Thursday, May 29, 2003

"a song in six"


children of the gentle low city lights sneak out to meet under the moon to dance on empty streets

she sings a song to step to and he swears the sun can't rise above the ocean tomorrow because he's holding on to it right now.


she wakes up on the violet ocean, on a boat over light waves. her eyes have more weight than the waters of the earth as she lets loose a tear. for the first time, she no longer sees the shores of vietnam.

he sits two thousand miles away, just over her head, on an airplane over the sea.

they both curse the war. she blames heaven, he blames man, she looks up, he looks down, their eyes don't meet.


their tiny hands meet on the shore of a beach. they are five years old, searching for the world on the dust on the floor. he looks for stones, she looks for shells, they both find a stone that looks like a shell.

"you can have it," she says.

her parents call her name and she runs off without saying bye.

he sighs, and puts the stone that looks like a shell to his ear and tries to listen for the ocean.


he never hears a hello but he still talks to the stars. hellos aren't needed among old friends.

she never hears a goodbye but she still speaks secrets into the small holes that she digs. she covers the holes up and wouldn't hear a goodbye anyway.

the strangers walk past each other on an empty street by the bay. hellos and goodbyes are exchanged but what are said in between are never heard.


the earth swings against shy skies and he and she both trip and fall onto their backs. she laughs and he helps her up.


at a coffee shop around the corner, she sings, and he swears that it's so dark tonight because the moon is sitting inside, in front of him, with hot milk and honey.

she reads the poetry of pablo neruda. he reads the cliff notes to catcher in the rye. he doesn't know what to say. he contemplates the moon, the ocean, the stars, the stones, the shells, the skies... he stutters.

but she just takes his hand and whispers:

"i know you know this song."

dope song: bob marley's three little birds

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

"cds cds cds"

i have too many cds. it's cluttered with cds and mismatched music. i just ordered 3 jazzy hip hop cds (cherrywine's bright black, digable planets' live from seattle, dj cam's soulshine) but i'm not a total hip hop head. i don't side with either whole mainstream nor underground, music is music. i love what i love. and sometimes my love gets me stuck with a lot of cds. this is a list of all the cds i've received/bought this brave 2003:

badly drawn boy - about a boy soundtrack
bambu - self untitled
beastie boys - paul's boutique
beck - sea change
bullfrog - bullfrog
cat power - free
cibo matto - stereotype a
clarendon hills - all day all night all right
cody chesnutt - headphone masterpiece
cure - staring at the sea
dan the automator - a much better tomorrow
deltron 3030 - deltron 3030
dj shadow - the private press
eels - electro shock blues
flaming lips - yoshimi battles the pink robots
funky precedent - funky precedent
jurassic 5 - power in numbers
goapele - even closer
quannum - quannum spectrum
tommy guerrero - soul food taqueria
in the mood for love - the soundtrack
latyrx - the album
luna - live
n.e.r.d. - in search of...
nick drake - bryter lyter
pinback - blue screen life
poets of rhythm - discern/define
punchdrunk love - the soundtrack
radiohead - hail to the thief
requiem for a dream - the soundtrack
rilo kiley - the execution of all things
rjd2 - the horror
rob swift - sound event
sea and cake - one bedroom
sigur ros - ( )
soul position - unlimited ep
themselves - the no music
tricky - maxinquaye
urban renewal program - urban renewal program
u.n.k.l.e. - psyence fiction
white stripes - elephant
wilco - yankee foxtrot hotel
yeah yeah yeahs - yeah yeah yeahs
yo la tengo - and then nothing turned itself out
yves montard - a paris


music blesses us with such partial presence, we have to hold on as long as we can.

i'm always down to share and speak about music. just holler at me and we'll listen to music together sometime. show me what you love and i'll show you mine.

dope song: james brown's super bad

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

"i laugh"

there must be a thousand years of ghosts living with me in los angeles. i've only lived here for three years but this place is already a place of memory. the air is blue here. i don't know what has happened but neither i nor the home are quite the same. or ever will be the same.

i looked up to the moon tonight but i couldn't find it, so i turned to the stars instead and asked them:

"star light, star bright, will things down here ever be just right?"

and the stars don't say a word. a vague glimmer in the distance, but no word. i don't know what to do. i look to the earth and smile a sad one.

"i wish i may, i wish i might, help you out this one strange night."

i turn to walk away but all at once, the wind and the sky swoop down and the ground bursts and lifts me up so high until i pinched between universe and earth. i've never had a better view so i laugh. i tried to change the world but the world got to me first.

dope song: the bad plus's smells like teen spirit

Sunday, May 25, 2003

"a nothing day"

to the forgotten friend i know as poetry, i left you behind but thank you following me. it's been too long since i scribed but i'm trying to get back into the groove. it'll pop soon. in the mean time i'd like to share a poem that julia was nice enough to drop in my e-mail box today.


