Stuber’s Poems, October through December 20, 2013, Copyright Doug Stuber 2013


Chemical change hits, causes sleep at about 3pm. The natural
bounce, bounce, bounce of afternoon replaced by bored disinterest,
struggle to care, lonely among friends whose only motive is to
improve English. Always one to use language as a tool rather
than as an end, this dichotomy widens when you can’t learn a
lick of the local lingo. Maybe ketchup sandwiches made back when
unlimited packets could be swiped were better days: raw, rough,
real. Unrequited loves pile now, dragging energy, so even if a
friend finds you a great exhibit, and the day job is on auto-cruise
dreams get interrupted by fast-paced conversations that blow
past window-front art in raindrops destined to keep the two
who were going to come at bay. Just seventy-eight steps ago
you remembered: you walk alone. No matter the importance of your
son, your private life, your wilting creativity, your gonna have
to pick up the pieces and carry on when snickers of discouragement
kick you from bent to fallen on streets replete with pushing
people trying to retain their place, be it so everly humble:
a street mumbler, to peddler, late-night stick chicken seller. Small
Adirondack dream interrupts, pushes you further back to the once
was. How to shape that mysterious time into today’s sad flow?

mountain made,
not the usual gray place
downtown, but
at some new

face’s farm, away
from priesthood
and into enzyme
making, quiet, calm,

when old friends
also need
a break from stress. He walks
is to a
neighbor who

fashions fruit, nuts and
lotus roots
into syrupy
delicacies; no

no price too
high, so unique only the
fine top end
restaurants from Seoul
order. It’s all she

needs. They grow
pumpkins, leave the house open
until frost,
perfect recipes,
new kitchen team life.

Over Your Head

You missed the hint, so
Once again loud prayers saved
Dark nights with
Urgent heart
Screams: drop what you know to give

More than you get, or
Your man will
Tire of incessant
Demands. Use beauty
And talent to raise

Funds, build houses, do
For those our systems left out.
Why? Because
To simply
Gain personal fineries

Through labyrinthine
Ladders, you
At the top, bevy
Trying to climb, is
Superfluous and

Near cruel,
So quit this energy sap
Lifestyle: switch
Making life more
Meaningful so your

Glow can spread]
To those who need so little,
Ask for naught,
Offer smiles for your


Moody gray barely
makes contrast
against white-bright sun.
On the quad
you might miss a bench,

or palmetto on fog filled
days that, though rarely lasting
past noon, mark time in
brains both atrophied by hearts.

You stayed. Roanoke
fit you, gave
more than it took, meant
people cared,
your complete life, a

full swing at
everything: video, art,
music, religion, howling
on moon walks, peering
over the edge, under the

star, at lit
ants snaking through seven-hill
valley. Where
have all the protests
gone, what inspires enough?

your talent past meds sir Ed.
You lend a
hand, guide when you can,
nurse those unrepaired

psyches around you and have
yet to get back what
you deserve.
Doesn’t a local ballpoint come
right out and

scream for you to write
again? You write it, I’ll push
it. Heron
Two is in
Russia’s library

now; if we keep trying they
may yet let us bash
down the door
for a flurry of public,

readings, an award
from this or that high
council on
the state of
poesy? Or to die

trying, that’s
what I say. I have a
son, so there’s
a chance these words will
live on a while, but

you sir, need
to crank it up again, and
soon. If not
for personal gain,
to help those in pain.

25 October 2013

Fourteen Ninety Two

She wants three times more than she gets, but does
not know how to get it. They laugh when he tells
of performance art beyond the capacity for most to
understand. She glitters her face in accordance to
artistic norms. He comes in sneakers carrying twenty
new paintings rolled up, a heavy load strapped underneath
nap sack, twisting lumbars out of place. Broken toes, at
least a sprained knee and a crushed ego do not slow him
down in his quest to make a great art show. She uses him
like a pawn in a death-match with her best friend. He was
called to rescue her from beer, but when he stayed a friend
long enough to witness the war, he was his own sword
slicing away by trying to stay friends with both. They love
to point out how great it all could have been if he had stuck to
the plan, been more plyable, more relaxed, more able to pick
one, drop the other. But he doesn’t drop friends just because
they treat each other miserably. He laughs at the next comparison,
that Yoko Ono is the “Picasso of Japan,” is she even the Yoko Ono
of performance art? We get to sit and talk about what happens
continents away. “What if Europeans never discovered America?”
JHS at 8

