Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last Inprint Closing

I've been working on Inprint, New School University's newspaper, for a long, long time. Right now, we're in the middle of our last closing of the semester, my last closing of my undergraduate (keeping my fingers crossed for grad school/journalism school in the future) career.

I am graduating on May 18th.

But that's a different story.

As I type this, I am in the middle of working on my last article for Inprint, which I ideally should be working on now. Later on today, I will go to school, go to the computing lab, and work on my final design for this final, super-sized and in color issue.

It's kinda sad.

Peter said the other day, you know, we're going to have to edit our mail signatures. I didn't think about that before. I have to get rid of
"Managing Editor/Production Director
Serving Eugene Lang College and the New School community "

What do I put there instead?

It's kinda scary.

But for now, I'll go back to my article and maybe everything'll be okay. Maybe.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poem: Distance Creates

[picture of door on the cat alley in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Note cat lounging on step.]

This poem is very very different from my usual style. Inspired by Whitman as seen through long, long lines and descriptions and all that. It's the leading poem of my senior work.

Distance Creates

I always forget I live on top of a hill,
But I remember when I walk by the tiny park where I used to play during my nursery school days, when Manhattan didn’t exist.
Some nights, when I walk by the open gates, I see the rest of Queens glittering at my feet,
The yellow streetlamps, the white fluorescents of living rooms, the red backlights of cars moving faster than I ever could, all against the backdrop of the dark sky.

If I squint, I see the brightly lit JFK, where blinking red-and-white airplanes took me away from my hill in the night to different hills across the continent and overseas,
Where narrow cobblestone streets were paired with even more narrow uneven sidewalks,
Where turquoise waters were still and warm and the breeze blew sand into my hair,
Where palm trees replaced oaks and the fog softened the sunlight and faintly chilled the air,
Where, eleven years ago and eighteen hours away, muddied monsoon rains spilled onto the floor, covering my eleven-year-old feet.

Racing along the BQE and staring at Manhattan's east coast where the Citicorp Center glowed purple and the Empire State pink,
I remember standing on the ledge of the Empire State and seeing the bridges leading to Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, Jersey, and back home to Queens, the dark, empty gaps where parks are, the white light surrounding Times Square, and I look again for the neatly lined lights of JFK,
And I remember how small the city really is.

The second time I ever flew, I stole a window seat as the plane slowly emptied after thirty-minute-long stopovers: Amsterdam, Dubai, New Delhi, new places I’d never been to before and all in one trip, I breathed in their air.
Landing in Zia International Airport, Bangladesh was green and humid and I saw women collecting long stalks right along the runway from my window.
In a third-world nation and I’m ten hours ahead, Tuesday to New York’s Monday in this tiny country where my parents grew up.
For two sweltering months, we trapped frogs in steel bowls, pushing them back in with sticks when they tried to escape and begged our pet goats, chickens and ducks to run away before unknown men sacrificed them in our names.

Covered in mosquito bites, we returned home with the scent of jackfruit on our skin.

In Isla Verde, there are no waves; the Puerto Rican water gently creeps onto the beach, back and forth, bringing tiny pink and purple seashells to the shore,
My heels dig back into the white sand and overhead, planes roar from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport where I landed a day before.
I am in this tropical far away with time change and spring becomes summer in May with one plane ride.

Old San Juan shuts off its streets so we can walk from bar to club drunkenly safe and
Near the brilliant dark blue San Juan Bay and Caño de San Antonio, families stay up past two in the morning, laughing and sipping virgin piña coladas along the old fortress walls.
We walk on Calle de San Francisco to the elevated Castillo San Cristóbal and we see a different version of the Atlantic Ocean–clear, dazzling, equatorial water that tastes a bit sweeter.

Far Rockaway Beach is covered in the beer cans and cigarette butts that strong tides devour like lives,
I look out to the east where the sky and water blend into one big bright hazy blue,
And I hop through sand that burns and broken shells that cut my feet.
The New York sun darkens me slightly before I leave again.

Across the continent and six hours away in San Francisco, their forty-three hills give perfect city views, and with every step I take, my muscles stretch.
From their tops, I see the red rusted bridge to my left where I biked to a slanted boating town, the soothing blue bay, and other house-covered slopes below me.
Climbing down to below sea level, my ears pop from the sudden altitude change and I mingle with palm trees and I drink up the crisp California air.
On Baker Beach with the same red bridge to my right, I step into the lukewarm Pacific and break away from the heat wave that I left behind in the East and my soles grip on polished green and red and black pebbles, smooth from western waves.

From SFO to JFK, I fly higher than those hills and I see the same bridges, the same parks, the same beach, the same hills where I was a few hours before and I could fit everything in my palm perfectly.

New York City is flatter and too familiar to me,
And I crave something different.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The act of informing

The entire point of journalism is to inform. Journalism that takes a different angle or a new perspective or unheard of insight while informing new knowledge at the same time is successfully journalism. But, there is still a news angle, a reason why the reader chooses to read this article in this newspaper at this time. The article is not randomly chosen (ideally--ignore pushes for more subscription ratings a la trendy pieces), the article makes sense and does not repeat already known facts, or, if it does, repeats in that crazy fresh stylistic manner that strings the reader along, hungry for more.

Journalism equals relevant information in today's world, the reader's world, and in the context of both the world and the reader.

This is something that many people still don't understand.

Monday, April 9, 2007

An introduction of sorts

I wanted something more legitimate, something clean, something that wasn't attached to anything I've previously started (in terms of online blogging-journaling-ranting & bitching about myself). So, this is it. Poetry, articles, essays, links (I'm kinda obsessed with interesting links), pictures, anything and everything.

So, here it goes.

title comes from Federico García Lorca's Romance Sonambulo:

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon,
all things are watching her
and she cannot see them.

Green, how I want you green.
Big hoarfrost stars
come with the fish of shadow
that opens the road of dawn.
The fig tree rubs its wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the forest, cunning cat,
bristles its brittle fibers.
But who will come? And from where?
She is still on her balcony
green flesh, her hair green,
dreaming in the bitter sea.

—My friend, I want to trade
my horse for her house,
my saddle for her mirror,
my knife for her blanket.
My friend, I come bleeding
from the gates of Cabra.
—If it were possible, my boy,
I'd help you fix that trade.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed.
Of iron, if that's possible,
with blankets of fine chambray.
Don't you see the wound I have
from my chest up to my throat?
—Your white shirt has grown
thirsy dark brown roses.
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—Let me climb up, at least,
up to the high balconies;
Let me climb up! Let me,
up to the green balconies.
Railings of the moon
through which the water rumbles.

Now the two friends climb up,
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of teardrops.
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
struck at the dawn light.

Green, how I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends climbed up.
The stiff wind left
in their mouths, a strange taste
of bile, of mint, and of basil
My friend, where is she—tell me—
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many times would she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!
Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water.
The night became intimate
like a little plaza.
Drunken "Guardias Civiles"
were pounding on the door.
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.