Early this year, I wrote another boring confession.

  [ Feb. 1, 2011, Thought Catalog ]

I’m a bit of a whore, like many. But I’m not talking about the kind of whore – from either gender – who uses a busy street-corner after midnight, baiting clients with smooth or rusty marketing skills learned from the Do-It-Yourself School of Charm, nor the veteran from those corners who has learned to advertise who they are into discreet information on business cards that directs potential costumers to their pimp’s phone number. I’m talking about whorishness derived from excessive habits to satisfy specific needs, the kind akin to mental habits that make one a media whore, vampire-movie whore, trend whore, or, yes, thrift-shop whore. These habits can easily be categorized as obsessions, although that description must be used with caution, since these kinds of whores, in general, have some awareness about being controlled by their fixations, and are, therefore, wary they don't fall into traps that convince them they have, indeed, become qualified, resolute suckers.

I’m a thrift-shop whore, not because thrift shops are great places to hang out and connect with other people from Facebook or elsewhere who like used stuff, but because, as many of you know, there are great merchandise there that probably won’t hurt you, at the cash register. However, I’m not always seduced by the lure of cheap merchandise in these stores, but only spend on things I can use, and do not go through withdrawal symptoms or anxiety attacks, if I end up empty handed on my two previous visits there. Thus, in the arena of thrift-shop whoredom, I’m, categorically, a mild thrift-shop whore. Although I may have been an intense thrift-shop whore once, for a brief, unmemorable period, spending mindlessly on anything, even though I didn’t have much to spend. Indeed, these stores are heaven for the underpaid, although the parking lot of most used stores I patronize somehow tells me my co-shoppers have healthy bank accounts, can easily splurge at pricier stores, or may even be donors themselves of merchandise sold in these used stores. But then perhaps they have been thrift-store whores since their undergrad years at a public or private university, a period sustained by student-loan programs or depleted trust funds, and cannot evolve out of being bargain hunters.

Years ago, I became a regular at a neighborhood used-store, to look for brand-name sneakers. Adidas, Nike, and Puma were the usual brand-names I looked for. I used to shop once a month there, and only spend fifteen to thirty minutes at the men’s shoe-rack, looking for a great steal, then a few minutes to browse t-shirts, before leaving. But those were the good old days, before I became a thrift-shop whore. These days, I’m a weekly bargain hunter, not only looking for shoes and t-shirts but also for sweaters, pants, bags, books, and music cds. The cd display shelves have become my focal-point, in these weekly two-hour visits, which now consumes half of my time, looking for anything that catches my eye, such as any old albums by U2, Maroon 5, Nora Jones, Marvin Gaye, Chopin, Cher, Schubert, Madonna, or Carlos Santana.

But the music section has not derailed me from the men’s shoe-racks, which I check carefully, because a great catch could be hidden under the gigantic size-thirteens or fourteens. Usually, shoe-racks for men, in most used stores I frequent, are nothing compared to shoe-racks for women. Women used-store shoppers have more selections to choose from. This probably means women think more about their feet than men, in terms of care and ways of dressing them up. But just because men used-store shoppers do not have an array of shoes to choose from doesn’t mean they are locked out of getting a great steal. In many ways though, this particular scarcity -as in life, in general- summons sharpened hunter-gatherer skills among men shoppers there, to not only look for shoes around the men’s shoe section, but into the women’s shoe section as well.

Now this ceremonious spatial-expansion, in shoe bargain hunting, does not mean these men are trying to satisfy the feminine aspect of their tastes, nor are they necessarily expressing some uncontrolled fetish for women’s shoes, revealed in a thrift-store public-sphere, that may later inspire details for a story or theoretical paper. Not quite. These men wander into the women’s shoe section to look for stray men’s shoes, amidst the general chaos of voices, leathery shoe-smell, and, yes, feet-smell, in that section. Often, men’s shoes are misplaced in the women’s display racks, because of children who make toys out of anything that catch the regimes of their tastes, besides shoes their mothers are trying to browse through; and since their mothers are busy fitting shoes, these children wander to a nearby rack -the men’s area, usually- where they can resume the summer of boisterous play, while still within the general scope of their mother’s or auntie’s highly-distracted peripheral vision.

For the full-text that - I think - needs editing, please visit Thought Catalog.

Ronald Ventura: A Thousand Islands

oil on canvas; 60 x 96 in. (152.4 x 243.8 cm)

The body depicted in the center of the image is the kind of white that do not quite exist in the complexion of a human being in real-life, almost bond-paper white. This is the white of death's skin, drained of blood, sucked by elements thirsty of that liquid, the essence of its life; thus the body's external form here is left intact, like a marble statue, meant for display. But the presence of fruits before this body suggests it is some sort of god, surrounded by colorful offerings from plant life. Unfortunately, this god is not awake, perhaps too exhausted to pay attention to what's going on, or - as suggested above - simply dead. On the other hand, when one looks closer at this god, one notices its other head - or the extension of that head - is of a pig's, also lifeless, now a culinary delight, roasted, the heart of  some tropical fiesta, celebration, gluttony.

Frank's Pizza

After dropping some books at the Epiphany Library on 23rd Street last night, I ate a slice of pizza. I think that was Frank who took my order. He wasn't as friendly as the review below claims he is, and looked tired. Maybe he didn't want me to be there. I don't know. However, there was a woman who looked friendly. I think that was his wife. She gave me my slice of sausage pizza, fresh from the oven. For a Saturday night, the place was quiet. I assume this is the reason why Frank looked gloomy. But that is Frank in 2011, twenty years after the review below that declared Frank's Pizza was the Best of Manhattan in 1991. Yes, twenty years. It's only natural to look exhausted. But I hate to think his long face last night was indicative of how his business is doing.

There was a young couple there on the other side of the room, and me on the other side. I actually liked the pizza, and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one with a diet coke, next time I'm in the area.

Fran Lebowitz

I ended up looking for clips of Fran Lebowitz on YouTube today, while looking for publishing/literary events in New York City. And I'm glad I followed the links of other clips that featured her or I wouldn't know about a new documentary about this former taxi driver; the film is titled Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese. I followed these links with some excitement and curiosity, because I know she hasn't written for a while; due to writer's block, according to her. But she doesn't seem to have lapses in being witty, and has found ways to express it through public appearances.

