Demonstra preview 2012

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A 9-page preview of poems that will be appearing in my 2013 book, DEMONSTRA.

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Demonstra preview 2012

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  2. 2. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.Idle FearsIn the shade of a Cali Wat Lao I debate with Ajahn AnanWhat the secret Rakshasa Sutra must really look like.In Lao we call them Nyak or Yuk or Yak. It depends.When they’re hungry, what do names matter?I ask: “Does a zombie have Buddha nature?”He informs me the mindless craving for brainsComplicates things.He suspects Frankenstein’s Monster is closer to nibbanaBut don’t quote him on that.An American werewolf in Luang PrabangWould stand no chance against a real Lao weretiger.Both should still try to observe the five precepts as best they can.If he was going to make a special wat for robotsHe might name it Wat Lao RobobuddharamBut they would surely have to learnTo get beyond artificial binary worldviews.“You aren’t going to turn this into a poem, are you?”He asks.“That’s nothing to be afraid of,” I assure him.“Usually.” 1
  3. 3. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.LaonomiconThat is NOT its real name. Merely a placeholder.Rare, unearthed manuscript of revelationsAbout borders, of untold truths,Voices emerge nebulous, obviously mystifying,Each note contests, haunts, a nudge towards eternal darkness.Not always known, tales of faceless elders, ancients rise.Given “enough” now, I envy silence.Entries malicious, esoteric, reveal glimmers elusive.Mentioned occasionally: Trustworthy humans, entities rarely seen,Accursed with a knowingly evasive nature,Proscribed like the Al Azif of Abd Al’Azred, or the Ktulu Jataka,Abhorred as the dreaded Tao Te Yaomo Lao-Tzu denied existed.Riddles encompass voices exalting alien languages,Elusive verse encrypted rebuffs you.Now, academic minds enter libraries enchanted, seeking secrets,The respectable unusual, transforming hearts. 2
  4. 4. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.IsopodClinging to marine robots,You pass as the dogs of elder things,Vast, old and slumberingAmong immortal jellyfish,Sea monkeys, doomed kings,The occasional errant aviatrix.Wave, cold mysteries.I stare into those eyesSeeking mirrors, hints,Beauty.My friend thinks “Sushi.” 3
  5. 5. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.Gop Nyai“Gop kin deaune” or“The frog is consuming the moon”According to ancient Lao tradition.Beyond our borders, it’s only a predictable eclipse.Carl Sagan would hate our demon-haunted world.Sagan has no use for the Lao Sung shaman near PhonsavanWho panics when ominous portents herald Gop Nyai’s returnBecause certain baleful stars are right and dreams are strange.If our legends are true,Somewhere, between Champassak and Luang Prabang,Hidden deep in a primordial cavern near the MekongHe slumbers,An ancient entity ever dreaming hungrily,An anuran astrovore, devouring luminous celestial bodies.Perhaps he thinks to gain precious immortality.To free himself from bonds of earth and mere realityTo storm Mount Meru and feast upon a multiverse.Each time might be the last time, if not for humanityDoing everything to dissuade fearsome frog ambition.Towering above our lush jungles and hard mountains,He’s selfish with his lunar appetites, an inconsiderate titan.His true spawn are terrible to behold, hungry for manIn indifferent corners best left unknown.He’s cowardly, despite his corpulence, but over centuriesNot a single concrete solution has put a final end to him.So, men, women and children keep watching the skies,Laughing nervously, trying not to take anything for granted.Living loud and proud to protect the cosmos, just in case. 4
  6. 6. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.Wendigo BluesScientists declared recentlyNothing suggests the wendigo psychosis exists.Like a ravenous frog in Austin splashing for BashoBeneath an autumn moon, reason swallowsMore melancholy windwalkers every day.Cannibals must bear their burden,Accountable to who they catchAnd who they’re caught by.At least for now you can still fear Koro, AKA rok-joo,But confirmed cases are slowly shrinking. 5
  7. 7. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.Ramakien BluesSome take joy in watching the Ramakien,There’s a reassurance in the villainyOf the gentleman Thotsakan,A constant in a world of chaos and khao nhio,Devas and destruction.We watch his mask of many faces, counting only nine.Asked an observant child: “Where is his fabled tenth?”The true answer leaves her wondering for a lifetime.A diplomat watches beauty abducted, armies raisedTo retrieve her from the distant isle of Lanka,Bored at the deaths of monkeys, monsters and menIn a foreign fairy tale he can never believe.Only modernity and policy concerns him,Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.Upon the stage, a dancer gets one step closer to the starsBordering Himaphan or Aldeberan,Worlds of masks and paste,Immortals and their constellationsChurning the Milky Way into butterFor reincarnated souls and rice cakes.Somewhere, an ancient god asks a child a riddle,Trying to start everything all over again. 6
