At the Center of Lament

Angela Peñaredondo

Angela Peñaredondo (with featured artist collaborator, Santana Westbrook)
Title: At the Center of Lament, sound collage 2018


Artist’s Statement:

“At the Center of Lament” is a part of a larger work-in-progress series of sound collages made up of recorded verses, distorted and natural sounds. These sound collages are my attempts to revive my Pilipinx ancestral ties (both known and unknown). Through a queer Pilipinx futuristic lens, part of my personal revival of ancestry work dances with the notion that ancestors and/or spirits are not fixed to an ancient imaginary or narrative(s) from a romantic past. Instead, spirits of the dead and myth are fluid and malleable; much in-tuned to the present, future and its technologies. Through queer Pilipinx futurism, spirits understand and respond to digital mediums such as sounds and frequencies. Thus, the collages I create are like digital prayers, songs for protection, extraction, and restoration.

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no to silence                no to men dressed up in silence                      no

                        to the slapping hands no           to sharp things

no to the full blossoms of flies on the food & 

            in their mouths            no to the roasted meat            i must eat                               

with my head down                no to father’s hands

no to                the hands                     that bound my father’s hands

 no to why i must never           use these hands to feed myself or others

no to who                    or why i must love 

         no                to bulk white                           weight of wedding dresses

    no to the black veil that cover                                 the old women’s faces at the

             at the cathedral          no to the sacrament                             that makes me stretch out my tongue

          no to the twine and blocks that bounded my great grandmother’s feet

no to just thread and spool
no to pain of cotton                                                                no to pain of sugarcane

    no to mud&the boots that came with it                                      no to the romantics

of white bodies      their glow             of pink seduction no to my own brown body that

grew rough and thin                       no to the death of beauty that was my face

      no to pulled fingernails                   no to mice&mildew of fly paper

no to pressed eyelids                           the amnesia you forced on me

no to the monstrous voices behind the glass                                    no to the monstrous

voices buried under banyan trees       no to the theft from those very trees

              that are few now    no    to the magic you  supposedly brought       no to the idea

                that there was no       magic before you


Angela Peñaredondo is a queer Pilipinx writer-artist-educator. Angela is author of the chapbook Maroon (Jamii Publications) and All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize). You can find Angela’s work in Anomaly (aka Drunken Boat), Weird Sister, AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. Angela is a Kundiman, VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fellow and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at California State University San Bernardino. Please find Angela on