“Why and by whose power were you sent?
What do you see that you may wish to steal?
Why all this dancing? Why do your dark bodies
Drink up the light? What are you demanding
That we feel? Have you stolen something? Then
What is that leaping in your chest? What is
The nature of your mission? Do you seek
To offer a confession? Have you anything to do
With others brought by us to harm? Then
Why are you afraid? And why do you invade
Our night, hands raised, eyes wide, and mute
As ghosts? Is there something you wish to confess?
Is this some enigmatic type of test? What if we
Fail? How and to whom do we address our appeal?”
— Tracy K. Smith, “The United States Welcomes You”
* * *
There’s a long weekend coming up — which means more time under the sun (or fog if you’re in San Francisco!) with your current boo(k). Here are 101 books to dive into this summer from TED which features some reads from dope-ass women like Octavia Butler, Yaa Gyasi and Adrienne Maree Brown. Get out and read!
* * *
If you’re planning on traveling this summer, worry not. TSA just ended its pilot program of asking passengers to remove books from their carry-on during the screening process. What is this, 1984? Is the Trump administration looking for more ways to implicate those who are against his policies (and him, really, even as a person)? Happy reading, good riddance.
* * *
My heart is very much rooted in the Philippines, even though my feet are currently planted on U.S. soil.
Fourth of July marks the country’s independence day from Great Britain, and it also marks a holiday in the country — the signing of the Treaty of Manila, which granted the Philippines independence from the U.S. in 1946.
I finished Lualhati Bautista’s Desaparesidos (book review out on Tuesday) a few days ago and there is a chapter in the book detailing how the U.S. explicitly directed, manipulated and controlled the administrations of the former dictator Marcos as well as (Cory) Aquino’s.
You won’t find me waving the red, white and blue this weekend. Nor in the coming days, months, years, decades. That’ll only happen when this country, known for its democracy and independence, will learn to respect other countries’ struggle for the very same things.
Pia Cortez is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She runs a book blog called Libromance where she reviews books and publishes literary features with a queer Filipino immigrant lens. She is a contributor at Hella Pinay, an online magazine for Filipino-American women and at New Life Quarterly, a literary magazine based in Oakland, California. She is currently working on her first novel.