With Chinese kicking in, cello coming along, and a big
heart for sports, he jumps from studying to practice with
only half-finished card games for play. Even his birthday
is short one guest because “the arm” has family obligations
the same Sunday. Obligations, promises, duty and diligence
are taken seriously in Gwangju, so your own friends rarely
trump family. Birthdays are family affairs until you’re married.
The sequence is set, to flow on your own river is ill-advised.
Innovation, cutting-edge research, critical thinking, creating
your own lifestyle and being “individual” are fully squelched,
that includes my own son. I’m happy that he thrives in a stress-
laden culture that demands that you do everything someone else’s
way. But of all the teardrops shed, the one about giving up
natural instincts for some commonly held beliefs is a gallon. He
holds my hand as we walk to school, analyzing the Gators losses.
He studies hard in three schools per day, a schedule I’m too old
to consider. He pulls away from Ah Young, though her mom
still thinks them cute together. Any move away from home, no
matter the age, will test his mettle. Most options mean following a
leader. I hope he picks the right one. I hope he is the leader.
Moon, Duck, Walk

Two gargoyles, both chalk white schoolboys, one waving, the
other staring off into the distance, both carrying books, because
only books and higher grades can improve the lot of boys
growing to men, one gregarious, the other stern, both well
groomed, but only the outgoing statue will ever live outside this
rural, simple, “boring” country. Who is the lucky one? Between
the two a seven-year-old pees on a Sunday. The school now
is used as an art studio and gallery. Today it hosts a group
of forty oldsters who come to hear a philosophy lecture based
on slow moving Chinese Tai Chi. A yellow butterfly circles
large pots turned upside down, acting as car-park bumpers.
Autumn temperature is perfect. One kid’s aunt calls from the
upper window as the meeting breaks up. Today’s drama is
the strange death of a yellow and black caterpillar that was
vomiting blood for a half hour before succumbing. Yellow, red
orange and green play off each other in the valley as women groom
each other as if baboons, high heeled, middle-aged, naturally pretty
yet less concerned about the teachings of ancient China than you
might have guessed. A dog barks a kilometer away. Three boys chat
about science, the gargoyles remain friendly and remote and solid.

3 November 2013
My Santa

A full accounting of the past five months shows a net loss
of dreams, worries, a head, naught be hind, so one dreams
a sweet dream of Santa, not loving, just singing, finding friends
in soap characters, preferring frigid co-existence to mutual
support. So Santa, who is better named the Bank of Santa,
chips in (again) to ensure his elves (spelled selves) are
nourished. It’s not as if someone as jovial and giving would or
should have to purchase friends. But Santa broke the sled rail
path that had pushed melting ice into grooves that froze
and remained straight through to June. He was in no mood.
It’s as if the Coen Brothers had taken over his personality.
Holiday hurricanes fouled flight plans. Thousands of houses
just junk piles. So many disasters leaving neighbors a new
job as whistle-blowers, gun-toters, protecting what, their land?
There was little left to loot in so many towns. In the last one
children were waiting for mom to mix UNICEF milk, holiday meal
that brought Santa to tears. The continual wars meant stealth sled
was again deployed. She walked away, not sure if the bombs
would cluster then release her way. Spared, only to relinquish
life-long beliefs to acquire food. Which side will win now Santa?

Hayian, Unexplainable in Mortal Terms

Typhoon, earthquake, typhoon, how to find a benevolent God
when one place gets battered over and over? Why dear
creator, life-maker, dream-shaper, do you pluck for heaven
those who have struggled so hard to honor your gift by eking
out a life for their children, only to be blown away? Richville
never seems to get hit, or, we can drive away. Heaven must be
very good then, so this is it: the storms come to test us rich,
to see if we have kind hearts. Davao, Bohol, Leyte, Tacloban,
Cadiz, Cebu, they cry, we cry, but heaven must be good, so all
the work they put in gave them a free pass, one us rich folks
will never get…never get unless we turn around and help those
who need it rather than just ourselves. Most of us can’t imagine
the agony of losing a child, nor of the child who just lost both
parents, nor of those working abroad who can’t find anyone in
their family. Are our arms strong enough to hug them hard enough?
Time does not heal all wounds. If strong, maybe some can push
the pain back, further back, but it returns via songs they shared,
loves they lost, momentarily remembered, long enough in mind
to pull their hearts up through eyes, into tissue, or ears of their
best friends. Dig deep ex-pats, your fellow humans suffer now.

