“Exile” from Di Achichùk | They were exiled / for half a century / from the island the ocean became / a deep and treacherous / border cut into the land… READ
“Migrations” | Water rocks the hull of the ship and the dark night comes on the waves / against the dark wood taken from the forests on the island… READ
“Stone of the Fish” | Sometimes / on the slip / of your tongue / or the well / of the kutsara / or maybe / on the ridge of the dry / gin glass / you will find it: the bone of the fish… READ
“The Change Giver” | The Change-giver drops four pisos / into my hand / swivels hips sideways / calls out the next stop / Ortigaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas… READ
Poetry & Music
“Heaven is a Second Language” from the spoken word & music album with DJ Highend (CafeBeats Music, 2003)
“Regression of Fire” from Heaven is a Second Language with DJ Highend (CafeBeats Music, 2003)
“Awake” from In Our Blood: Filipina/o American Poetry and Spoken Word from Los Angeles (La Enkanto Kollective, 2001)
“For My Cousins Who Will Choose Who They Are,” from Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art (Rabbit Fool Press, 2015) | running home this evening / I look for the san gabriels / to find only / a faint line above the haze / a razor-black definition / of home running… READ
The Laji Project
For generations, the Ivatan people of the northern Philippines have been singing Laji, a unique and ancient verbal art that combines melody with poetic language. It is traditionally recited in social settings, such as pre-wedding conferences, wakes and courtship. The playful and complex lyrics capture the communal spirit and the cultural knowledge of this remote indigenous community.
But today, the tradition — and the spirit and linguistic diversity it embodies — is in danger of vanishing.
Learn more about the Laji Project, which documents and promotes Ivatan poetry.