Clips of these appearances, however, are not abundant. And of those I've viewed, it's hard to not replay them a few times; these are glimpses of her being interviewed or making a speech in this or that function. Her wit grabs you; it's quite sharp, I think, you end up evaluating your view of certain things in life instantly. And I hope to catch her in person somewhere in New York City, whether she's walking on 5th Avenue, smoking the city around Bryant Park, or just hanging out anywhere in Manhattan. Seeing her would probably feel like an event for me, like I was seeing Picasso, even though Fran's body of work is much lesser than the Spaniard's. But what I'm curious though is her not behind a camera; she seems to know how to project herself through a medium; her facial expressions and hand-gestures complement what comes out of her mouth.

Now the New York Public Library has already cataloged the information on this new documentary by Scorsese, and there's now a line for its Holds List that'll soon grow longer.


Resting With Calliope

Calliope Nerve's latest post contained news about its editor. I only had one correspondence with Matthew, or Nobius Black. When I submitted my poem on December last year, his answer was quick, that he'd like to publish my piece. I was about to send another poem last month, when I saw the post below, on his journal, written by Lynn Alexander. My condolences. And wherever he is now, I'm sure he's doing some collaborative work with Calliope (Homer's muse), to help inject substance on the nerves of those who can't help find music and poetry anywhere.

London Riots 2011 & Los Angeles Riots 1992

The media has been underlining the similarities between the London Riots 2011 and Los Angeles Riots 1992. Both are brutal and bloody. But perhaps one specific difference that can be highlighted between the two riots is what happened to the particular individual that sparked them. In the case of London, Mark Duggan died, while in Los Angeles Rodney King survived and still lives to tell his story. Thus, I think the anger in London's case is more intense.

I have some vivid memories of the Los Angeles Riots, because the fires slowly moved to my old neighborhood around Hollywood, transformed some stores to ashes, and almost did the same act to my local library's temporary building. But most of the time, I stayed home, and watched the news with family.

One image I still remember from the L.A. riots was a person wearing a ski-mask, and holding a gun. I didn't see him in-person, of course, but on TV news. He was standing on a parking lot of a popular electronic store, pointing his weapon to different directions, unable to recognize where or who his real and immediate enemy was around him. He was wearing the body language of someone in a war-zone.

1992's place in the memory of Los Angeles is, no doubt, cataloged under nightmare, horror, racial unrest, social inequality, catastrophe, class divide, and other categories. It could happen again.


To display the recent London Riots images above, image-location links from
Boston Globe's The Big Picture section are used.


Into the Weekend

Expectations unfold when our gestures flow into words we prefer not to say, then stretch into busy freeways that hush on the windshield I'm looking through. As always, the day is our conversations, hanging on to familiar phrases. Tonight, we surrender again to a glossy menu with carefully written descriptions. I know you'll pick a dish that'll eat a subject we won't talk about, and I'll pick something to drink that'll make us feel as thirsty as a weekend that might be worth waiting for.

Rest Stop

On July last year, I attended a family event near Bakersfield. This was taken from the last rest stop, on my way back to Los Angeles. I remember it was hot, and the temperatures this summer cloned last year's, maybe even hotter. But surprisingly, the stop wasn't crowded with the usual vehicles summer travelers use around these parts, such as vans, campers, or trailers. That's why it felt quiet, but not restful because of the heat, the kind that emphasized California's dry climate.

A Blue Duet

Thanks to Otoliths for including my work: A Blue Duet.

This is the announcement from editor Mark Young:

Issue twenty-two of Otoliths has just gone live.

As always, it presents the broad church of creativity the journal is renowned for, with new work from John Martone, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Richard Kostelanetz, Philip Byron Oakes, Karen Neuberg, dan raphael, Márton Koppány, Martin Burke, Stephen Nelson, John M. Bennett, Morgan Harlow, Sheila E. Murphy, Anny Ballardini, Raymond Farr, Ray Scanlon, Marco Giovenale, Ryan Scott, Tom Beckett (interviewing Kirsten Kaschock), Kirsten Kaschock, Erica Eller, Jim Meirose, Howie Good, Enola Mirao, Jean Vengua (on Dion Farquhar’s Feet First), Walter Ruhlmann, Jill Jones, David James Miller, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Catherine Vidler, Jillian Mukavetz, Zachary Scott Hamilton, Jill Chan, Glenn R. Frantz, Felino Soriano, Iain Britton, Mark Cobley, bruno neiva, Brenda Mann Hammack, Toby Fitch, Tony Rickaby, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Lisa Samuels, Kevin Opstedal, Gustave Morin, Rich Murphy, Laura Wetherington, Jeff Harrison, J. D. Nelson, Charles Freeland, Rosaire Appel, Ann Vickery, Isaac Linder, Bobbi Lurie, Sam Langer, Rose Hunter, Spencer Selby, Jason Lester, Michael Brandonisio, Bob Heman, Keith Higginbotham, Connor Stratman, & Marcia Arrieta.


Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Joan Rivers takes us on a ride, in this documentary directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg.  Here, Rivers attempts to frame her life in show-business, or perhaps, more so, as show-business herself.

Rivers understands show-business, particularly because of brutalities the ambitious must swallow and endure. And she endured, because she's driven. Workaholism has been her vehicle to success, fame, respect, wealth, and, yes, disrespect as well. For her, work is air, perhaps the only way the lungs of her ambitions can inhale.

I assume she has an over-active imagination, full of ideas, brilliant, bizarre, stupid, or otherwise. And like many successful comedians, who have been through numerous hurdles in show-business, she is smart and calculating. At seventy-five*, it's amazing how energetic this woman is, performing to this and that city, traveling, hungry for something that's not merely money or fame, or even a sense of power, but some sort of fundamental continuity and rhythm in her life, to not fade out of entertaining people.

