Sunday, June 8, 2008

Filipino Boogie



Since I'm going all out with poems right now, I am going to post another poem that I really enjoy called "Filipino Boogie" by Jessica Hagedorn. It's one of those poems that I just really connect with because the strong images really convey the message Hagedorn is trying to get across. It also falls into that deep question I like to explore: What is an American? (Sort of following the last post as well).

I also love the way she works with the structure of the poem; I think it takes the poem to new levels. Even if you analyze each little cultural/pop culture icon or mention in the poem, more can be drawn out of the poem.

Unfortunately, when I included all the spacings and structure of the poem, Blogger will not recognize the line separations and such, so it will appear in a linear structure. This is not how the poem looks, but at least you can read the words. I think it does a great disservice to the poem, but Blogger will not let the spacings work. If you know how I can change this, let me know. I want it to look like the real poem.

"Filipino Boogie"

Under a ceiling-high Christmas tree
I pose
in my Japanese kimono
My mother hands me
a Dale Evans cowgirl skirt
and
baby cowgirl boots

Mommy and daddy split
No one else is home

I take some rusty scissors
and cut the skirt up
in
little pieces

(don't give me no bullshit fringe,
Mama)

Mommy and Daddy split
No one else is home

I take my baby cowgirl boots
and flush them
down
the
toilet

(don't give me no bullshit fringe,
(Papa)

I seen the Indian Fighter
Too many times
dug on Sitting Bull
before Donald Duck

In my infant dream
These warriors weaved a magic spell
more blessed than Tinker Bell

(Kirk Douglass rubs his chin
and slays Minnehaha by the campfire)

Mommy and Daddy split
There ain't no one else home

I climb a mango tree
and wait for Mohawk drums

(Mama--World War II
is over...why you cryin'?)

Is this San Fransisco?
Is this San Fransisco?
Is this Amerika?

buy me Nestle's Crunch
buy me Pepsi in a can

Ladies' Home Journal
and Bonanza

I seen Little Joe in Tokyo
I seen Little Joe in Manila
I seen Laramie in Hong Kong
I seen Yul Brynner in San Diego
and the bloated ghost
of Desi Arnaz

dancing
in Tijuana

Rip-off synthetic ivory
to send
the natives
back home

and

North Beach boredom
escapes
the barber shops
on Kearney street
where
they spit out
red tobacco

patiently

waiting
in 1930s suits

and in another dream
I climb a mango tree
and Saturday
afternoon
Jack Palance
bazookas

the krauts

and

the YELLOW PERIL
bombs
Pearl Harbor



What do you think of this poem? What do you like/dislike?

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