Sleep would be nice….

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Sleepless in Montreal

Midway upon the journey
Of our lives, I found that
I could fall in love with a poetess
With the mere sight of her words

Korean-American Sappho
Though in great times of self-doubt
I must recall that words befriended me
In an empathy human beings

Declined, I made my way
To emotions and experiences
That felt the universe, thus I too
Because a minor poet, full

Of the surprise with the way of life
That agreed with me, rather
Like divinity on the shelf
Always within reach

The sound of a new poem
In my mouth being born
It was the ode to spiritual hunger
I never knew, the thrill of always

Finding something around the corner
The delight to echo the sleep
Of sad years that broke free
Your cheeks of Seattle still crisp

Like the aroma of apples
I cannot reach, that’s the breeze
Whispering of your foreign name
I am sick in my own, that I require

To translate you into a muse
Squeeze you dry with poetic embraces
That can only find new sentences
For the fragrance of your need.

Your Poems became my Confessions

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Your Poems became my Confessions

The poem began innocently
As lumps in your throat
You shave and trim them
Until they are perfect

But I don’t do that, I won’t
But when I read your work
Emotion finds its way
Into the architecture of psyche

Past the layers of skin
Into the bridge of passion
And as a symbol, I spontaneously
Burst with what makes you tick

As the same think that makes me whole
And that’s a powerful catalyst
For truth from grief and power
From sacrifice, and I’m an alchemist

When I read your work, and that’s
A crazy audience, uplifted from poverty
These poems begin innocently enough
So be careful what you do to me

Your words burn into me like erotic memories
And chatting about who to blame
For who we are, I fell for your ancestors
And by association, you, we both wanted

What we cannot pay enough to have
Pain became our meaning
And writing became our life
And if the present is indeed the

Revenge of the past, I have a feeling
My poems will reflect your silence.

Privacy Unveiled

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Privacy Unveiled

Eun Ji, remember when we
Were young? We liked to say
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

We used to think in terms of freedom
That had the ability to feel:
So I love you without knowing how
Or when, or from where, or how lovely

I love you simply, without problems
Of pride, like poetry
Full of sleep as you close your eyes
So intimate to the music that remains

In your heart when all words have fled
Eun Ji, remember we who could not
Remain silent, you who taught
Me so much, from so little contact

The powerful feelings of intoxicating
Mystery, to read a poem of yours
Is to hear it with your eyes
But as a nightingale, Eun Ji,

I cannot find your source
Or where you have gone
And when I feel impoverished
Socially, emotionally, materially

I remember that perhaps I’m not
A poet enough to call forth life’s riches
For the Creator, there is no poverty
Eun Ji, I have heard in your writing

The place where people can speak
Their original human mind
And there all privacy is unveiled.

About Solitude and Infatuation

Screen Shot 04-05-15 at 08.20 PMScreen Shot 04-05-15 at 08.26 PMBeing Alone Does Not Make You Crazy, It Reminds You Of Who You Are. - E.J. Koh

Alone Quotes | Forward this Picture

Being alone with Eun Ji

I’m five down dead in red

I bend where the sun hits

I shift to gain access

To the bursting shadows

Voyeuristic to your ghosts

The rains is like a lullaby

But the blood of a writer

Eun Ji, I’m a secret manifestation


Of your psyche, both silent

And wounded in existence

Both everything and nothing

For your eternity of being

And there is a vague red trail

Leading from my life to yours

It’s like an avalanche of nostalgia

When you shudder I feel light-headed

In this way, I have swallowed

The memories of someone else

And I would gladly color your body

But after all those dreams of dying

We learned to love dying

In each other’s arms, disguised

Like lonely vehicles to murder the world

Our solitude didn’t make us crazy

It just reminded us who we were

And for that I am lonely:

Loneliness is not being alone

It’s to love another’s soul

To no avail, but I have time

Time to tangle myself into

The spiral veins of your inner voice

Maybe the only voice

That can reach me now

And I write about you because

I’m scared of writing, however

I’m more scared of not writing

Eun ji, in my mind you have become a poem

But I cannot stop writing or speaking

Because you amplify the my inner Asian-ness

And the zero-point of all poetic intent in me.

