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.

4 thoughts on “After the Kundiman Award

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