New Poems 2007-2011
and older ones for good measure
J. Douglas Stuber
W J Stuber,
Park Kwang Suk and
James Hyuntay Stuber.
Michel Stuber, Donald Hall
Hollins University, Bev Logan
The University of Florida, Edward Lyons
Chonnam National University, Shin Gyonggu
Brian Schaeffer, Park Yeon Seong, Michael Mercier
Lori Stuber, Norm Davis, Go Mi Ran
Kim Soon, Warren Hicks, Jeff Zentner, Greg Devlin
Paul Aaron, Theresa El Amin, Lynn Ikenberry, David Manning
Friday Noon Poets
And the memories of:
Thomas A. Stuber
Nancy L. Stuber
Diane S. Stuber
W. Michael Keller
J. Douglas Stuber
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past,
not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles,
but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
The poet may be contacted directly at:
Table of Contents
Ode To Horace Mann 7
KSP Gets a Lump in Her Throat 8
Seoul IV (Sweet Cakes) 9
Yobo II 10
Prophecy, Friday February 29, 2007 11
Open Eye Affair (“I Like My Religion”) 12
Upper Deck, 17 February 2007 13
Easter 2007 14
Belgrade, 23 July 2008 15
Dark Brown Suede Pumas 16
No Bees, No Apples, No Honey 17
I’m Walking 18
Future Shock 19
Paris Baguette Finale 20
You Know… 21
Play II Thirty-Five Years Later 25
Anchored in 27
Welcome Mat 28
Lost girl and 29
Her hair shines 30
Hyuntay talks 31
This ill man 32
His hours suck 33
For KSP 34
Now she waits 35
Sapphire Valley 36
For Yobo 37
Dream One 38
Dream Two 39
Dream Three 40
The Good Life 41
Questions and Answers 42
Welcome Back 43
Yobo III 44
We’ve woven a web 45
We Don’t 46
Ode to Kwang Suk Park 47
Yobo IV 48
Carpe Nostrum 49
White Day, The Ides of March 50
Gwangju May 18, 2010 51
Money can buy friends 52
Those strange days 53
For Tareq 54
Truffaut here 55
This one walks 56
This one a 57
Smile to laugh 59
Yeosu’s Art 60
After a two month 61
Female crane lands on 62
Try to compute this 64
Nose tingle, gut wrench 65
She keeps the pumice 66
Windy courtyard six 67
Bombed Belgrade 68
Would you miss being 69
Fast Food Paradise 70
Live Strong 71
Cactus Mints 72
Cathy’s-Eye View 73
When facing the loss 74
Saint Valentine pulls 75
She steps off the bus, my heart aflutter… 76
Corporate Suckered Us 77
Hargraves Blues 78
Four from Beijing…Today’s beauty is 80
Rong sells art 83
Ruth walks in 84
He’s too old to have to 85
Swing Low in Swing Town 87
James Hyuntay at Five 88
Barf Bag Poem #34, JAT Skopje – Beo 89
Wedding Poem 91
Starting Over 92
Human Throes and Woes 93
October 22 94
Carolina Wren 96
Now or Never 97
Jesus is a Liberal 98
Genocide, Slavery, Greed 99
Beauty Realized 101
At the Mill 102
Canary Row Hoe Ho 103
Better Off Red? 105
Shady park 106
Postmaster Seul Gi 107
For Binayak Sen 108
Why are You Still Here? 109
Communal Land 110
First Grub, Then Play 111
Pittsford, N.Y. Meets Gwangju, R.O.K 112
Zen Dye, Sendai, Send Die 113
Better off Red? 114
WJS at 83 (The James Gang Rides Again) 115
Ode to Horace Mann
Be ashamed to die until you have won some
victory for humanity. – Horace Mann
Be aware that energy is life, save some for your kids.
Be afraid that our minds are bent by news, not books.
Be awed by the healing power of the simple purple cone flower.
Be awake before the bombs drop, before the money rules.
Be agile: live in a town that walks and bikes to work and play.
Be amused by ants and birds, goats and potato fields, lilacs and sycamores.
Be angry only long enough to solve the problem, then move on.
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.
KSP Gets a Lump in Her Throat
Frantic, Hyuntay squeals, runs, jumps, comes barreling
at you, crashing head into legs, reaching high, lifted to
eye-level, laughing to see you again. His paintings soar:
landscapes in orange and green, and he’s mad about golf
since Eomji gave him that three-club starter set when he was
eighteen months old. His cross-handed grip already produces
semi-consistent ball-striking. Putting’s going to take a while,
as his father can’t chip or putt these days. If need be, should
big bear and little bear walk these woods alone, Eomji’s
visits had better come more often, or, with bag in tow, maybe
Hae La could hang with Hyuntay while big bear pulls a loop,
at least in his brain, with the charging young gun, sixty-five
on Sunday, 30th to third in one day, invited to Mission Hills
in just her first season, and missing rookie-of-the-year by
$519.00. Yup, it’s full steam ahead, back to days of painting
and love-making, memory-building and coming close, photos
and nature walks. You’ve made a promise that should be easy
to keep: remain positive for the rest of your life. Bite your
tongue until bloody, if necessary. Be supportive, and remind
yourself how lucky you are to be married to Kwang Suk Park.
They walk arm-in-arm, put us up, bring roses and
sweetcakes, hoodies and brassieres. They remember
everything about trips through China and Mongolia.
The one who wears pink lipstick had an offer back
then, and the one who applies a full lipping of pinkish
red would get any gender quivering, so this series of
reminiscence isn’t all bad. This one could be Wende
Logan’s Asian love child: she dresses like Lexi too!
It means that, once again, genetic synchronicity (seeing
something of old friends in the body/language of new
friends) is at work, which means something long-term
will come of this last Kim. She can exclaim, with
throat-clearing adamants, then turn her empathetic eyes
and sing-songy voice to convince you she won’t be out of
Park’s life for ten years again this time. She’s covering
a much wider range of experience than the others. Maybe
she’ll come to Beijing with us as we extend our visas. She
would visit her sons. For me, sector 798, the art scene, is
what matters. We can stroll along tourista-style and see the
homes they’re knocking down to make way for the Olympics.
She’s in a biopsy now. A Mike Pease print of the
Mohawk Valley hangs out here, waiting to be
recognized as Upstate New York via only red barn,
trees and moraine-built hills, left behind when ice
caused the river. Finger Lakes just southwest from
his well-made snippet, the fifty-eighth of one hundred
twenty. Pease is good, but not good enough to keep
my mind off Yobo’s procedure, no less results, and the
road ahead. She’s scared, visibly scared, even a tear
in her eye, but this needs to be a no-stress day, so I
excuse myself between ultrasound and biopsy, allowing
that leaving creates more nervousness for Park, not the
type that cottons to surgery of any kind. This room has
folks from Danville, my matriarchal great-grandmother’s
home. This and the print nurse me through this time. A
quick run over to return a brace-shop miss-mailing keeps
the innards from churning. Now laughter flows through
the room full of cancer patients and their supporters.
Yobo’s late now, in overtime on the biopsy table, with
Doctor Chong overseeing an Indian intern. He’s got
trachea, arteries and lymph nodes to miss, and whew, he
did miss, so here she is, ice-packed throat, alive, but upset.
Prophecy, Friday February 29, 2007
The wide-winged hawks that glide the wind
are cheered by little boys
whose parents huddle by the fire
as if they had a choice.
But times are tough, the drought moves in
as cattle eat hills bare.
Pandemic flu slows elders down
but they still have time to care.
On sunny days we turn the soil
with ashes, leaves and rinds.
February adds a day this year:
a chance to clear our minds
so overwrought with changing times
we’re scared before seeds grow
we’ll have to move the family
if the mortgage lays us low.
Pa said he was a little tike
the last time money soured.
I know I’m spoiled, and caught unmasked
with no wheat to flour.
We send out signals to our friends
and even to our foes.
We’re here to help, if you can work
then join us in our woes.
Open Eye Affair (“I Like My Religion”)
The pattern is a machine knit on standard tuke
just placed down, exposing real blonde hair. Her
deep-blue-green dress allows knees to poke at a
ninety degree angle, like a compass using the table
leg as an arc point of a ray emanating from her
inquisitive eyes, intelligent forehead. A vortex
of cold winter heat initiates contact points that
turn from glances to hair toss-backs. She’s the
type too absorbed in study to realize how her
essence can fill a room. For now, knowing how
many men (19-25) take a second look is sufficient.
Her hairy boyfriend sips chamomile, and now she
goes for a reverse fold-over: a hair move where
you raise your elbows as high as possible. “This
coffee is disgusting. It tastes like it’s been sitting
at the bottom of an urn for a week, then re-heated.”
But that’s Fred on the back row. Blondini the Great
is on about the relative merits of a quote read to her
by her boyfriend, from a textbook. She uses “OKay”
logic to argue a finer point, distinguishing style from
subject matter in a post-deconstructionist, strict
feminist-Freudian interpretation , admitting, in the
end, that she doesn’t really know how things would
turn out: changing positively, or damaging humanity
irreparably if her logic was to be applied in the real world.
Upper Deck, 17 February 2007
Something about a 30-year-old blonde waitress
sporting pig-tails, loop earrings, and hanging out
after her shift is over. Mick’s far away eyes zoom
in, penetrate any man strong enough to make a play.
