{ mooncake }

the fragments are then so many stones on the perimeter of a circle

--roland barthes




Heartaches.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/world/asia/clashes-in-hong-kong.html

Live feed on Reddit

#OccupyHK

Sep 28

"Class struggle" is coded differently within particular historical/cultural contexts. In China, or among those who left (escaped) during the Cultural Revolution, it means Mao and the Red Guards, a corrupted government, a deep trauma. As a child, "Communism" was always this terrible Evil, and it was a surprise when I got to college and examined the actual idea(l)s of Marxism; I had to re-contextualize these.

Related or unrelated, “democracy” must mean something different to Hong Kong than it does to the West. Or, it is undoubtedly shaped by the West, but what does it represent exactly to Hongkongers? How does it manifest?

SCMP: “Benny Tai Declares Start of Occupy Central”

Sep 27
small observations
中秋節
Happy mooncake day! Mine was spent on a national seashore in a tent.
Sep 8

中秋節

Happy mooncake day! Mine was spent on a national seashore in a tent.

Two “Letters to Mao” are in the newest issue of Tin House. Especially tickled to be paperbound with hero Roxane Gay.

Sep 2
hello hello: tin house

"it has something to do with preserving life’s mystery; with leaving certain things undescribed, unspecified, and unknown; with savoring certain emotions… It depends on an intensified sense of life’s preciousness and fragility"

"each of us has a certain resolute innerness—a kernel of selfhood that we can’t share with others… There can be something enjoyable, even revelatory about that feeling of self-protection, which is why we seek out circumstances in which we can feel more acutely the contrast between the outside world and our inner selves"

"By learning to leave your inner life alone, you learn to cultivate and appreciate it… And you gain another, strangely spiritual power: the power to regard yourself abstractly. Instead of getting lost in the details of your life, you hold onto the feelings, the patterns, the tones" [On Virginia Woolf & Privacy]

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Perhaps that is the allure of lyricism, even when essaying (“to balance our need to be known with our need to be alone”). There is a compulsion toward truth and the articulation of truths, but there is also a compulsion toward opacity, shadows, white space.

Aug 20
{secret} gardens
in the meantime
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There was Taiwan, and there was the desert, and there was hermiting and home-tending, and thoughts on sacred spaces of solitude, of leaving things unarticulated.
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[beehive cottage]
Aug 6

in the meantime

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There was Taiwan, and there was the desert, and there was hermiting and home-tending, and thoughts on sacred spaces of solitude, of leaving things unarticulated.

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[beehive cottage]

Jul 16

hk (ii)

Old HK & a city covered in roots

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(Back again stateside, this week’s been full of cooking, more than all last year: crab and steamed fish and bountiful Chinese vegetables.)

Jul 15

hk (i)

This summer I was in the city of my childhood for almost three weeks, sweating in all ways: slowly, immediately, consistently. I wasn’t sure how to feel, which is rather normal for me, but still dislocating. It was familiar and unfamiliar in a way that was different than when I was here in 2010-2011. Same things in my heart: my green hills, walking alone with my thoughts, nightly fishermen, closeness to family. But nothing was new or startling this time, and I almost grew impatient with my aloneness. Still: visits with my grandfather, listening to him talk about his life after “Liberation”; an afternoon exploring the multifold levels and alleys hidden and winding beyond the Escalator; a ride on the ding-ding che to the end of the line, just to see; morning hike through the hills of southern Lantau island amidst all its subtropical folds and thriving insect life (there were spiders as big as my face); local news on TV and lawyers debating over the “white paper”; July 1, which is always a swell of emotion and complexity; ferry to the smallest island because I hadn’t yet been there; my favorite nighttime path by the water in Tung Chung; the sky darkening and lightening with fickle rainfall…

Jun 10

NY: water towers, yellow peril, and some loves

Last week in New York was mostly wandering around neighborhoods, admiring the water towers, but one of the nights I attended a talk by John Tchen on "Yellow Peril." Notes:

  • How does visual culture of the past influence present emotions?
  • Yellow danger, yellow claw, disembodied hands, the grotesque
  • Racial attitudes shaped by political anxieties: Melanie Klein’s theory of projection/paranoia: the Other is constructed to externalize social instability and conflict
  • Racial Triangulation Chart: Y-axis is Inferior/Superior, X-axis is Outsider/Insider, and the outer boundary is “white”
  • The real danger of the 1882 Exclusion Act was in the idea that “American" means "white"
  • What are implications for the discourse surrounding “model minority” and “honorary whites”? Besides being patronizing and hierarchical, or the subtext of “white” as a standard for “good,” G wanted to know how this discourse participates in erasure, renders invisible the Other. It makes me recall the complexity of visible/invisible and why the term “colorblind” (as in, “post-racial”) has always made me anxious.

