Introducing Aileen Cassinetto – Manifest Differently Poet

Please give a warm welcome to our next magnificent poet, Aileen Cassinetto. Aileen was named a YBCA 100 honoree in 2023 for her contributions in building regenerative and equitable communities through poetry. An Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and 2022 Metro Film and Arts Foundation grantee, she also served as San Mateo County Poet Laureate from 2019-2022. Her work has appeared in American Poets,, KALW, and Poetry Magazine, among others, and featured in programs and art shows at Carnegie Hall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Kulturhuset Islands Brygge Cultural Center in Copenhagen, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. She co-edited the climate change anthology, Dear Human at the Edge of Time, a companion to the congressionally-mandated Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), and wrote the lyrics to Saunder Choi’s “Wide American Earth” which premiered at Carnegie Hall in June 2023.


I Am, Villanelle

I am from balikbayan boxes, veiled markers of identity.
I am from sunken galleons, misspent fragment of empires.
I am from hand knotted piña fibers, a cultivar of possibilities.
I am from blue and white pottery, ghostly and full of stories.
I am from unglazed earthenware, seasoned with intent and fire.
I am from balikbayan boxes, movement of tenacity.
I am from the heartwood of wounded lign aloes, an unfortunate luxury.
I am from Glory of the Sea Cone, prized for its venom and spire.
I am from ocean crossings, an arbitrary and seaworthy possibility.
I am from repeated prayers and offerings, a Hail Mary pass and nine days to mercy.
I am from doomed love stories and ghosts with a grievance, manifesting ire and satire.
I am from a precarious bloodline, a balikbayan genealogy.
I am from the mother of all fiestas, sanguinary and exhibiting miraculously.
I am from broken rosaries, indulgence for blessed and blooded modifiers.
I am from possibilities in a family tree that doesn’t end with me.

I am from buried treaties north of an archipelago, debris of synchronicity.
I am from a chronology of losses and one wedded and wilder soothsayer.
I am from balikbayan boxes, veiled markers of identity.
I am foreshadowed in good faith, a possibility, empire of sundries.


A. Cassinetto


Led by Clarion Alley Mural ProjectManifest Differently, a new project developed by Megan Wilson and Kim Shuck. Over the next year, 2023/24, we’ll be working together with 38 diverse, multigenerational visual/media artists and poets to interrogate the history of Manifest Destiny and its legacies of inherited and perpetuated violence, trauma, and addiction. The outgrowth of resistance and resilience – giving fire to movements for social/ culture change.
The project will be presented in 2023/24 at three locations – Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), Artists’ Television Access (ATA), and Minnesota Street Project.