Boxing Gloves

I’m finally done writing the last few poems for Close Proximity. Now it’s time to edit the hell out of it before submitting the manuscript to the competition. This particular book competition is the most prestigious first-book award for young American poets, so it means I’m fucked. I most likely won’t win or even be a finalist. In fact, I don’t think they even have a list of finalists.

I’m just doing this for symbolic purposes. Submitting to the competition will mark my re-entry into “serious” poetry. After vowing to retire from writing a millionth time late last year, I decided that there’s no need to give up my creative works just to pursue academia and law. I figured I could just do it all. Why not, right? My obituary will read like a joke:

“Born in 1987, in Manila, Philippines, Michael Raqim Mira was a…well, he was a lot of things.”

I guess it’s better to be an everybody than a nobody.

Since we’re on the topic of getting back into creative works, I’m going to list some of the major projects I have lined up for 2017 (granted I don’t die by February).

1. Dissertation, a bi-annual journal completely written, edited and designed by me. If that sounds egotistical, that’s because it is. I don’t like collaborators fucking up my vision, so this will be a lonely endeavor.

Each issue–like an academic dissertation/thesis–will focus on one subject. The inaugural issue is the investigative project I’ve been yapping about for the past few months. The title of the issue is “Sampaguita,” which is the jasmine flower and the national flower of the Philippines. It’s the same flower that I will send to the (figurative) funerals of corrupt politicians after I’m done pissing on their racket.

2. Strain 121, a political communique.

3. PKM Zeta, a video art installation about memory.

4. La Ciudad Respirando, a photography book of night shots taken in Mexico City. It’s not the most original idea ever, but I want to explore the alienation in a sprawling metropolis like MXC. Think of it like Edward Hopper’s painting “Nighthawks” but set in 21st century Mexico City. If you’re a Talib Kweli/Mos Def fan, I expect you to know what song the title is referring to.

5. Parking Lot Therapy, an off-off-Broadway, low-budget “guerrilla” play set in an actual parking lot. This blog post is the only announcement and marketing it will ever receive.

6. 20 Moments Before the Murder, an audio play or limited-run podcast. I think the two are the same. I’m confused with these terminologies. Forgive me, I’m quite new in the world of audio/podcast publishing. Aren’t podcasts nonfiction, radio-type formats though? Well, no, Welcome to Night Vale is fictional. I love how I’m having a conversation with myself right now. I love my mania phases.

So, from the title, you already know the protagonist is going to die. The entire series is composed of the moments leading up to his murder. It’s based on the assassination of journalists in Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines and elsewhere in the world.

The protagonist is a radio journalist so there will be some cool overlaps within the podcast. I’m actually going to record a lot of it during my stay in the Philippines because I love the sounds and noises there. It’ll add so many layers to the audio since there will be no music except those played on a radio and no cheesy voice-over by a budget-version Morgan Freeman.

Okay, I’ll stop there. I’m putting too much on my plate. Now that it’s published as a public record on this blog, I can’t back out of any of these projects.

I got my boxing gloves on and I’m ready to get in the ring once again. Let’s do this.