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Gay poet Regie Cabico skirts the edge

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

6476504Offstage, gay Filipino-American poet Regie Cabico is a soft-spoken romantic.

Onstage, he's an angry man.

``I'm always battling,'' Cabico says. ``I'm on the edge. I try to see how far I can get -- how far I can go without falling off the edge.''

Cabico is in South Florida for a weeklong series of workshops and readings, part of Tigertail Productions' SpeakOut series geared to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Highlights include a performance Friday at Books & Books in Coral Gables and an open mic for teenagers Thursday at Miami Beach Regional Library.

``[The teen poetry slam] is no rules, except the time limit, so people can do what they want. People are their most honest selves. They're at their most vulnerable,'' Cabico says. ``We get to see the freak in everyone.''

Cabico, who lives in Washington, D.C., and appeared for two seasons on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, is also leading workshops at Pridelines Youth Services and Homestead, Dr. Michael M. Krop and Academy of Art & Minds high schools.

``I'm very excited Regie is coming and giving this invisible community we have -- these invisible kids -- some visibility,'' says theater artist Octavio Campos, visual and performing arts programs coordinator at Arts & Minds in Coconut Grove.

Cabico's poetry is flecked with four-letter words and he performs the same material for adults and adolescents.

``Teens don't want the bullcrap. They want the truth. I am that Judy Blume book,'' he says.

Cabico says he's mellowed a lot since his early days performing.

``I was more angry at the beginning -- angry at the lack of representations of Asians and queer Asians. I'm a good little Catholic boy. As soon as my poems came out, I did at the same time.''

Cabico says that when he came out of the closet in the early 1990s it was ``taboo,'' a ``political statement to call yourself a gay poet.''

Not so today.

``A lot of the youth I work with, they're exposed to a lot of queer possibilities, even transgender. All under that [queer] umbrella,'' he says. ``Even men who have sex with other men, but don't consider themselves gay.''

Cabico is single. ``Hopefully, I'll find a partner in Miami. My astrologer told me I'd find my partner this year,'' he says. ``I'd totally love to settle down. I'm not good at [cruising] the Internet. I need to try speed dating.

``I'm 39. I'm not getting any younger. And I'm also getting a bald spot. That is definitely a motivation. If anyone in Miami has a brother or an uncle or a great-grandfather, I'm so there!''

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very nice post. enjoyed reading. thx :-)

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