I'm tempted to say her workaholism is an expression of madness, of trying to control some beast inside her, one that cannot be domesticated, or must be liberated out of its cage through stage performance. And perhaps this is what glamour in show-business is, the liberation of what refuses to be domesticated, into a savage space, the space of spectacle, which, in unequal parts, is: Entertainment, Enlightenment, Farce, and, even Pollution, or simply Air.
[ * Her age when the film was made. ]


When breezes blow those leaves, that's my gesture I'm taking you with me. Some are green, others brown, or colors that fall between seasons. They fly, rise, give in to gravity, then trashed, after someone's silence gathers them, where echoes of memories flicker like late-afternoon sun-rays filtered through trees.

Breathing Paradise Outside Eden

Sunsets punctuate us into infinity, into a curve of horizons each time you look at me over your shoulder, commas that deform into teardrops, and fall like echoes. The apparitions from your touch crowd like waves on shore dissolving in my pores. I'm touching you now, fresh as memory. I feel symmetry, this geometry of moonlight that overwhelms our whispers, and mutes them into elements we inhale.


We are an accumulation of kisses, of goodbyes that flap wings in the wind, to join flight of birds. We are an addiction of words that tell us we'll see each other again. I think these moments are copies of many movie scenes. Let's not say goodbye next time, but instead just close our eyes, and long for each other there, in the dark, in a cinema that never ends, without departures.

White House Poetry Reading

Splendor In The Grass

Natalie Wood's Deanie Loomis in Splendor In The Grass is performance that's way up there. You can feel her transformations, from an innocent girl, to the part when she feels her love for Bud is robbed by one of her classmates, to her declining mental state, her abyss, then back up, to where she has moved on, as though she, indeed, has found "strength in what remains behind" - to quote William Wordsworth (1770–1850) from "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood". A classroom scene talks about a part of that poem, from which the film borrows a phrase:

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

On the other hand, I'm not quite sure about Warren Beatty's Bud, although he got his share of accolade for his work in this film. And thumbs up, indeed, to Zohra Lampert's Angelina - who only appeared in a few scenes - but played her part well as the woman Bud would eventually marry. There's nice touch in the last part when Angelina is aware about her own clothing, after she meets Deanie who is dressed quite elegantly for Bud but doesn't know that he already has a baby, and another one in the oven. Deanie, too, is aware of her own clothing after meeting Bud's wife. Somehow Deanie realizes she has dressed up for some occasion that doesn't quite belong to what Bud has become, now husband and farmer, what he always wanted to be, ever since, even when his father told him he has to go to Yale. It's as though Deanie realizes that "nothing can bring back the hour [o]f splendour in the grass" with Bud, their years together. It's one of the most painful moments in the film.

Sometimes I wonder if James Dean would've been better for the part of Bud, even though he passed away six years before, in 1955. Marlon Brando would've been good, too, or Monty Clift, but perhaps not Paul Newman. If Beatty and his fans read this, I'm sure they'll get mad. Now this film was Beatty's first as leading man, and already won him a Golden Globe Award, for Most Promising Newcomer, that is; and so, I guess this suggests my assessment of him in this film is incorrect. However, while watching this Eliza Kazan film, I must've been thinking of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, in which Beatty's matinee idol appeal fits perfectly well as a Tennessee Williams protagonist.

The Crying Game

It's still fresh, the movie The Crying Game, which came out almost twenty-years ago, in 1992; but definitely not for everyone. In it are two love stories intertwined, tightly choreographed, to heighten the plot to an explosive rage. While telling these stories, the film offers an image of the Irish Republican Army, especially its commitment to a cause. And the hurdle to that cause -in the film, that is- is a British subject, Dil, played by Jaye Davidson with hypnotic calculation. She seems to be what we think she is, until the film reveals something about her. From that point on, we realize its writer and director - Neil Jordan - is twisting the story to another dimension, through illusions nurtured in the notion that gender is performance. Jordan is careful that, when Fergus - played by Stephen Rea - enters The Metro bar to look for Dil, we don't immediately recognize it's not quite a bar for everyone. We somehow see the bar through Fergus' eyes, almost oblivious to the kind of crowd he is in. I think it's a satisfying trick and illusion, so that we, too, will be surprised what Dil is trying to hide. And that revelation seems to carry the weight of conversations about this film, overshadowing other heavy elements that attempts to tackle issues of race and nationality.

Jessica Hagedorn, Toxicology

Toxicology - Jessica Hagedorn's latest novel - is vintage Jessica Hagedorn. Her prose pulls you in, and as you arrive in the world of that prose, Hagedorn leaves you alone to piece the narrative together. It can be daunting task for readers new to her style, especially in her first novel Dogeaters, which is a feast of personalities and multiple plots that tries to imagine the Philippines. And Hagedorn's novels after that novel have, more or less, tried to paint an image and idea of that place, through perspectives inspired by distance, in exilic life. Still, the Philippines is alive in Hagedorn's recent novel, but as a sort of ghost, apparition that hovers above and through the life of artists in New York City, a carnival of grit, sarcasm, desire, sex, pop-culture, and drugs. Once again, it's a feast, but this time a feast of toxic elements, or even a study of toxic personalities trying to coexist the best way they can.

Cannes Lars von Trier still win? Lars Von Trier has been Cannes-ed.

At the 64th Cannes Film Festival, the controversial nazi comments Lars Von Trier had said during a press conference for his competition-entry - Melancholia - was the height of that conference session; but it may also be the height of the festival itself, in terms of the attention it received this year. Von Trier's comments were made just a few days away from the festival's closing ceremonies. Thierry Fremaux, the festival's General Delegate, gave a brief press announcement to distance the festival from Von Trier's comments, even though the director meant to be funny. Thus,on 19 May 2011, festival officials declared Von Trier persona non grata.

Now before Von Trier made those comments, the conference was sailing somewhat smoothly. In some ways, the exchange of questions and answers was lively, peppered with jokes by Von Trier himself. However, there were moments his jokes verged on crossing certain lines, especially those directed to his female cast-members: Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Around the middle of the conference, his jokes about doing a porn-film with these cast-members in his next film-project received shaky laughter. Funny, somewhat funny, mocking, sarcastic, insulting, and, in some ways, sincere. Perhaps this is Danish humor?

