I decided to take a journey: collaborative generating #1

And write a life through collaboration and poetry.

Two wonderful poets started the “Collaborative Manifesto Project,” which is a spontaneous, generative creative journey that includes writers and poets from all different backgrounds and colors. It’s an exciting, exhilarating journey to be part of, and I am honored to be asked to join.

To read more about it, check out the first two manifestos, 52 Condensed Pages of a Collaged Manifesto {Side A} and 52 Condensed Pages of a Collaged Manifesto {Side B}, which was curated by Doveglion Press and poets Barbara Jane Reyes and Chin-In Chen. If you want to participate in this project, please contact Chin-In (who’s really nice, by the way). You can reach her and read more about the project here. She begins the project on her blog here.

To start, here is my beginning, generative response to Chin-In’s first question. Feel free to leave your thoughts and advice. It’s going to be a journey of my own catharsis, and I hope to hear your input along the way.


If biological family and bloodlines were insufficient…
…What claims can be made to silence?

what arises in the discourse between two languages/two nations
Jai Arun Ravine

Between two languages, two nations,
There is family. Filipinos marry mga pamilya.

They wed two tongues together.

What then, am I to say? When I married him,

I wanted to be his limbs, a part of his face.
I wanted to be his arms, a part of his mouth.
I wanted to be his legs, a part of his closed eyes.

When I married him, I wanted to be
his family, a part of his pamilya.

They told me I took him away. They said I took their little brother.
They said I was the aswang. I was the dark-haired bitch. His manang said,
“If I ever see that slut walking the streets, I’ll slam that 100-pounds
shit in the ground.”

When he asked me to marry him, we stood at the edge of the docks
at the Navy Pier, him fresh out of boot camp and dressed in his white slacks
and large, thick glasses. He felt me up on the ferris wheel, his hands cold,
stranger-like, asking for my hand without a ring. When I married him,
it was in secret, hidden in a small courthouse in Vegas, laid between the folds
of lies or silence, whatever you prefer.

My mouth was closed after we were married, but my heart
opened like a baby being sucked from the womb.

His bloodlines grew hot and angry, said I did it for money,
to take their bunso away, and if that were the matter of the facts
then the language between us is silence.

When you have no voice, what else can you say?

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