Rochester ramblings yield to thumb rings, cigarette
packing, and lean-in kisses: the Upper Deck
twists and lurches toward winter’s eve. Two thirds
of the inhabitants are in on the action. It revolves
around solid butt smacks, who’s-with-who versus
who’s gonna get sucked in. Darts and suds, it’s a
sports bra, leave your rings at the door, musicians
mingle with choppers type of place. It’s a bastion,
a regular oasis in the midst of Disney-carved Cary:
“Containment Area for Relocated Yankees” and
sure enough, the barkeep is a former executive chef
who escaped Kodak, Scottsville and six month snows
to open a pool-infested, smoke dominated, rock blaring
leather cultured hang out. Old school in the middle of
a North Carolina new school town. Yup, it’s full of
your colorblind, hold’em playing, hoops fans, and the
men who tag along with them. Amazing they’re not
playing cribbage at the bar, or euchre at the tables.
Nah, that’d be too yankee. Dang smart of this guy
Ted to open a place of automatic reunions built on
place, another place, a place where people can still
meet up, unwind and let loose other than church.
Fortunate to live in abundance, blessed, but obsessed,
the hard-working American gobbles energy, changes hair
color, piles on debt, to live the life prescribed by television.
Jesus rose for this? Carl Rove sends eight-page sermons
to Baptist, Fundamentalist and other rural denominations
whose preachers rarely resist, and charge on, Christian
soldiers, pushing the moral majority, which is neither, but
knows how to win elections: limit impoverished voting
while accusing Dems of voting twice, pollute the airwaves
with scare tactics, some racial, some terrorist, all meant to
be “tough on crime,” which is to say working for the haves,
not the have nots. 1980, the turning point, at which all
American promise was raided by greed-soaked pirates,
who moved our middle class overseas, selling out for
personal gain, while creating pollution zones, anencephaly,
and a permanent foreign and domestic under-class never
able to afford what they’re building. Jesus rose for this?
It’s just as bad that Muslims have been hoodwinked, but if
we don’t start preaching a gospel of brotherhood, acceptance,
and helping those who need help, our fate will be miserable.
Belgrade, 23 July 2008
Ivan, our favorite Serbian punk rocker dude
plays translator as we walk from church to
museum to atelier. His dark paintings already
surpass Mayon, but he’d be nowhere without her.
Seven months of bombing in 1999 rid the town of
Milosovic but not Karadizc, and how many died for
this? Ivan wants out; he’s tired of shortages, sleeps
where he drops, saving bus fare to the rocky suburbs.
He never used bomb shelters as sirens blared: if the
bombs got him, so be it. The clownish morose, post
Francis Bacon look to his art is horrifying, sharp, fresh,
accountable. Maryon slams the door as we leave, having
twice talked of suicide on a closed-up Monday before
cold rain came. These two need the smoke and drink
more than anyone I’ve met so far. Although the terra cotta
forms placed in families on the square are funny, even
swimming, the medieval music can’t turn black clothes
and lipstick into merriment for long. Lyubo laughs, talks
to friends; he knows everyone. Two days later Karadizc
is arrested, Mr. President looks down on park whores.
Dark Brown Suede Pumas
The effervescent funniness that permeates college
campus ladies and gentleman floats in coffee -stench
air. We all love star-torn loners wailing away on their
notepads. It’s a down vest Polar Fleece January night,
full of head-nods, poke-ins, note-taking. Up at the bar,
a white sweater stretches to accommodate her hands,
now behind her back, and pushing, full force, forward
and upward at the barista dude. “The book of General
Ignorance” blares from a chest-top. Umbrella-boy,
cautious, finds a quiet corner, as F-Bombs float at Gillian
from a newly-arrived admirer. Small Carolina students
filter in to the increasingly multi-cultural meeting room:
a concrete and sofa and card-table and schoolhouse-bench-
desk decorated box that outstrips most coffee houses for
ambiance. Ear phones become a secondary defense (again
the laptops are the number one wall) as the glance comes
back strong from Puma-girl. Peruvian art goes mostly
unnoticed, but proximity leads to new friendships today.
No Bees, No Honey, No Apples
A wagon wheel of discontent
hangs from the rafters above
a stark white room where people swoon,
but rarely fall in love.
A drenching rain flows past dead grass
on land scorched from global heat.
A Heron chick wades in a pond
no deeper than her feet.
A farmer trims the pond-edge growth,
but gets his tractor stuck in mud.
Neighbors store great gobs of art
that once hit Berlin with a thud.
A liar squawks from a studio box
Diane responds, in quivering voice,
“How can you say that Stu?!?”
A multitude swarms the streets
many without regret:
economics, home to roost,
in the land of war and debt.
A singer sings, arms hiding breasts,
but otherwise she’s bare.
Selling sex far easier than
selling songs that dare.
A worker trapped by bills and mate
has nothing but beer and TV.
Wagon wheel turns as Iraqis cry out,
She heads down gravel lane, walking ancient Cedar Pass.
Nature’s flow soothes demands that threaten simple plans,
Tugged by generations old and new, daily walk like skipping class.
Geographic interventions cause surrender into foreign hands,
but culture is not the biggest challenge that she has:
It’s my moody mornings and countless creative clans.
So once our 18-month-old slows down too fast,
or once he falls asleep by music stands,
she sneaks out to the studio to paint or teach a class.
In the morning we bow and press our hands.
Buddhist gong sounds through a machine, not mass,
but a reverent moment broken by clanging pans.
He likes to play in cupboards, pull tea or frozen bass
onto the floor, onto his feet, surprise! He learns to carry cans
without incident. We can’t wait until he wipes his ass!
He bows, nods, and points to hawks gliding.
Wide-eyed, 14-month-old gusto, untainted by experience
and foreboding forecasts about ice-cap or economic
melt down, happily engages in self-feeding, floor hockey
and fire watching. This latitude should provide food,
extra rain, and room for friends in the post-American
world, barring local war. As a parent, I’m torn: do I
teach activism or farming? Accounting or self reliance?
The glory of the moment is the way a back-spun Frisbee
wavers before settling on oak. Sometimes flipped quarters
vibrate to a rest, but not the way a Frisbee does. So each
morning, after he pulls me out of reading, little James
hands me an inflated bat we use for hockey, or the
fluorescent green Frisbee he wants me to spin. He speaks
volumes in a language trapped between Korean and English,
And no matter how I respond, we’re off to the next adventure.
It’s a crying shame that so many parents get so little time
with their children. Heck, the economics of suburban life
keep getting harder, meaning less goofing-around time.
Caucasians have been in ascension for thousands of years,
with few interruptions. What will James face as deserts grow,
ice slips into the sea, and Asians, through good old hard work,
take charge? If he’s lucky, his Korean heritage will help keep
him motivated, while the ability to grow his own food serves
as a back-up, just in case all the prognosticators have it right.
Paris Baguette Finale
A retro-skinny, power-faced 40-something
scowls as she barely glances, moving her head
dramatically, high above the pedestrian show that
never ends. Oozy-rap can’t beat the word count,
even when piped many decibels above the booth
chatter. Arm-in-arm the ladies walk, about two
percent stroll paired-up heterosexually. “There are
no gay people in Korea,” she says, as we walk past
the Golden River Motel, six stories, adorned by pink
tip-down neon triangle trapping the word “in.”
There’s something about ultra fat lips that take up the
full width of a high-cheeked face that make you
want her number, whether you call doesn’t matter,
as the number would be enough to jog solo romance
time. Now camouflaged pants, tight, mix in with
those famous schoolgirl skirts. Banilla hits me in the
nose, as the goat-footed salesman whistles far and wee,
conjuring Taesan temple with its noisy stream, concrete
island, and Chilsun Cider soda machine. You occupy
the same space in Korea: an energy using contraption
full of contemporary issues, wildly out of place.
You know your child is smartening up
when he starts to squirm at the smell of a
doctor’s office. You know science is
right when it’s sweltering with no rain,
a triple drought, but the developments continue.
You know the leaders are wrong when one
giant war creeps at us with hundreds of
thousands of families against us forever.
You know the cocoon of innocence no longer
cradles most children when food wars
break out in Africa. You know that the
widest love still lacks the power to spread
resources equally. You know how lucky
you are to be at the top of the economic heap.
You know there is much to do to change the
system, but wonder how to do more than change
your immediate surroundings. You know that
hard work by a small number of dedicated
people can make things better. You know you
are now part of this change, whether recorded
or not, painted or not, written or not. You know
life is too short to waste time. You know how
to squeeze everything out of this, produce a
winning recipe and feed your friends. You know
life pulls you to the corners of the earth, but each
new set brings opportunity to share and progress.
Specks of cherry blossoms remain, six months after, crunched
to microscopic, yet able to detect the soft November feet of
knee-booted beauties. Washington’s engorged monument is
Korean, six inches, but proud, laying-in to boot-skirt on the mall.