Towards the end of the conference, the marriage of those descriptors above gained a less appealing momentum, when Kate Muir from The Times of London asked:
"Can you talk a bit about your German roots, and the gothic aspect of this film? And also, you mentioned in a Danish film magazine also about your interest in the nazi aesthetic, and you talked about that German roots at the same time. Can you tell us a bit/more about that?"
A great question, I think. Muir's question was more provocative than the question hurled at this year's competition-jury president, Robert De Niro: "Did you f— my wife?" Had that question been directed to Von Trier, his press conference, no doubt, would've ended with a less depressing note. And so, to answer Muir's question, Von Trier gave a long answer:
"The only thing I can tell is that I thought I was a Jew for a long time, and was very happy being a Jew. Then later on came Susanne Bier and suddenly I wasn't very happy about being a Jew. No, that was a joke. Sorry. It turned out that I was not a Jew, and even if I'd been a Jew, I would be a kind of a second rate Jew because there are, kind of, a hierarchy in the Jewish population. But anyway, no, I really wanted to be a Jew. And then I found out that I was really a Nazi. Because my family was German, Hartman, which also gave me some pleasure. So I'm kind of a, what can I say? I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely! I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end. But there will come a point at the end of this. No, I'm just saying that I think I understand the man. He's not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him and I sympathise with him a little bit. No, but come on! I am not for the Second World War! And I'm not against Jews - Susanne Bier? No, not even Susanne Bier, that was also a joke! I'm of course, very much for Jews, no, not too much because Israel is a pain in the ass. But, still, how can I get out of this sentence? No, I just want to say about the art of the, I'm very much for Speer, Speer I liked, Albert Speer I liked. He was also maybe one of God's best children, but he had some talent that was kind of possible for him to use during - OK, I'm a Nazi!"
Press Conference for Melancholia, Cannes, 2011;from Wikipedia,
But while Von Trier was banned in the festival, his film was not taken out of competition. In fact, it won in the Best Actress category: Kirsten Dunst. In her acceptance speech, after receiving her Prize from Edgar Ramirez, Dunst said:
"What a week! My thanks to the Jury, this is a real honour. I'm grateful to the Festival for keeping the film in Competition. And I'm grateful to Lars Von Trier for letting me play the role with such freedom."

Cannes Pedro Almodovar win this time?

It's a very short trailer, but says a lot about the story. And some calculated shots in this clip, I think. For example, Almodovar puts Banderas in front of a big painting, of a naked woman, and the woman Banderas is looking at stands on a red circle, a target. On the other hand, Almodovar directing Antonio Banderas in this film must feel like a reunion of their earlier films. Banderas looks much older now, of course. But he does have that look from his earlier films with Almodovar, when he tries to play someone inebriated with anger. It's hard to tell if Almodovar will win this time. Terrence Malick is in the festival's 64th year, including other notable names.
Heading South (Vers le sud)
Directed by Laurent Cantet, 2005;
Haut et Court/Sévile/France 3/Studio Canal;
108 minutes, French and English

Video-Clip Source: SodaPictures

Coming For Colonialism
Michael Caylo-Baradi

Read Full-Text at Latin American Review of Books

LAURENT CANTET’S Heading South (Vers le Sud) is a film about sex tourism, with the sex tourists in this case citizens from the north, specifically Canada and the US. The setting is Haiti under Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the late 1970s.

The sex-tourists are not our usual suspects but white women, over 40 and the objects of their desire are young men from Port-au-Prince.

At the heart of the story is a love-triangle between two of the women tourists and a young man; the “bitch[es] in heat” are Ellen, played by Charlotte Rampling, and Brenda, played by Karen Young. The young man these women are crazy about is played by non-professional actor, Mènothy Cesar as Legba.

To cushion the cat-fights between Ellen and Brenda, Cantet uses the French-Canadian Sue, played by Louise Portal, as occasional referee. Sue seems to know when to move out of the way, when the cat-claws are out, and since Sue has her own young man, Neptune, she safely admires Legba from a distance.

Ellen and Brenda’s rivalry starts to evolve upon the latter’s arrival from Altanta, Georgia, in Petit Anse Resort. At 48, Karen looks slim, somewhat attractive for her age, and ready for a good time; but she had met Legba three years before, when he was 15. It was then that Legba gave Brenda her first orgasm, at the age of 45. Legba, therefore, defines a milestone in Karen’s life as a woman - he is Brenda’s orgasm. Legba bookmarks Brenda’s life, before and after her first orgasm experience.

But now Legba is 18 and the most desired escort among the women tourists. Outspoken and aggressive, Ellen does not hesitate to let Brenda know Legba’s status in the resort: that he is meant to be shared. But the memory of Brenda’s first sexual encounter with Legba heightens her advances towards him. When Ellen realises that Legba responds to these advances, Ellen notices, and foresees complications, because she understands her desire for Legba has found a rival in Brenda.

The competing desire for Legba among these two women is our window into the strength of their characters. Brutal, this clash propels the story; it is the Caribbean “hurricane” or calamity that spins Legba’s fate out of control, even though he projects calm demeanor to save his masculinity from being castrated by hysteria.

Besides being a resort escort, Legba has another life outside the hotel complex. The film reveals that he has relations with other women in Port-au-Prince, especially those from rich families. But his life outside clashes with his life inside the resort. On the day Legba takes Brenda around Port-au-Prince, a four-door Mercedes Benz tries to run him over and then its driver chases him with a gun. Later, when the resort and its patrons have gone to sleep, a Benz dumps two naked, dead bodies in its grounds: one of which is Legba’s. Ellen and Brenda are shocked and confused, that they are not in paradise after all.

After talking to local police about apprehending Legba’s assassins, Ellen talks to the resort’s manager, Albert. A son of resistance fighters, Albert has inherited his parents’ brutal and unapologetic views of white people and when he listens to Ellen, he merely listens as though anything he would say to comfort her is useless because words are inadequate to explain the Haiti that exists beyond the borders of the resort.

Soon, Albert takes Ellen to the airport for her flight back to North America, and home, and she can, at least, anticipate consequences when things happen. But for Karen, the resort is only the first leg of her journey into the Caribbean; the names of the places she wants to visit fascinate her: Cuba, Barbados, Martinique, Trinidad, Bahamas. She seems ready to put Legba behind, although he, no doubt, serves as a reference point for what she expects in Caribbean men, in her sex tours.

