February 2011

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love. – Ernesto Che Guevara (1928-1967)

You are telling me the story that you have written..the story about my life! – Paciencia Muyargas (1920-2011)

Dear readers,

Happy Lunar Year – I hope this year of the Rabbit brings you positive changes and creativity.  Also, let us honor Black History Month…

This month’s post will cover announcements about what’s new and coming up, including some events this month in Santa Cruz and SF and the re-release of the soundtrack of Pagbabalik; info on booking; and below that,  for those who missed last month’s post, a reportback from the fall season of A History of the Body and how to support the project now.  (Check out these VIMEO clips if you missed the work-in-progress! http://vimeo.com/18637512 and http://vimeo.com/15796981)

At the bottom of this email, I have included one of the poems from my chapbook (the space between), “Poem for Lola,” in honor of my Lola Paciencia Muyargas (1920-2011), who became an ancestor just days ago – she has been one of my biggest inspirations.  To all our Grandmothers!

Thanks for reading – and see you soon.

In poetry,



Publication of one of my poems in Lantern Review Issue 2, “My Mother’s Watch.” Contributions to this issue include poetry by W. Todd Kaneko, Kenji C. Liu, Kathleen Hellen, Aryanil Mukherjee, Lek Borja, Wendi Lee,Aimee Suzara, Michelle Peñaloza, Rajiv Mohabir, JoAnn Balingit, Kimberly Alidio, and Marc Vincenz, as well as a range of beautiful photographic work.  Visit http://www.lanternreview.com/ to read and see!


Fri, Feb 11, 7:30pm: Walang Hiya (Without Shame) bookreading. AT UC Santa Cruz, Cervantes Velasquez room, above the Baytree Bookstore. Featuring authors David Dmadness Maduli, Aimee Suzara,Elsa Valmidiano, and RoseliIlanoWalang Hiya: literature taking risks toward liberatory practice is an anthology of stories and poems by Filipino-American writers, edited by Roseli Ilano and Lolan Sevilla.

Sat, Feb 19, 1-3pm: Fresh from the Oven: Love in the time of war and revolution, a co-production between the Luggage Store Gallery and Deep Waters Dance Theater.

Hosted by Aimee Suzara and Ramona Webb. Stories/poetry from culinary artist Aileen Suzara (KitchenKwento), members of SF Slam Team, Kenji Liu, Vickie Vertiz, Lisa Marie Rollins and your hosts.  DJ and other details TBA. At the Luggage Store Gallery, Tenderloin National Forest: 509 Ellis @Leavenworth, San Francisco

NOW AVAILABLE: SOUNDTRACK CD from Pagbabalik/Return, produced in 2006-2007 at La Pena Cultural Center, has been reprinted, with new liner notes from the composer Ron Quesada!  Inside the CD, you’ll find a summary of the play, explanation of the instruments used, and list of tracks/scenes.  To purchase one today, at a special price of $10, email meat aimee@aimeesuzara.net!

Details: Pagbabalik is a multidisciplinary theatre work written by Aimee Suzara, fusing spoken word and theatre, Filipino and modern dance, and indigenous Filipino and contemporary music for an unforgettable journey through history, language and memory. Featuring Rose Almario, Aimee Espiritu, Jose Saenz, Aimee Suzara, and music by Ron Quesada, Jen Soriano, and Juan Calaf


I am now booking poetry readings/performances, speaking engagements and workshops, in Spring through Winter 2011!  Invite me to your college, high school, or literary or community event. Featured venues I’ve visited include Portland State University, Stanford, Mt. Holyoke College, and UC Santa Cruz.  Send an email to booking@aimeesuzara.net or go to www.aimeesuzara.net to download my presskit and booking request form.


March 12, 2-5pm: Transformative Visions, A multi-media community arts event from the OneLife Institute lifting up a vision of peace, justice, and possibility for our world.  I’ll be sharing during thepoetry/music section. StudioOne, 365 – 45th St., Oakland, CA 94609

March 19, 7pm: Salon! You’re On! I’ll be sharing some work,along with other artists. Hosted by Eth-Noh-Tec. At 977 South Van Ness Ave, SF.

April 14-24: Amara Tabor-Smith/Deep Waters Dance Theater at CounterPULSE with Our Daily Bread, two weekends Thursday-Sunday.  http://www.counterpulse.org


A HISTORY OF THE BODY reportback and how to get involved!


Thanks to those of you who came to the shows and talkbacks on November 20-21 at the Bayanihan Community Center!  The seats were filled, and audience responses were lively, emotional and provocative.  See some responses below! I’ve collected the feedback, collected the videos, and all of this will aid us as we develop the piece this year. I’ve  had fruitful meetings with potential new collaborators on the piece; in the Philippines, I conducted several interviews and got more images around skin color/whitening.

Fundraising: many thanks again to the DONORS from the fall (your names can be viewed at my website, www.aimeesuzara.net, under “current projects”); if you were a Kickstarter donor and requested rewards,those will go out this month! You can still, and we encourage you, to donate today to help us grow the show: go to www.aimeesuzara.net for the paypal link, or send a check addressed to Aimee Suzara or, for tax-deductible donation, address the check to CounterPULSE,and send to P.O.Box 10732, Oakland, CA 94610.

If you missed the Nov shows, a DVDwill be available soon. See the links on Vimeo under A History of the Body . Keep an eye out this year for fundraising events,workshops and work-in-progress showings beginning in the late spring.IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER (research, fundraising, hosting a party, admin, production)as a contribution, drop me an email at aimee@aimeesuzara.net, as there are many opportunities!



“A History of the body provides a viewer with a lesson in how our past resides in our bodies…you become the show.Brilliant!” – audience member


“[It]was an important, informative, beautiful,visceral journey into how colonization affects female bodies. It is Filipinahistory, it is American history, and resonates deeply with all colonized people of color.” – Richard Wright


“Set in part at the beauty salon, the History of the Body ensemble points to the source of the messages that empower that gaze and withholding. The production’s dance movement allow us to re-visit the norms of whiteness rooted in justifying colonial occupation and beauty that still haunt the most enlightened of us.” – Grace Alvaro Caligtan




Poem for Lola


Give me your vision, Lola

those glowing forms you conjure

through your glass eye –

not the real one sheathed over

like a veiled fortune-ball.

As we sit together, laughing at nothing at all,

I hold

your fingers, so small



into the sea shell of my hand.


Teacher,mother of ten

wife of the noble Colonel

who continues to live in your dreams,

you have

begun your slow wilt towards grasses

I have never laid my head upon.


is uncanny, a respite

from the memories that will not come

the thoughts                    that will not                            complete themselves.


They float in the air between us like

the old dust brought up from aged photo-pages,

the electric fan whirring them to our faces.


They float like gossamer tangled

between us.


Give me your memories, Lola

the gathering of trinkets and forget-me-nots.

I will dust and shine their surfaces aching

to be seen and touched by any human hand.


Will you reach back where words hang

unfettered as rain on a single




will you help me weave a history

a t’nalak[1] of our dreams

for those unborn

to  dream upon?


Give me your words, Lola

I will handle them as a jeweler

find facets of the stars

blemishes, disfigurations

or fossilized, the pieces of myself I have always


I will handle them

as a grandchild,

in endless search of her origins

hands open to the stardust that falls

whenever  words


from your mouth.


For Lola with Love

from your apo’,

Aimee Bernadette Muyargas Suzara

Given January 9, 2007

[1] Woven tapestry from the T’Boli tribe in SouthernPhilippines, said to contain messages delivered in dreams

2 Responses to “February 2011”

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