Blushing blossoms accept the thumping as better than souls,
more aesthetic than the spiked dens that welcome the kinky
Dupont Circle crowd, you know, congressmen on the town with
their page boys. We’re now “all -in,” bushwhacked into this
winner-take-all culture with few winners, proud sinners, all-meat
dinners. Unshaved Hispanics growl when the dealer hits two
black jacks in a row. Cactus stand, not waving in the wind that
tumbles weeds over mountains, that then ignite to torch homes
of the “richies” who once had it made. Malibu, New Orleans,
Florida in general: is there a pattern here? Gaia, perhaps our
only god, has good aim, giving the haves ample opportunity to
atone: few do. Perpetual human error peaks again now, as
Christians preach morality, their U.S. leader tortures, slaughters,
greedily spilling blood for oil, trading tomorrow for carbon-filled
today, while children and nincompoops watch, jaws agape, because
they didn’t see it coming. By nineteen-eighty-three it was evident,
but still, twenty years into the fall, the one-two combo of religious
propaganda and twisted “news” helped smooth over electoral fraud
in time to put the slow crank on World War Three. Skip forward
to November, back-peddle to the leaf pile, where larger color
combinations lure Alexis and her playmate into unbridled bare-
backed adventures. Cool air slows his sweat, but not before a drop
jumps his nose. She thrusts to lick it out of the air, which is just
the angle adjustment he needs to finish the act. Show this to the
wonks, well-walled on cubicle row sixty-seven, and BASHA! your
job is over. It’s that easy to escape the grind, but near impossible
to be your own cowboy and feed the kids. This is when corporate
can be your friend: just throw out all convictions, trade values
for value-added do-dads that increase profits and productivity
simultaneously and do not stress the details. No one minds if you
are loading atomic weapons, making attack ads, fucking your
“niece,” as long as the leaves rustle gently, lips quiver repeatedly,
and voyeur neighbors get a hot glance, on an Indian Summers’ eve.
We’re off to ladder-day playground, three days of bliss, but
can bliss be made over the ghosts of 1948? We’re not even
ashore and visions of Navy shops landing blood-thirsty
policemen already dance over our slightly innocent vacation.
Five-hour boat ride provides re-acquaintance, so I ask
questions as if it was our first date. When and how tower
over why, as I work to coax our brains away from the day-to-day
and into a place where bodily delights can shine naked, unbridled.
Spring water, goofy stone statues, like the Disney version of Easter
Island, orange chocolates, unique cakes, scraggly crags, and
one vast ocean await. Someone drew a round-headed lady with short
hair on the back of a seat. Yobo holds my hand, signs an email
“Your Lover,” and cares so well for Little Bear when he’s sick
or yelling out for Big Bear in his sleep. Thirty thousand ghosts
take vacation, allowing beauty, peace, birds and humans to mingle
on this rock paradise. We stroll, climb, swat mosquitoes, laughing
about the one Little James got, his first kill. But that brings ghosts
back to your mind, unfairness, how lucky you are. Ah, how lucky
to be safe, happy, soaked in love, a strange love, parental, spurts
of closeness, but mostly responsible, efficient, providing protection.
Brandy barks at swooping swallows,
Life lowered to one foot or so
In summertime is simple,
As the lure of tired dogs and clover
Greets only those who need to play.
Scampering down outside stairs
Past the skidding bicycle marks
To a tumbling fit of joy
Goes the only daily memor
Of a happiness once known.
Landing in a pile of limbs,
Which includes the golden hair
That shines of wetness on the
Back of Brandy, the player
Laughs at the summer sin.
How long will it be
Before the play begins again,
Before the youthful joy
Once known appears, before
The love, if ever, returns?
Play II, Thirty Five Years Later
There’s this shadow made by Korean Pines that hits
the white wall of building two at one every day.
If you’re sitting upstairs at An Die Musik, lazily
waiting for your favorite lunch-mate, this shadow can
appear to be the cliff seen in ancient watercolors. A
dark cliff and foggy white air in a far-distant place.
Foreground cloud-clipped conifers add a touch of reality,
nudging you back to lunch, which arrives, unlike your partner.
Today it’s the newfound cliff, visible only from three
southeast-facing seats. Students move, shoes push grains
into jagged cracks, yellow buds enlarge, the sun warms
frosted souls, but it’s the shadow cliff that matters. Now
you have a new friend, silent but hopeful, strong yet fake,
everlasting but ever-changing, finally receding with the sun
to a place no one knows. A morose quartet, early romantic,
pops at least one bright piano note, while cello, violin, viola
continue their lament. A new banner is stretched between
trees. The perpetrators are efficient and mingle into passersby
in less than thirty seconds. Now the cliff cascades, trios walk
and talk, you dream of love alone, confident it will return.
So this is
it: you’re gone, wind blows,
Three serious gossip hounds
You’re back; shake
cute butt as Hyuntay
screams and runs
joyous in our nest, his soul
It is love
that ties us, but what
Language? Art? The smell of dried
You love me,
so I love you, so
what comes next?
Noh is gone, I’m here. Love me
oblivion, attached to
lost friends, so
gone they have no fond
You do though…
the flowers picked, presented
to warm eyes,
neighborhood news man
fifty paces from “blue lake.”
She jumps in,
swims under water,
pulls shorts down.
pile, conspire, socialize, while
baked clams soak.
You walk into gray.
husband finds friends a burden,
poetry pines, not
season passes undone. Teams
pick quick boys.
Forced army time sucks
as Buddha dreams sycamore
accepting all death
Cool girls smoke.
Fetish heals pump frilly shorts.
under motel lights.
Home sweet home.
Lost girl and
found one scribe for him
as summer brightens early:
rolls across dusty
path. Fat man
chases it, dreams of mocha
unfold under soft
Their inquisitive eyes search
tent sprouts on the square.
is a natural response:
love grows now.
Her hair shines,
face smiles, legs walk to
new rooms. Freedom arrives in
time for festivals.
Spring feels good.
She works hard,
writes her future in
a foreign tongue, delicious
words become the fruit
to life’s welcoming siren:
an innocent song
sung to her.
is older, brash, excited
by this firm woman.
Adults everywhere stop to
listen. Yobo smiles,
Her hair and
body change, drawing me to
gives us two hours to discuss,
It’s spring, and
the long rain stops, art begins,
children run. Yobo
This ill man
threatens springtime with
nuclear desires: one last
erect missile, then
Attract your blue eyes
so you wave between classes,
Why can’t we
just this one time? I promise
it’s between me and
Twice now she
has sat in my class,
overworked, yet together
serious, but so
His hours suck.
She’s worked him, others
to the bone with re-writes that
Rock and roll
shall not grace airwaves
during the last gasp. Summer
must yield to winter:
so-called alternative junk
no one listens to
How to keep
good people here, when
solutions are so lame, so
old fashion. Still love
is not needed for
the most sincere, warm woman
some man will get next.
Tears of joy.
Don’t blame him.
He could not resist
keeping you tied down so long.
He had to have your
Your light will
sustain me, not him.
Whoever has the time will
find earth’s angel with
If not for
you, memory would
die, life would flame out, ashes
swept to a deep corner.
Stay now, stay.
Now she waits
free in her solo
quest to become the woman
she’s meant to
in so many ways,
this one knows the path
to unlock secrets of life:
This time it’s
extended through eternal
now rebounds off rocks
sticking up on Mudeung’s top,
blue in empty rock
field catches soaring hawk’s eye.
protrude in spring air.
peddler flows with wing’s
shadow, misses this jewel,
eyes fixed on
Gem springs to
life, a beautiful
woman made by over-gods
who want her
to go out and love.
sadness remains trapped
in blue light. Alive and free
aware that secret
love lasts only so long when
Once last May
he stopped by to ask
if she would kiss in public.
She broke his
He was a
fool, she was too young,
she thought, then
he pines for her, but
does not bother her with calls.
He loves her
Now just one
living under Yobo’s arm
in a dream that shows
two hearts’ paths.
You climb smooth
breast, sit on textured
nipple as it rises with her
breath. Slide down to her
Asleep, she laughs
but doesn’t know you
secretly inspect her skin
to detect her true
But wait, it’s
your intentions that
guide this dream, so dive in boy!
This delicious swim
Tastes so good.
She takes off her dress,
bra, panties, shoes, and unties
her short curly hair.
she asks you not to
towel off cool water drops.
Blood rushes, bulging’
Legs spread, but you start
with toes, individual
deep sucks for each as
she starts to
Long calf licks is all
it takes to send her into
wiggling and moaning.
She waves from
under yellow shade.
Canopy conceals her smile
to all but
She aches to
throw herself anew,
still constricted by parents’
They let her
go, but drew her back;
dream to reality
will be a
Here’s how it
goes: find her, love her,
vow this is not the last swim.
The Good Life
Too fat to be loved,
too old, smug,
but wait, here’s the love at home:
Herb burns, puzzles, teas.
So it’s three more jobs
all for mate.
No more middle school
visits, but time for
the ladies, friends old and new,
Daecheon, Busan, Seoul.
Manura gets them
while tears flow,
pure loneliness Plath
could relate to, but no one
in this blistered burg.
Grab a movie, sit
yourself, work six to
midnight, smile, teach, play, walk, laugh,
cry alone. Alone.