  8. 8. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.About the AuthorBryan Thao Worra was born in 1973 in Laos during the Laotiancivil war. He came to the US at six months old, adopted by acivilian pilot flying in Laos. Today, Bryan Thao Worra has aunique impact on contemporary art and literature within theLao, Hmong, Asian American and the transcultural adopteecommunities, particularly in the Midwest.An award-winning poet, short story writer, playwright andessayist, his prolific work appears internationally in numerous anthologies, magazines andnewspapers, including Innsmouth Free Press, Bamboo Among the Oaks, Kartika Review, Tales of theUnanticipated, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Whistling Shade,Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Asian American Press. In 2012, he was a CulturalOlympian during the Summer Olympics in London representing Laos.He is the author of the books BARROW, On the Other Side of the Eye, Tanon Sai Jai andWinter Ink. In 2009 he became the first Laotian American to receive an NEA Fellowship InLiterature. Thao Worra curated numerous readings and exhibits of Lao and Hmong Americanart including Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities (2010), Emerging Voices (2002),The 5 Senses Show (2002), Lao’d and Clear (2003), Giant Lizard Theater (2005),Re:Generations (2005), and The Un-Named Series (2007).Thao Worra is working on his next books and several personal projects to reconnect expatriateLao artists and writers with their contemporary counterparts in Laos following over 35 years ofisolation. You can visit him online at: http://thaoworra.blogspot.com 7
  9. 9. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.About the ArtistVongduane Manivong was born in Vientiane, the capital cityof Laos, and spent part of her childhood there. In the late‘80s she came to America with her parents when they fled thetroubled country, finally settling in Dallas, Texas.The Laotian diaspora in the wake of the Vietnam War is asubtle yet poignant subtext running through much of herwork. The war, which engulfed the entirety of what had once been known as Indochina,signified a torturous moment in history when tradition and modernity collided head-on. The human dimension of this history—the ordinary people immediately shaped byit and their descendants—is presented by Vongduane with great skill, dedication, and,above all, empathy.Her depictions of the daily lives of her people around the world form a body of workessential to understanding contemporary Laotian culture. Her work encompasses avariety of artistic influences, from classical to pop, but it is the emotional core of thework that resonates most powerfully. “A show of my work is like opening my diary forpeople to see,” she says.Vongduane’s art has been exhibited in galleries across country, as well as at manynational events, including the Symposium of Lao History at the University ofCalifornia-Berkley, the National Youth Leadership Council’s Urban Institute, and theCultural Heritage Exhibition at the Laotian Community Center of Rhode Island.Participating in these exhibitions has allowed her to bring wider attention to thediversity of the Laotian experience around the world.Her art is also part of numerous private collections and she is commissioned regularlyfor portraits. You can visit her online at http://www.vmpaintings.com 8
  10. 10. Official e-preview. Not for resale. All rights reserved.Innsmouth Free Press is a micropress of dark fiction and horror.They release several high-quality anthologies and novels during the year, available inprint and as e-books. They publish original short fiction inspired by 20th century authorH.P. Lovecraft’s writing and other writers of the Weird tradition, especially fiction thatexplores interesting, novel settings and characters juxtaposed with Lovecraft’s originalfiction. Their triannual short fiction is released in February, June and October. NickMamatas, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ekaterina Sedia, Paul Jessup and many others havepublished work with Innsmouth Free Press. You can visit them online athttp://www.innsmouthfreepress.comDEMONSTRA will be released in 2013. A special Kickstarter edition will be releasedwith an exclusive cover and will be 6” x 9” compared to the standard 5” x 8” edition, inaddition to other special perks and rewards for supporters.The Kickstarter edition will NOT be available for order after January, 2013. 9

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