Monday, February 17, 2014

Good Etiquette -- a poem published in the QLRS in 2007

I have been writing for a long time now. Here's a poem I just stumbled on under my nomme de plume, Ra Gabriel (which became Gabriel Ra in Singapore):

Good Etiquette

keep it short and neat,
like rows of Japanese lettuce
like a schoolgirl's
— Did you know they shorten uniforms
by rolling skirts at the waist? — hairstyle,
eat with the mouth closed like it matters
like we're not barbarians clawing crab flesh
on our first date
after a quick kiss by the steps - you have
to take the train - I see the gangster
tattoo on the back of your soft hand.

You see I see it.
We say nothing

never speak again.

By Gabriel Ra
QLRS Vol. 6 No. 2 Jan 2007

Find the original here: Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS) --

Sunday, February 9, 2014


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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Warning: Your Anger Could Make Other People Very Uncomfortable While Causing You to Live Longer

I was talking to my friend Moody yesterday and he told me my poems (from I, Orange Girls, paperback, free pirated PDF) were very angry about Korea. He said he liked them but did say they were angry. I wonder if I'm coming off too angry. I don't hate Korea by any means. I'm living here for years. I love that it's safe. I love that without working too hard my bar makes money and does well (like Juan Ladron in a hammer fight) against its competition. I like that some things are so easy and personally I don't like living in NY/NJ where I'm from so it's all good for me. Still, I find this culture incredibly ass-backwards sometimes. 

I was in the taxi with Jina today watching the driver take the oddest route to Nowon from Imundong (the Korean ghetto I call home) and marveling at how she isn't paying attention and just doesn't give a fuck. I think that's cool that Koreans put their full trust in authority and then don't have to think another thought about it. I'm pretty laid back but I have to think, shit, this way is slower and more expensive and get annoyed by the fact that the majority of drivers in Seoul don't know the streets. They'd be eaten fucking alive in NYC. 

Still I find Moody's comment worth thinking about. I mean he is this solid Saudi Arabian guy who is super fucking nice. But with that beard and caramel skin has surely been repeatedly anally probed by Airport Security. He would be marked the angry one normally cause of total racial mistrust yet he finds my poems angry. I love it. I think maybe that's because living in a country where people either find you to be a rock star, in which case the young girls throw the pink at you and the men mistrust you for it, or find you invisible, in which case the jam carts through your ankles, bash tins of sesame oil through your balls to get a seat in the subway, cut in front of you in line at the cafe, and knock over your two-year-old son while you're putting him into a shopping cart, it makes you as an expat a little nuts and then all of us living here commiserate. 

Surely, the Koreans must be as baffled by some of our foreign behavior as we are of theirs. I think the difference lies in the fact that most people are aware that their education was skewed by years of bad education and government propaganda, whereas our Hanguk counterparts don't see that. They had blinders attached at birth and -- although plastic surgery for the eyes, nose, and breasts is quite popular -- very few had them surgically removed. Fuck it's a bitch to do (link to surgically removing of blinders). I want to capture some of these cultural difficulties in my newest book which I'm writing now: Pamphlet on Starting a Bar Business in Korea. I'm planning to release it as a beta thing in 3 parts. Stay tuned for the first installment

And if you're reading this, Moody. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the comments. And thanks for taking a year off my life with the most stressful IPL pool game of my life. And, if you're ass still is raw: 

OMPHALOS DADA YOW: The Kirkus Review of Glyphic by Ralph-Michael Chia...

Lead Dadaist of 2014 Justynn Tyme is so awesome that he made a cool, pragmatic layout for the Kirkus Review of my book Glyphic and posted it on his blog. Here is the link:

OMPHALOS DADA YOW: The Kirkus Review of Glyphic by Ralph-Michael Chia...

With its emails exchanged before leaving (which if you don't understand shit about the Maya you need to read before the poems), dictionary, interwoven poems, use of K'iche', and thrown in prose, Glyphic is still in the dadaist/experimental spirit.

Monday, February 3, 2014

I was featured on as the first poet for Mad Swirl this issue which is pretty cool (the main page of the Poetry Forum constantly updates so I'm providing a link to my page at the swirliness. They run a great site over there. It's awesome that they support me from this many miles away. Thanks to Johnny and to MH!

I've sold more books than I ever have in the past two months. It's mostly Glyphic, with a few For Monks Only on the side. I'm working on getting the Sacred Calendar out on Kindle. It's out at Smashwords [thus iBooks, Kobo (which I'm thinking of submitting to manually since they seem to be pretty fucking awesome!), Sony, B&N, etc] and it has been pirated so you can find it at most torrent sites. Amazon seems to be the most proficient book universe. There's a huge upside to having some presence there even though in general it's not the best dashboard and not the most personal site.

The big thing that I've been reading and thinking about is that you here all this stuff about Author Platforms and other bullshit. The more I write and get stuff out there I'm thinking that it's more about just being yourself. For me, a writer of contemporary literature and some pretty esoteric books, it makes more sense to not follow the normal protocol that works for writers of vampire romances.

Those are my thoughts for the week. I'm curious what other writers think and do. Feel free to comment.

Oigan, Mexicanos!

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