Monday, April 30, 2007

it's beginning to dawn on me that humans are not supposed to be monogamists. what does that say for the state of marriage for the future? - i know not. and who invented marriage in the first place? it would seem like it's men since they were there to write all the scriptures and left women out of it. except for the fact that women are to be submissive in many of the organized religions, why did men write their own death trap? - i know not. one of my guy friends who's on the threshold to marriage says, "So someone would take care of us when we get old and have to wear diapers." he is having cold feet:

me: well...why are you confused?
he: feelings are confusing.
me: is it that you don't want to settle? is it that you think something better's gonna come along? you know that second reason is why new yorkers are all walking around single - because there's more ppl in the metropolis and so they think they have unlimited options.
he: i know some of it is fear of committing, not being single and free...
me: it's not all that. what's so good about free?

two bits of advice i've retained over the years which you can take or not:
1. marry someone who loves you more than you love him/her.
2. marry someone who you can't live without, not someone who you can live with.

he: But if everyone married someone who loved them more, no one could get married.

good point. frankly, i think number two is also difficult. there are plenty of people i thought i couldn't live the time. but i think we are so self-sufficient these days, we can live without other individuals. and isn't it too much pressure on the other person if you can't live without them? i guess those two bits of advice just do not cut it these days...

Friday, April 27, 2007

à cause des dragons (the one about our slow walk)
you say it is lovely
to stop
and smell the
in six o’clock pedestrian
traffic, so we pause
to sidestep
the cigarette smoke
and we stroll
to suspend
all the city clocks
and we stray
to avoid
setting up for dinner
and all the secret
snapdragons on every
wake to greet us,
fire and water
today is the fifth annual Poem In Your Pocket Day in new york city. i might have to empty my pockets by the hour. what's in your pocket?

Monday, April 23, 2007

last night, i went to the new fette sau to celebrate a birthday, barbecue, and beer. the ten of us enacted the tribal triumph of gourging ourselves full of several pounds of meat, tempered intermittently with the delicate crunch of pickles, soupy beans, and what has got to be the greasiest potato salad ever. correction: potato with barely any onions. but the meat...ohh..carnivorous me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

later this afternoon, the taste of chinatown.

Friday, April 20, 2007

tonight, i went to this:

Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan

The United States’ first major international exhibition of its kind in more than three decades, Awakenings presents Japanese (Zen) and Chinese (Chan) Buddhist art, featuring a Japanese National Treasure and major cultural assets, and including rare loans from museum and private collections in Japan, North America, and Europe. Exploring the artistically singular yet still poorly understood tradition of figure painting in Zen Buddhist communities in medieval Japan, the exhibition features forty-seven superlative Chinese and Japanese works of painting, ranging from the 12th to 16th century.

with its dimly lit alcoves and mostly quiet atmosphere (three phones with three different rings went off in the span of the first fifteen minutes of my tour within the exhibit), the place was a shrine to an old, old time. i felt a deep sense of reverence, especially looking at the large painting of Guanin framed by the two poets, Tao Yuanming and Li Bai. i felt a happy calm, but at times, also, a sadness because the oldest paintings were all if they were giving a final nod to the buddhist mantra of transience and impermanence. at various turns, i felt you following and anticipated your reaction to these zen/chan paintings. i think you would have also stood in awe and even find yourself more attached to them than i did...however ironic that may sound. i also learned that in the name of detachment, one can only seek enlightenment without seeking it, or otherwise find themselves attached to the seeking of it. and so i tell you all the time - stop trying, just do.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

concerning the asian fear of backlash due to the virginia tech incident:

personally, i think there are racist people everywhere, and those who are racist will use this incident as just another excuse to be the way they are. and it is within our nature to build walls (see previous post). so, in short, i think generally people who are similar to the perpetrator will often fear for backlashes, while those who are dissimilar from the perpetrator may find a reason to be angry or even fear that they will want to find an illegitimate reason to be angry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

there is no such thing as a typical shooter...
what's the solution?
what's the solution?
what's the solution?

there is no such thing as a typical shooter...and as people clamor around about race, sex, resident status, age, social behavior or clinical labels, one can go on and on and categorize and build walls around groups of people while striving for that feeling of safety. but safety is not in separating people. all the profiling in the world will not keep us safe. and yet, it is the easier solution for the powers that be...instead of something constructive like addressing social problems or looking at gun control. for one, looking at gun control is like looking at war. everything is better as long as there's money to be made.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

sometimes just five
syllables can draw
a circle of contempt
around the wearer, like
when you managed to be
the root
of sexism and racism
bound into one and yet
still have time to wonder
what exactly
you were meaning to say
in your exclusive

Saturday, April 14, 2007

last night, went to M1-5 to see a friend's west coast band perform. they are mostly a wedding band with an interesting name, and this is probably the first time they have ever thrown our newest new york city's finest out into a crowd before. somebody mentioned that they should've thrown out BART condoms instead, but alas, BART has none, and our friend had ordered 3,000 from the NYC Department of Health when they just came out on February 14th of this year because that was the minimum number on the order form. so, plenty to give away. anyways, a wedding band named Dirty Sanchez and the Rusty Trombones throwing out condoms...what can be more unconventional? help yourself, spread only the good news.

