Eileen R. Tabios

BAUANG BEACH
            —circa 1965

She knew she should know
better

I was barely older than a
toddler

I had played with her only
daughter

during those summer days of
Innocence

by a sapphire sea warmed by a gentle
sun

When vacation ended and it was time to
leave

she lowered her gaze from my
face

as she carefully suggested I
give

her daughter one of my
dresses

“An old one no one would
miss”

My eyes that squinted all
summer

opened wide and saw the
World

ravishing with its poverty and
desires

ravishing with its grief, such
grief

Sometimes, one cannot
privilege

the teacher over the lesson or
vice versa—

colonialism introduced Jesus
Christ

But he prayed to God for everyone,
“Forgive

them all—they know not what they
do”


Eileen R. TabiosEileen R. Tabios loves books and has released over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. Publications include her first book in French translation, La Vie érotique de l’art; the long-form novel DoveLion: A Fairy Tale for Our Times; the form-based Selected Poems, The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets (1996-2019), THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2019), INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New (1996-2015), and THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New (1998-2010); the first book-length haybun collection, 147 MILLION ORPHANS (MMXI-MML); a collection of 7-chapter novels, SILK EGG; an experimental autobiography AGAINST MISANTHROPY; as well as one book translated into French and three bilingual and one trilingual editions involving English, Spanish, Thai, and Romanian. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku poetic form as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences (1998), which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry (Manila Critics Circle). Her poems have been translated into 11 languages as well as computer-generated hybrid languages, paintings, video, drawings, visual poetry, mixed media collages, Kali martial arts, music, modern dance, sculpture and a sweat shirt. Additionally, she has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays as well as exhibited visual art and visual poetry in the United States and Asia.

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