A Second Language Christmas

We teach because we believe communication creates
enough community to turn this planet from disaster
back to freedom. Away insipid fascist controllers of
everything from water to wages! OK we may not be aware
that our mission is to connect souls, to establish local
beach-heads of trust and mutual satisfaction that present
on option far different than the one prescribed by WTO
edicts, winner-take-all capitalism. Ever notice how those
standardized tests squeeze minds into a world view that
works to optimum advantage as a cog down at X-Y-Z
factory? Sure it’s profit over people, in which horrors
fan out like paratroopers; of course it’s pollution and
war-tax, rotten neighborhoods, grandfather hauling a
day’s load of cardboard for 5 Bucks, 5,000 Won, enough
for rice and a cold winter without electricity, dang it
where are the families? Ah, but this is a cheery Holiday
greeting, let’s go back to the language bridge so we can
help people spread the word about what’s really happening.
Come eat with us, let’s talk, let’s build dreams into reality
on our own terms, away from globalized mercantile Christmas.

The WTO is the World Trade Organization that towers above country’s sovereignty in naked, bold, pure, unsullied, un-monitored or regulated support of profits at the lowest possible labor costs available on the planet. It was invented by GATT II, the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. It has lowered the value of labor considerably, while also making less people able to afford the products they make. This of course, can only be sustained via massive debt and the propping of certain markets by those building the products. (China lending to the USA comes to mind, then selling its products at Wal-Mart).


You waited three weeks for him to answer your email,
but you arrived within minutes when he finally called,
with his article in hand, and you had pinned it to your
office wall, and you wanted to talk literature, and you
said he was so lucky to meet you. But how did you
know how lonely he was? How could you guess with
his seemingly huge social life, wonderful son, that his
heart was tossed down a deep cave almost as soon as
he left his sacred home to move, for the tenth time in
sixteen years, polar opposite away from anyone who
could possibly understand him: that life’s worst option
stood beckoning at the statue pool, but maybe it was
you he heard laughing in your research stall. So it’s
you he waited for, not three weeks but five years. He
is open to all ways of thinking, but not without debate
to refine the very best way to see this or that character
flaw or thrice hidden symbol meant to be caught by
only those who suffered such unusual maladies. Janet
Frame’s human heart welcomes you, stretching a hand
across typhoon-heaved waters. Since pheasants do cry
around Naju-ho, you welcome this angel to your table.

Sunny crashes with
photographs and a
smile, three friends
play jazz, play pool, play
remember…go off

together for fun, keep tight
loops around
life at all times. Quick
move gives new life to
the minstrel and his

merrymen, merry
women, enough room
to regain
stability in
this quake-filled world. Oh

the personal shake-ups can
be too much.
The moments linger
in easy times, and
hard times, because life

is worth a
full grab, a delightful poke
through clouds so
because they formed
so long ago, and

time is the
real healer, love is its own
reward, friends
gather again, keep
positive, hug hard.

