a sign of things to come

one of my early Jeju poems, using rhyme, which i have revised a few times now. i think it appeared here over a year ago. the man in question i saw sitting out under a nettle tree, in all weather over an entire summer. in Korea, beneath huge trees, you’ll usually find the local villagers put out comfortable chairs for a restive from the hard summer heat, as their old houses are like furnaces in summer time, so sitting out is best, come rain or shine. this gentleman caught my eye because he always stared at me, probably because i’m foreign— but i feel after seeing him frequently interacting with others that there was something wrong with him. i never confirmed his illness, but it inspired the idea of the local & his island as one & the same like the King & his land, as i understand it from reading Frazer’s The Golden Bough years ago.

a sign of things to come

a nettle tree’s umbrage— flecked with changing shades of green
its branches nudged by wind, lets photons & Morse code
latched on the wind, file through with arms folded full of radio chatter
— shelters an old chap i’m sure has Parkinson’s or maybe Alzheimer’s.
a man as weathered as his old arm chair— both tarnished by rain.
each time he tries to talk he judders like a pitch fork
& seems to find it very difficult to make his words.

each day he muddles through a now— the only tense he’s got
& with bits n’ bobs of bric-a-brac he synthesizes actualities
: fields of kohlrabi & sparrows. the temple in his peripheral.
a Jindo in a lion’s mane that never quiets nor stills.
he reads in the diagonal rain the cloud’s good-by notes.
his hippocampus dimmed— no memories left to him.
i doubt from the confusion on his face he ever feels at ease.

i see the fate of Jeju ten years down the line
in the jerks of his wrists & ticks that jolt his cheekbones.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. pseudonymous says:

    The photograph had me searching for the man who I then found come to life by your poem. My favorite was the end though, the comparison of the man to Jeju, or the land itself, as a prophecy. I looked back and could see him there before he vanished.

    1. Alzheimer’s seems fitting for an island whose identity is slowly eroding but persists with trying to identify itself.

      1. pseudonymous says:

        I never thought of it that way in terms of that specific disease (or the island for that matter) but it’s spot on. It makes me wonder how many countries are in that position. But more personally, your poems I know I can always expect vivd movie-like detail especially with the portraits, and this was no exception. There are some interesting preventions for alzeimers but no known cures yet right? Interesting to muse over the future macrocosmically in that sense. Or document the moment in the intriguing and mindprovoking way you do. Thanks d

      2. i seem to recall yeast being something scientists were researching as a potential cure of Alzheimer’s, but i do not recall the source, unlike last time with the aeon article. there are currently no cures as far as i am aware.
        when i set out to write a poem, it is usual with density in mind, & a clean image before me, Hart Crane & Ted Hughes are my favorite poets, so i have a lot to live up to in my chosen pursuit.
        i am thrilled you find me ‘mindprovoking’ i’ll take that any day of the week.
        i am working on an essay at the moment that i think will blow your mind when its done— its still taking baby steps, but i can tell you it is a look at Integrated Information Theory & its applications & reflections in the discipline of poetry, i am quite excited about it.

      3. pseudonymous says:

        I read a study that using a certain common herb and playing video games prevented onset on alzeimers. I’m not familiar with either of the poets but feel like I should be. I’m also not familiar with the iit itself but it looks like stuff I definitely ponder and I’d be way more interested in hearing your take than sift thru what I imagine to be (tallest mtn in korea) of data that you have—you just have that style. I’m looking forward to it.

      4. i’d say you’d get on with Crane very well, i’d even say your perhaps a more unfettered version of him in your poetry.

      5. pseudonymous says:

        I read his biography last night and am diving into his work, I appreciate the complement/comparison. Also for Paterson which was phenomenal and the Master which is now in my download cue. I don’t do reblogs ever but the piece you are working on sounds like something I would definitely consider.

      6. lostinmist says:

        Yeast supposed to be a good choline source. Choline is an essential nutrient not usually in high enough amounts in diet, and only synthesized endogenously in miniscule amouts. Choline salts, alpha-gpc and cdp-choline have different factors (& lecithin & phosphatidylcholine). Yeast & cdp-choline also provide cytidine (BBB cytidine traversal has been shown at least in CDP type). Wikipedia states that one study found 98% of post-menopausal women choline deficient. I have noticed in my case at least that since I ran out of choline bitartrate pills like 2 weeks, I have begun to have hangovers/unreasonable rebound effects again, which had been absent for some months. Also of note, Lions Mane mushroom is known to boost NGF 1 synthesis, and Asian folklore says it will keep your mind sharp to 100 years.. Turmeric and other neurotrophin boosters? Although curcumin bioefficacy from turmeric is debatable. Or cross check international anti aging systems’ offerings with experience data on erowid.org &c&c&c&c … Notably omega 3s are critical for cell membrane integrity (fatty acids make up some large fraction of brain weight). Exercise boosts BDNF in practice as turmeric is known to in vitro.

      7. pseudonymous says:

        I think the piperine/capsaicin synergy solve the bioavailability issue of curcumin. Seeing tracers from your dinner is a good sign.

      8. i don’t know anything about these things, i’ll have to do some homework i think, but thanks LIM & Pseudonymous for the interesting back & forth.

      9. lostinmist says:

        I think there are absorption issues too. I read somewhere consuming it with fat helps. Piperine disables the enzyme that breaks down curcumin, but may be only effective for a couple hours. Which might-could be enough depending on other unknowns & variables. As far as I know capsaicin doesn’t really interact with that system. And whole black pepper may have a degree of carcinogenicity in sufficient time+concentration.

      10. lostinmist says:

        I agree tracers seem a good sign though.

  2. See? You are a conduit for the soul of Jeju herself, warning the people and speaking through beauty. You are a special agent for the Universe…

    1. Does it come wiyh a list of duties?

      1. Yes…. a single duty. Be yourself. Whatever it is you think you are or are not, you have a special role to play that Jeju will dictate, whether you are cognizant of it or not.

        You have the standard English formal training but write in the manner of haibun, a perfect synthesis of classical and open form(s). Okaji Sensei is over 11,500 kilometers away from you, but you both have become the voice of a region. And I get to watch it all from my perch in Yodogawa 843 kilometers away!

      2. I can manage that. I’ll have an actual haibun published in April at the Contemporary Haibun Online.

  3. Pablo Cuzco says:

    Nice imagery of Korean folk and human frailties.

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