To Black Swan Job Applicants IV

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To Black Swan Job Applicants IV

Without writing, life would be a mistake
So here’s to crazy ones
Misfits, rebels, troublemakers, anarchists
Who invariable make the best poets

And sometimes turn into novelists
If they put the time in
Because the people who are crazy
Enough to think they can change

The world are the ones that do
Coding, writing, copyrighting
Everybody is a genius
But an innovator is someone

Able to sacrifice ordinary things
To dedicate themselves to a cause
A craft, a subject, to be a specialist
Writers are specialized dreamers

Easier to tire of reality than books
So many worlds, strangely we become
What we pretend to be, so try
To be a writer for a year, you might

Surprise yourself with dark things
Certain dark things are to be loved
In secret, in the shadows of your soul
Write from that place, and have experiences

That exhaust the travels of several lives
Everyone takes around their portable magic
Might as well put it down into a book
For if we are to become insane, may as
Well write first between intervals of sanity
It’s a clerical alchemy that was my favourite
Time of my life, writing alone was like
Visiting a wild place where I was the first visitor.

To Black Swan Job Applicants III

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To Black Swan Job Applicants III

To be a writer is an opportunity to
Live as if you were to die tomorrow
I’m so clever sometimes, as often
I don’t understand a single word

Of what I have written, does that mean
I have graduated to my own form
Of Magical realism, my own enemy of surrealism?
To live ourselves truly, to become

Into ourselves, that’s the rarest kind of writer
Will the light of writing, drive our darkness?
My neuro-spectrum become defiant
To misery, develop such complex

Internal dialogues that I become immune
To self-doubt and self-criticism?
To be a writer is so much of chasing forever
It’s the gamification of all art-forms

It’s the singularity of consciousness
Without music, without people
The audience could be not born yet
The writer chooses to be themselves

In a world constantly trying to
Make you something else
To put your identity to the page
Is the ultimate act of freedom
Explore. Dream. Discover
Because that’s the only way
You will write anything authentic.

After the Kundiman Award

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– featured on, this poet’s neck

After the Kundiman Award

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If I could sing a Kundiman to you
Would you know the tenderness of it?
You who plots maps and word graphs
Of how many words you have written this month

In the autobiographical sketch
Of literature, we project where we roam
The way deadlines make you
Stay by yourself and sing with your pen

You burn with untold stories
For all those books you’ve always
Wanted to get your hands on, but they don’t exist
I recognize you have no choice

But to write them, like the inner freedom
Of the pen that is its own bliss
The sachitananda of all substitutes
For living, the editor, ecstasy and poetics

Of writing, you lift yourself from
Midnight dreams to improvise
With an altogether Asian version of doubt
They say Koreans work hard, but

In retrospect we write to taste life twice
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader
No surprise, that beautiful things
Invented by a woman are more charming

You must stay drunk on writing
So reality cannot destroy you
I felt I was dreaming with you in red
Then I realized that I truly just wanted to be you

Fiction is the truth inside of sacred lies
And we must learn from religion how
Words shriek without any seeming limit
To burn the heart and cry important things

The secrets of the socially acceptable
Forms of schizophrenia, alternate-realities
Bringing nourishment to bed and waking up
To new characters, that can change our lives
For after all, stories are the things we need
Most in an unfair world, we need a refuge
And people we can identify with
These are not of course, always real people
The scariest moment is when your writing

Can only be a reflection of yourself
For everyone else is already taken
You can’t imitate yourself, you can only be you
And sing like there’s nobody listening

Because in the end, there’s so many books
So little time, the soul of fiction is a willing guest
If you are willing to kill the cat
Get divorced and move away from your home town.