Big-Flaked Winter Wonder Day

When the end of Dublin, meaning end of words,
lights the sky along Liffey’s edge, when poor unite
with inscrutable Faulkner (he too was Irish folks), Joyce,
all the words that make us cry, not just because we don’t
know what they mean, but because W.B. Yeats tears us to
puddle status because we do know what they mean, when
it no longer matters what happened in stories, reality, past
or present because future has exploded, then us idle
daubers, ink-stainers, even large resonant writers who
matter all the way to Stockholm and back, and since
having squandered our natural gifts, The Creator, more
sad than enraged, still welcomes us home, a house away
from life, dark, but not cold, felt, not lived, then, then,
then, then will we realize the folly, no stupidity of our
ways? Is there anything else important enough to ponder
than the vanishing wilderness? So what if…(anything)
really! This cat crosses and makes you laugh, and
others laugh at you when your name is called at a
meeting in a foreign tongue, and the joke is that you
don’t recognize your own name, but it is only some
ladies duded-up in their Ph.D.-candidate best, come-hither
glasses, black wool winter coats, and then WHAM, it all
doesn’t matter, we officially go past the tipping point,
and either in a presto anti-scherzo “poof” we’re gone, or
we start the long decline to humanity’s end. Ostensibly it
was just a meeting of light-hearted Joyce scholars. You miss
the joke again, never able to decipher Joyce as “humorist.”

There you are, admitting that life is meant to be lonely, so
you are relieved by neatly stacked papers, laid out like a
five-day game of solitaire. Careful tending to business
outweighs the need to avoid explosive potentialities at
home. You get someone to blow hard and quickly into
your right eye to clear a smoke-made web that allows
you to break the sun’s rules about who gets burned. Then
you’re stunned when not alone anymore, when paroled
via pardon, with no officer to visit every week, no debt,
only, well only the heart tug presented by convoluted
crashing of unfettered “now” and no Shaman’s eye for
the future. Ground Control to untethered you, but just
the right age to plant a potted urban garden: peppers,
carrots, cabbage on the roof, since you’re in a two-story:
on top, so you have the advantage. Your roof warms;
you move at your own pace, guaranteeing happiness as
you are in control and know the speed it takes to maximize
the comeback, keep coming back, come to your back,
come on back, and at once as brave as you had to be the
past 20 years. The person you’ve been waiting for is you.

Second Person First

Immediate gratification in the form that also assures many
will come to your rescue later on (smoking) is your mini-
sanctuary from perhaps multiple unseemly tasks, situations,
people. The club is standard here: work so hard that your life
becomes your work: diligence takes on many new meanings
in your case as it broadens to life preserver, fertilizer, the
suitor you finally fall in love with. You’re done sacrificing,
but resist the temptation to be demanding because you would
only be putting those demands into the kettle that is already
stocked, spiced and brimming with expectations few humans
could ever meet. What pain next? Your associates would bet
wrongly it would be the agony of alone, the stripping off of
even the chance to be together. Alone is the worst when
naked is not nude, it is when you lose face to the point where
you stand as if naked on the town square, not the sauna, for
all to judge. They won’t just judge spirituality, morality,
but body fat, the way your face looks, your personality,
whether you are in perfect control of mind over emotions:
the standard being “emotional is weak.” And this is where
redemption is yours. If they cast stones, you are ready to
deflect them, let them hit, bleed, crawl away, without fear.

The Five Masters

Family, job, routine, money, self, but if unlucky or unwise
turn into contempt, hell, addiction, debt and alone. No longer
in control, we could lose the chance for creativity, love, giving,
empathy and kindness. It takes motivation not to be swallowed,
bravery to trust love, hard work to able to give, supreme faith to
wade into, no less swim, in the muddied waters of spirituality, but
kindness and love can meld easily just by not being alone, accepting
others for who they are, and a modicum of self- preservation. The
Blue Jay, warns others, yet is vicious, and has no friends. Do not
turn your child into a referee of a never-ending argument that
started so long ago no one remembers what the real difference is.
This child will find ways to create arguments to be his addiction
or she will pick a mate knowing his proclivity to rage, and having
forgotten or never learned how romance can douse any steaming
head, knows by rote the list of buttons to push in order to crank
up the next volleys that cause her own children to cry. These
unfortunate youngsters then start verbal wars at school, with
teachers and could-be friends, but few can tolerate this, the only
“love” comes from the equally unkind lost victims: it takes ten
generations to cure. “Be Kind” Vonnegut said. Be your own master.
The Daily Bread

