News / Gabriel Ojeda-Sague
NO JUDGMENT is a weekly interview series feat. Timeless' lovely writers, so they can begin to assume a shape beyond floating heads in the twittersphere.
This week's personal esoterica comes courtesy of Gabriel Ojeda-Sague.
hindsight early email address or username? What age?
My first email address was dingodile51@earthlink. Dingodile is the name of a villain in the Crash Bandicoot games who is part dingo and, well, part crocodile.
You would be named Patron Saint of ______.
I would be named the Patron Saint of Uncomfortable Laughter.
What is a gift you received that made you feel truly seen?
A giant Tom of Finland coffee-table book.
If you gave this current period in your life a song title and/or band name, what would it be and why?
“Uh oh,” because…uh oh.
Share yr childhood vs. adulthood ~*comfort object of choice*~ (i.e. a special teddy, blankie, vape/joint, etc.).
My comfort objects have always been game controllers and video games. Video games feel like they give me a sense that everything is at default. I’m that kind of guy.
What is your least favorite food?
Salisbury steak. I just had a lot of really, really bad salisbury steak in the Miami-Dade public school system during elementary. I find it revolting, like eating a sponge that has absorbed barbecue sauce.
Do you resonate with yr Zodiac Sign? Say more.
I am the world’s greatest gossip, so yes I am a proud Leo.
Last form of “medicine” you offered yourself (can be emotional, spiritual, metaphysical)?
I got myself a massage recently because I’m in a high-stress moment, and I was worried I’d fart the whole time. I didn’t!
Share 3 of your recent google searches (no judgment xo).
“pepper verb” “Juliette Lewis” and “algorithm etymology.”
Share a reaction image/gif that represents you during yr writing process.
Do u live in Philly? Do u write about sex? Desire? Int*macy? R u subversive? R u emerging? Timeless author Gabriel Ojeda-Sague is judging the first ever bedfellows Emerging Writers Contest.
Deadline: Oct 1st. Get at it.
Check out this conversation between Gabriel Ojeda-Sague and Jai Arun Ravine at Drunken Boat!
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague: We (Jai and I) have talked very quickly before about feeling differently raced or between racial subject positions or between argumentative positions regarding race. I think we talked about “adjacent to” which is a phrase I used to describe my relationship to Latino folk magic, or Santería in this case, and I remember you discussing your mixed identity and using a similar term. And like I talk, and write, and think, a lot about being a “white latino” (a term I personally don’t like), or a white-passing latino (a term I do like!) and how that affects my place in poetry/the world. I’m bringing this up because it seems to be one starting point for connection between our works.
Jai Arun Ravine: Yes, I was really moved by how you were talking about “adjacency.” I grew up with a cultural absence or silence around my mother’s immigration story and cultural identity as Thai. As a teenager I would go to the used book store in my hometown and look at books about Thailand as a way to learn something about myself. This is one example of a prevalent feeling I had then and still carry now — an adjacency to self, to experience, to being. When I was in Thailand for the first time, I felt adjacency instead of belonging because the majority of people perceived me as white and American. My barrier to fluency in Thai language is the adjacency I feel when I’m required to gender myself as male or female. This jostling forces me outside my own body.
In your book Oil and Candle, I really resonate with the way you write about your experiences of adjacency through everyday tasks. Like comparing the price of vials and candles for ritual. Or Googling the word for “dispose.” Or uncertainty: “I can’t / stop and get the symbolism / straight what is white / for again and what does / this candle do.” Or mis-hearing: “this / whole time I thought / we were just saying / the name of a woman / ‘Sandima.’” I’m also thinking about the role of American imperialism in this adjacency — immigration policy, assimilation, citizenship, nationalism, war. In your book
where is my future
in the encyclopedic eye
of the tyrant codes?
if I am reaching for ancestry
it’s just for the
I like this image of “the throbbing envelope.” Even as we try to heal this adjacency of self, those in power are ever-watchful, hungry, and ready to draw our blood, as you so brilliantly write about in your piece “Limpias.” Can we ever be completely cleansed of the racist, imperialist, capitalist eye?
Check out Literary Hub where Gabriel Ojeda-Sague, author of Oil and Candle, weighs in on "Santería, poetry, and not feeling Latino 'enough'."
Some months ago I sat down with my boyfriend at a table where a woman he knew was also sitting. I can’t remember how we got into it, but she was talking about being Latina (Honduran, to be specific)—sort of to herself, sort of to us—and how Latinos were all very different. I wasn’t listening very closely because I was trying to do some writing, but I suddenly hear her say “Honestly, I can’t deal with Cubans. Like, they’re just not…” She sort of hung on the phrase and let it ring, as if she had already said what she wanted to. I looked up and asked her what she meant. “It’s just, to me, they aren’t real Latinos.” It was obvious that she had missed my very telling facial expression, somewhere between “what the fuck?” and “is she paying attention?” I said “My family is Cuban.” She sort-of tried to recover, saying, “Oh well, I don’t mean all Cubans, I mean especially the ones from Miami.” I had to laugh. I said, “I’m from Miami.” She again tried to recover, saying “Well, my friend just tells me Cubans from Miami are really out of touch with the rest of the Latino world.”
I bring her up not to embarrass her or to use her as a strawman, but to show that this is not an uncommon view of what Cuban-Americanness is from other Latinos. It’s not even the only time I’ve had this kind of conversation.
Read the rest at Lit Hub.
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague now has his own PennSound page!
It features audio recordings from the Oakland and Philadelphia Oil and Candle book releases, including readings by Camara Brown, Oki Sogumi, Conni Yu, Hugo García Manríquez, Cheena Marie Lo, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, and of course, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague!
You can also listen to his interview with Emji Spero, his "Poem Talk" about CAConrad, and a full “audio-book” recording of Oil and Candle! Get at it. Brutal aural pleasure for days.
Davy Knittle has reviewed Gabriel Ojeda-Sague's Oil and Candle at Entropy:
Ritual and race are both typologies that people use to imagine a futurity they can live with, and both are troubled and leaned on in the poems, as is futurity itself. The speaker wonders whether they can produce and reproduce a viable future in which their body is valuable. In these poems, ancestry is futurity’s opposite. There is “no citizen; / no future;” but the speaker watches people desire both citizenship and futurity. The speaker positions both as being homologous with the conveyance of information.
Read the rest here.
This past Saturday, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague travelled to the Bay Area from Philly for the soft release of his new book Oil and Candle at Diesel Books!
We celebrated with readings by Hugo García Manríquez and Cheena Marie Lo!
There was also a performance by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, accompanied by Zach Ozma and Mary Hogan.