Layers of Poverty

Cantet’s realism, in this film, is convincing and can be nauseating; it feasts on the melodramas, pornographies, and dynamics of sex tourism to a point where the facade of tourism disappears and what we see is unapologetic desperation to satisfy basic human needs: food, sex, money, and love. Desire binds these elements together as Haiti: Haiti as state of distress, need, and eroticism. Here, the narrative interrogations of desire take place in familiar terrains that often highlight concerns in post-colonial and neo-colonial social-relations: poverty, labour, and race.

Read Full-Text at Latin American Review of Books

Adoring Adorno & Aesthetic Theory

Indeed, displacing the senses from its habitual consumption of things that exalts consumerism is refreshing. It aspires toward states of alterity that can be viewed as necessary alienation from consumerist habits, a sort of negative space that nourishes aesthetics not administered and controlled by exploitative hierarchies in structures of culture. And in many ways, it is tempting to view that space as an escape 'back' to nature, perhaps nostalgia for something simpler. However, one's entrance into that space is already burdened with the idea of departure from certain states and conditions: consumerism, culture, ideology. Thus, it's convincing to argue that this space, which is dialectic, is not 'also' or 'new' nature, but nature itself, located in moments of displacement.

Now Live: Otoliths 21

Thanks to Mark Young for including my work:  


Mark Young's announcement:

"The expense of getting a new designer outfit for the Royal Nuptials means there's no money left in the budget to appropriately acknowledge the fact that Otoliths is celebrating its fifth birthday, so we'll just have to let the issue speak for itself, & it does, as elegantly as ever.

"Once again it's a wide-ranging compendium, containing text & visual work from Kirsten Kaschock, Tom Beckett, Marilyn R. Rosenberg, J. D. Mitchell-Lumsden, Martin Edmond, Ed Baker, Eileen R. Tabios, Nava Fader, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Curt Eriksen, Eeva Karhunen, Howie Good, Jennifer L. Tomaloff, Andrea Jane Kato, John M. Bennett, Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett, Sheila E. Murphy, Patrick Williamson, Michele Leggott, Beni Ransom, Philip Byron Oakes, Jim Meirose, Cilla McQueen, Thomas Fink, Theodoros Chiotis, Christopher Mulrooney, Keith Higginbotham & Matt Margo, Raymond Farr, Cherie Hunter Day, Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, J. D. Nelson, NF Huth, Patrick Cahill, Mark DuCharme, Pam Brown, SJ Fowler, Tony Brinkley, Cecelia Chapman, David Mitchell, Felino Soriano, Jamie Bradley, Peter LaBerge, Charles Freeland, Corey Wakeling, Jeff Harrison, Jen Besemer, dan raphael, Yoko Danno, Joshua Comyn, Emma Smith, Cassandra Atherton, Michael Rothenberg, Bill Drennan, sean burn, Kit Schluter, Caleb Puckett, Rosaire Appel, Robert Gauldie, Zarah McGunnigle, Bella Li, Hala Hoagland, Marcia Arrieta, Reijo Valta, Gregory Kan, Lawrence Bernabe, Housten Donham, Sam Langer, Bob Heman, & Gustave Morin.

The issue is dedicated to Robert "Bob" Gauldie, painter, poet, scientist, & regular contributor, who died suddenly, in Utrecht, on April 5."

Van Nuys, California

Things tend to blur after sunset. Details tend to fuse, as though minimized through fissures in the eyes. Edges have a different sharpness, that which reduce forebodings in hallucinations, make them appealing, even seductive. The sound of cars recedes like slurs, in the language of propositions that echoes in rear-view mirrors.

Afternoon Sunset

This was taken on Sunset Boulevard, around Echo Park. I was on my way to get some groceries. The usual traffic took a weekend off, and the afternoon was able to relax. If today had been a century ago, I would've been in a rural area, walking on small country road, whistling, feeling the breezes, and perhaps totally unaware that I had risen above ground for a quarter of an inch, because of cow or horse dung pasted under my shoes. I would've felt elevated because of the relaxing air, while literally or physically elevated by elements on ground. Nature can be powerful that way, in its usual dualistic mode. And what a coincidence to think about elevations; today celebrates a 'rising from the dead', in the Christian calendar.

Wanted Cataloger-Historian for Dracula's Archive

That Dracula wants to recruit the best qualified cataloger-historian for his vast archive indicates how much he respects the printed word and the world of publishing itself.  For the qualified recruit, he or she must first be inducted into Dracula's world. The first phase of that induction guarantees longevity for the new employee: he or she will be able to live hundreds of years, like Dracula himself. In Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Dracula is an indomitable recruiter. He lures his candidates to him, into the history and mysteries of his life, its probable origins.

I admire the amount of research Kostova had spent for her first novel, which is set in the US, UK, Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, France, or, let's just say, Europe itself. She also offers glimpses of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, encroaching into the borders of Eastern Europe, where a god-fearing Count -Dracula- tries to defend his territory from being occupied by foreign invaders. This is something new -for me, that is- about Dracula and his connections with Christianity; it almost takes out the evil aspect of vampire identity, an identity I've mainly known through movies and tv-shows, represented in the faces of Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, and Stephenie Meyer's vampire-gang in her Twilight series.

But the other new element that Kostova injects in the mythology of Dracula is that she tries to blur that myth. Here, Dracula is a product of circumstances, that of anger against the expanding Ottoman Empire, of revenge. This revenge reaches a height. That height is myth that quietly morphs into idea, the idea of a highly-intelligent being that can live forever, provided it stays away from sunlight, crosses, garlic, silver-bullets, or wooden-stakes. It's a being that (perhaps) updates the idea of evil in human-form that isn't quite human: vampire: Dracula. Bram Stoker's Dracula is an expression of that update.

Kostova's vision of Dracula in this novel is perhaps the opposite of Bram Stoker's vision of Dracula in his novel. Stoker's Dracula mythologizes a historical figure, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476), more commonly known as Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]). Kostova de-mythologizes Dracula and treats it as an element of history, a historical-figure whose descendants might still live among us.

Now Live: Galatea Resurrects 16

Galatea Resurrects 16 is edited by Eileen Tabios.



