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Regie Cabico
Regie Cabico was part of the first wave of Slam Poets to parade its way to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and holds the title of 1993 New York Poetry Slam Champion. He is an editor of Poetry Nation, A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry (a term he invented to describe spoken word/slam/performance text). His work has been published in "Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe" which won the American Book Award in 1993. He is a faculty member at The Writer's Voice, NYC, and has curated at countless poetry venues including St. Mark's Poetry Project and Dixon Place. He has performed throughout the United States with several original solo shows including "Faith Hope and Regie," "Onampatopeia" and "A Quarter Life Crisis" (which received Top 10 Play at the 1999 Seattle Fringe Festival.) Regie's latest show is a collaboration with Spoken Word Artist Aileen Cho, called "Crouching Cabico, Hidden Cho," which will premiere at The Theater Offensive in Boston. He is the recipient of the 1997 New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. See more Regie on Verbs on Asphalt

(Regie has written and performed so much new and interesting poetry through the years, but I've asked him to include two of my old-time favorites on our site - in case you've never read them. - Clare)

Check One

The Government asks me to "check one" if I want money.
I just laugh in their face and say,
"How can you ask me to be one race?"

I stand proudly before you a fierce Filipino
who knows how to belt hard-gospel songs
played to African drums at a Catholic mass-
and loving the music to suffering beats,
and lashes from men's eyes on the capitol streets-

South-East D.C..., with its sleepy crime,
my mother nursed patients from seven to nine,
patients gray from the railroad
riding past civil rights

I walked their tracks when I entertained
them at the chapel and made their canes pillars
of percussion to my heavy gospel-
my comedy out-loud, laughing about, our shared,
stolen experiences of the South.

Would it surprise you if I told you my blood
was delivered from North off Portuguese vessels
who gave me spiritual stones and the turn in my eyes-
my father's name when they conquered the Pacific Isles.

My hair is black and thick as "negrito," growing abundant
as "sampaguita"-flowers defying civilization
like pilipino pygmies that dance in the mountain.

I could give you an epic about my ways of life or my look
and you want me to fill it in "one square box."
From what integer or shape do you count existing identities,
grant loans for the mind, or crayola white census sheets-
There's no "one kind" to fill for anyone.

You tell me who I am, what gets the most money
and I'll sing that song like a one-man caravan.
I know arias from Naples, Tunis, and Accra-
lullabyes from welfare, food-stamps, and nature

and you want me to sing one song?
I have danced jigs with Jim Crow and shuffled my hips
to a sonic guitar of Clapton and Hendrix,
waltzed with dead lovers, skipped to bamboo sticks,
belleted kabuki and mimed cathacali
arrivedercied-a-rhumba and tapped Tin Pan Alley-
and you want me to dance the Bhagavad Gita
on a box to small for a thumbelina-thin diva?

I'll check "other"

© 1993 Regie Cabico

Game Boy

he buys me a glass of bass draft & asks if i am japanese/
his remarks/
you are the perfect combination of boy & man/

are you the hip, hot, hung 9 inches of fun/ seeking the slim
smooth, smiling, authentically thai-tasting, geish-guy,
on-the-side macho dancer/ looking for his lord-&-master?

i am not a korean lady/ running down avenue "a" with a teapot
between my legs/ shoutin'/ where's my tip?/ gimme my trophy!/ you 
wanna play
with me?/

you can/ just quite orientalizin'/ cause i ain't
gonna change my cotton-knit calvins for you or my mother
if i lose

i ain't gonna fry you an emperor's meal or throw you eurasia/
or butterfly you an opera/
i'm thru givin sex tours of unicef countries/ 3rd world is for hunger/
& fat sally struthers

        i've long been the "it" in a "rice queen phenomenon"/
that's burned faster than gin bottles/ thrown at the black
of my skillet/
games so old as jason & hercules/ men fucking my body like fresh-
golden fleeces/ they ride my boyhood on bikes in the woods/
then rape/ n' kill it/ with leashes/ spit words/
in personal ads/
those clever written puzzles

for fun/ they blood-brother baptise my emotions/ then martyr
my sisters in the back room basements

i am beyond being poker-faced/ mysterious/ submissive/ wanted-by-you
or being who's glossy & "g.q."-queen gorgeous

you wanna play freeze-tag?/ i'm frozen already
touch me you'll swear i'm the ice-man's ice monkey
hit me/ & watch where the mah-jongg chips land

play with me then/ if you think/
the sweet that's left to the taste in my tongue is enough & not bitter/
love me for this/ i forfeit the game/ remove my makeup/
& call you the winner

© 1993 Regie Cabico

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