Bodie or Bust

March 1, 2010

Poets of Bodie: Noel Mariano

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — nicelledavis @ 2:08 am

Noel Pabillo Mariano is an activist, poet, teacher, Kundiman Fellow and Los Angeles native. He holds a MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside where he helped produce and edit the first national “Coming Out Monologues” and is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His writing can be found in Redactions, Connotation Press, 20 Miles Down and elsewhere. He currently serves as the nonfiction editor of Circumlocution Literary an online journal dedicated to showcasing work from young authors. For more information about arts activism, feel free to visit


For the project, I will be playing with persona and the different aspects of identity (claimed, gender, ethnic, etc. etc.). I will be writing a persona with a persona. I will be writing/assuming the identity of Dr. Percival John, Bodie’s doctor/mortician, since in the era presented, they were often the same thing. And well, I said a persona with a persona. So Dr. John has a hidden persona of Desiree Malone. This fits as my chapbook novella in verse was through the lens of a persona of a young girl dealing with her newly assumed identity as the sole child of her family. That, and I just retired as a performer in the Drag Burlesque group “House of Loca,” there are so many times I can twist my ankle wearing heels before I call it quits.

As for Bodie, I found the materials given to be a little heartbreaking. There’s something comforting about the idea of home and abandoned homes have always been lonely to me. This is why I get a little sad when I see abandoned cars on the side of the freeway. Personas are haunting because it brings up the idea of abandoning one’s self and identity for the sake of another. Ghost towns are left behind for the desire of something more. So I feel that they go hand in hand.


Poets of Bodie: Jessi Cramer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — nicelledavis @ 1:30 am

Jessi Sundell Cramer is a tattoo artist, playwright, screenwriter, poet and all around creative-type.  She has a Masters in screenwriting from UC Riverside and her plays have been performed from Washington DC to Santa Monica, California and points in between.  Critical work is forth-coming in Connotations Press.  Jessi grew up in Wyoming, fluttered about and now lives in Laramie for the time being.

Ghost towns are endlessly fascinating to me and the concept of West-ness has prodded my work for years.  My Bodie persona is a as-yet unnamed young female journalist at the turn of the century.   Raised the eldest of seven daughters on a Pennsylvania dairy farm, she refused to marry three suitors and when The Persistent Suitor became increasingly insistent, she ran away to Philadelphia to follow in the footsteps of her hero, reporter Nelly Bly.   My stubborn-sweet girl supports herself writing interest pieces for magazines and furnishing illustrations for magazines and books.  She came to Bodie to write about the gold rushes and discovered a far bigger freedom than she ever imagined beneath the desert sky.

Poets of Bodie: Ching-In Chen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — nicelledavis @ 1:02 am

Ching-In Chen has lived in Riverside, California for the last three years (and will be moving this fall to Milwaukee to begin a PhD in Creative Writing).  She hearts street food, the zuihitsu & other “hijacked forms” and gets lost easily.  She is the author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press).  The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is a Kundiman, Macondo and Lambda Fellow.   A community organizer, she has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside and Boston.  She is a member of the Save Our Chinatown Committee, a grassroots organization working to preserve the archaelogical heritage of Riverside Chinatown and likes to writes poems using found text and objects.  You can find her at


I’m going to write about the Chinese population of Bodie, which fits one of my general obsessions (coolies).  Also, I think ghosts & buried cities are fascinating & I like to follow their trails.  The book I’m currently working on has a speculative shiny city and its twin as inspiration, the buried city of Riverside Chinatown. I’ve never been to Bodie, but I hope to visit soon in the upcoming months.

Thanks for having me & looking forward to your poems!

Blog at