You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

dope song: a tribe called quest's check the rhyme

Friday, May 23, 2003


displacement is the word of the day. mismatched clothing clusters, old unread books, and asking people for rides. everyone's moving, everyone's leaving, and everyone's looking for a home or at least a warm place to crash for the night. i hope the homeseekers find what they're looking for. absence is the awareness of emptiness, but don't worry, you'll know what you're looking for soon enough. congratulations to the graduates of 2003, it's part two, are you ready. los angeles is sunny and i'm inside with the window closed and the shutter drawn down. it's time to move, it's time to move.

dope song: jurassic five (and nelly furtado)'s thin line

Sunday, May 18, 2003

"educated hips"

my life is being held hostage by finals but yesterday i slipped out of its evil grip for a wee bit and went out for some music and poetry.

i performed at an asian american festival in downtown berkeley with some other good theatre ricers in the afternoon. we did this and that. it was a rushed and under-prepared show but i wasn't too happy with it but hey, it was fun and we got some free food afterwards too. i have to remember to cherish every time i see a friend because time is running out and soon we'll all be separated for awhile. this year is not going to be like other years when some of my friends and i gather up for a "grand finale" hangout time... my freshman year "grand finale" was the best... we all walked up to the big c at dawn and refused to sleep in fear of not seeing each other for a moment... haha such good children we were. oh wait, i forgot, bricky's throwing a party next week. that's like the "grand finale." but alas, i won't be here.

i then hung out with sara for awhile. we listened to some malevolent and volatile portishead-like music at home, went to two bookstores and a library, and bummed around berkeley for a bit. coconut milk and sagos are dandy.

i then proceeded to the magical maganda reception. dayamn was that a swell event! such awesome performers! this poet by the name of jason bayani was absolutely awesome... beautiful, introspective, self-mocking, and humble, with god complexity and foolishness... man.... what a poet. he's in a collective called proletariat bronze with some other cool cats. check em out when you can. tallulah was very lovely and i wish she performed more. the clarendon hills and the skyflakes were frigging tight as always... the c-hills' pepito gets crazy with his gyration on stage, it's so fun. and the skyflakes, man, man, man, i'm just hooked. a nice fun event. i left feeling... inspired.

too bad i have to let loose my inspiration onto my books.

dope song: the clarendon hills' educated hips "a song for when you can't take your final... because you're staring at your TA."

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


it's a frigging exciting time to be young!

can you feel the creativity all around us, all above us, all beside us, all beyond and all behind us? everyone everyone everyone is believing in the arts now. poetry's a blazing. young art's all daring. this digital filmmaking revolution is opening all sorts of doors for a potential cinematic renaissance. the politics of the world may be in all the wrong places but art has the chance to turn it all around. art. the reinvention, the exploration, the breathtaking... and not just your typical paint and pastel or pen and pad art. i mean all sorts of art, art forms that we haven't even envisioned or considered yet. our energy can dive into anything, like methods of activism, philanthropy, organizing, and lobbying, and freshen it up in brilliant ways. we're gonna explode, just watch. creative heads everywhere are going turn to the sky and come up with all sorts of ways to fly.

and can you believe that i'm saying this? the disgruntled artist of yesteryear is now optimistic and passionate?

if you've lost your inspiration you'll find it again.

i've been checking my e-mail with eager anticipation lately in dire hopes of discovering:
- internship information at youth speaks
- a yes/no to the student teacher poet position at P4P
- a nice hello from dj shadow

fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

i got a few cds today too. an rjd2 one. a tommy guerrero one. and dj shadow's unkle.

if you haven't gone cd shopping in awhile, go! support your favorite musicians! i just realized how badly the musical piracy must be really hurting some musicians out there. and not the greedy ones. the ones who are trying to make enough money to support the next cd.

oh, and if you see or notice something beautiful, take note of it somehow. a real sad feeling is the impossibility of remembering a forgotten beautiful.

dope song: unkle's rabbit in your headlights if you don't know what unkle is, it's a collab project where dj shadow teams up with other musicians like radiohead and badly drawn boy. lonely soul is a good one. rabbit in your headlights is dj shadow and thom yorke's crybaby love child.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

"regret the reunion"

so sara, andinh, and i regrouped today and shot some final scenes for our short film "regret." let's just say i felt pretty damn gross after shooting my scene. but hey, it's all for the sake of art.

sara and i then checked out the student art exhibition at the wurster lobby...