Black Swan Job Application II

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Shaman – EJ Koh

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Black Swan Job Application II

Job wanted, will consider all applicants
Burning desire to be a pioneer
In new literary forms, poetry and prose
Blogging and philosophy

Real life, relationships, confessionals
Exhibitionistic tendencies required, no fear
Able to work 16-hour a day shifts
Drive to get published, write novels

Enter contests, win scholarships
Self-autonomy in going for broke
Ability to withstand periods of poverty
Enjoys public speaking, going to events

Is humble, responsive to readers
Ability to synthesize past and the future
The job applicant may be required to travel
Inwardly and outwardly, be able to

Form attachments, imaginary and virtual
Burn books, abandon beliefs, start over
Translate from obscure languages
Must be a shaman of the written word

Have prophetic tendencies, know your audience
Market on social media, not be averse to self-public
Create podcasts, teach workshops, give lectures
Endure being followed on twitter by throngs

Please note, applicant must stay in the job
A minimum of five years, long-lasting investment only.

Black Swan Job Application


Black Swan Job Application
(Qualities to be a Writer)

I’ve come to recognize the synopsis
For the job, writers wanted!
Ability to isolate yourself for the cause
Being okay with alone time

Being receptive to criticism
Intrinsic motivation to explore
Narratives, boundaries, create beauty
Ability to withstand rejection

Talent for creating opportunities
Out of imaginary characters
Willingness to network with others in the craft
Perfectionism in editing and reworking

Old content, to update content and to
Explore themes for self-defining new content
Asking tough questions about one’s own identity
Gender, ethnicity, social-class, family psychology

Enjoyment of reading books, a lot of books
Devouring libraries, workshops, ceremonies
Rites of passage, ability to withstand
Years require to obtain Masters in Fine Arts

Creating writing certificates, rather important here
Explorations of own style to the point of
Exposition of vulnerability, masochism and
Notable ventures into new literary territories

Must be willing to change and use own imagination
With ultimate soul-breaking investment
For greatness, fame, poetic ecstasy, first-hand novels
Scripts, blog posts, extreme loneliness in the pursuit
Of what you love, only apply if serious.

To be a poet is dangerous

Messages without Knowing

Poets acquire humanity
In their undoing, this
Dangerous self-destructive art
Who dares be ridiculed a poet these days?

This secret subversive pleasure
Isn’t it so, that we are the houses
Of art that try to be haunted
To feel what others dare not!?

Painting they say is silent poetry
Poetry is painting that speaks
But for whom does it speak?
These echoes asking shadows

To dance, that communicates
Without or before understanding
To sit in the dark and sing
To cheer its own solitude

With sweet sounds, where O where
Are the sweet sounds of old?
Poets die trying to be poets
I’ve seen it with my own eyes

Poetry is an escape from emotion
An instinct to tell stories
Like a seer or a prophet in hard times.

Afraid of Big Cities

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Being Eaten by the Big Apple

The big cities can kill you
Like how they can make you poor in a month
It’s unforgiving to move
To a bit city if you are poor

In debt, alone, or any of the above
New York, Toronto, Tokyo
What’s the difference, they swallow
The soul, perhaps we should avoid them

There are too many people
On any given corner to get
Through, to reach your destination
Unless you become one of them

Cold, hardened, not stopping for
Just any homeless man, walking over
Their old guitar, not crying in public
There are days I have no retrospect

I have purposefully forgotten
Some of the Godless situations I’ve lived
It’s for the better I think, I wouldn’t
Want to live with the humiliation

The wide-dilated embarrassment of pupils
And fear it took to communicate abandonment
The insomnia of old wounds rubbing sweat
All over my half-starved body

Everything was a ghost and I’d pray
In my own rituals for God to
Show me a life beyond this
I remember not feeling rationale or sincere

I remember imagining acquaintances
Were friends or people in coffee shops
Were people I could get to know
Adversity does strange things to you.

