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Episode 51: Ina Cariño

I'm back in effect, and this week, I am featuring, Filipinx poet, Ina Cariño.  We discuss her work and her future plans and how she is holding up during this Coronavirus pandemic.

Note: I will be discussing how other writers/poets/artists and creatives are dealing with creating during these times.

Bio: Born in the Philippines, Ina Cariño is a queer Filipinx-American writer. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, and is a 2019 Kundiman Fellow. Her work appears in Waxwing, New England Review, The Oxford Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly, and VIDA Review, among other journals. In 2019, Ina founded a reading series in the Triangle area of NC called Indigena, which centers marginalized voices, including but not limited to those of BIPOC, QTPOC, and people with disabilities. Through her writing, Ina explores the navigation of being American as a brown body, and the deeply impactful effects of living in the diaspora. She hopes to find paths to not just justice, but also to healing of self and community.

It Feels Good to Cook Rice

by Ina Cariño
it feels good to cook rice
it feels heavy to cook rice
it feels familiar
       & heavy                      to cook rice
                          when I cook rice
                  it is because hunger is not just
                             an emptiness
but a longing                                          for multo:
                                   the dead who no longer linger
                  two fingers in water
                  I know just when to stop:
                  right under the second knuckle
in the morning          chew it
                                                        with salted egg
in the evening          chew it
                                                        with salted onion
at midnight          eat it
                with your peppered hands           licking
relishing                         each cloudmorsel
                                                      sucking greedy   as if
                there will no longer be any such thing
as rice
                is not the idea of pleasure
                                               it is the way
                                                         I once tripped

                                          spilled a basket
                of hulls & stones onto soil —
                homely sprinkle of husks
                as if for a sending off —
                                how right it was: palms
                                brushing the chalk of it
                                swirls rising in streaking sun
                is not the same as burden
                                            rather it is falling rice
                                                  as ghostly footfalls —
                                            trickling mounds
                                                          scattered on wood —
                my dead lolo in compression socks
                my dead lola in red slippers scuffing
                & a slew of yesterday’s titos & titas
                                their voices traveling to me
                                tinny                                ringing
                                 as if from yesterday’s nova
familiar just
                what it sounds like
calcified memories
                                of things that feel good
                                                                & heavy
                                as in made stronger by mountain sun
                only to have them crumble
                                after enough time has passed
                (just like the mountain forgot what it used to be)
it feels good to cook rice
it feels good to eat rice    even by myself
& it feels familiar to know
               with each grain I swallow
I strap myself to my own
IG: @indigena.collective  / Facebook:
Below are links to her other works:

Check out my first episode!


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