[N.B. You can click on highlighted names or titles to go directly to the referenced article.]

Eileen Tabios

John Herbert Cunningham reviews THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO WALLACE STEVENS edited, and with an introduction by, John N. Serio; WALLACE STEVENS: SELECTED POEMS edited, and with an introduction by, John N. Serio; and WALLACE STEVENS AND THE AESTHETICS OF ABSTRACTION by Edward Ragg

Andrew Durbin reviews THE DIHEDRONS GAZELLE-DIHEDRALS ZOOM by Leslie Scalapino

Allen Bramhall reviews DOGGY DOO by Bob Brueckl & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

Marthe Reed reviews SONJA SEKULA: GRACE IN A COW’S eye : A MEMOIR : by Kathrin Schaeppi

Eileen Tabios engages SONJA SEKULA: GRACE IN A COW’S eye : A MEMOIR : by Kathrin Schaeppi

Allen Edwin Butt reviews PETALS, EMBLEMS by Lynn Behrendt


T.C. Marshall reviews THE ARAKAKI PERMUTATIONS and WORLDBOOK: 1925—A POEM, both by James Maughn

Nicholas T. Spatafora reviews DAYS POEM, Volume I and Volume II by Allen Bramhall

Peg Duthie engages THE GODDESS OF GOODBYE by James R. Whitley and IGNOBLE TRUTHS by Gail White

Catherine Daly reviews HOW MANY MORE OF THEM ARE YOU? and VICINITIES, both by Lisa Lubasch

Eileen Tabios engages THE NEW POETICS by Mathew Timmons

Caleb Puckett reviews HOW TO BE PERFECT and HOW LONG, both by Ron Padgett


Nicholas T. Spatafora reviews THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT curated by Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ernesto Priego and Eileen Tabios

Andrew Durbin reviews THIS TIME WE ARE BOTH by Clark Coolidge

T.C. Marshall reviews OPENING DAY and THE WHALEN POEM, both by William Corbett

Harry Thorne reviews THE ECO LANGUAGE READER edited by Brenda Iijima and IF NOT METAMORPHIC by Brenda Iijima

Tom Beckett reviews IF NOT METAMORPHIC by Brenda Iijima

Eileen Tabios engages 100 SCENES by Tim Gaze

Simon Perchik reviews CREATURELY DRIFT, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by Allen Planz; EROS DESCENDING, POEMS by Edward Butscher; THE DISCOURSE LETTERS by Anselm Parlatore; THAT NOD TOWARD LOVE, NEW POEMS by Graham Everett; SILVER FISH, POEMS by Ray Freed; SHARPSBURG by Joel Chace; and BLUE EDGE by Susan Tepper

Allen Edwin Butt reviews TERMINAL HUMMING by K. Lorraine Graham

Micah Cavaleri reviews ENGLISH FRAGMENTS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOUL by Martin Corless-Smith

Jessica Bozek reviews SUM OF EVERY LOST SHIP by Allison Titus

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews NOTES ON CONCEPTUALISMS by Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman

Eileen Tabios engages THE SOURCE by Noah Eli Gordon; THUS & by Derek Henderson; and DOG EAR by Erica Baum

Tammi McCune reviews ITERATION NETS by Karla Kelsey

Jim McCrary reviews PITCH – DRAFTS 77-95 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis and DAY OUT OF DAYS (STORIES) by Sam Shepard

Jonathan Lohr reviews DUTIES OF AN ENGLISH FOREIGN SECRETARY by Macgregor Card

Steven Johannes Fowler reviews IN THE ASSARTS by Jeff Hilson

Peg Duthie engages THE BOOK OF WHISPERING IN THE PROJECTION BOOK by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Guillermo Parra reviews YOU AND THREE OTHERS ARE APPROACHING A LAKE by Anna Moschovakis

Eileen Tabios engages X (ANGEL CITY) by Joseph Lease

Steven Johannes Fowler reviews CLERICAL WORK by Wayne Clements

Genevieve Kaplan reviews VENTRAKL by Christian Hawkey

Crag Hill reviews AD FINITUM by P. Inman

Eileen Tabios engages BONE BOUQUET: A JOURNAL OF POETRY BY WOMEN, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Winter 2011

Jerry Brunoe reviews A THIRST THAT'S PARTLY MINE by Liz Ahl

John Herbert Cunningham reviews THE SELECTED POEMS OF TED BERRIGAN edited by Alice Notley, Anselm Berrigan and Edmund Berrigan

Jim Tolan reviews AS IF FREE by Burt Kimmelman

Fiona Sze-Lorrain reviews AIRS & VOICES by Paula Bonnel

Eileen Tabios engages THE HISTORY OF VIOLETS by Marosa Di Giorgio, Trans. By Jeannine Marie Pitas

T.C. Marshall reviews ARRANGING THE BLAZE and PARABLE OF HIDE AND SEEK, both by Chad Sweeney

Bill Scalia reviews THE PACKAGE INSERT OF SORROWS by Angela Genusa

Micah Cavaleri reviews SCENIC FENCES | HOUSES INNUMERABLE by Aby Kaupang


Marianne Villanueva reviews SONNETS by Camille Martin

Eileen Tabios engages NOVALESS (ELEMENTS TOWARDS A METAPHYSICS) by Nicholas Manning

Jerry Brunoe reviews ISHMAEL AMONG THE BUSHES by William Allegrezza

Jeff Harrison engages COMPLICATIONS by Garrett Caples

G. Justin Hulog reviews DIWATA by Barbara Jane Reyes

Aileen Ibardaloza engages BABAYLAN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FILIPINA AND FILIPINA AMERICAN WRITERS, co-edited by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios and THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF LITERATURE BY WOMEN: THE TRADITIONS IN ENGLISH, Third Edition, volume 2, co-edited by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar

Eileen Tabios engages CHAPTER & VERSE: POEMS OF JEWISH IDENTITY edited by Sim Warkov, Rose Black, Margaret Kaufman, Melanie Maier & Susan Terris, and BLOOD HONEY by Chana Bloch

The Quincouplet: a Matter of Words
by Benjamin C. Krause

Kingdom by the Harbor by Nicholas T. Spatafora

Marthe Reed

Simon Perchik

Moira Richards reviews CARRYING THE FIRE and BURNT OFFERING, both by Joan Metelerkamp

Richard Kostelanetz reviews the article "Re: Print: Poems from Ten Exciting New Books,"

Hay(na)ku for Haiti--a Haiti Relief Fundraiser

Poets On Adoption:
Poetry: it inevitably relates to -- among others -- identity, history, culture, class, race, community, economics, politics, power, loss, health, desire, regret, language, form and genre disruption, love ... as well as the absences thereofs. The same may be said about Adoption."

