Diario de Manila (Philippines)

From 2003 to March 2005 I kept a blog called “Diaryo.” I wanted to find some way to incorporate news broadcasts into poetry, since I was doing graduate study on newspapers, and the discourse of news, especially “old” news became my daily reading. I was looking for a way to undercut my own facile lyricism (the lyric mode was becoming habitual for me) by combining two very different (seemingly) uses of language.

On top of that, I was living with someone who was a TV news junky. So I ended up listening to the broadcasts coming from an adjoining room, and transcribing the fragments that I heard. I couldn’t always hear the broadcasts very well. That was interesting because I knew that my brain would reinterpret what I heard, and the reports would be incomplete, faulty, or even bizarre. Certain rhetorical phrases re-occurred in the news, and sometimes I would leave those repetitions in, even if they sounded awkward. However, a certain lyricism (especially in reports of the initial bombing raids on Iraq) crept in. There was the attempt by reporters to be “objective,” yet they couldn’t help but wax lyrical, caught up in their own descriptive excitement.

I arranged the fragments into poetic lines. Sometimes bits and pieces (editorials, ads, poems) of my readings in U.S. Filipino newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s would drift in. In that way, a piece of the life of a Filipino editor or writer from an earlier era would get folded into the life of the war in Iraq, or into the rhetoric of a contemporary advertisement.

In the Philippines, “Diaryo” refers to a journal or newspaper. Sometimes the poems I wrote for this blog were based only on the words of the news that I heard and interpreted. Sometimes, the poems took on the other meaning of “diaryo” as personal journal or diary when I folded in comments on my process, or notes from my research. So, personal life news, public life news, and poetry became intertwined.

I started thinking about Diaryo again, after coming across an interesting blog post by Susan Schultz on documentary poetry.

April 28, 2004 — Diaryo blog.


extraordinary pictures it is night vision
and in response a camera precision in

the sound of possibly you won’t be able
to pick up you can hear the low drone

some sort of intelligence you can see
in the distance in the distance attempts

within their rights within their reality
strike we can tell you we can tell you

a very very discrete weapon we can tell
you without damaging anybody certainly

heard a mix of members as mixture of these
groups these pockets we’ve heard all day

as long as possible and there has been
progress are we to believe are the talks

as long as possible to help out to point
out to get them on the side to be co-

operative these dead-enders chanting
oh give me a sense and pointing east

is the sound of chants songs coming
is firing up the public address system

(going to we are told to great lengths
to put innocent civilians in the way)

and does it achieve and both sides seek
but the bad guys try to do and hoping

to re-supply but what actually happens
we can see the after-glow a pounding

these are now extraordinary after-glow
it was taking place; it was taking place

March 31, 2004 — Diaryo blog

she gasps     daily news
we get reports
     a smear of romance    heroes

suffering on waterfront yeah i ken
it was an old learning
                           twice removed
in labor
           5 hours / 
taking notes   tsismis

stopped writing / rest halfway to room
   takes a worried mind       
                            keep the mess
out of exposition   
        exposure of bodies
cross eyed Kakiack ladrones

                   (making a point)
exposition: "act of putting out or abandoning
                 in an unsheltered place; also, the act
of presenting to view;
             display, a public exhibition;
also expounding, setting forth, explaining"

                            something to do with "dynamo"
             maybe an engine of thought
recurrence    building toward
    transfixed with the physics of pressure
When we say that a body is in motion, we mean
         that it is changing its position with respect to
                         some other body

there is push and pull
     helpless tease   the sex of ideas
            chants      line out     impetus
wants a frame 
lost in some helpless talk story
    [a flame burst in Victorio Velasco, the typewriter melted]

some news:
      small implosions disappearances
             and in respect to that 
i change position