Questions and Answers
Model-thin, with Sophia’s ass,
she struts to work in the booth at the spa;
now three linemen climb concrete poles
now cables strung, three becomes one
as they work their way down this typical
street, ladders tilted, dress shirts walking, it’s
ten a.m., high heels already evident, happy couple
sips rice water, eats seaweed sandwich, she
tosses her hair back and laughs again, trying
to guide him toward a motel before time
interdicts, because this is Korea, and no one has
time, so love implodes: bursts of together, while
years of hard work add stress to the point
that our happy couple must strain to relax, and
isn’t that the modern world, so used by the system,
no time left for joy? But here comes this one,
fresh from twelve hours of reading room study:
the embassy job test series crunches smiling face
into concerned eyes, but three hours of q and a over
Jakob’s soft sandwich sets up her restful weekend.
You offered the moon and I snapped it up, one hooked
whale, not able to assess repercussions. I offer it back.
It’s seven years after the fact, but so many yesterdays
don’t come close to the prospect tomorrow will bring.
This yummy fake blueberry cheesecake covers the
lucky sequence that led to this moment: a flowerbox
café across from the dig that will become a cultural
magnet if the funding holds up from Seoul to finally
finish the thing! Obscure, yet often poignant American
jazz floats over a wide-slatted wood floor. “Do not laugh
if I love you, love lasts a long time…I’ve found a good
laugh leads the blues away.” There was no way to skate
around the drama back then, but this simple piano riff
and the knowledge that what was once a dream became
this complex, amazing secret, then public coupling, in
full regalia, full of turmoil at the start, then art, travel,
art, teaching, journalism, and oh boy, Hyuntay, our wild
child with one thousand questions, answering his own
queries with art, dances and his sneaky smile. It’s time
to pull close, enjoy the feel, make the stress disappear.
She works all day to soothe away
the anguish in his life.
She finds the class, she knows he’ll pass
such a dedicated wife.
When needs run high, like a butterfly
she fills our lives with honey.
I love her, and by now she knows
it’s not about the money.
She never spends a single cent
on diamonds, pearls or fashion,
and when the day slips into night
her art becomes her passion.
He wipes his tears and heads to bed
after ten hours of TV.
But there he finds the comfort
sure to fill his every need.
So here’s a toast to Yobo,
you deserve more love than this.
Just have fun with the one you love
and he will do everything in his power
to give you everything that you wish.
We’ve woven a web, you and I,
attached to the world, for no matter
how long, inscribed, though poorly, for
scant eyes, still, as bright a love aura as
has ever glowed, tightly wound around
our hearts, yet soaring miles above
Meudung’s fog to warm cold February.
Sparks fly off a round-rock fire rarely seen
in these parts. We laugh, it feels like we
shouldn’t be here on a cold winter night,
just a few meters from trails so packed
during the day. This charge will never
leave. We’ve marked this space but must
go to where the stars shine, deer run, art springs.
Keep my heart in your brain, words in your hair.
Matched lifelong yearning bursts in my hand,
fluorescent. Quick, pack what you need, let’s
flee! live life in the positive zone, expand
what we enjoy together, bound by the luck
that brought us this far. Where to next?
sit in a parlor, harmonizing, conducted
in on cue to solo over the top,
nor bump the snow off dark branches
only to ruin the soft-edged contrast.
we don’t know anything of traipsing the
woods for love, skiing three miles
cross country to peek at the town beauty
working out, unaware, glistening, another
Cynthia Brewster or flower-sniff come
spring among thick rushes, floating above a
rocky bottom pond, water so clear you drink
as you swim, laughing, naked, holding back
nothing, calm, sitting one branch up the
plum tree, white-blossomed. Careful now, do
not adore her too quickly or she’ll think you are
weak. We don’t know naturally how diverse
life interacts, lavender and finch, smiling
girl and chrysalis, no, we’ve allowed ourselves
to be penned in, self-domesticated via
electricity and cars. Come love, let’s walk.
Ode to Kwang Suk Park
The dust that covers Gwangju’s moon
chokes the kids to death.
We see the buds, they shoot too soon,
Korean Spring’s a mess.
This would surely not be so
if my heart was pure.
No matter who would come or snow
the mountains would still lure
us up to breath the fresher air
where brooks still freely run,
where couples openly declare
their bodies are meant for fun.
Twenty bridges cross the dribble
that flows enough for cranes
to dip in beaks and get a nibble,
as old men play “Go” again.
Beautiful smile reminds me
that you twice saved my life.
No better friend has a man seen,
be they lover, sister, wife.
There’s nothing cruel about the smell
Of lilacs in cold air,
Nor the clang of high school bells
Laying tardy students bare.
Local cats prowl orchard yards,
Screech when toms come mating.
Urban tigers, three-iron canard
Makes a farce of routine dating.
The crowd is deep into the sauce
We’re late upon arrival.
Thank god we drink without the boss,
Mates being our survival.
We intersperse, the fluid flows
Measured in cubic inches.
This stress relief adds special glow:
Kisses, strokes and pinches.
While most couples drift along,
We exercise our right.
When it feels this good it can’t be wrong
Come here, my love, get tight.
Carpe Nostrum (Seize the Night)
The stain of nitrous on the streets
Is matched by the stench of coal.
Entertainment between the sheets
Flew on the wind (it shows).
Young hotties with their strollered kids
Shuffle form store to store.
Be happy for all the fun you did
So much you wound up sore.
Because as wrinkles turn to gray
And memories surpass the present
The fun you have tonight, today
Will make arthritis pleasant.
And wash away your lack of cash
And brighten ancient clothes,
And make you laugh out loud at last
When tubes run out your nose.
So if you’re past the middle-point
Do not give up your haunted joints
Get out, re-light the fire!
White Day, The Ides of March
I confess my deepest love
But this you already know.
The smile upon my face is real
Inside my happiness grows.
On this day so white with glee
The magic comes back to life
You know the joy I feel each day
comes from you, my loving my wife.
I know I put you through a lot
Now it’s time to have some fun.
This life provides us many shots:
I prefer golf to guns.
So here’s to goat farms by the sea
And photos of our days.
A life made full by passion’s kiss,
Art that cannot be delayed.
Turn off TV then throw it out
Come, hold hands with me.
Let’s re-invent what life’s about
Becoming all we’re meant to be.
Gwangju, May 18, 2010
Neon lasers singe camera lens, pupils, buds,
As locals expand down alleys.
Strutting coifs hold tight their newfound studs,
Surreal images, an overture to rallies.
Here brave opposition faced bullets, knives and tanks,
After thirty years, commercials outrank tears.
The young are not sure who to thank
So they pull up soju, whiskey, beer.
President Lee Myung Bak has failed to honor the dead,
Commemorations have started to fade:
He took tea with former dictators instead.
Freedom is ours, but who paid?
Democracy is only a word when corporate dominates.
We’re free to work an eighty hour week,
This keeps us too busy to demonstrate,
So we “elect” the next fascist freak.
Economic stuff will soon be enough
To cause the “no-work-home-or-family blues,”
Maybe no jobs will cause the young to get tough,
But for now they’re less than enthused.
Money can buy friends
even illusion of love.
Paul and John had it
all wrong and
found out the hard way,
how bleak it can get
when it became evident
that their loves were in
it for the
If those chaps fell for
this regular trap, none are
free, few find true love,
to yearn, scream, cry, grunt:
alone in a full
room, drunk on sadness, stoned on
venom made of their
inability to love
Those strange days
thought long gone crash back in to
interrupt small gains
made in hard
to fit in, protagonist
sits alone rotting
ammonia stink crotch.
common despair, reaching back
to his best friends: one
must be paid,
the other his son.
satisfaction eludes him,
Heat vents twirl
sky, as hopes rise, hormones surge
one man suffers through
fifth dry year.
Why? Because mixed blood
pureness of a place
but persistence makes
this lonely man a good friend,
still smiling though still
not at home.
Sweat overruns eyes,
hits all foreigners,
causing bus horrors, a chance
for more hate.
add bounce in gym windows, as
for local romance.
need not apply for fun time,
casual or serious,
genius sweats alone.
means movies, booze, a
quiet respite, candlelight
and real jazz though not
a “jazz” bar.
Here, a “jazz bar” is
per male patron; they
offer mostly talk and peanuts,
wake adults: children
do not hear, nor frequent bars
this side of downtown.
Musicians start or
end nights here,
the truly hip find
nooks to plan clandestine trysts,
under piano riffs,
conducive to heart
calls, so couples come.
A sip of
Baileys on the rocks, better
here: life fades,
for us lost drunk souls.
This one walks
in very mini
skirt, making many wonder
where she shops
and who she married.
She finds a
friend who wants to talk English:
new alliance, lunch
has to move away from eyes,
too much fun.
Now thick three
go to a distant
neighborhood, though no sordid
this lunch should be with only
department men to
remain beyond reproach, so
we sneak food.
everyone around with full
New York fashion sense.
to meet with my family
all lip-sinkings: those
local gossip blasts.
This one, a
pretty Asian dead
sits one last
time at lunch, last smile to see,
hoops before Ph.D.
it was such a short
know you have two children, a
loving husband, and
other than desire to help
a friend’s friend find a
Thank you beautiful lady.
as one, but noisy as six.
hand versus C-chords
note rhythm collide in
synchronized to maximize
somehow not distracted by
even atonal ones.
converse, one while teaching, as
A-minor repeats in time
with fan blades.
One pops out
of her mini-room to check
is being listened
to, plays though unheard.
a mistimed pattern, jumps from
bench to room
firm guidance, soft mind.