In uniforms they toil, sewing sneakers, cramming seaweed
into plastic, working a paper cutter, repetitive motion carpal
tunnel, until one slip cuts a digit off. Drenched, the boss screams
about the ruined ream. Grandmothers sort fish on low stools
as their sons’ set sail again, netting the last ten percent of the
Halibut. Others push mud-sleds: one arthritic knee bent, one
propelling in single-meter moves, to dig and collect Beolgyo’s
cockles, prized “Gomak.” Our soup tastes great today, but will
it be delicious when machines replace this last generation, Gomak
extinct, replaced by fish parts (remember Scallops before “sea
scallops?”) Here’s another wading in rubber boots, eighty one years
old, hauling wet heavy kelp that Koreans favor for soup and to
wrap rolled rice as “Gim Bop,” more than seaweed rice, usually
packed with crab, fried eggs and cucumbers, part of a series
of healthy snacks that sell for student-level prices off carts, or
are mother-made, filling backpacks. Now throw in the work it
takes to bring these items to market, and the workers who wait
then sell; the kitchen preparation, all required, rarely calculated,
to fully discover the typical daily sacrifice fisherman, farmers,
and factory workers make (low cash flow included) for all of us.

The Bowdoin Essay

Pine straw softens stairs ,eight steps for arthritic knees
that otherwise would have hurt. Each day he loyally waits
for his old man, though he’d rather run ahead and walk with
friends. See them walking through the woods, bundled, windy
winter slashing, insistent drivers who make the on crosswalk
on the way menacing. Kids three years younger walk alone,
but this father and son team have a lot more riding on these
800 meters than Olympic stars or quarreling siblings. Both know
dad’s too old, both already squeeze every ounce out of each day.
Tenuous life has already presented shocking assaults, so the work-
hard, play-hard combo (witness Charlottesville) comes out earlier
in ole Gwangju, as stress piles for 9-year-olds with year-end exams
that ask more questions than can be answered in the allotted 40
minutes, thus preparing youngsters for the battery that continues
through to jobs and beyond. dads and sons don’t walk to school in
Orange County, USA, maybe mom drives them, or bus picks them:
how lucky this dad is, and multi-cultured son who knows so many
different ways of looking at the world ,all good, just different. “Why
is school so different here?” he asks, dad smiles, “because everything is
riding on your test score here, not just which school, but even your major.

Middle Age

A child’s hat adorned with rabbit ears and faux-fir strap snapped
tight on a small-nosed child is painted on the big blue wall and
a direct shot from the second-floor window seating at Dunkin’
Donuts, the one across, appropriately, from Golden Rabbits and
Gallery D. What does this matter? Because slow walking men
and scurrying, smoking academy students start the cold day’s
flow, along with young police, dreary-eyed restaurant owners who
sign for uncooked food delivery, and our yellow-clad yogurt-cart
lady who makes her first deliveries of the day. She’s got milk,
cheese, well, tasteless cheese, but still, and sweetened strawberry,
chocolate and banana drinks too, in case a monied child stops her
between classes (a bonus sale!). You wouldn’t believe the miles
people walk to make meager profits. The sheer number of shop
owners suggests that many have “off” months . Ah, but coffee, the
insane culture that means you’re never allowed to entertain at home,
spreads like leprosy, replacing lost digits with drinks sweeter than
maple syrup. An irreparable trick knee ends yogurt walks or old
man cardboard collection. It will slow or stop large-pot vegetable
gardens in the city too. Your son runs ahead to school with friends.
His independent spirit soars. You lose your mind and cry about this,
the second sign you won’t be young forever. What a sap. Get to work.

Paradelle for You

To love the Ggachi call is to farm Korean soil.
To love the Ggachi call is to farm Korean soil.
When you laugh your light warms this human soul.
When you laugh your light warms this human soul.
The Ggachi laugh is to call this human soul,
Your farm warms; you light to love Korean soil.

Be brave, enlist the help of someone you just met.
Be brave, enlist the help of someone you just met.
Let the moonlight enhance, allowing you to dance.
Let the moonlight enhance, allowing you to dance.
You just enlist moonlight allowing the help to dance.
Be of someone you enhance, let the brave…

Put your hand in the place it is not allowed.
Put your hand in the place it is not allowed.
To be one you never thought but wished to be.
To be one you never thought but wished to be.
You thought your hand wished, but in the place, “to be”
Is not allowed. Never put it to the one to be.