...and wow!

man some crazy beautiful art! seriously rocking shit! christine and jean had some colorful, gorgeous, and creative works up too! damn all you frigging talented architects-to-be... yall make me wanna get off my ass and churn out something artistic at every waking spare moment! i hope this summer's unstoppable architecture studio will be just as inspiring. i especially liked jean's alice in wonderland pop-up book... and her lil breakdancing mice.

and i also did a lot of reading today... so, all in all, a good day.

and yet, now... as i filter through my memories, i can't help but think back to all the friends i've found in college... and those few friends i've somehow lost along my way.

dope song: iggy pop's passenger ... and i ride and i ride.

Monday, May 12, 2003

"juraaaaaaaaaassic 5, 5, 5, 5"

the jurassic 6 and living legends concert was sublime, just wowee wow wow sublime! djs nu-mark and cut chemist stole the whole damn show and rocked the hell out of their turntables, drumsets, and crazy lil machines! aaaaaaaaaaah... so frigging amazing! and the freestyle session at the end was so fun. i just had my hands and head bobbing for 2 hours straight... whatta fun concert. i love hip hop. when thousands of people throw their all hands up in their air in unison and bump em up and down all at the same time... whoaaaaaaa... what a sight... it's some serious magic, maaaaaan.

but all fun things must come to an end. yesterday was, and today will be dedicated to my books. yes, yes, the nerd in me is back. it's been a long time. i welcome you with arms wide open.

well school's almost over and i just can't wait to get outta here. this semester has been a serious creative success but a serious academic underachievement. i wrote a lot of poems, i wrote a lot of skits, i painted some, i drew some, i designed some nifty posters... "regret" was filmmed, soon will be finalized, and sent forth to film festivals... my poetry and illustration book is coming to life day by day... uranii, our crazy cats (kenny, marques, jimmy, and i) design team, just keeps on pumping out beautiful work... everything is all so inspiring and gorgeous... but my grades have been ehhh... my homeworks are neglected... and some of my gsis are just too frigging nice... i feel so ashamed about my lackluster performance in the classroom. but what can i do when my heart is in other places, you know?

dope song:blk sonshine feat masauko chipembere's building seriously... let's build our dreams here and now

Saturday, May 10, 2003

"vomit room"

ok it's 5 thirty something in the morning and i just finished cleaning up my damn room. this drunken jackass crashed on my bed during the theatre rice kick back and i let him rest there and i leave the room for a wee bit and when i come back, he's gone, and there's vomit all over my architecture model, my lomograph camera, some of my photos, and my neato painting hat. dammit! and i also find my ed11b final architecture model smashed up too (he must have collapsed it by accident on his way to throw up all over my stuff.) jeez... freaking a... and now he's sleeping on my floor after jerry nursed him back to semi-health. maaaaaaan... i'm pissed. but i'm also trying to be understanding... i'm trying real hard to be understanding... [6:36 am addition to the story: dude wakes up, pukes on the floor again... alex and i are about to go to sleep but we gotta now stay up longer and clean it up some more...]

but a lot of my friends have been saying sorry to me, as if it's their fault. but it's not. seriously. it's cool. yall don't have to apologize for anything. the theatre rice get together at my apartment was very chill and very nice. and the theatre rice banquet was quite tantalizing too. man, i'mma miss yall ricers...

dope song: jack johnson's the news

Friday, May 09, 2003

"random wake up thoughts"

maybe i have forgotten how to live
maybe i have forgotten how to poetry

when can i wake up
with a sweet stanza under the sigh?

why can't i canticle
through the canon through my tongue?

self-doubt is the secret i never share
but i must always
band-aid my bruises
with these brave ballads

these songs of strength
of encouragement
of irridescent engagements to live

these bob marleys, these michael frantis,
these talib kwelis, these thien-bao phis
these marvin gayes, these issac hayes
these digable planets, these binary stars
these miho hatoris, these mc solaars
these nat king coles, these de la souls
these kids who roam
on trumpets and horns
on pens, on pads, or on microphones
never ever ever forget these songs

and live all you got
give all you got
and don't let go
of your own

of what you love
of what you live for
of what you write poetry for

don't let go

and never believe such sad lines as

"maybe i have forgotten how to live
maybe i have forgotten how to poetry"

we should all know better

dope song: mystic's breathe all poets should rap one day

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

"visual pooetry"


the "he" is eric byler, director of charlotte sometimes. andinh! evelyn! sara! we're in the big leagues now! eric is pretty inspiring. all you need is 20 grand and you can make a feature length film. mmm.... will we soon see an asian american cinematic uprising?

