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Rewcent Rupture Radio Hour, with Jose Lopez-Feliu

Recent Rupture Radio Hour, with Jose Lopez-Feliu





Come by the reading February 25th if you’re in the neighborhood of Cal State L.A. (Eastside). You know the drill.

At the end of the Automotive Era, we're selling the audience on developing a whole new Western grid, and a vast alternative transportation system throughout California.

At the end of the Automotive Era, we're selling the audience on developing a whole new Western grid, and a vast alternative transportation system throughout California.

East L.A. Dirigible Air Transport sponsored the Recent Rupture Radio Hour, Galeria Tropico de Nopal, January 23, 2009 with Jose Lopez-Feliu and Swirling Wheelnuts. Look for us on the air.

Yes, any questions?

Yes, any questions?

December 16, 2008 by ktanemura

Kaya Press is the only Asian American literary press in the world, and their list includes Kimiko Hahn, Ishle Yi Park, Sesshu Foster, R. Zamora Linmark, Jose Garcia Villa, and other staples of Asian American writing. Thanks to the vision of Kaya’s longtime editor, Sunyoung Lee, Asian America’s alternative writing has not only had an outlet, but has, in many ways, trumped Asian American “big names” in both quality and originality. Kaya’s latest poetry release is Lisa Chen’s debut collection, “mouth,” a lyrical, playful book that swings from Angel Island barracks to reality shows. Chen is a graduate of the Iowa Workshop but, unllike so much MFA poetry, her work seems to be both in dialogue with other Asian American texts, and fiercely independent from any standardized way of writing.

While “mouth” is just explorative enough to be called “experimental,” Chen mixes short lyrics with longer, fragmented pieces and surrealist prose poems. Here is one of her lyrics, A Body Standard:

A man’s innnocence is in his nipples,
tender and hapless as the nose of a cat,
color of fancy hand soap, peaches, pickled ginger,
they are the plump buttons sewn
on a child’s overalls, a sweet
the chest is surprised to have them.
Aureoles: the eye scanning the body’s relief,
landing, finally, on two dots: you are here, and here.

This poem employs some of the silly-sweetness of the New York School without the out-of-control hyper-masculanized comedic trainwrecks of Koch and O’Hara.

Other poems in “mouth” are more challenging. Sequela, for example, begins with 2 epigraphs–one from Arthur H. Smith, writing in the 19th century about “Chinese Characteristics.” According to Smith, “eating is the normal condition” of the Chinese. The other epigraph is from a Jan. 6 1993 issue of the New York Times, which chronicles the story of Chinese students who cooked and ate the bodies of their principals who were perceived to be “counterrevolutionaires.” Chen’s poem is not a direct a commentary on either of these epigraphs. But a bewildered Asian American speaker tries to put the pieces of this puzzle together: “Say it was something in the water, my city / of Dahmers, say a hungrer struck / among those seized by a fever and marooned.” It’s as if the speaker is situated in an accidentally transnational arena via the act of cannibalism as reported on the news. An American city, an American psycho killer, 19th century “sociological” perspectives of Chinese, and white liberal NY Times skewed documentation all converge in this medley where italics are used to say, “China has brought forth a Mao Zedong. /And power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

“mouth,” in Sesshu Foster’s words, “startles with soulful complexity,” and Linh Dinh calls it “hip.” Having followed Kaya Press’s list for over a decade, I think Lisa Chen’s “mouth” is easily one of the best poetry books on their list. It’s also an interesting contribution to contemporary American literature. Give it a listen.

Lisa Chen
Kaya Press, 2007
75 pages, Paper $13.95
East L.A. Dirigible Air Transport sponsored the Recent Rupture Radio Hour, Galeria Tropico de Nopal, January 23, 2009. Look for us on the air.

East L.A. Dirigible Air Transport sponsored the Recent Rupture Radio Hour, Galeria Tropico de Nopal, January 23, 2009. Look for us on the air.

…ably, with this economy, in Calif—[static] …kites [popping sound]… the most obvious routes being the ones that we have considered, and counter-intuitively, using mathematical models we have on hand from the Danish… [static noise] …Golden Hind, Ferdinand Magellen, the famous schoo— [buzzing, loud and then fading] …to the moon, in 1969, whi—[loud buzz overtaken by humming] …the Eastern Sierras, the San Joaquin and Great central— [static] …thank— [static interuppted by silence] …[popping sound] [a dog barking] …comrades, we— [fading static hiss] …