Friday, April 13, 2007

i am an organ donor. most of the time, i walk around without recalling the option, as i'm sure you do, too. but once in awhile, like for the next five minutes, i remember that i am an organ donor and that none of my organs belong to me as i have already signed them away, and it is a funny feeling. it is not like when i give blood, i even ever think about my blood coursing through someone else's veins and arteries.

in a way, why should my organs belong to me when i don't need them anymore? it is better that a part of me still lives on...that is why people opt to have children. and it is better that someone who needs them to live - when i no longer will - will get that chance. after my mom got a blood transfusion, she no longer craved chewing ice. she also felt that her blood circulation literally became better, even years afterwards. because she, like me, had a tendency to have cold fingers and toes. but now, for her, it is not an issue. i don't know if that means anything because since she has had her blood transfusion, i've stopped chewing ice. i guess it wasn't as fun anymore.

so, all organs considered, it will be interesting to have all my parts removed and distributed. where will they go, who will have them, and why is there still a lack of organs for the living? will they still feel me without me, and will you still find me, and would you go for the heart or the kidneys, the eyes or the liver? it is a funny feeling.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

went to this last night:

Branded Entertainment

No longer settling for the 30-second spot, brands strive to be more visible and more subtle at the same time, as the endangered spot gives way to reality show and video game tie-ins, and brand-generated content appears everywhere from YouTube and Xbox to airplanes and movie theaters. Those in the avant garde of the branding revolution report on what’s working, what isn’t, and where the trend is headed. Presented by the Center for Communication.

Kirk Iwanowski, EVP, Marketing, Branded Entertainment & Sponsorship, Sundance Channel
Patti Kim, Vice President, William Morris Agency
Chet Fenster, Managing Partner, Director of Content Creation, MEC Entertainment
Bill Hilary, President, Magna Global Entertainment
Stuart Elliot, Advertising Columnist, New York Times (moderator)

the only reason this was a bad panel was because the moderator was cutting in on the the guest panelists' time. again and again, he kept interrupting with his own stories and wisecracks. and he himself did not come up with good questions. i'm not sure what notes he was taking either if it were not to come up with better follow-up questions.
if i could
build  a   house
with these    words, it
would    look something
like    this  –     something out -
standingly gnarly,   and   if you want,
moss-carpeted,   and    full    with just
enough branches   to support     all these
letters    and more importantly,    there
would be so    much       room      for climbing  –
standing    out    on a       limb     for     all the
reasons we       should     when     there
are so     many     boundaries      for
just              waking                 and
living,     holding        out          our
arms    and      loving    –     so   much
so that      our feet        will      forget
the ground when       above       and
cherish         the   earth
when    we    come back
down,  placing one
on the
roots to step
out, rejuvenated
since spring:

these days, demanding
an investigation at the heel
of tragedy is just
as run of the mill as digging
sixty-two graves in two rows
in a barren field with naive
trees on the horizon, burnt
by the responsibility
their amputated fingers held
upwards so that
the pointing stops here

while the world is falling apart all
around us and the people who can –
do nothing about it, the first day
of spring arrives, and i have forgotten
just how to love when there must
be a statistic somewhere on how
often a bomb goes off
every twenty-first
second – every fifth time i
inhale or every time i blink –
and it no longer means
anything –
what you are saying –
because my ears are still
ringing and i just
close my eyes to this

let’s keep promoting
abstinence in africa
the internal rhyme and
natural alliteration already
has everything going for it
not to mention the money
we save in not funding
contraceptives and counseling
in order to not prevent
the spread of the human
immunodeficiency virus –
as long as we are still
in the promotion season
let’s keep abstaining
from thought

as long as we are still not
pleading guilty for
not thinking, there will be plenty
of seats on those free buses to
d.c. in the mornings when
all we want to do is cover up
our innocence and sleep
instead of marching up
the steps of the government
that should in place of the
government that could

i recognize that i am
in love with you
and again
and it has nothing to do
with the way you taste
or the way you touch
only the way you press
spring into my
palms, entrusting
me to handle
all this
living, even as
the dying blinds me

when the world is so big and you and i
are so small, it is useful to think of it
as a hinge to our hunger, a restraining
point to our preoccupation, holding
off all compulsion to slip into
the stream. you ask me to think of a way
in which you will not be tempted, and i
am offering you the world just as it is
not on a plate, but on a cutting board

to the three-hundred-and-eighty-
five “worst of the worst” –
we don’t know you so it matters
less that you are still
held in guantanamo, captured
by a five thousand
dollar bounty – completely
lethal any way you put it –
so when the handful of trials
are buried in military
bureaucracy and the solid
evidence crumbles before
a counterfeit jury, there is
no one to say they knew you
when you were a father
or a lover, just the enemy
always a stranger

