Songs of yŏryu


korean2

There was a coldness in your flesh

As if you had been jilted by an ex-husband

Betrayed and guarded like a mother

 

I knew martyrdom was like a dress

That they wore, beneath their frisky loveliness

As flowers and candles from yesterdays

 

Unperturbed by the golden thread of the future

That’s as warm and as insatiable as the youthful heart

Free and fiery and impulsive to the sudden core

 

Where time dripped and sprayed its mischief of unity

Into the pocket books of quotes and unsaid secrets

That were festive like surprises beneath our pillows

 

That made us suffer terribly from a sweet kind of insomnia

Those were the dragon moods of a hotness in the flesh

Hae.mi, felt it just like how the flowers appear on the Earth

 

Unbuttoned with a thousand colors for everyone

Generous to the pulse of life’s irregular magnitudes

That blurred one reality and the privacy of the next

 

Like a tantrum of secret need, a nest of sparks

Cluttered beneath all the hurry and all the wonder.

I Close My Eyes


 

Let me kiss the softness of the night

Hae.mi, to which I’ll never know

I am the wildness in your purity

Though if I yearn for it too much, it will go

Into the music of misaligned intention

Into the pictures of faces unknown

Back to the masses of our stories

Our stories that are always wounded

You say I remind you of some unpleasantness

Can I not exalt and rejoice in each invisible encounter

For in my poverty of heart, I’m indebted to be haunted

I am very dark, but lovely, and loving – or else

An anonymous thief, ready to be caught

As a famous beggar for gifts of tenderness

I am the mystic honey in the simultaneous midnight

I am the lonely wolf of lost time, there’s no room for me

Between earthly lives and mothers and sons, I’ve been left

Abandoned by the vulnerable timid ones so cautious

There are silver scales in my snowy pupils

And I am your student, fine-arted through the fall

Let me embrace what I cannot possess, Hae.mi, I am dumbfounded

Though I indeed was once so innocent

There’s no closure until the time of new lovers

I know how sleek the seasons move

The souls of winter are my fondest friends

We’re all souls of mothers and pieces of each other.

Grazing Consciousness


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Each day feels like the day before death

As if dying were unusual anyways

The pesky landscapes dinged with light

How they seem to know the last worlds

 

Mimicking the last words with recognition

It’s on that day that we realize fully

The funerals of memories and attachments

It’s all been paid in full with experience

 

Each day these wonderful things

Turn to tragedies, and we hunger to

Remake ourselves into people more original

But living, like the taste of salt

 

Was ironic and filled with little moments

Of self-preservation, instinct, betrayals

Meanwhile the emotional experience

Never seemed to anticipate satiety

 

As if the heart knew past sensory addictions

Or if the soul had measures that our minds could not see

It was death, liberty and life that led us on

Keeping part of the bargain in blueness

 

And the comparison with the greenness of

All things that seemed younger than us

I can barely permit myself to yearn any longer

Like Russian music, it’s a vast unravelling.

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After Insomnia


Insomnia is like, the last episode
The bouquet of roses in sunlight melting
In the mind of dreams that is free
From attachment or the relativity of experience
I’ve been there done those things
I just don’t remember, the sensations
Were like too actual and the feeling of being real
Was pretentious, like the self-importance of
Youthful moments that were as vivid
Made the seasons more bright
Maybe I choose to respond emotionally
Like April, a time of strength where
I could announce to myself my own passions
So sense could exceed all metaphor
And I could change myself once again
To awaken to the wakefulness that is not sleep
To the yearning that makes my soul on fire
To the fate that does not feel unlike destiny
The bouquet of roses then is held firmly
Like a breast, or a leaf or a life bled, breathed and loved.

The Sweet R e s p o n s i b i l i t y


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The Sweet R e s p o n s i b i l i t y

When I wrote on my door
That I wanted to leave my old life
I became a poet of my future
It was hypocrisy to dare
To leave the house that I had bought

I had to sell my old self
To the highest bidder, divorce
Tell me kids I still loved them

Not a soul dared to
Visit me on the other side
I had walked across the garden

Into a new life, where existed
New people to suit the new me:
All that spirits desire, spirits attain
Resting in reason, moving in passion

Across the veils, until sharing pleasures
Become a spiritual thing
The heart finds the sweetness of friendships
A fairly happy version of immortality.

confessions of an introvert


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Disclosure of endless rest

Being a lifelong listener
What if you were able to elicit self-disclosure
Would I tremble or be storm-troubled?