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie...

Decelerating Infinity

Where hesitations accelerate. We decelerate to accommodate the scent of exhausted words. The glamour of speed has lost all caffeine. Where we slow down, to inhale the movement we cannot stop.

Decaffeinated Fame: Lady Gaga

Mouse-clicks going gaga. Poetry of hair. Fashionista as conundrum. Technology exploitation. Charming as someone from a rural area. High on heels. Glassed between the Sun and Venus. Aphrodite as Transformer. Wonder-Woman as Elizabeth Taylor. A kind of nun, really, fit for a monastery somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Europe. Language high on steroids of surrealism. A verb tired of being a verb, because verbs are not infinity. Decaffeinated fame with twenty sugar-cubes. God without God. Portrait of A Lady.

Pleasure to Ruin

Before opening the gate, there's a pause. You hear the silence of mountains folded in the sound of car-engine. The moon traps itself in your windshield, deforms its geometry in a tangle of shadows. You're trying to remember the tail-end of whispers, clinging on the curve of lips. Soon, you deface the idea of loss, its hyperbolic sentimental affectations. And you think you understand this, the pleasure to ruin. It's a kind of freedom, flight forceful as wings. The absence of adjustments is air, reduction of the need for something logical. Later, the smell of coffee blankets your patio, tempts the night to rest in the hush of leaves falling in their movement.

On The Road

At some point, you vanish in the corrugated destinations of tires. You forget your fragility, and just move on. Freeway signs become indications of hope. Clouds of any form shape the weather in your prayers. If you allow it, memories huddle in those broken lines in the middle of the road, as though they want to straighten your vision of what might. You feel you don't care. But you do. You see mountains rising in their contours. You see these in your peripheral vision, that place where things don't want to vanish, but remain as blurs, the kind that softens the saturations in your reality.

Dinaw Mengestu

I'm finishing How To Read The Air by Dinaw Mengestu. Fantastic. I like the momentum of the story that becomes meta-fictional, now and then, especially when the narrator, Jonas, creates fictional encounters between him and his father. These encounters draw Jonas into the intimate aspects of his family's past, a story of movement, from one mental geography to another, into conundrums of exile.

More Fables

More Fables
Michael Caylo-Baradi
after Kate Braverman

You set the conditions, validations, necessary entanglements. Grace wears masks in sentiments, your hyperbolic, highly toxic perfections. We prefer the numbness, the intimacies we penetrate during aftershocks, as we contemplate beauty of disasters, the chaos that so resembles us. Our dry seasons aren't over yet. More droughts to come, nourish, pour prayers into. I see myself on and in glasses all the time, the clones of my shadows, disintegrating into religions of you, myths dispossessed, like debris of silhouettes you leave in my eyes.


When you hang them close to each other, they form a group of common things you use, wear. You remember places and people, and maybe the time of day, too, or whether it was sunny or not. It's possible that what is remembered has already been filtered, carefully selected. The selection is not felt, because of automatic mechanisms that erase what need not be remembered.

Was a drink spilled on the sleeve? Did a hand touch the back of the collar? Questions bother, because there are details that need recognition. Digital instruments can be helpful for these questions. Their pixels are tools for remembrance, especially when zoomed. But as you zoom, are you magnifying something in memory, irrecoverable absence, or something that wasn't even there in the first place?


They're familiar shapes, like the curve of eyeballs, enlarged, so we can see what's out there. But Hollywood probably offers brighter stars than those up there. We like stars seen by the naked eye, so we can immediately use them for the projectors in our imagination.

Awesome Physics Talks

Video-Clip Source: Studio 360
I saw this video-clip at Studio 360, one of the links on this blog. The layers in this discussion doesn't end; they all converge in many surprising ways. A gift for this new year. HipHop-Physics-Theory-Relativity-Cosmology-Etc. Comedian-Musician Reggie Watts, Columbia University Professor Janna Levin, Professor Maiullo, and Host Kurt Andersen are great.


Description For A Car

Almost colorful. Round tires, hard as your smile. Firm body, stylish. The wipers can wipe dried leaves out of sight. Great lights, big. Its name has the same number of letters as my worst description of you. The license plate can be a dinner plate, if need be. I see dead words in it talking like humans driving themselves crazy at 120mph. It smells leather in some parts. Other parts smell like engine smell. The rear-view mirror can't view the rear. A bear once bumped against it. It has been through natural disasters, like stormy arguments. It runs on historical element, fossil fuel. It has windows, square as souls.


Phones. Phonemes. Names. Aims. Alms. Balms. Bumps. Bump. Pump. Rump. Rumpus. Umph. Lump. Mephisto. Christo. Gesto. Gestapo. Abelardo. Leonardo. Borado. Prado. Rado. Aldo. Algo. Algonquin. Akin. Taken. Aching. Achtung. Entschuldigung. Bildung. Building. Vading. Gelding. Grading. Degrading. Mending. Manning. Canning. Cannes. Ban. Bane. Rain. Pain. Raising Cain. Vaining Cain.Vain. Weathervane. Lane. Sane. Brain. Braun. Bran. Brink. Link. Crink. Ink. Beatnik. Neatnik. Freak. Leak. Seek. Meek.Reek. Leek. Wikileak. Beak. Eek. Mach. Bach. Iraq. Barack. Barbwire. Ire. Ireland. Sand. Stand. Bland. Rand. Bend. Send. Lend. Sand. Band. Canned. Tanned. Wand. Blend. Hand. Frond. Id. Did. And. The End.