Monday, April 09, 2007

number 1 of the eight Millennium Development Goals, set during the Millennium Summit in June 2000, is to Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. all the eight goals have a target date of 2015, and goal 1, in detail, is only to halve extreme poverty by the next eight years. when they proposed to do that, they had fifteen years, and now that we are closing in on the halfway mark, have we quartered poverty? not really. while we've decreased poverty in some places, it has increased in other places; read the 2006 Report for details.

as i hear this plea to help the poor by not just offering them charity, but by finding a solution to the problem, i think of what it means to offer them charity. does offering charity just mean giving them food, clothing, and shelter for free? does offering charity mean offering skill-building courses? does offering charity include providing anything that they do not deserve? or is offering charity just a mindset - in the mind of the charity-giver - i offer, so i can turn my head away? are we doing that when we offer charity?

while micro-credit programs around the country are showing us a way to help the poor help themselves by simply offering them credit first, then requiring them to show their worth later, it puzzles me to a little degree that it has not caught on. of course, the first selfish thing i think about, in a poverty-free world, is what happens to the entire field of social work? although my job as a writer is not merely focused on fundraising for the poor, there would still be a huge displacement for those who work within these organizations. and the field of social work has been expanding these past decades, with nonprofit organizations popping up everywhere. so here is where it does not puzzle me: social service is the trend, and micro-credit is not. that is why it has not caught on. i'm not saying micro-credit is the end-all solution to the problem. but it is still always a bit puzzling to me to find that there are not enough people in power who are good enough to see beyond their backyard, lay aside illusions or differences, and perhaps even sacrifice a little in order to allow working programs to do what they do best: work. but perhaps it's not the people involved, but the bureaucracy. good intentions must jump through hoops of fire, get sliced and compartmentalized, re-edited and rewritten, pushed through various departments, signed and re-signed, and on and on.

so we're left with perseverance. and while the poor persevere one second at a time, we are taking weeks, months, years...and not often enough am i asking myself: what am i doing to help?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

who gets a say, and who doesn't?
unfortunately, the entire panel of distinguished journalists leaned towards the belief that the internet does not and cannot yet provide news or be substituted for hard copy news-reading. on the contrary, i read all my news during lunchtime, on the internet: ny times, spiegel, digg, washington post, et cetera. and although sometimes i miss holding a hard copy in my hands, i did not agree when one of the panelists stated, "the internet is not bringing more knowledge and news to the people living in the heartland today." and another piped in, "that's why we have iraq." instead, i think it is not that the internet is not providing news, it is that the people who are not knowledgeable about what is going on around the world today are not accessing the internet and not accessing the pertinent information that is there, period.

in addition, while they criticized citizen journalists and bloggers for writing without fact-checking nor research, i feel that this is true for too many "professional" journalists today, especially in television journalism. and remember little Nicky Sylvester at The Village Voice? as readers lose trust in their news journalists, and even in print -- although i am on the side of swearing on anything that has been printed -- our "professional" and respected journalists have to consider the fact that good journalism has been sliding for some time now...maybe since around, oh, say, january 20, 2001. these days, readers need to do their own "fact-checking" and "research" online just to see both sides of the story, from the latest medical news, to the state of the environment, to who pleaded guilty and why, to how does the united nations decisions impact other countries beside our own, et cetera, et cetera. so we turn to the bloggers, we turn to "citizen journalists" and others who may be more open-minded, or can commit more time without deadlines, to finding the truth and still, it is our responsibility to sift through it all until we are satisfied.

much of real truth these days is a balancing act -- the side that comes out first comes out on top because we have so little patience and a limited attention-span. but we cannot trust just one source anymore. truth is a polyhedron. try to find it from all sides.
tonight, i went to an op-ed panel:

Voicing Your Opinion

Op-Ed pages are a powerful forum for public discourse, and a well-written piece can affect social change. But with limited page space, editors tend to favor the powers-that-be. Enter the Blogo-sphere and on-line citizen journalism, opening the field to a broader range of voices. Media opinion-makers explore the impact of this new phenomenon.

Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times
Tunku Varadarajan, Editorial Features Editor, Wall Street Journal
Matt Stoller, political activist/blogger
Sheryl McCarthy, Columnist, Newsday; Board of Contributors, USA Today
Andrzej Rapaczynski, Editor and Director, Project Syndicate
Catherine Orenstein, contributor, New York Times, Washington Post (moderator)

Center for Communications; co-produced with The Woodhull Institute and the NYU Steinhardt Department of Culture and Communication.

an op-ed..on an op-ed...wouldn't that be called an editorial?