Unable to stop the froth of karma
The inner-dialogue of intimacy unmet
Or would I see Heaven’s glories shine
In a moment of spectacular ease
And want to make love with the spring

In my soul’s bare naked offering?
Being a lifelong listener
Spending a lifetime asking questions

What if you asked me questions and
Moved men’s hearts with just a whisper?
Would I become more anchored
In my own immortality and spendthrift
In this mortal infinity, these animated hours

Of where suns and universes continue to fount
And words create an art of being together
That can barely articulate or speak

Would God herself come to pass
In a woman’s not-lonely equanimity?
That I might gasp, and throb and sing
With nothing but my fragile frame at midnight
Being a listener, would I hear you over seas?

T r a n s f i g u r e P o e t r y


22

T r a n s f i g u r e P o e t r y

Have you ever
Loved something so terribly much
It spilled into everything else?
That’s how falling in life feels like

It’s a wide-open
Mountain
Stars
Eyes in the
Open
That does you in, and rain-drops

Each making points of elegant silence in the night
Etching lifetimes of love over your subconscious

Have you ever
Loved someone so terribly much
It made you love life, permanently?

What’s heaped too with highs
Halls, bliss, open empty spaces
Of pure possibility, paired to reinforces
That were rainbow mantras

I may live on until
I long for a time

When everyone is happy
Forever in empathy, compassion, gratitude
That life’s unity might come
To a more powerful fruition.

F o o t p r i n t s of Loneliness


Tina Chang6TinaChang5

F o o t p r i n t s of Loneliness

I am hunted by my father’s lack of approval
And haunted by my mother’s naiveté
How a family can live on inside
A psyche, for good or ill, but one day

Our parents die; we may even lose touch with a brother
The empire in which we were born
Might lose its world-power and prestige

Taunted by a ruined name, we live on
With each version of our childhood we remember
We must pass a threshold of regret

And carry a student’s debt into the decades
I don’t know if it’s secrets which I carry
Or simply the dread of ancestors and descendants
The broken chain that started with me

Hypnotized by shadows, too poor to settle anyhow
Our ovaries will dry up one day
And my fleshy handle won’t be operative

If I were a dream you could say I unravelled
My mortality, but truth does not matter here
Only that answers we tell ourselves at the end of a long day
And the souls who save us with kindness and security.

On learning to Dream Big


77

On learning to Dream Big

You will say unbelievable things
Dreaming big, early in the morning
And some part of you will
Always remember, taking heart

To the extraordinary limbs
Of courage and destiny
That resides in you

Brave enough to bury ghosts
And cut ties with dysfunctional
Experiments, rising to maturity

Will you be able to
Open closed doors and close
Opened doors that impoverish

Your mind, your body of purity
Your motivation to achieve?
And they will say unbelievable things

And you won’t falter, because
You will be prepared, having
Goals at the root of your actions
What will be able to sway you?
It is a short walk anyways

From adulthood to maturity
The years won’t seem so slow
And you wrote all the things
You dreamed about and
Like music, your goals walked with you

You loved what you wanted to be
And as you abandoned things
For that which you most loved
You found the sacrifice was sacred
You came to believe in
Hard work, as an end to itself.

The Joys of pain


51

There are evenings
Without angels
That burn with the feeling
Of human pain

You know what it brings
A voluptuousness
Of poetry in lunatics
An eternal orchestra

Of spirits gone unrealized
Broken dreams, unfashionable
Alienation and furious sub-selves
Sad men made angels of the sun

And the moon became
Our attendant ghost
Of the Sea and the mortals pain
So very brief, but not as

Brief as our love
Before AI we had no memory
Only a little advice from
Half-hearted parents

The antiquest of society
An accord of repetitions
Blunt and dull and flashing
For something new

That never seemed to come
A future of pointed night
That never burst properly.

