In Times of Trouble


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I know what my heart is like
It’s everything and everyone
Dying inward for a bit of belonging

Hoping to touch a bit of life
For the sake of being reborn in identity
In sharing experience and tenderness
Was it for this I once uttered prayers?
That I should retire alone the years?

Bear me a crown of golden foreverafters
Love is the gold gown I’ve worn
In good times and the bad

If I grow a bit bitterly on life’s low shrub
Do not say I knew not flowers or
That I did not give everything
To the ones who truly mattered
Spring on horseback, Autumn on these lips

I knew and loved all that I could
My thin fingers lifting bright threads
Of music from the clouds

I know what my heart is like
Eun Ji, don’t you? I won’t sit smiling
But I’ll listen with Dandelions
And some brief word from you.

BROODING UPON THE RAIN-SOAKED BELL


80

She brings a broom at dawn to my heart
For peach-petals open and blooming
After the moon shone from a palace beyond time
Dust fills my spirit’s halls from end to end
And, for all her jade-whiteness
My devotion cannot tell the Court of the Bright Sun

How I have been cleansed or have grown
The Yin Mountains are my cold resting place
The Moon goes back to the time of beginnings
Written to music, spoken to Spring
She brings a broom at sunsets to my soul
Placing a spark at the Pavilion of long twilight

I am about to linger awhile, and perhaps forever
As I think of my voyage through a thousand miles
Lovers have suffered since ancient times
The sorrows of parting, so how can I complain
I am not special, we are all capable
Of a thousand varieties of tender emotion
To Whom shall I impart them now?

鯨魚之歌 (Whale Songs)


31
35

You, we, I – were actors
You drew up narratives so you could
Tell yourself there was a Pattern
I was in that story, vulnerable muzzled
Like the Night on the coast
I’d walk into your purposeful longings

I knew I was a temporary comfort
You, whose eyes and hands I loved
And mouth, whose foreigness I wished
You, whose words and mind
Was dull, my name held too much compassion

For the role given, too wasted
By the irresponsible human stranger
I was declared obsolete by another
Or like an ancestor that gave no profit
Outcast, abandoned, made to flee the story

Aching for years after the city
Was but a memory, after your child had grown up
I cried sick days alone, in that terror
My heart reincarnated in grief
Your whale-songs were contagious.

How the Music Crept By Us


32

You recited unblinkingly
The code of compassion
As if in that hopeless moment
I had erred beyond your comprehension
(
The brass bed was bearing your suitcase
A one way ticket to – far away from me
I know your stomach churned
In some weird way, not quite like mine
)
But you were always stronger, that way
I heard your mother’s voice
In the way you closed the door
For the last time, the last look
(
Was like your father’s rebellion
For a life he did not choose
All that was left in my sweaty palms
Was the necklace you gave back to me
)
To signify, there would be no
More headline hysterical breakfasts
No more cat-cheers, for the temptations of the new day
You had condemned me
.
To a lust-asylum universe
Where everyone was a bad copy of you.

The Hollows Made By Lovers in us through Harsh Words


27

Once you have learned these words
You will forget silence
Like learning heartbreak
You will renounce love

These are true stories of living
The word hangs like an anchor
It is used against us like a weapon
The very same voice you once served

Once you have learned these words
You will know the language of humanity
They will shape you to be insensitive
And burn a smudge of orange across your face

Every time you forget the rift of inner beauty
You will die a little more to the child you once were
Before language, before symbols corrupted you
You hold yourself between these two words

One silent, and the other an action
So be careful what you say, knowing
How words once damaged you, be gentle
To those closer to the silence
To those more fresh from the source.

The Breakup


17

And with a sudden emphasis
Of our sad geometry
Like an old flower in a tender vase
You threw me out the window!
Circumscribing our enormous debts

A lover’s never so beautiful
As when they look at you with cold eyes
As if for the last time
Kissing you on the cheek
Knowing that this will be the last time

But I must replay the excess that stops me with its dream
Love is fickle as the sea
Though it is my rite to everything
The one in me who’s lazy & distracted
And requires art & romance
To feel complete, or entertained?

Trapped by the impatience for another
As if experience could mount immortality
Into my forgotten heart
But like a pinned butterfly
Motionless and fragile
I may only beat my wings

Your child seemed surprised
I cried for him, the last look
And I have been debased
Lost to the vast circle of beautiful things

And with a sudden emphasis
The purest sigh, there was not affection

Here, waiting for me, at the other end of the room
In your eyes, only ruthlessness
Proof of a goodbye so grand
Your promises of friendship were like
The curtains you said you would tailor for me

Thing one says, when trying to be polite
To someone, you can’t be the other half of the world – for.

Being Used


16

I have bartered myself
With violent abandon
Suffered myself against
Pitiful impulsivity
I have given myself

To the wounded and the aloof
Only to be abused like crushed dahlias
I have held myself like a shinning ghost
For marigold-garlanded projects
Attempted healing, at my own expense

I have martyred myself
In the arms of uncaring lovers
And I am dismembered & bruised
I have sought connection
Like a fragment without a purpose

Stockpiling fruits of attraction
For something outside myself
I have been illuminated by gargoyles
Tortured by single mothers
All to be somebody’s rebound, somebody’s scapegoat
Until the wind of their lust changed direction.

Towards a Naked Soul


I collected self-pity

Distilled from common heart-breaks

The Narcissus reminder

 

That we transmit pain

With cowardly eyes

Believe me it’s not

 

Anything but my stupidity

The poetical potential to learn how to hate

From foundations of so much love

 

I collected melancholy

Like a common child of love

My thirst for ambiguity

 

A gourmet prerogative

Feeling is a the great gamble

For sensitive types like me