Smile to laugh,
gleam to sweat, in last
Gwangju summer, packing one
more time, one more move,
shrink again, grandmother
struggles, husband not
silent enough, must now make
a life of farming.
bounces from caustic
to tolerant, but stress mounts,
throws Dad for a loop.
check; stress ruins love, kills the
romance. The batting
order is a team of three,
not Kia Tigers.
as sweat replaces rage for
hot gym rats
and their mascot, our
running, hiding, son.
to make everything look good,
rumors, teach better,
kiss Gwangju goodbye.
Soju, seafood, sand,
pebbled hard beach and Expo,
twenty twelve: condos
on the bay.
Rain fields yield
visored ladies, red peppers
underpriced rice and
Fish flop in
nets, sushi bars dot
harbor walks, children,
forced into English
do not talk.
not-so-much-fun day, rewards
classmates with a rare
visit: “look, he’s fat!”
Fog and rain
mostly hazy green, but orange
in the form of steel
bridge support project.
pile between “downtown” buildings.
Gulls fly, seek
a meal in trash heaps.
Art survives this place.
After a two month
respite our hero
paint again atop
cement dealers dust.
him back with smile and
nod as cool weather
lures him from
office to art studio.
Mudeung’s glory, still
green, is the base that
rather than just teach.
air return, Gwangju
gathers, parties, drinks
for long insipid winter.
influences sneak in to
culture changes too fast.
Free teens find
the only dream, goal.
Female crane lands on
lotus pads. She’s not
done yet, but effortless love
is long gone.
I just want
to keep this alive,
White and gold fade off
this locked door,
the one that leads back
to your heart. I am left to
Grow wings now.
Re-learn how to fly.
Celebrate what you
me while you still can.
Here’s what I
love about you: your art, food
laugh, bright eyes,
a simple, kind life.
roots appeal to so many
in this raw
cold world. Let me warm
you again, again.
rattle, willows sway,
deep in old Beijing.
Children play as teachers sing
tai chi songs.
Nearby landfill wafts
its strong air
but no one seems to notice.
from eaves to lotus
along the way. Bright
moms their day, improves budding
One male guard keeps this
while sixteen ladies mostly
watch the kids.
One young pink shirt struts:
near perfect physique, now she
as a western man
soothes nerves, relaxes three-year
stress. Time to
reflect on the mess
and how to clean it.
Try to compute this:
Bank.” Is this bank for farmers
moved to town,
who already own
a business, or outsiders
coming to set up
Two branches go in
and out of
view as you crawl on
ring road three (eight lanes) thinking
towers shade bikers
momentarily. Coal fired
makes brown air.
So the same
bankers who grab percentage
of workers who make
fifty cents an hour.
Their cut comes
from owners who wire profits,
breath such stench-filled air.
Nose tingle, gut wrench,
all return even
dance, children play, weather calms.
They all come
rushing back with one
flawed thought, that of life without
who understands or
can at least fake a
try to forget that
such a love
exists, because it’s an act.
You pay for
a friend who listens
nods, gives no advice, but smiles,
to be there again.
screams, cries, gives in to the whims,
to reclaim his life
could mean tearing this
apart, but must forge back to
ground, a place to write,
paint, play, love, live.
She keeps the pumice
perched on turtle’s neck,
toothbrush in its place
in a row, perfect image.
She knows who
the rock represents.
She knows real secrets,
manages to keep this sad
Her brother started
this “business” as men
rented first the house
motel, fully stocked for trade.
Her hard work
earned graduate art
degree, flourished in
circumstances that would make
but melancholy is real.
No man can
pull her out of this,
she might hate herself.
It’s not her
fault, and she could escape, if
she could trust
true love, and drop years
of “do this for me.”
Windy courtyard six
floors up finds
Korean shoe toss
game in “full
swing.” Shade, dust, car-noise, Beijing.
No zoo move
on Sunday, so fun
day is screaming as dwellers
and office workers
jump, watch, sit.
Hours pass as the game
hand-tossed shoes, shopping
cart rides. Freeze
tag torments all who are “it.”
and grass patches mark
space between buildings. Floors two
through five are shopping,
we’re on nine.
So we can
yell to the fantastic five
in case food
is ready or scraped
skin needs attention.
sees me as one of them: in
need of her
want some freedom too.
has less dust than the
beat up streets of Beijing. Gray
dominates from new
construction, power, exhaust.
Even when eyes sting,
phlegm builds, lungs
suffer, locals trek
to bus stops
spend an hour stuck in traffic
to gain Yuan
so price-controlled food
is still within reach. It’s hard
to scrape by here, the
workers still oppressed.
middle class have been
and mini laundry machines.
and vanishing nature add
deep thoughts to
parents. What comes next?
Red flag raised,
Yellow stars so serious.
which youngster plays in
groups or swings alone.
Would you miss being
trapped, if once
free, you had to start
What’s life without friends?
This time it
was an attempt to
squeeze you into a tight box,
so you blew it up,
but have four more months to go.
With no prospects, and
the only thread to
grasp at, you’ll
walk away tarred and feathered.
Will she leave?
Is the damage made
via exit strategy
too great for one soul
to endure? If you can’t win
her back, what
will become of heartbroken
Will you ever see
old friends again, huh?
talk to her about sadness,
everyone else heard.
Life here is over.
Fast Food Paradise
Sun works hard to poke through smog.
doesn’t fly when green
Marx abused, modern
Russian Roulette played out
on the backs
of those same workers.
China protects new
means middle class. Tourists
to help more survive,
but what is
the life expectancy in
you bit hard on greed, now
cents per hour indeed.
Peripheral sunrise elongates table shadows, initiates morning calm
five days before the trip. This mixed-race neighborhood
finds curious children stepping toward friendship while parents
remain closed in busy lives with no time for old friends no less
a new batch. Small dose of warm leads to ping pong, kickball
and lacrosse. Fifteen Korean kids experience the U.S., try new
sports, speak English to strangers, love nightly contests, yet
bored by Disneyworld. Orange rays turn yellow, cause
dew-sparkle as a clank of dishwashing jolts early work-day
to life. This heart, shredded, strewn like superfluous jet fuel,
scatters onto February snow so remote no living thing can
detect the agony caused by having to choose between family
and friends or prime faculty position in a culture that routinely
rejects emotional outsiders and is built on hundreds of rules
that strictly judge behavior in order to instill “maturity” at the
price of spontaneity . No natural omens, like a darting cardinal
that prefigures any sound move have appeared. Aspirations change,
fulfillment occurs when newfound silence replaces blabbermouth
stupidity and yard play warms frozen tears as well as crowd cheers
ever did in the days before finding redemption in family and work.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, be happy that it happened.”
(Be happy that is was once good, or that it ended?)
If pushed, or by your own courageous design, you take
a month off and find stress level relieved by fifty
percent or more, the trick is to keep that level when
she returns. Tip: keep your mouth shut, attend to
every detail, even if your mate won’t notice the clean
tile grout in the upper reaches of the shower stall.
Resist looking at, or introducing yourself to the Asian
Claire Danes-alike when she walks slowly into and
out of view. Allow cold concrete to freeze your ass
and smile as her lateness becomes an absence. This
fleeting annoyance provides the impetus to continue your
series of lecture/inspiration poems; though not as polished
as Beop Jeong, they may one day be read by a kindred bereft
lonely-heart. One clot or another passes through your left
lung while dancing at Bubble Bar. This causes a momentary
scrunched face look that some wild woman in a Budweiser shirt
actually notices. Then your shoulder’s tapped by a long-lost
gift-giving friend. She’s happy now. Hey wait, so are you!
Multiple agendas collide, rebound mid-air
woven of nervous laughter, fake blonde hair,
admiring smiles, also fake, as the flow
of café moms, African beauties, overweight
managers and three poets-in-a-row perched
at the door in order to capture random
personalities rat-a-tat-tat. Two worn-jeans
moms enter each other’s for a woo boost,
one hazelnut, one Americano. Blinding
reflections from winter-angled sun force
relocation.. Alas, she arrives in time to
reveal just enough to entice further
exploration, so he fumbles to a proposal
that receives polite reception, but nothing
more. So she’s off in the glare of the poet
she just stiffed to a mostly isolated life,
occasionally welcoming one of the many
sharks that circle but still, at age fifty,
undecided about whether to play on or
ever get married. Isn’t that a hoot?
When facing the loss
of job, home,
family, each word
on spiritual levels.
mend yourself later.
Use time once wasted hurting
your lost love to grow
a new heart.
Admit to errors,
but do not
give up everything
just to save
a life full of misery.
Reach out to
friends, give yourself a
pat on the back. Stop tears by
finding new outlets
for your love.
away from your children, but
speak to them
they will help solve them.
Hard work can
solve problems, save love, retain
to ease transition.
Keep children happy.
Saint Valentine pulls
his frock. Do all saints
wear monk’s clothes? Here’s to Mom’s our
I love you,
though my mouth causes
huge rifts, please stay close now.
Our nation of three
Since love conquers all
small ink flow to wash
past agony away. Your
heart needs me.
leaves short hours to be
alone with you, but your heart
beats inside mine all
day and night.
Let the smiles
return, let me support your
art, teach my
slice of the world to
Hyuntay, our hero.
Take clues from
him, the son who asks questions,
the light that
brings us together
with daily magic.