Post-Modern Freedom


A self-help series poem

49

Post-Modern Freedom

Don’t be surprised by events
Experience is your teacher
Don’t be attached to what you have
Life has given you

So much already
Time is what may come to pass
Because today you were ready
Give up defining yourself

Live in the freedom of the moment
Don’t let past labels cloud your judgement
But be a clean slate each and every day
Die to yourself that you might

Love the world more, it’s sometimes
Necessary, to become somebody new
Change to adapt to the challenges
Push yourself to surprise yourself

Experience is your loving teacher
Time is your tender mistress
Abundance and simplicity will play
With you, as children you once knew

Do not be surprised if they call you names
Do not be shocked if they depart
You are who you are for a reason
Awaken to that purpose so you can

Clearly celebrate the moment
And finally, be grateful for the
Emergence of new experiences
Your soul likes them before
You perceive they are even happening to you.

The idea of order as a myth


22
We were crossing bridges
At every moment, like symbolic
Journeys made and left behind
Half-man, half-star

Just creatures half-aware
Through time, judging
With our sense of duality
How time and space and energy

Could interact in transience
Fate only lasted after all
Until we died, until moments
Became memories and acts

When the wind stops and the
Heart no longer beats, maybe then
We can say with some finality
That it is over, life was but a dream

A myth we perpetuated, like identity
Useful in its ability to give us
A sense of security and conformity
But somewhat misguided, calling

For pomp and drama at every turn
The ego was an incapable master
Of force, and full of fiction
Like the death of a soldier who was

Somebody’s pawn, it was all
Like a simulation, absurdity
Witness at the public square
The office room politics

And the stage, where we were
Like actors, unaware of our lines
Barren, regretful and hopelessly idealistic.

Visions opened after a Human Lifetime


54

No and Yes
We’ve seen it all, this duality
The mind, body

The two syllables of love
If the world is real
We will have died
If the world is unreal
We will have lived

It’s the cleft between
All beginnings, and all ends
The male and female part of us

That speaks through all significant others
Talking about to us
What does it say?
Words are unreal
Experience evaporates

Silence rests all speech
Smiles foretell all energy
The exchange that does not end

With a you, or with a me
Unreality of form
Turning into spirit
Reality of spirit
Spilling into space-time

No and Yes
Free finally of
Exclamations, pauses and questions

Free to dizzily wander
The whirlwind and the flow
Fluid like there is no tomorrow
In the plaza of the mind
What is indeed possible?

Language like water
Between your breasts
Thrives for symbols

Objects & apparitions
Wood and stone
So much to commit to conversation
And so much a silent dialogue.

Photo Courtesy:
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Having a Kafka Moment


Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
~ John Milton

57

i’ve been growing old slower
with all this beauty around me
my peers lately, have been chatting
about the power of gratitude

every revolution evaporates
so why bother, bureaucracy
prevails, politicians are corrupt

i’ve been growing old slower
since i started not doing politics
not being political, learning
to be productive in the spheres

that aren’t touched by the marketplace
i’ve learned not to lie, by staying silent
i no longer read advertisements

i no longer occupy my time with wanting things
i’ve been growing old slower
with a quiet beginning of understanding
the first wish to die has risen in me

like a bud that will flower
a medication from my own substance
i have the true feeling of myself

only when i give up happiness and unhappiness
there, the world will present itself
to you with its unmasking
like a child that only wants to play

i’ve been growing old more slowly
in theory where I abandon the second world
the idea that suffering is necessary

that pain is a natural argument of time
i’d rather read a book
that serves as an ax for
the frozen sea within me

and associate myself with human beings
that not only lure me into a self-observation
but allow me to laugh at myself better

or realize how pathetically scant
my self-knowledge is compared to say
the awareness that I am growing older
and care less for my youthful failures

by consequence of a natural decline in memory
it’s there, that evil is whatever distracts
me from whatever I consider my calling

at the time, did I mention that
i’ve been growing old more slowly
since I’ve surrounded myself with kind women?
it’s true, women are precisely

my favorite religion, i could hide
in their dogma for any number of years
feeling totally young in their emotions

find many hiding places listening
smiling to their relationship-antagonists.

轉型


31
37
i

Despair fails like dreams before living
The direct path requires not
Drama, repeating tragedies, private dilemmas
Simplicity renews itself
At a blink before the flower shop
And the faint subtraction of youth
Pride flashes like lightning before

ii

The rain carefully washes us to become
Free of adversity, we finally arrive
At the rose-blue light, transport
Before Dawn, at our favorite place
The clarity after all frameworks have
Been revealed, the neutrality after attachment

iii

The love after karma’s supermarket trash
Was taken away in the heart of an impure soul
Despair fails, like how an old neighborhood
Cannot stay the same, the habit of suffering
Gets endured one way or another.