and i kicked it with theresa today for a wee bit at her apartment after the screening. she's mighty nice and let me play with her turntables and let me listen to some good music. i also spent some good (.. yet short) quality time with kathy bach tonight. she's good. i'm surrounded by good people. i'm very lucky.

dope song: cowboy bebop's london in the rain oh oh, am i head bobbing to this song right now... i'm just in awe of cowboy bebop's amazing soundtrack. shit, just so damn beautiful. cowboy bebop is an epic and fun cartoon. if you haven't seen it... get on it now! if you're in the la area, just come over to my place. we'll watch the whole season. all the episodes. back to back to back to back.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"fame? nah."

so i was purchasing some dim sum today with sara and i get recognized by the dim sum server people as the actor from "regret" (the wee short film we made a wee bit ago.) these are the random stranger shout outs i tend to get holla'd at me:

- "yo... WAKE... UP... YOUNG... FIGHTER!" (from a theatre rice skit i was in last semester)
- "yo... DIARRHEA guy!" (from the play i was in this semester)
- "yo... you're Mike Nguyen, right?" (Mike Nguyen is the other Vietnamese guy with goofy hair in Theatre Rice)

and yes, it's nice. i get sorta cocky and light-headed when people remember me from open mics or theatre rice stuff. but all this makes me... what would it be like to be famous? and would fame be something that i want?

... oh man, hell no. that's all bullshit ego stuff. i never needed compliments nor the spotlight to be passionate and i never will. no, i don't want to be rich. no, i don't want to be famous. i just want to do what i love for a living... in new and daring ways... and always with a slight sense of humor. and if i'm blessed enough, i'll be able to touch, help, question, challenge and inspire people. to love for a living, won't that be enough?

dope song: belle and sebastian's beautiful

Monday, May 05, 2003

"stay away from me"

... wowee wow wow. i'm destined for the malebolge. yay!

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Eigth Level of Hell - the Malebolge!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

dope song: cody chesnutt's upstarts in a blowout

"strawberry jam"

strawberry jam and honey make good company with brioches and croissants.

and also, in case you didn't know, i am the ultimate slacker. silly me. i go karaoke and i go thai food instead of go study. and now i go blog instead of go study.

saturday was hip hop in the park. crown city rockers were very excellent, just as i imagined them to be. they got the spirit, for sure. medusa's voice was just beautiful and catchy. but lyrics born just rocked it like mad. he was just creative crazy. ahhhhhh... i love it, this hip hop.

the other evening i went to sun hong kong by myself but i ran into ol'chris chen there. quite good to see him. we talked about potential creative projects for a wee bit. it's an exciting time to be young. there's just so much potential out there to just make shit happen. get on it people! make your magic happen!

to pursue filmmaking and architecture are two pastimes that are slowly becoming dreams. and my poetry is the sole thread that bridges the chaism between my camera lens and my drafting table. i don't know what i want to do with my life but when i find it i'm never letting go.

dope song: crown city rockers (formerly mission)'s rockin' it

Saturday, May 03, 2003

"can i just say..."

... it's been the craziest damn week. i've been holding back from posting on the blog because i felt i couldn't honestly capture how i felt with words... but honestly, that's a failure on my part. i can always capture on how i feel with words. that's poetry. it's unstoppable. a big middle finger to the columnist who wrote poetry is dead in newsweek a wee bit ago. it lives and breathes. this young vietnamese chinese poet is only one in a huge movement that's set to blow out.

but back to my week. so damn crazy. the weekend previous looks like an insane blur but the week begins with an exhalation on aim. a slight swiveling confession with someone. and then with someone else. i get pushed and pulled and slowly, finally, i end up at cafe milano, on a tuesday night, on sa-i-gu. i walk her home and we're delirious. we share strange laughs. the days pass. i have heart to hearts with the people who listen. i have one today, over jazz music, in my room and we hug and we hug and we ever so gently let go. i then find myself on the streets of berkeley, pushing a car, sipping on drinks, and finding a place to hide from the rain. we go to one where it's cozy on the couch. i return home. in the elevator i feel like crying and i'm not sure why. i'm sorry and i'm thankful and i'm broken and i'm healed and i'm touched and i'm lost and i'm found and i'm unbelievably lucky.

and june jordan says

"let me not forget about
let me not forget about
anything like
anything like
an eyelash
lost above your lips"

and i say

i haven't forgotten a thing. i will write poetry soon. i'm inspired yes. but now... now it's time for me to get some rest.

dope song: elliott smith's waltz #2 ol' elliott was a dear friend one summer a long time ago. one of those summers where you play the same CDs on repeat over and over again and you just can't let go of that certain feeling you find and find again in your songs and your music.