She steps off the bus, my heart aflutter, I crash two
bags into her in an awkward hug. Mother, the role she
favors most screams back when her son, then five, squeaks
from behind a wide pole. Bonded to the exclusion of all
life’s worries, these two are a unit, and, though it appears
no conspiracy prevails, clandestine two-pack leaves others
way, way back on the priority list. But, look over here,
there’s Dad, new soccer ball, lacrosse sticks in hand,
able to lure his son away from books with Gator sports
and card games, chess and long walking talks. So
what a family it is, one happy with the other, the other
happy with the one, a .670 batting average that is only
tainted by occasional errors: in judgment, decisions, long-
winded arguments about things that don’t matter. For this
I am sorry, so sorry, so sad, so alone, so heartbroken.
How hard I’ve worked to correct my evil ways, only to lay
waste weeks of goodness with a single morning question.
one utterance, one error, one life on the line, as the now
five-year-old has to hear one more disagreement, his cries
for us to stop, his perplexed look. Stop this crime. Stop talking.
Corporate Suckered Us
Back when there was time, when one parent
Was always there to guide a child, schools were
Not blamed for bad behavior, partly because there
Was so much less of it. One job per house meant
Security, health insurance, a nest egg, and plenty for
Suzie to go to college on. Forget the bridge club now
Dearie, everybody works. Corporate has found a way
To thrive in the post-liberation era: reduce middle class
Pay to the point of nudging, nay forcing the Moms to work.
It’s not about reduced free time, it’s about no time left to
Even get to know our own children. Since profit is king,
The new world order is thus: No assistance if the Dad lives
With his child, No benefits to any temporary workers, No
Labor jobs that pay a living wage north of the Maquiladoras,
No wins for unions since 1980, No affordable day care
For working Moms, No federal money for states with less
Than seventy five percent of the welfare recipients working,
No job training money left after building bombs, No incentives
For employers to pay better, No company loyalty, No profit
Sharing plans, No safe pensions, No guaranteed retirement,
No Social Security, No public transportation in many
Towns, No decent schools for low-income neighborhoods,
No safeguards for the food we eat, No plan in place to
Save the environment, No cash to save the mental hospitals,
No handouts to the homeless veterans, and No jobs at all
For those who work with their hands. None, zero, zilch, zip!
No obstacles in the physical realm can stop the
Flow of fix or ruin. One bicyclist, content to move
In limited space, dodges traffic, kicks her stand
And heads in to read. She gets paid to read, not many do.
No life is long enough to support all the relationships
We build: kids to cats, Moms to cleaning, teacher-student,
Boss to worker. One walker strides down Rosemary Street,
Pulls his hat over his ears, holds palms open, seeking change.
No gesture, however insignificant, goes unseen
In a town full of women. Drivers bounce from one plan
To another, running reds. Phone calls, calendar notes and
Breakfast fill seconds between lane changes, defying death.
No effort, regardless of intention, can sew a revolution
Without mass appeal. Two men shrug, walking into shade.
Nothing for them to do but drink and smoke and go to sleep.
The truth is here to see but no one’s looking anymore.
No wind, even from Saskatchewan, can clean us now.
Some loudmouth stumbles in offering to teach, but
None will have it. A rider, bussing there and back for free,
Takes comfort when a man stands to offer her a seat.
No sandwich, ever so scrumptious, lingers past initial taste.
Sun shines on a bouncing orb. Four for four, he’s another
Wizard with his hands. He does not get paid to shoot a ball.
His hand-to-eye skills have no value in this part of the world.
Her heart, while sticking tongue out,
leads a sheltered life,
doesn’t drink, nor dance,
Norfolk, it’s in her dreams.
Shocked by lack of fidelity,
still pure, as she has never…
though the thought comes:
Now free, pretty and young.
Brother nudges open eyes,
Confucian box blown open.
Evident culture gap,
yet she jumps his way.
Cosmic bonding creates a further
life, tantric self-love springs to
relaxed life, freedom to be, to
elongate burdensome boundaries.
Will she head back to marry,
deny uncoiling life, to prove
obedience? Dry flowers yield,
break mid-air as she walks.
Four from Beijing
Today’s beauty is
pink pig over San Fran dress,
yellow, red, white in
bare foot flops,
checked mini-dress, hard
punching tunes to drown
constant subway noise: ear plugs.
Little is inspired
all-black in gold sandals smiles.
Knowing smirk ensues.
Small face sports
petite ankle; you
almost miss your stop. She thinks.
worried about alien.
On line two
is high-earring gal
with silver nuts on
pants and now
matching handbag; sequins
shine as she
chews gum, fixes bun:
last night was full romp.
glasses rule as short-
haired women roam the
lines to work
and play. Fun time now:
no walls to
build, wars to fight, men
just happy stress modern style,
One man growls,
not accepting his
lot, nor this tight pace.
soft smile from fat girl.
to melt away for a half
hour; would she
brain via future contact?
What is this
constant quest for more
lives to mingle with?
means agony later.
further eye contact,
business card stays in.
pink mini-dress sits
with white puff-ball breasts,
never seen this part of town.
Large chrome balls adorn
while jade earrings and
cell phone up as guard.
pulls almond eyes out
for all to
see. Bold look, wary inside.
A family of
five sits, a
bit nervous, first flight.
Peach fuzz makes
her look Italian.
Does she know
English? Can she read this as
Birches flow past, but
Hot summer needs no
hard wood fire.
The flames sprouting from power-
She could use a shave.
Rong sells art,
melon girl smiles every time
you come for her two
juicy giant cantaloupes.
Smile, stamp, smile.
working hard stamping receipts
bright eyes fix
slow crush of shoppers.
shampoo, cut, style, shampoo blow
dry for three dollars.
Three workers attend your needs,
nod next day.
None top melon girl:
she accepts a catalogue,
wants to talk,
to see you again,
but she won’t.
Your daily grocery runs
All history seen,
art purveyors met,
we fly home
wondering if Beijing fits
or if our list has
been fully checked off.
Ruth walks in
with universal ebb flow
but not herself, a
not of her
doing, not embraced,
fought against, dealt with, screamed at,
Still, she sings,
this is the one sure
peace time, when all is right, when
everything works as
one, as Ruth.
Child-rearing is its
but everything else
too, so, as soon as she could,
This box brought
us back together, for what?
a draw to move on?
In life you
do or don’t follow your heart.
month coffee enough?
Yes it is, you fool.
He’s too old to have
her pack up
and disappear, but
that happens with so
He smothered her broad
so she left without saying
a word. Mailed
him divorce papers.
They say she’s somewhere
up in Seoul,
probably with a
touch of remorse, but
at least free.
He’s not going to
He seems older already.
He will drink
or compose some more.
One hopes he
has a backup, but his strict
he never even
thought about affairs.
She’s too cute
to go unattended long.
He’s too old, but
still dashing. Will he
try a love motel?
She’s Hee Kyun, eleven, older sister’s at Ewha, oldest
a dancer in San Francisco, brother at Yonsei. Her
mother is an amazing figure who married a tax man,
remained slim and trim well into her 50s, age detected
on hands, but who is looking there? So Louise, this
wildly precocious child, down to visit from Seoul
for Buddha’s birthday plays hostess for dinner in
Jeesil after a car-switch that finds eleven of us,
three in front, eight in back, piled in to a half-hour
curvy-road ride. Only having thirty-two kilos on
my thighs is a luxury. She gets tossed left on right
hairpin turns, saved by an old left arm. She questions
“teacher,” ignores the drunk westerner, but keeps
asking him why his “water” is white. It being
makoli, the rice wine that’s so cheap here. He’s
got the cultural advantage, as heavy drinking
is one of the purest signs of manhood in a place
where sports hardly exist. You guessed everything
about her correctly… what does it mean this gift?
Is there time to find out? Space? With which words?
Swing Low in Swing Town
New revelations about Africaans come in
the form of four full-figured ETs (English
Teachers) or aliens, because there is no
planet far enough to prepare mere mortals
for the “cultural differences” that include
strict rules about when to begin mating
(after marriage) while, hypocritimus maximus,
every neighborhood overflows with mini
skirted whores of all kinds. The most
honored ones are “artists” and “musicians,”
while coffee delivery girls get the second
highest prices. You can only get condoms
by proving you’re married or checking in
to one of the one hundred ninety one love
motels, where two come as bed mints.
But you manage to rise above the moral
decay, just in time for China’s yellow
dust to blast away at your lungs, and
the lungs of your loved ones. Oh, carry
me away from ol’ Gwangju, sweet chariot.
James Hyuntay at Five
My son turns
five today, joyous,
playing among sets of friends.
Should we shield him from
the real world
or can we find a
place that meets his needs:
true to its word, forgiving,
enough to grow strong?
He still asks
many questions, calls
Gwangju “Korea,” accepts
After dinner he
runs in restaurants,
jumps in gyms,
copies chess moves when stumped. Finds
A true friend,
he opens our eyes to a
but feels no burden,
no payback needed.
star will ride out any storm,
grow his food,
live long and prosper.
