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About this poet

Barbara Jane Reyes was born in 1971 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 poetry collections include Invocation to Daughters (City Lights Books, 2017), a finalist for the California Book Award, and Diwata (BOA Editions, 2010). Her first book, Gravities of Center, was published by Arkipelago Books in 2003, and her second book, Poeta en San francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005) 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 is an adjunct professor in the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program at University of San Francisco. She lives in Oakland, California.

[state of emergency]

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
		See how she lists. The body is bent as light, as wind will it.
And so you must tread light. Mind the rocks under foot. You must tread slow.
There has been drought; see where water has long ago troughed, has carved her.
2
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