Other NY discoveries: Tenement Museum (my favorite wandering this trip), Hayden Planetarium (I almost cried…though I miss those childhood days when a voice would talk softly in the dark while pointing out constellations on the ceiling), and the most delicious yuba soba noodles.

Lastly: Hiroshi Sugimoto, because who doesn’t love dioramas. Also just realized he is on the cover of a favorite book (An Elemental Thing, Eliot Weinberger).

NYTimes Coverage 25 Years Ago

NYTimes: “Tiananmen, Forgotten”

NYTimes: “Tales of Army Discord Show Tiananmen Square in New Light”

SCMP multimedia: “Voices from Tiananmen”

"Tiananmen Square: Unseen Photos Taken by Protestor"

[Twenty-three] [Twenty-two]

Jun 4
25 years ago
…
(Remembering our autumn week in Paris, 2011. Every hour of the day felt like the hour before evening.)
May 17

(Remembering our autumn week in Paris, 2011. Every hour of the day felt like the hour before evening.)

awp; updates; coast/pole 4
In Seattle I will be reading Friday (2/28), 6p @ The Pine Box with Sonora Review (I have a new piece in issue 64/65).
Feeling apprehensive about AWP, but I wanted to redeem my previous solitary experience which involved bed bugs, a severe cold, and excessive hermiting.
*
An interview at SF Weekly, a lovely experience. 
Belated thank you to Mid-American Review and Richard Garcia for choosing my poem as winner of the 2013 Fineline Competition. The issue is full of amazing work, as usual.
*
And:
[eben goff], this beautiful thing.
(image+text, layers/filters/translations, terrain of the ocean, record/document, measurement through indirect means.)
Feb 24

awp; updates; coast/pole 4

In Seattle I will be reading Friday (2/28), 6p @ The Pine Box with Sonora Review (I have a new piece in issue 64/65).

Feeling apprehensive about AWP, but I wanted to redeem my previous solitary experience which involved bed bugs, a severe cold, and excessive hermiting.

*

An interview at SF Weekly, a lovely experience. 

Belated thank you to Mid-American Review and Richard Garcia for choosing my poem as winner of the 2013 Fineline Competition. The issue is full of amazing work, as usual.

*

And:

[eben goff], this beautiful thing.

(image+text, layers/filters/translations, terrain of the ocean, record/document, measurement through indirect means.)

I have a short prose piece in Quarter After Eight. Thanks to the editors for choosing it as winner of the 2012 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest. Nu Wa: The Flood is based on the folktale.

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[from Aug 13]

Five of my "Letters to Mao" are up at Web Conjunctions (8.13.13).

Oct 28
nu wa: the flood / letters to mao
observations
"Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.
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They live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities
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They place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world
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On the other hand, they operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.
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This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in…not being as organized…
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They are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.
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They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive them into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies.”
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[portrait of an INFJ]
Aug 26

observations

"Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

.

They live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities

.

They place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world

.

On the other hand, they operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.

.

This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in…not being as organized…

.

They are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

.

They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive them into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies.”

.

[portrait of an INFJ]

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/writers-as-architects/

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"In architecture, once you remove the skin — the “language” of walls, ceilings and slabs — all that remains is sheer space."

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"how does one design and build using emptiness as a construction material? How do we perceive space? And how does it affect us?"

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"spatial relationships, repetition, reflection, sequence, transparency, tension, pacing, chronology… Any architectural question is answered from a literary point of view; any literary issue is addressed by a spatial idea."

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(I like this act of translation: building a house/structure to represent the feeling/essence of a text.)

Aug 6
house : text