Mike Tyson

[This was posted two years ago: 19 Jan 2009.] David Carr's recent interview with Mike Tyson at Utah's Sundance Festival was quite revealing about the boxer, even though it was very short. Sometimes, I like Carr, because of his voice. This hoarseness makes me think of the gritty aspects of New York City's urban world; and I'd like to think this is one reason why The New York Times chose him to be the web-video correspondent for the paper's The Carpetbagger episodes, or webisodes. I know that's a weak justification; but still, there's no harm speculating. Now I don't know if his voice always sounds like that. I haven't checked the rest of his webisodes. But the feeling of urban grittiness in his voice does make him sound endearingly cool. And too, the image of approximate roughness on his face somehow reminds me of Mickey Rourke, a one-time boxer aspirant. And so when Carr was interviewing Tyson, I had this playful image of boxer interviewing boxer. Mike's answers were, I thought, articulate and gave me ideas of how he thinks. Of course, the act of manipulating answers to interview questions to give a pleasant or certain effect to viewers could certainly be factored there. Mike has had extensive experience with the media for years; he had been in the spotlight since he was 20-years-old as world champion, then the rape charges, the drugs, and other dramas or tragedies along the way. He did mention the word 'tragedy' towards the end of the interview, as though highlighting something in written-text narrative. Somehow I can sense the link between how he answered Carr's questions and his rise to prominence in the boxing world: sharpness, focus, and his determined right to carry things through the end. This short interview made me want to see the documentary "Tyson", directed by James Toback. The director was actually there, sitting beside Mike, and mentioned there were other celebrities there at Utah, but that people paid more attention to Mike than these other Hollywood big-names: what a natural way to promote his film's subject, I thought. Then there's that tattoo around his left eye, a sort of Maori tattoo. He can look menacing with it, no doubt, although not during that interview.

(For interested parties: video section of paper's website.)

Ian McEwan & Richard Dawkins - On Moral Instincts, Religion, Atheism, Love, Darwin, Inward Cinemas.

There's a lot to absorb here, at least, for me. One is a scientist, concerned with investigations to solve the mysteries of the material world, and the other a literary-writer, concerned with investigations NOT necessarily to solve the mysteries of the material world, but more so, to expand and deepen the meaning of those mysteries and, to certain extents, illuminate hidden mysteries. That's why, while this exchange feels fresh, it's also not easy to listen to it, because of the layers of perceptions embedded in their spoken words. The tone of their exchange proposes that they have the same wavelengths, and understand each other well. But I think that is an aspect of the highly deceiving glamor and color of appearances.

What is ironic about the way or tone Dawkins promotes his ideas regarding atheism and evolution is that he often sounds eerily dogmatic you think he's about to start his own religion, a fourth and official addition to the eternal triumvirate: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Righting Frames Left

I am on the left-turn pocket, about to make a left. The wait hair-splits seconds to infinity, a very physical experience of eternity on a street-intersection, the kind in which your life feels trapped, and there is only one direction, there, into the abyss of the left, into its freedoms, chaos. I see faces in the cars, on the other direction, faces of pursuit, aggression, those who'd confess their day in frantic phone calls later, unnecessary calls they have to make just to have someone to talk to, to feel linked, networked. They are wearing sunglasses, as though to leave the sun out of their directions, ignore its illuminations, consider them distractions, nuisance. I am in the intersection of 5:00pm and 5:01pm, the intersection of life as abstract and life as material, bad decisions and worst decisions, fiction and non-fiction, poetry and reality. In a moment, I could crash, collide into another dream in the making, a city official, a president of a porn-company, a thief trying to be the best thief in the world, or a horny man having phone sex on his cell-phone. My life is on the line, and there are no lines to read in-between those lines. Am I in someone's surveillance camera? Am I in a movie-production set? I make the sign of the cross. Soon, I let that sign fade to insignificance, to the shadows of other crosses I've made before. The light is green, is yellow, is red, the color of anything, an empty sign, emptied of sunsets, death, crime, failure, genesis of ironies, the erotics of daily life, birth, or as myth before flights to nowhere.


I drive through freeways in your thoughts, but you've blocked all the xits.
I roll down the windows, for the wind to blow your mind in mine.

One Way

The direction of arrivals and departures is one way, regardless of destination: Into the fragile journeys of the heart. Taken at Los Angeles International Airport, 2011.

Galatea Resurrects 15

Galatea Resurrects #15 was released last month. Thanks to Eileen Tabios for including my review. Below the excerpt is a list of this issue's contributors.

Inside the sound of words are entanglements fighting for coherence, or some sense of it, at least. Approximations of this coherence can materialize in imagination of the speaker, especially through the visuality of text, a compact architecture of curves and lines furnished by constitutions of desire in writing and printing presses, processes that may formulate a sense of accessibility and familiarity, through journeys in reading. Thus, implicit in certain theories of language is a dance that intimates copulation of perceptions between text-image and its equivalent sound, whether through orally-conveyed sound or sound produced that cannot easily be translated into decibels recognizable by human-ear – sounds of silence, or those in meditation, which may also include sounds in structure of movements, the sonicity of action, especially in the context of physical vibrations and physical geometries. And in this dance are certain modes of producing rules or memory set in principles, to activate hierarchy of evolutions, and inherent devolutions in progressions. [ More here.]

Access Table of Contents here.

Reviewers & Contributors

Aileen Ibardaloza

Albert B. Casuga
Allen Bramhall
Anny Ballardini
Barbara Roether
Camille Martin
Edric Mesmer
Eileen Tabios
Eric Dickey
Eric Hoffman
G.E. Schwartz
Genevieve Kaplan
Hadas Yatom-Schwartz
Harry Thorne
Jeff Harrison
Jim McCrary
John Bloomberg-Rissman
John Herbert Cunningham
Jon Curley
Kathryn K. Stevenson
Kristi Castro
Kristina Marie Darling
L.M. Freer
Lisa Bower
Lynn Behrendt
Margaret H. Johnson
Marianne Villanueva
Michael Caylo-Baradi
Michael Pollock
Moira Richards
Nicholas T. Spatafora
Patrick James Dunagan
Peg Duthie
Rebecca Loudon
Richard Lopez
T.C. Marshall
Thomas Fink
Tom Beckett