DIVING INTO THE POETIC WRECK


18

i

This is the place
The thing I came for:
A moment of the pause of poetry
Where life melts into meaning
Barely objective, the subjective-myth
The tentative haunter of my spirit
Who circles me silently in the night
While I sleep, the eyes
From which I shall return

ii

This is the place
The cowardice of courage
A half-destroyed instrument of soul-sense
A freedom in failure
I came to explore the wreck
Of the human condition
To taste things for myself
Slowly along the flanks of hidden treasures

iii

It pumps my blood with power and chi
The kind of oxygen charged with blue light
That sends the author in me some hope
That I may write questions worth asking
I have to learn alone
I have a lot of work to do.

Poetry Courtesy: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Just-a-perfect-day-292908195

SELF


4

Little self, do I hold yourself dearest?
Hi self, have I watched you carefully enough –
I know you have moments of

Wisdom, so keep watching yourself
Know thyself, it is a matter
Of Loving others, that we might
Be taught by the world a bit easier….

If a person holds themselves dear
It means to let ourselves be guided
Shaped by the world in which we were born
So I will study the wrongs I have done

I have myself, to oneself, compassion not always given
For in the self, there are no enemies, no actual
Misfortunes, learning is beneficial and good

Loving is not a very difficult thing to do
Little self, what wrong ideas have you
Been following lately, what humility lacking?

What bravery forgotten: the wise should be
Watchful of themselves, and smile
For what is a self to do but suffer eloquently?

Be always attentive to the duty
To be self-compassionate, it’s a lesson
For the experienced, for the generous selves.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Casual-East-meets-West-454252336

Treatise on Zhuangzi


55

Once upon a time, I dreampt I was a butterfly
I flew with whatever happened
Letting my mind wander freely
I felt the ultimate in words because of meaning
A unity or forgotten words in silence

I was conscious only of my happiness
I lived in peace and now I fly
I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man
A path is made by walking it
A life is loved by living it

Do not reward or punish yourself
It is the lowest form of education
But rather speak to the Tao in everything
Watch your own and the turmoil of beings
Knowing you will return to the butterfly-state
Kindhearted as a grandmother, amused as an uncle

Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness
To be truly ignorant is enough, be content with your own knowledge
Leap into the boundless and make it your home
Forget the years, forget separation, forget distinctions
And duality, during our dreams we do not know

We are dreaming, we may even dream of
Interpreting a dream, that is why
After a great awakening, we laugh at them.

At The Hinge of All My Days


84

If I shouldn’t be alive –
Let others do, what I could not
Let them not save me
Any memorial crumbs

Our stories are all retold
Again and again, like being fast
Asleep and dreaming life
Our lives, they come and go

So quickly, if I should die tomorrow
Perhaps I will have been asked
To go abroad, to some further star –
And there I shall take compact Sunshine

With me, my first well Day in ages
If I shouldn’t be alive –
Let poets rise from every circumstance
Uncertain of themselves, so –

We all cheat ourselves, dropping
Threads of our youthful dreams
We conform to routine lives
If I shouldn’t be alive –

Maybe it is for the best?
To fade into tomorrow with
Rainbows held, like brief recompense.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Winter-Spices-412283366

I’m Waiting for September


3

I’m waiting for September
walking upriver, wishing for
whiskey at midnight. concentrate
on how to give your life full meaning?

the changing of karmic bed linen
pink sheet on, up for anything
the future and past no longer matter
I’m waiting for September

bread and butter for old dreams
that never came to fruition
the past three months have bloomed
moments that didn’t forget the ‘bath’

I’m clean so soft and light
bleached from the prudery of old grief
I’m wishing blessings down upon us
I look away from savagery

beauty’s shadows shine beneath the black
as a smothered laugh, a sudden lifted care
it is humane to suffer and to dream
the wife that embraces you

like the sharpening air –
i am content to remain a dabbled herbivore
with knees and elbows together
in the window, I will find solace here

I’m waiting for September
I’ll set it down into the leaves
and let it flutter home, as
any red maple melts into the ground.

Photography Courtesy of: http://www.deviantart.com/art/September-Mornings-6-326956485