Moonlight, allowing the Ggachi to enlist your hand
To put this brave human soil in the light,
But the laugh you dance to one you enhance
Warms when you call Korean farm to place someone.
You just wished your “let” to be the thought.
It is not your human soul you never allowed help you.

AA (exactly the same)
C – mix of the exact words of A or B
D- mix of the exact remaining words of A or B
Another of the same (EE, FF, GH)
Another of the same (II, JJ, KL)
MNOPQR – using all the words of the repeating lines in six new lines.
It has to include ALL THE WORDS exactly, no more or less.

Some wild mathematical Frenchman came up with this poetic form. Is one enough?


“Ska-tellite of love,” our bone-
playing drummer keeps
it alive
at a band-equipped
cantina that rarely pulls

dookies, but
regular crowd
of indie cast-offs,
dreaming middle-aged
burn-outs, and even drinkers.

Your role as father has full
support from Mom, who
must wonder
why your life is more
like hers than your Dad’s. It’s this

dedication to
your family that
plucks the harp strings at
BB & T or other

source, giving
you further education,
a chance to
switch roles now that mate’s
degree is done (right?).

You’re always
on the look-out for friends to
find their place,
though you struggle to
steal time for yourself.


We met in a shack dressed up
as a trailer in
Mebane, which did not
assure success as a band
or friends, yet

we’ve golfed at Torrey
Pines and puffed
up on Rosemont: one
more shot at
music careers.

But who says selling a guitar
to Sam L. Jackson
isn’t a career?
Don’t kill the Academy,
open your

own. Type A would teach
rock rhythm
guitar, the money
school would teach
Koreans English.

With up to
One hundred per class, knowing
most will be
working, unable
to attend, seeking

their dream date
or American life at
jobs outside
their visa’s bounds. Three
Gadflies rock for life.

Left Knee Fix

Today you’re fourth in line for heat, needles, suction cups,
ultrasound. Chae Han and Hwae Eun clean every inch
of the clinic, including mop-down, tidy, dusting, folding
towels taken off a drying rack, then, having heated pads in hot
water, lay them out in patterns patients are familiar with. For
three hours’ treatment we pay five bucks. You’re the youngest,
at 55, and the only male, so the grandmothers speak loud Korean
hoping you’ll know that you walked right by one of them without
saying hello the other day, what an insult. It had to be that you
didn’t see her because you’ve learned most customs. Lift your
feet, here comes Chae Han’s wet mop. Just like the sound a
well-played cello makes, you’ve fallen in love with the movement
of the mop, as if Kramer’s bow, mesmerized and at peace, such
a treat in a life of overdrive then stall, publically alone, driven
insistence or wallowing, unable to move, just motivated enough
to pour a wine, light a candle, make chit-chat with yourself and
take in a DVD. There’s a high degree of humanity between long
work hours, given from employers to us, the continually ailed.
You obsess, while staring at research screens, about the color, her
nails will be this time, how many muscles the needles will pierce.

John Abe Lillard

One day our lesson
ended early in
your upstairs
Park Avenue neighborhood
apartment. You asked

me to sit
to listen to Paul
and Art sing
like angels
on “The Boxer,” with trumpet

solo. Maybe your
hope was that one day
I’d be a
session player, or at least
enjoy music, as

a career
as classical brass
member was
out of reach
for someone as strung out on

that came my way: all women,
sports, bass riffs,
art, falling in love
even with the way

small dogs bark,
or old wood drawers slide, and you,
last seen in
Geneva, you smiled,
I smiled, case in hand.

Christmas Time

Sweet, solid foil-wrapped balls spilled out onto Mom’s
rag carpet, the kind you twine together into ovals
that soften creaky stairs in the farmhouse on the hill,
or worked for months, large enough to surround the
tree picked from your own land, over six feet tall,
because the ceiling is nine feet high, meaning this house
is not as old as the cobblestones up by the lake. It’s oak
burning in the fireplace; Dad’s good with a chainsaw ax,
wedge and sledge. This time you’re one of five children
meaning someone has lifted every box to determine the gifts,
the eldest sister is helping make home-made donuts, the
tradition that you all remember most, and one Mom continues
even decades later when only two or three, with their kids,
arrive at the homestead. Bedrooms, having shrunk, all made
up to precision, remaining toys neatly shelved, pulled down by
three-year-old, discovering about the audible qualities of wood
and gravity at the same time. Conversation is what Christmas
means: powdered sugar faces behind Danish, egg-nog. You go
back in time, play board games, remember the best times, laugh,
knowing all is good today, this day, collected, cocooned, calm, cozy.

