singing bowl ㅊ

i’d like to spend the next few days finishing off my singing bowl series, which to jog your memory here is the original prolegomenon followed by ㅊ:


i don’t think it is the first or last time Robert Okaji has or will inspire a poetic endeavour of mine, simply through being influenced by his own endeavours to chart the minuscule details surrounding us, in taut poems, at once challenging while arresting the reader with their inimitable, abstract beauty & in addition, simultaneously evading being pigeon holed as they zoom in on something mundane, drawing us in to wonder at what beyond Okaji sees, only to discover it is reality itself not some beyond, it is something right in front of him, possibly still, arranged as it is. it is the mundane that Okaji infiltrates with his unique eye for abstraction, as if to show us that the very simple isn’t so much not simple, but that simplicity can inspire so much more than just the utterance of the sign , the name that gives it a literary reality. & so, after Robert Okaji’s xii Shutters poems,

a series of twelve pieces written at a desk in front of a shuttered window. I was taken with how a simple adjustment of the slats affected perception – that what I saw was only a disjointed portion of what there was to see

as Robert explains them in his own words, i too have picked a single object, a singing bowl, from which i have written a series of poems, using the 14 symbols ㄱㄴㄷㄹㅁㅂㅅㅇㅈㅊㅋㅌㅍㅎ, which are the basic Hangul consonants, as counters, something other than Roman numerals or numbers to give the series a start & end point.

i have not laboured over the poems, rather letting them be as organic as possible, not perfectly so, as the first lines out are never satisfactory enough for me; but rather than spend too much time tamping & taming, i have written the bulk quite fast for my, usually slow, production standards, in hope of annexing what i see as a quality of the singing bowl: its nature as a receptacle to transmit the syllable of the universe aum, according to the purpose of its existence, whether you believe the universe hums such a syllable to directly brings us into proximity with It.
lastly, the form used is based somewhat on Korean poetry, its directness, its short, terse lines, & sparse, almost non-existent simile. i especially have taken influence from Kim Chun-su’s poetry.

help me peer at
from the verge
of my skin,
the horizon
of my lungs & brain,
a satellite
to my own body
& self,
orbiting my
every motion.
when i do, i become
all important
when i see
from out here
– it is entirely
other new
for me to like
but still


a penny for your thoughts

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