Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eileen Tabios

from “147 Million Orphans: A Haybun”



milliampere slouch
enameling comedy of art turbe

In the beginning there were no orphans. God created the sky and the earth to serve everyone a

bounty of meals. The earth was empty and had no form. No slouch, God made the earth full—
replete!—containing all forms. Darkness covered the ocean, enameling even what fluctuates
into a basis for … Something, a basis solid enough to support the footsteps of both man and
God and woman and trans, which is to say, also the ever-faltering steps of orphans, even when
the latter were biased against recognizing “His” existence.

When God’s spirit began to move across the water, all pre-creatures anticipated the between-

ness of algebra. There would be art. There would be comedy. There would be bathos. There
would be turbulence. There would be the boxer whose stare I first typed, “star” would speed
across a thousand yards until the knock-out would occur before the very beginning of that first
jab. In boxing, the jab is not the goal but the set-up: the “pre” before the “face.”

In the beginning there were no orphans and yet their existence was pre-ordained. With the

orphan’s mix of loss and desire, only then could the next sentence regarding Genesis surface:
Then God said, “Let there be light.” As has been whispered within all indigenous cultures: Light
requires cracks through which to slip through. What history teaches: occasionally, Light doth


A “haybun” is a combination of hay(na)ku (http://haynakupoetry.blogspot.com) and other text. The hay(na)ku is a 21st century diasporic poetic form; its core is a tercet-based stanza with the first line being one word, the second line being two words, and the third line being three words. Each word forming a hay(na)ku in "147 Millions Orphans" is listed chronologically from an 8th grade project by the poet's adopted son to learn English by studying 24 new words a week. 


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