This week, we welcome poet Paolo Javier, who held the title of Queens’ poet laureate between 2010 and 2014. Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, Westchester County; El-Ma’adi, Cairo; Burnaby and North Delta, Metro Vancouver. He’s produced three albums of sound poetry with Listening Center (David Mason), including the limited edition pamphlet/cassette Ur’lyeh/ Aklopolis and the booklet/cassette Maybe the Sweet Honey Pours. A featured artist in Greater NY 2015 and Queens International 2018: Volumes, he is author of O.B.B. aka The Original Brown Boy, a full-length (weird postcolonial techno dreampop) comics poem forthcoming in 2021 from Nightboat books. You can find more of Javier’s work on his Tumblr page.

On last week’s news of Poets House shuttering, we asked poets to weigh in with … poems on this loss. On Saturday, they plan to read protest poems in solidarity with laid-off workers. Here’s a look at Javier’s work, titled “Cento.”

We are tribeless and all tribes are ours

Reflected in a world that they themselves

Assigned the word rapture to its strangeness and obscurity

 Preliminary Materials for a Theory

The impossibility of making equivalent

Rather than passively suffer its tyranny

Empire, is thus also the moment

One who has preferred to become a commodity

That results from desire and consciousness

                    and to see themselves

Pass off what has always been a SACRIFICE

Society’s final moment

And yet all our thinking is memory

Still from this point we’ll make our world

A poet must also learn how to lead an attack



Nitin is a visual designer, gallery artist, and community arts activist. Past desk-oriented posts include: PBS, Digitas, K12, Inc., Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Sesame Workshop International....

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