Among Rivers of Dark Purple


EJ Koh

If I should die, then let my poems live on
Or that they should die and I should
Be free, of the gurgle and of existence

That is so personal and yet so irrelevant
To the cosmos that sings of eternity’s theme
And golden birds of our dreams than burn

Against the sun that is Time’s will
Her signature that I should die
When it is her will, and I will write
Not unlike the sky to the horizon
Of sunsets and the commerce of the living

Where parts the parting skies of hours
Hours that float and rise and lift
The conduct of all pleasing scenes

* * *

All smiles, all beloveds that left
So then, how wonderful is Death
And dying to ourselves, and the spirituality

Of the waning moon that blushes over
The entire world, of heartbreak that lasts forever
Maybe, I’m numb now to the passing wonderful
The subjectivity that was once so intense
Is now a common flower, I won’t mediate

Anytime soon in cemeteries but I ponder
The seasons of my life, that drank in darkness
And could not find the light, whether in myself

Or reach the intimacy in others with
The skin of my soul, my life’s inauthenticity
Is the corpse of my doubt and cowardice

* * *

That never truly knew love, or had the courage
To wrestle danger with a smile or succumb
To the pressures of a common life, perhaps
I will die young, bohemian and a bit wild
Where I feel the breath of Armageddon

In the silence, can death hit me then like this?
When my heart already has some lack
Of oxygen, my heart-beats lack a sturdy foot
What of my brain that drips in lost memory
The better part of who I used to be.

Ecstasy Once Leapt, but Not in Me


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Ecstasy Once Leapt, but Not in Me

I felt a cleavage in my brain

For hope and faith and love again

That the Earth did not do good

Or my heart knew not how to summon

The friendship I so desired, but could not find

The slumbering pain of tragedy

Lingered like a shell next to the lost sea

Of if my human nature could survive

*                      *                      *

While I aged in years that

Only secrets could keep pacts

With immortality, I was bare

A bird, a sky, a planet’s lone summit

And the barren ethereal throng

Could not feel what I maybe once was

All the love of youth had fell

For nature’s curtain of harsh reality

That the Earth did not do evil

Perhaps it was just I that felt the

Sequence of the ravelled fate

Where destiny parted with thee.

The Death of Songs


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Eun Ji, the pen that must lift from the heart
Is the poet tired of the sensation of addiction
So we commit suicide to art, knowing it will set us free
Like adolescent love, that must one day too must pass

And the tragedy that became our comfort zone
We sublimated it into something else
Obsession for the ritual that represented
Our salvation from loneliness, though

It made us immortalize the lonely ache
O’ Eun Ji, it was me who watched thee on
The stage, I watched a thousand Korean dramas
Just to get a hint of who you might be

I grant I never saw a goddess go;
Nor found a literary mistress in the poetic snow
Seattle being too distant a dream to me
But roses are forever sometimes, like poems

That burn not with false compare, but mimic
In the twilight, the cheeks that we ours
Who swore in loneliness, that they found comradeship
And yet still, by heaven, I think you are as rare

As any poet I hoped to know, hoped to read
And if I ever had a love of the pen, or a muse
Or wished the music of the soul, of pain
Or whatever note the throat could soar
And swear that art was something more real.

P.S. http://thisisejkoh.com/