there is a healthy market for its popular but pricey products. My own purse-loving mother possessed a fake LV bag which I’d (half-jokingly) given her after purchasing it for $8.00 at a local consignment store:

For decades, aspiring fashionistas counted on counterfeit bags and products  to allow them to (pretend to) wear Louis Vuitton a…


I am so happy to live with one of Patrick Rosal's B-Boy (breakdancing) sketches!

I wrote and interviewed him about his B-Boy sketches in "Sketching the Energy of Breakdancers" featured in Our Own Voice. THAT ESSAY still captures what I wish to say about this vibrant drawing. But you can see Patrick's updated bio at his website. Speaking of visual effects, if you click on his website, you'll see the only Fil-Am poet I've ever seen wearing a Barong Tagalog in his author photo. Good for him!

I photograph his framed sketch, not at its usual place in the gallery hanging on a wall but, on the floor  (that’s the gallery’ beige rug) for obvious reasons...

Here's an excerpt from out lovely engagement together that I hope tempts you to go HERE and read the whole thing:


I previously wrote on John Patrick McKenzie's art in my essay, "Drawing Words to Transcend Definitions and Make Words More Meaningful," for Our Own Voice, April 2005. While an old article, it still captures why I am so drawn to McKenzie's art (it inspired my first and only "Googled poem"), and why his works have their own "project room" viz North Fork's bathroom. McKenzie has achieved something difficult for any artist: his own recognizable and unique aesthetic by how he chooses to color or block in the spaces within letters (e.g. the spaces created within the letters "e" and "b").  The result is his own font with which elevates his writings so that they're not just poetry but visual art. You can see my essay HERE, but I want to share this excerpt about this autistic artist:

"McKenzie's process hearkens how certain autistics have difficulty integrating various sensory inputs they receive; for McKenzie, drawing …