Tenth Anniversary

Hasn’t their been enough cruelty to fill? Now that gray hairs
poke from scaly scalp can this ten-year smoke flowing over
domestic battlefield clear a long enough thin path so we can
express, at a minimum, some gratitude? Oh I know the heart
ran away in cinematic hyper-speed the moment my unrestrained
mouth told the truth. How could anyone ruin his own reputation
and the family’s with the apparent delight of a boy flushing a
lit cherry bomb down his school toilet? Again approaching a
whipping post, this one, like torn cartilage, will burn over many
years, but not heal, not burnt to the ground allowing a happy walk
away, nor mended, as cartilage has no blood circulation: thus
forever. What penance can suffice when your own penchant
for attracting negative attention heaps more on those around you
than yourself? Glass door rings a bell, lets in truck noise and
winter. You dream a future of happiness built on nothing more
than the smile of your son, some wild sports bet he had no chance
of winning, but won, running and sliding through the room. Three
friends and a spiritual advisor break your habit, then Kwang Suk
offers detached calm. This is it. You unshackle yourself, find
a free life bearable on a new ripple-free track for aging bones.


Alto voice
ample brain, sincere
desire to do well
plus a face
that can’t wait a long

time to get what it needs to
smile: comfortable
satisfying life,
a chance to love what you love.

What do you
want, where is your time
going to be spent?
Silver ring
shows more than you think

about your independent
path, your eyes search, your
lips speak but
do not say a word,
able to tell the story

of passions
vertically, wide open, like
the man at
the terminal, wet
drops flowing in joy,

waving to
the one he will always love,
to see a lot, but
wanting to be with.

Paradelle for James H. Stuber at Age Eight

Routine runs to laugh behind the flake-barked tree.
Routine runs to laugh behind the flake-barked tree.
Whitey, my son’s dog, darts to freedom, breaks his heart.
Whitey, my son’s dog, darts to freedom, breaks his heart.
Whitey barked “freedom,” breaks routine, the darts flake.
My son’s laugh, his heart behind, runs to the dog tree.

Thick lips expect extra attention when cold weather arrives.
Thick lips expect extra attention when cold weather arrives.
He is so pure he gets awards that proclaim “angelic.”
He is so pure he gets awards that proclaim “angelic.”
Angelic lips proclaim extra weather. He arrives, gets attention.
That cold, so thick: expect awards when he is pure.

He always asks questions that stimulate even this old mind.
He always asks questions that stimulate even this old mind.
When spring arrives we throw balls, talk sports, eat strawberries.
When spring arrives we throw balls, talk sports, eat strawberries.
Always stimulate balls that mind strawberries. This spring, when
He asks, throw old questions, mind sports, talk, even eat.

He runs, asks routine questions, gets extra freedom, balls behind
Strawberries’ pure lips. Expect to laugh, Whitey to stimulate
Spring to sports. The flake always arrives. This old dog barked.
Cold weather breaks his heart, thick mind darts, my
Son’s always angelic. Proclaim when tree awards attention.
When we throw, talk, eat, he is so that, he even that.

You’d have to be a fan of David Lynch, or
Kim Ki Duk, or the neurotic side of Woody Allen
with none of the gags in order to follow
along with this life, now so dichotomous
a Han-wide fissure divides two sides
both ridden with psychological tributaries. Some
nights it’s a Fellini romp, some days, through
Bergman, darkly. Please grit your teeth and
read on, because this reality is one
you’ll want to avoid, and it’s easy to do.
Match hearts. Don’t let sex or money control
you, be old fashion. That way when you wake
up in the middle of Nordic angst or
Faulknerian psychosis maybe the person
next to you will be willing to nurse
you back to Coen-Brothers oddballity
or even your own morbid elation,
strange mix of joy, sadness, public seculsion
spitting hard truths no one wants to
hear until you lose your job (again).