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About this poet

In 1971, Barbara Jane Reyes was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her undergraduate education at the University of California Berkeley and her MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at San Francisco State University.

Reyes's most recent collection of poetry is Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010). Her first book, Gravities of Center, was published by Arkipelago Books (San Francisco) in 2003, and her second book, poeta en san francisco (Tinfish Press, Kaneohe, Hawai’i) received the 2005 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

She has taught at Mills College and the University of San Francisco. She lives with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland, where she is co-editor of Doveglion Press.

[state of emergency]

Barbara Jane Reyes

To honor movement in crescendos of text, combing through ashes for fragments of human bone, studying maps drawn for the absurdity of navigation — what may be so edgy about this state of emergency is my lack of apology for what I am bound to do. For instance, if I dream the wetness of your mouth an oyster my tongue searches for the taste of ocean, if I crave the secret corners of your city on another continent, in another time, in series of circular coils extending outward, then it is only because I continue to harbor the swirls of galaxies in the musculature and viscera of my body. You will appear because I have mouthed your name in half-wish, reluctant to bring myself to you. You will appear for me, because you always do, with earthen skin outside the possibility of human causation.

Copyright © 2005 by Barbara Jane Reyes. Reprinted with permission of the author from poeta en san francisco, published by Tinfish Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Barbara Jane Reyes. Reprinted with permission of the author from poeta en san francisco, published by Tinfish Press.

Barbara Jane Reyes

Barbara Jane Reyes

Born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, her second book, poeta en san francisco received the 2005 James Laughlin Award.

by this poet

poem

Once, when there was no light, the wind danced with the sea, whose glassy surface became untame funnels and silver crested waves as she leapt and spun. How the wind also spun and let out a mighty roar. You have heard this one before, no? How earth convulsed as if laughing. How seafloor forced her fingertips skyward

poem

your methods are unacceptable :: beyond human restraint :: things get confused i know :: the heart’s a white sepulcher and no man guards its doors :: against the growing dark :: incessant blades beat air :: incessant blades :: what means are available to terminate :: gook names :: with extreme prejudice :: you may