Hey, remember our video? The one about how Jews look? The theme song was composed by my very good friend, the astute and fearless C.J. Pizarro — and, by the way, you can download the mp3 for free or download the whole album, Snow Crabs, if you like.
C.J. is (gasp!) not Jewish. He is, unrelatedly, Filipino — and together, he and I are in a science-fiction hip-hop band, Chibi Vision, which we used to refer to as an Orthodox Jewish-Filipino cross-cultural multi-platform geek project — or, to save breath, the “Jew-o-pino team-o.”
Anyway: the other day, I received an email from him, sounding as astounded as it is possible for an email to sound. “I found our love child!” he wrote.
The love child in question: Eliyahu Enriquez, a Jewish Filipino poet, publisher, cultural theorist and active Twitterer. After receiving Honorable Mention in Lincoln Center’s Robert Nettleton/Ully Hirsh Poetry Prize, he’s released several poetry chapbooks, and is currently working on a collection of piyyutim. I’ve been blasting madly through his stuff, and you should, too. Equal parts irreverent and reverent, his poems are random and play off a big-muscled veneer of stream-of-consciousness, but actually connect and make sense in ways that are both cerebral and factual.
A lifetime of lesion has brought us
Back together in Balikbayan coffins.
His memory is erection.
Navigate our leather
Phylacteries and arteries.
Toda Rabba for traveling
Cosmos de Vie.
That was R.S.V.P. He’s grinning in one corner of his mouth and keeping the other corner totally solemn. In “Akhdut,” though, he’s formal, sentimental, although, curiously, playing it just as cool:
I attended two funerals today
I did not bother to bring an umbrella
A few others did