Barf Bag Poem #34, (JAT Skopje – Belgrade 19 July, 2008)
The fountain at the Art House Hotel acts as
morning call to breakfast, cascading at 8am
every day. Sun-dial saplings cast a right-side
shadow here atop Kicevo, Macedonia. Psycho
art pops in moments shared by old, young, Turkish
locals, many Serbs, and Kwang Suk, the lone
Asian. Miro, whose day job is Byzantine restorations,
paints average abstracts, but drinks so well. Laughing,
Srdgan offers puffs that drive Yobo crazy. The evening
goat walk is not yet an Olympic sport, reinforces our
presence in the Balkans. On day one I visit Knechnyo,
the village of 15 or so old houses, three donkeys, and
one spring. A farmer shows where lightning struck
the side of his house, and split a tree. Cetanka paints
the grape-laden staircase of a house made of two
masonries, both shaky, with seven rows of stones then
a wood strip. It appears ot be the standard format in
town. Back at the Hotel, cliques form along age, previous
knowledge and language lines. Still, art survives.
Choppers, loud, descend toward lantern-lit roof,
find a technical college student studying chemistry by
flickering light, gun by his side, now pulled up, now
riddled mercilessly, body collapses. He had just spoken
about the uncertainty of life in Baghdad, had chuckled
nervously about no food, no electricity, no peace, no way
to sneak to school without risking death. His machine gun
got him killed. Not a militiaman, nor fundamentalist, nor
Baathist, nor anyone who killed, still, he was on a roof
in Baghdad. Imagine – twenty flickering years, 1986-2006:
born during the Iran War, five for Desert Storm, but strong
enough to survive radiation-coated bombs, sanctions,
befouled Tigress, Euphrates, a sewer. Dead now, just as true
love emerged, up from ashes, against customs, past pressures
of overbearing religion, only to be squelched from above: The
Creator as “Deus-Ex-Machine-Gun-Us.” Surely heaven awaits.
The feathers of the Ga Chi spread out black and white.
Beauty in contrasting colors that unite.
You are from the noble class, both divine and pure.
This means that you are obliged to help the poor.
No bond is as strong as husband is to wife.
Take your lady with you when you venture into night.
The earth is out of balance, Yang has smothered Yin.
Make your town a better place for children to live in.
We come to this world naked, ready to start play.
And naked you will be again on your wedding day.
Never lay down angry, make peace before you bed.
Surround your mate with what he needs to have a happy head.
Do not cause stress by working to make so many Won.
Why shorten life, when love was meant to last so long?
When you walk the streets, hold hands like you are teens.
Step carefully around corners, avoid moving machines.
Climb until you find the place where the water falls.
Watch wind move the leaves, hear birds’ mating calls.
Sit and laugh together when you are young, when you are old.
Ignite the fires that keep your mate both beautiful and bold.
This cagey essence emanates from her art:
a fierce melancholy, but still with chin up,
she marches through every possible land
capturing memories, images, and the magic that
differentiates how people have fashioned their
time here. She can’t verbalize the details, so
the sadness sits in her heart, and, try as I may,
it remains, haunting joyous times. What
would you do if your lover held onto the
past even though the present keeps getting
better? Maybe the story must be read in her
art, and to keep asking to reach a deeper
emotional level is an error, a big mistake, so
I don’t press the point. We smile, knowing
so much of our happiness comes from Little
Bear. It takes teamwork to make a complete
life. Ours has the structural integrity to
stand the test of time, so why pick at old
wounds? Easier to write the solution than
practice it. I’m working on it. Stay happy Yobo!
Human throes and woes
Gaia, fighting back, decides
who lives, dies
after the money’s gone.
universal truths, he wrote
our time’s up
soon. He rarely erred.
But beauty remains,
love holds us
together, while wars rage and
past supply. Life got
Too good for those who
What will be our fate?
16 August 2009
(running out of Creative Gas on a
flight form Munich to Belgrade)
Primary colors fill heroic scenes in a mural above
the Buk-Gu District Office. Black suits file out
for lunch, unaware that the artist fell in love, that
the bare-chested figures offer much more than a
different point of view. Even if I’m the only one
who sees the cloud angels in love and the inevitable
slippage of time, this message is about to move in four
directions to mark another October 22nd birthday.
The junior baker here just brought out two slices
of very good swirl cake and smiled, said “service,”
which means a freebie to a foreigner who eats alone.
She doesn’t know how well this poem connects me
to so many friends. As the cake dissolves I imagine
candles and barking dogs, springtime in autumn,
and the friends we don’t get to see as much now that
home is down-under or long-lost Gwangju, or a new
condo in Gainesville, or under Oaks that produce more
acorns than the content Carolina squirrels care to gather.
It’s “End Police Brutality Day” back in the States.
Anticipation and memories mingle, bring a smile.
across river’s park
to pose: Adonis.
shade in summer heat.
from the arched
This time a solitary wren perches on
power lines that divide purple-blue sky,
slicing rhombi, diamonds, thin rectangles,
pushing geometry into a regular autumn
morning. This makes you wonder how birds
keep their feet warm in countries with no
power, or how people survive on a hundred
bucks a year, or where refugees go when war
hits. Our wren flies, a speck, ever smaller
as she finds her way. Given our superior
brain capacity, how is it we cause misery
across the planet while creatures so small
live, content to take their share peacefully?
Now or Never
A turtle flies through the universe.
We ride on the back of the turtle.
The Undergods dwell in Canandaigua,
The Overgods look down from clouds.
Even if we’re 300 moons away from
When this mattered, most of our lives
Are touched by one holy inspiration: nature.
Cosmic coincidence should not amaze here.
You are in the middle of the new awareness.
Black rocks spin and dive in deep water.
A four-year-old runs then swims.
Relaxed willow provides humid shelter.
You peek under the giant grass skirt
And see four tangled feet. You don’t peek further.
Gray locusts send twirling twigs to hair.
You swim out to a cooler spot of deep water.
The white snake, awake again,
Leaves Bare Hill, not reeking havoc
But cutting new creeks to hike along,
Full of crawdads and water spiders.
You retrace ancient steps. You sneak
Through the old neighborhood, now trespassing.
Four tangled feet, a few skipping stones
And the spirit within you:
Now awareness reigns. Corn presents
A raw treat for passing minstrels. Nothing
Talked about or noticed matters.
Jesus is a Liberal
Jesus Christ would not be proud
To see religion in this state. (Virginia that is.)
TV evangelists preach a canon of intolerance.
Jesus never expected people to hate in his name.
Building amusement parks in homage to God
Makes as much sense as waging war for Christ.
A god who attracts such diverse attentions
Is not a nice god or even a holy god.
He must be the god of money, or,
The god of land acquisition, or, perhaps
Even the god of death. Now that should
Set bells ringing in your bible-belt ears.
The god of death destroys life and love,
The god of death is worshipped in Lynchburg.
Genocide, Slavery, Greed
We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,
This is not just the land of the free.
We witness genocide all over this earth.
What can we do to end greed?
We cry for the land, full of modified crops
We must work to save human life.
What will our grandchildren have to live through
Since our appetite causes such strife?
The oil wars that started a decade ago
Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.
We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,
Even if we are cut at the knees.
We cry for the news they keep off TV,
The grapevine could snap any day.
Disinformation is the age we live in,
So who’s going to show us the way?
The answer is simple, we grow as a team,
A new brotherhood in the light.
We must build the village, invite all your friends,
This is no time to give up the fight!
They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,
Monsanto is spraying the poor.
We must dig our hands into arable land
Or genetics will foul every spore.
Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,
We must reclaim all that we can.
Industrial China, the last frontier,
Soon money will own every man.
The kids on the streets are locked-down together,
Push a bike, and you could get ten years!
All this is forced because we stopped caring,
Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.
We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,
The replacement is for-profit jails.
Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,
Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.
The time is upon us, united as friends
We can make anything grow.
Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,
Tomorrow we get out the vote.
We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed
That persists after thousands of years.
It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard
We can stop the torrent of tears.
Aspiring long-trunked Lindens
send leaf seeds spiraling
into Highland Park. The Peace Wave
dances, sings, paints, plays and eats.
A fully trimmed church social
for progressives, pot heads and artists.
Five women in pajamas dance
fertility, entrance patchouli-laden
jaw-dropped gawkers as their
seductive gyrations glaze
the eyes of men and women alike.
Loins slither, mingle, fling
jubilant torsos across the full stage.
Red scarves tie waists together
in a sweet maypole offering
officiated by throngs of soft naturalists.
Star city of the South nurtures
self-made lives, little cash flow
but long on love. One family fills
buckets with magnolia pods: art objects.
At the Mill
Soft Shenandoah shelters misfits and malcontents,
nurtures sheep with large genitals, photographer’s family,
hay-hoisting horse owners, trick-turning truck stoppers,
inventive harvesters, Steeles Tavern sewers, bountiful beauty.
Naturally, writers abound surrounded by such: one wins
five grand at the pharmacy, takes leave of the women
long enough to type her new voice, a beacon who
fortifies fellow polygamists with purple-winked ink.
Fur-clad apparition returns, disrupts midday bushwhack
with its presence, historical, ominous, predictor of days
you can’t bear to ponder. Satiated, you grab her hand
for emotional balance, slipping down moss-laden rocks, afraid.
Grinder-switch melodies follow tight patterns until, fed
by grain, new grist emerges. Wind spirit magnifies terror;
your steps quicken, but you think of three others: photographer,
writer, compost collector: a post coital spook, still yearning.
