gulls in monochrome & other things

i took the hound out today, not unlike any other day when the rain doesn’t lash down on the island, but is carried off on great blasts of wind that ferry everything in its arms. the wind today was severe & sharp, felt like i was in a knife chase & i was losing ground. the cloud massed like buckets of garlic & i experimented with monochrome. the ambidextrous weather impelled a vital effort on my part to use that monochrome setting on my camera, vital, because i have been putting it off, terrified of everything looking like an early Wes Anderson movie, because this is Jeju, not Wes Anderson, Jeju! home of rust, the wind at its source, the sea & sky, salted houses & agents of the weather, more Jim Jarmusch or Kim Ki Duk than Anderson.
here’s a poem i wrote in Spring which appeared at PoetHead sometime after then or in that season, i don’t remember too well, but still very pleased to have been given a place in the PoetHead archives.
i republish this poem because i wrote it on a day much like today, in the same spot i took the photos of my dog & the gulls.



gulls bathe & fish in temporary rock pools
near the recycling spot in Ongpo village. i wonder
if the dead mermaids of old Jeju are reincarnate as gulls?
whether they thank the wind for bringing morsels of food to them?

have they returned to the place they liked to forage abalone,
where they taught their children how to recite the poems of the sea
& laced three times a day their soups with shell fish & sea weed?
in the translucent pools objects that don’t belong to the sea

but the sea has made ornate on its potter’s wheel
lie like artifacts whose worth is waiting to be recycled.
you can hardly recognize shards of green bottles,
broken, budget china plates, the flutes & spouts of blue vases

& their bases with the artists name erased by the currents.
however a saucepan lid, the nipple of its handle.
a rusty tobacco tin with mushed up cigarettes inside.
a bottle of washing up liquid. a cement bag collecting shells & kelp

go unchanged. no matter
the hours the mad sea potter clocks in.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Daniel Paul Marshall and commented:

    posted this yesterday & didn’t get much out of it, maybe it is just a crap post, but here goes one more time for it to have its day.

  2. E.E. Nobbs says:

    Love the image of the dead mermaids transformed into gulls!

    1. You have to keep the mind open to any possibility because those mermaids are resourcful shamans.

  3. I assure you that this is a most excellent post/poem, with very professional photos. I think the slow response might have been caused by the new Reader, which gives each post a fraction of the space it used to get, but allows you to scroll through posts very efficiently. The advantage is that you can view more information quicker, and frequent posters won’t be able to clog up your Reader, the downside is that it’s easier to miss a post and the compressed pictures don’t look as impressive on it.

    I still recommend you write that Jeju book. These photos and poems are very professional, only a hardcover picture/poem/art/travel/culture book of Jeju in collaboration with your pals Joey et al. will do your skills justice.

    1. Thanks for the confidence boost. Who knows what the new year holds. Thanks for your support and intelligent conversation this year too.

      1. Thanks! I do value our discussions very much. I recommend you consider joining a literary collective, here is one that one of my followers recently joined:

        They have thousands of followers and presence on twitter (also with thousands of followers).

        Also, would you be doing some sort of New year’s eve party for your inn guests in the cafe?

        If so, would love to see the photos of that!

      2. I’ll look into it but i’m quite independent, which makes me narrow minded when it comes to groups. This is the reason why i’m a bad musician & have such an idiosyncratic guitar playing style: i’m doing my best to fill in the gaps where a band should be.

  4. I think it should be fine, it appears rather diverse, and is mostly reblogs. The key of course, would be to drum up traffic to this site, and having a ready pool thousands of subscribers to regularly reach out to could be beneficial.

    1. You’re right. Thanks. I’ll contact them.

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