Titled In Bold Below

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Stay Tough Champ

There are algorithms that can predict
If you are a follower, or an innovator
They take your entire life and break it down
Into the analytics of your free-will

Urbanization is like an experiment
Where people are compressed
Into smaller places, trained
Where everyone is trying to be like

Everyone else, the same as being no one
We are taught to search for stability
Our parents remind us to start saving young
But what if, the entire system is unsustainable?

Economics like so many things, are the domain
Of dead white men from Europe
Old elite families who like to believe
They pull the puppets of the world

Social psychology can’t keep up with change
Neither can art, it just has its lucky super stars
Like some kid the New York times calls a prophet
Who appears to be some kind of junkie

There are algorithms that are trained on your data
What you buy, what you view on the internet
What kinds of people you are social with
What keywords you search, what kind of porn you watch

And it’s a disenchanting process to be reduced
To a trend, but experience is so inauthentic these days
There are these same internet sites everyone goes to
And we are raised to be strong, independent, alone

It’s elusive to be happy when we are disconnected
In our essential connectedness, like being
Surrounded by social media without true intimacy
So much for being a catalyst that turns misery into art.

Looking outside of myself


Looking outside of myself

– Based on a blog post of EJ Koh

I live a bit through you
Like a social media update of a poet
You’ve taken into your heart

It’s like an obsession I treat very kindly
I’m almost conditioned to be impatient
Seven second attention span did you say?

How to be intelligent, talented in patient?
While being online, it’s not possible
You have to sometimes pull the plug

On a Sunday or, for the rest of your life
Instead of taking the time to
Learn, perfect my craft, study
I want to exercise my craft now
Without years of sacrifice and hard work

Call it art as soon as it leaves my mouth
Can you imagine a poem lyrical just read-made?
A novel just so without months of editing?
It’s the desperation to survive
Without the genius factor, with only me

To read my work, your work, and all
The bad writing getting awards these days
I just don’t get it, I blame the viral speed
Of the internet, and the MFA programs
But each year passes without incident

I don’t think I’m that one in a million
Where are the writer’s hard-won readers?
Or are we just writing for ourselves in the end?

Gamification of a poet’s Portfolio

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Gamification of a poet’s Portfolio

New level, new rules, you’d say
Relaxed in your anxiety and dread
I became used to how you
Would talk to yourself on airplanes
The turbulence of the ambitious
I suppose, I never had
That kind of luxury
You planned and reinvented yourself
You became a kind of
Magical realism of your own life
Skilled at indifference, sharp to criticize
New level, new rules, you’d repeat
Trying to find a polite way to adapt
To the predicament of not being famous
We’re all fiction, dialogue, performance
I suppose, but to adapt to an audience
To be a master of exposition
To fake it till you make it
Is not building a foundation
It’s being in the wrong empire.

Bereft of this Life

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Bereft of this Life

There is a slant of fate that is cruel
How unbearable the dull numbness
In comparison to the sharp and known

Somehow the lateral events
Does not appease a soul
Connected to the vertical order of the now

Death follows me like a source of solutions
To the inevitable need to
Remember privately, what is important
There is no convenient resolution

To this problem, I am afraid
We are not meant to succeed
In a material world that craves

Always more, profit, fuel, addiction
We consume and they learn to prey
Upon our talents for consumption

If I conduct seppuku (taking my life for honour)
Don’t forgive me, realize
That I wasn’t an ironic spirit
I was too serious and bereft of this life.

Of No Importance

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Of No Importance

Of no importance are the heartbreaks
Heartbroken we went on
A little tougher, maybe even meaner

Into the world to get our
Critical goals and face emergencies
To bring our fire

Out into the open
To mediate and exercise
And make love with a difference
To work and obsessively achieve
Of no importance are the failures

We failed and moved on
A little more determined, maybe maniacal
Into the world exposed
With greater serotonin intake
Better abilities to manage dopamine

Testosterone yeah, it was all possible
Because there is a will, and we learned
People don’t always help, they

Can even hinder so remember that
It’s all normal to shrug it off
Because one day it will just be
Of no importance anymore.