Home > Mutating the Signature > From a 2005 (and on-going) collaboration of poem-sculptures and text-poems

From a 2005 (and on-going) collaboration of poem-sculptures and text-poems

January 23, 2009

The collaboration between Nick Carbó and Eileen R. Tabios unfolded through snailmail, with each sending a sculpture that generates a poem:

1) Nick sends a sculpture comprised of a toilet regulator painted with the following words:

Can you regulate
The flow of desire

toilet regulator poem

2) Eileen responds by sending a wooden box recycled from once containing wine bottles of Screaming Eagle. The phrase “Screaming Eagle” is emblazoned, along with the image of an eagle in flight, against the box. The box contains long ribbons designed to spill forth when the box is opened. Attached to the side of a box is a toilet’s flusher mechanism. The accompanying poem:

Trap the intangible
to release

Desire most beautiful
when unleashed

3) Nick replies by sending a blue box containing Alka Selzer tablets upon which are incribed letters. When the box is opened, the tablets spell out the following poem:

Take one Saussarian pill 3X daily to induce / Desire

This is how the cerulean curve
of her spine presents pink
ideas at four in the afternoon

where words become
arbitrary trees, cones
intangible blues

This is how the
release feels at the tip
of the tongue when pressed

against his wet
red frenulum slippery
with meaning

4) Eileen responds by sending four stacking boxes, correlated to four stanzas of a poem. Each stanza written on the inside cover of a box. Boxes are colored blue and white. Stacked atop each other with a white ribbon tying them together. All must be unwrapped in order to go through sculpture. Eileen very much wanted to include (the bodies of) the audience (reader/viewer) into the sculpture by having their involvement through the process of unwrapping the boxes.

The first box contains a pearl necklace cellophane-wrapped in its middle so that it’s not possible to wear it. The second box contains an American Red Cross pin referencing breast cancer. The third box contains used ribbons from unwrapped gifts. The fourth box contains a grey sports bra overlaid with a pretty lacey bra.

Inside the fourth box, the stanza is encompassed within a circle, as formed by a “Filipino poet” symbol’s belly (from an earlier project by Eileen Tabios entitled “Poems Form/From The Six Directions“). The bras are “convex with concave.” The accompanying poem:


Surely we
Never wish
To stray

From bodies

Those curves
Offering possibilities

“the convex with the concave”

by Nick Carbó and Eileen R. Tabios

Download the MP3 (reading by Eileen)

  1. January 23, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Wonderfully mutated signatures–great interpretation!

  2. January 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Completely fabulous.

  3. January 24, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Yes, what a wonderful collaboration, what impressive work!

  4. January 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I do love the idea of such creative possibilities of real mail.

    Wonderful stuff (I’d kind of like to have seen a few more pics perhaps, but that’s probably missing the point…)

  5. January 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    this was a brave collaboration: not just because one is at the mercy of snail mail, but the trust one has to have in the process.

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