Canary Row Hoe Ho
There’s a hippy girl in my class who wears Mao’s cap, dates
a long-haired boy and wrote a kick-ass environmental piece.
You’d like to poke through every long-leafed elephant-ear on
campus, stroking nature, this beautiful sub-plot, with hoe, adze,
al or clipper: chopping down in order to raise back up, involved
with earth as is intended. Some say a new time has come, White
Buffalo and all. Consequences outnumber rewards at a twenty to
one clip, as Mongolians suffer from bad air and China’s expanding
desert, even though they’ve done their part to live in a preservationist
way. But global means brutal these days: global trade = wage slave,
global warming = no food, global war = death for the multitudes,
profit for the stinking rich few. Love abounds in campus towns,
while “repo-men” reap millions, and songbirds still find seeds around
as legs spread out the leaves. Our new man is African, and that’s
so fine with me, and babies laugh, and mothers smile, here in the
land of the free. So what that free means money, instead of love
and food. When no one has a dime to spare, friendship will lift
our mood. Or will there be the occasional hijacked truck or plane?
Who cares as long as we can load up the kids, drive south to live
in a genuine, warm, Steinbeck-decorated pipe that used to be a drain.
One cherry blossom detaches, falls, a single unit
allowing fruit its space, starting its new journey: island
to reflecting pond, orchard to cottage yard, daughter to
lover, enhanced by the wind, if even for only six seconds.
Transformed to long-boned genius, long-yearning adult,
considerate friend, purple-green plaid from soft pink,
tan suede boots from four-petalled bloom. Hikaru, as they
say in Japan, hits the town running, arms crossed, cradling
herself like the war-torn victims of Vietnam, but not
worn or torn, she flings enthusiastic youth toward
outstretched limbs. She captures her beginning and future
simultaneously, shedding one form, embracing another,
sweating humid Spring, still awkward in this skin.
Descending unannounced, she moves among mere mortals
Spreading joy, quietly demanding obedience, offering all
in exchange for all. Most cannot accept, choose an
easier, less complicated path; but those brave strong souls
Born from deep roots blessed metamorphosed
beings who join Miss Cherry soon realize, if for one day,
week, or lifetime, their lives will never be the same.
Better off Red?
Getting caught with your pants down in some neighbor’s bed
is better than when the papers accuse you of being red.
Capitalists cast a spell, and communism was dead,
the world’s factory workers are now so ill-fed
that the twelve rich guys left have got a big head.
No need to protest, watch TV instead,
or play the last version of Tennessee Jed
while dancing, or tripping, in your brand new Keds.
See how easily credit card consumers are led?
But no money left to bury Uncle Ned!
Best burn the pictures you took of young girls, you “ped.”
It’s still the good life compared to being “red.”
Better not listen to what I just said
or anything broadcast by the thinkers at
So divorce your thinking before you get wed
to the notion that the world would be better of red.
ajumma rests, waits.
Neat or unkempt youth
or away from class.
yuppie, black on black
gets dusty shoes cutting through.
Feel her heart beating
as she stands.
gold leaf belt under
Job hunt means
matching black toenails.
Her pleats sway
upon dismount of
Number fifty six here in
lower lower class
recent graduates, middle
driver, number one
found work, just like the PhDs
in New York:
doing the best for
their strong families.
Postmaster Seul Gi
bombs one clear
of the bunker on
You could do worse than
around, even if
her yaks cause your yips, or you
could stand and
stare at Humun’s folks:
Saturday at six,
With all it’s promise:
Large and small
ones heeled and sneakered,
smiling, waiting, wondering
man is jotting down.
to be on the job, others
with sisters in search
of food and good friends.
accentuate tight fitting
top and jeans.
The one she’s waiting
For arrives: fun time.
For Binayak Sen
combo causes pure
stays, nipples stick out, no spring
ice water wanders
dwellers, causing flip-
switch summer, torrential rain.
scurry to honor
a doctor, freedom
for helping untouchables
retain land sought by
starve even with the forest
so his help
guaranteed his arrest as
them gratis, then tried
to save their meager
giant, Korea’s Posco
what more do you want?
Why Are You Still Here?
First a blogster, then a radio talk show host inquires,
since everything was so good before…but it was
never really this good. When you start to believe your
own myth about the past, your present must be either
love-lost, over-stressed, friendless, frustrated or alone.
Self esteem is success divided by pretention, but any
number divided by zero = zero. Braggadocio ensues
as each new critique flows in: shoddy research written
sit-com style, teardrop afternoon as you fail to live up
to expectations, and then when you cry over not being
good enough for your own family, your office-mate
steps around to enquire about X-Y-Z, only to realize
that’s a real drop rolling down and out to the grungy
concrete floor below. Goodie, more gossip that, after
completing 20 laps around town, will still beat you to
your own door. Cheer up ace, there goes the egg-cart
lady, soon to crank up fried walnut cakes. Wait, don’t
buy one, you’ve been in the gym all week, one-third
of the way from obese to fat. You’ll always be fat here,
so relax, learn to live without comfort. Sacrifice for love.
sleet taps, rabbit has no dog
pursuing. Calm rain
feathers, firewood tarped in blue.
Edible grape leaves
infuse light-spiced rice, rolled out
mini Ho-ho style.
stark, one open, dig tree holes.
Over cubic foot
of stones go in to deter
moles. Young roots grow right
through them. Ten
years hence pecans sprout protein.
My three closest friends
all lost work. Jane Tyndall closed,
meaning art is dead.
consolidate, work the land.
First Grub, Then Play
your box, demand an
equal share, decide how to
work to make local
energy, skip both
and taxes until war ends.
Melting Ice, Foul Air, Monster
Hurricanes: need more?
cars are fast enough when you
plug them in to self-
generating power thanks to
Bodini via Tesla.
stress immediately quelled
with more time
to play with children,
talk with old/new friends.
to globalized slavery
the work together,
Pittsford, N.Y. Meets Gwangju, R.O.K.
It’s amazing how hard bakers work, the way trumpets still
blow jazz, the interplay between street peddlers and birds, the
look on the face of the young couples strolling the day after
their first night together, the hundreds of tornadoes that
visit the U.S. in this, the time of global disaster on a
multiply-local scale, the softness of a plaid velour shirt over
terrycloth sweats and flip flops on a comfortable woman
who can move slow in a world so fast palm sized computers
can’t keep up. Even one square meter of shade is sought
on a 20-minute walk in this heat. The shady side of the street
defies Johnny Mercer era, attracting everyone once summer
hits. Sincerity, so hard to find in the info-overloaded now, is
natural in Gwangju, Korea, the city that suffered for the cause
of democracy, only to see its fate pushed down repeatedly by
elected officials who ignore the fact that their seats in power
were enabled by the very place they withdraw funding from.
It’s why laughs and friendship last forever here, why it
reminds you of your grandmother’s four-mile walk to teach
in a one-room schoolhouse, or Uncle Ken’s Pharmacy/Mayor
combo back when he knew everyone’s prescription and name.
Better off Red?
Getting caught with your pants down in some neighbor’s bed
is better than when the papers accuse you of being red.
Capitalists cast a spell, and communism was dead,
the world’s factory workers are now so ill-fed
that the twelve rich guys left have got a big head.
No need to protest, watch TV instead,
or play the last version of Tennessee Jed
while dancing, or tripping, in your brand new Keds.
See how easily credit card consumers are led?
But no money left to bury Uncle Ned!
Best burn the pictures you took of young girls, you “ped.”
It’s still the good life compared to being “red.”
Better not listen to what I just said
or anything broadcast by the thinkers at
So divorce your thinking before you get wed
to the notion that the world would be better of red.
Zen Dye, Sendai, Send Die
Throat swells, gums bleed, lymphs bulge on and off in this
post-nuclear tsunami Asian spring with its radio-rain and
sadness because years of stress already determined most people’s
cause of death, but now it’s a relative surety that cancer rates
will fly five years hence. Sixteen students sweat a mid-term,
young enough to never have imagined life-shortening storm,
still sure the orgasmic joy of youth will last forever, or at least
looking forward to blissful mating, large alcohol, unflinching
prosperity and a good job awaiting stellar grade point average
in a system where a B+ is a slap in the face. Stress exudes
and clogs up the aisles with a goo so sticky it’s hard to collect
the exams. So Bright smiles, scores well, heads to a mid-term
a scant 10-minutes removed but ever so cheerful, even if she
is truly so embarrassed about leaving her pencil case behind.
Living proof that life goes merrily along amid the worst type
of disasters: corporate (Tepco shouldn’t have allowed tons
of radioactivity to spread into the Pacific), financial (banks
got trillions, sold homes at 70% off, foreclosed 9000 per day,
then asked for more bailouts), governmental (fascism at every
turn), environmental (look at it all, and still we drive our cars).
WJS at 83
(The James Gang Rides Again)
Twister, the game of
tangled bodies, morphs
this year, as
alarms sound: pillows stacked while
friends huddle below.
“This year our
weather is so strange:”
indeed, Tsunami, melting
As another year
passes, the James gang,
and Frank, or some 60s rock
band, but the Stubers,
continents, soon to
reunite because closeness
must first be
hearts beat as
one because we can see each
read emotions in
body language, play
Skype does not replace a hug,
Ink unites by brain,
hearts connect again.