For Jeff Matsuda and Karin Wang

Two people work together in the kitchen of love
In one hand a knife and the other scallions, tomatoes, garlic clove
In one hand spatula or pan and the other a nylon scrub
Hot water pouring into the sink or the sink later quiet, empty
Rain brings the traffic to a crawl but months pass too dry even for flies
I like how the wind goes through the California fan palms high overhead
Fronds clatter like a dry waterfall high in the air above houses
I like how the air tastes when snow is left by a storm down to 1,500 feet
I like how they do, this couple when they move: one tells the other where’s the basil
Or what about a colander, they’re used to it, they don’t really notice details
Of everything, a little sand at the roots of spinach leaves, the blue lake beans, twist fastener
On the counter, yellowish chicken, rock fish filets, whatever they might’ve picked up today
As the busyness of day subsides, droplets of moisture condense on the window
Unnoticed, reflection of interior light on darkened glass, maybe sometimes
The reflection of one or the other of the couple enters the glass or slides away
Winter around the house with light, warmth and reflections on dark glass
Light refracted on windows and the lights of San Gabriel Valley flicker
Unseen breezes fan across the dark valley floor at night
The big moon in the empty sky or drifting through clouds
Over the quiet house night after night so many phases of the moon
Till one stands by the window and says, “Come here a minute. Look at this.”

Sesshu Foster

Arabic: مِنْطَاد ذو مُحَرِّك
Chinese (Simplified): 飛艇
Chinese (Traditional): 飛艇
Czech: vzducholoď
Danish: luftskib
Dutch: zeppelin
Estonian: õhulaev
Finnish: ilmalaiva
French: dirigeable; aéronef
German: das Luftschiff
Greek: αερόπλοιο
Hungarian: léghajó
Icelandic: loftfar, loftskip
Indonesian: pesawat udara, zepelin
Italian: dirigibile; aeronave
Japanese: 飛行船
Korean: 비행선
Latvian: gaisa kuģis, dirižablis
Lithuanian: dirižablis
Norwegian: luftskip
Polish: sterowiec
Portuguese (Brazil): dirigível
Portuguese (Portugal): dirigível
Romanian: dirijabil
Russian: дирижабль
Slovak: vzducholoď
Slovenian: zrakoplov, zračna ladja
Spanish: dirigible
Swedish: luftskepp
Turkish: hava gemisi, zeplinReply to Tom
—Tom Lutz

* Colostomy bag of the moon.
* Ectoplasmic baggie.
* Cloud condom.
* Derelict pufferfish.
* Storm king.
* Lightning bag.
* IV sack of dreams.
* Hydrogen fish bladder.
* Sky sausage.
* Avion loop.
* Cloud bra.
* Mock model.
* Frame balloon.
* Count Zeppelin.
* Vast airship.
* Power blimp.
* Tubular skiff.
* Swollen angel.
* Not a bird.
* Sweet chariot.
* der Graff aloft.
* Gassy clot.
* Smooth motion.
* Accident waiting to happen.
* New age.
* Iron cloud.
* Sky wheel.
* Big bulb.
* Floating thumb.
* Wanton humming.
* The humanity.
* Oh, the humanity.
* Bulge of sunshine.
* Salient thrust.
* Hot dog.
* Flying dog.
* Flying cow.
* Weenie of the air.
* Mother ship.
* Wind sock.
* Flying fat.
* Old ship.
* Dirty world ship.
* Shitty ship.
* Day and night ship.
* Plastic ship.
* Old smoky.
* Old steel.
* Up button.
* Fart on a string.
* Your mom.
* Passing shadow.
* Dry fish of wind.
* Dessicated cloud.
* Swanky wind.
* Fortune’s fair emptiness.
* Empty inside.
* Global vegetable.
* Knob of the future.
* True blimp.
* Wonder of the air.
* Hairless wonder.
* Flying pig.
* Flying F.
* Flying dome.
* Wait and see.
* Going, going, gone.
* Fair weather friend.
* Fine friend.
* Fat friend.
* Flying donut.
* Puffy encasing.
* Molted snake skin.
* Time’s circumference.
* Radial corpulence.
* Warning: turbulence.
* Helium pustule.
* Globo terreno.
* Happy corpuscle.
* Zucchini of romance.
* Zucchini of the mind.
* Zuke of desire.
* Over the city.
* Over the top.
* Olive gin and tonic.
* Empty head.
* Music of spheres.
* Pop tune on propellers.
* White city.
* Deliberate speed.
—Sesshu Foster

fear of geese,
forced to land in L.A. River,
—by Stu Rapeport

* old brit cheeks
* zucchelin
* bubble canvas
* eye of god
* floating crap game
* brioche bladder
* nylon lung
* great big bag o’ air
* world traveler
* everything solid
* poppy bucket
* bag mall
* silver beaker
* alumidome

by Tom Lutz

East LA Dirigible Transport Lines from Romo-Santillano on Vimeo.


January 2009