The Black Shore Rubbish Disposal of Paradise

i recently sent this one to Tim Miller at wordandsilence, via email & he said these things about this poem: one hell of a first stanza!!!!!!!!!!!!! (my exclamation marks) Of everything you’ve sent me this one is tops for me.!!!!!!!!! (my exclamation marks).
It’s interesting to me what yr doing with this place people go on vacation to (namely Jeju Island); I don’t know if you’ve read Don DeLillo’s Underworld, but there are long sections in there about a guy visiting a trash dump & reflecting on all our garbage. all the anthropomorphic ways of describing the scene–moustaches, anorexia, bouquets, pregnancy test, burial, galloping–tied to real images of shells, skulls, tides etc., are all a wonder. 

i don’t think Tim’ll mind me quoting him. cheers Tim.

 

The Black Shore Rubbish Disposal of Paradise

i walk the bow spat sprig of land at least
three times a week or more : i can release
the dog there as i know she will not leap
in the sea & no one usually walks that shore
—most find the chainsaw wind too much meither
perhaps the perils of the black rock
taunts them with an abstract of ill luck.

i see the same jettisoned garbage
—the tide comes in & drags it with, then dredges
it all to the same nooks in new arrangements.
the sodden lengths of rope— like offal
& umbilical cords—ties the 100 year cactus
fronds shaped like bunny ears, bulbs of purple fruits
like bruised elbows covered in microscopic needles.

slowly the sea chews chunks of rock
it will eat all this coast one day, i reckon.
medicine bottles prescribe dust & last
autumn’s foliage— dry grass moustaches
grow out of anorexic gaps. a dead gull, fish
hook jammed into its wing— slow death, eye
popped out like an oyster. fish spine

—the bleached skull of an animal i can’t
confirm— buoys stranded waiting for the tide
barnacles stud them— resemble lizards.
bouquets of hardy red plants hucking salt
ash from a fire Haenyo made hemmed by peel
& a collection of shells, makeshift chopping board
the sea sanded smooth for them. rusty aerosols

& broken baskets. a pregnancy test for the sea
which surely never comes back negative
—only open burial, the galloping of decay
by tides i’ve yet to schedule— the dig of wind in oily
feathers flesh & bone—would that i’d grieve?
i realize it’s all part of some abstruse plan
so why must i remind myself so often?

 

 

glossary: the cactus mentioned is not actually 100 years old but its name baeknyeoncho (백년초) means 100 hundred years. it is covered in imperceptibly fine needles. i made a beautiful syrup with it one year. they put it in chocolate. it is a nightmare to harvest & peel. it grows in such abundance by the ocean you can go & pick it at your leisure in November-January as no one is really bothered about it. make sure you tae thick gloves if you want to harvest some.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. This is indeed a powerful work. You are growing exponentially as a haibun writer… a haibunist?

    1. when you call me a haibun writer do you mean the content? as the form, as i understand haibun, is a prose block concluded with a tanka or haiku, traditionally at least.

      1. I use haibun, but your work is much more like what one would find in a zuihitsu that came out perfectly in the initial writing. But a zuihitsu is usually made up of bits and pieces that are haibun-y, so a zuihitsu can be haibun as such.

        It seems like a crime against nature that publishers have not been tearing down your door, vying for your attention, trying to be the first to publish your work. Then again, Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime… and now his stuff goes for HUGE sums of money.

        You are master wordsmith… and the publishers must be illiterate to not know it.

      2. well… i sent out 5 submissions this year so far & 1 will publish 3 in March & another will publish a haibun in March too. one is pending, but i have a good feeling about it, so i’m not too disgruntled with the year so far. thanks for the enthusiasm though— i hope many more catch my voodoo though.

      3. Yours is one fire that should spread through the fields of literature, post haste! The world needs to read it.

      4. tell your friends. i tend to send three submissions out in a short space of time then await the replies of at least a couple before sending more— i am overdue sending out some submissions actually. been busy gardening of late & propping up the bones of some creative non-fiction ideas.

      5. I have ZERO imfluence in any of the creative circles that wield power. All my business associates and friends are self sufficient outsiders like myself who live for the art alone above all other considerations. But believe me I am going forward with getting the word out, and at least you can rest assured that even if you are never rich or famous, there are those of us out here far beyond Jeju who think you are IMPORTANT… which is way better!!

      6. Daniel all i want is a single reader to speak with me about poetry & to read my poems. it is a relatively new circumstance for me & i am just happy to be getting publications & readers. so money & fame is of little consequence to me, i already have what i wanted, anymore is just a bonus. i wrote poetry for 10 years without a single reader, but my own bull-whip wielding inner critique to lacerate my lines into the shape i am confident to call sufficient & worthy of publication, until i could say that honestly i never thought to publish. a friend told me when i was having a difficult time before coming to Korea that “if you have to spend a lot of time with yourself, you need to learn to like being with yourself” i feel this applies to being a poet or musician or artist or whatsoever: if you don’t like what you do, you’ll never get an audience & you can’t possibly gauge what is of quality.

      7. It is funny that you refer to your work as “poems”. God, you are so far beyond poems into an interstellar region of your own, who knows what we can accurately call what you do. You are like some kind of ancient galactic essayist living in self-imposed exile on Earth having become bored with the last 1000 years you spent on Saturn. Poems? Geez, what a small way to describe such vitality!

      8. you make me sound like G.I. Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub.

      9. Fucking G.I. Gurdjieff was/is not worthy of smelling your farts. I would NEVER besmirch your work with a reference to that lunatic’s fatuous “theology”!!

      10. funny. i was obsessed with Gurdjieff for a while. i quite enjoyed his neologisms & thought the enneagram very interesting. i have since fell out of favour with all such men. i retain a fascination with such systems but couldn’t be swung as i could when in my early 20’s looking for answers in the esoteric. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous is interesting, nonsense, but nevertheless fascinating— i believe nothing, in no idea, yet i find all of them fascinating & useful to a poet.

      11. One absolutely should explore and think through such ideas… then come to the correct conclusion that they were/are passionate dilettantes who got a lot of lonely, confused people to believe they were/are quasi-divine. A dog will live more empirical truth in two minutes than a Gurdjieff will tell you in 23 lifetimes!

  2. Tim Miller says:

    Hey Daniel forget what I was saying about lit criticism… whoever it was made those perceptive comments about yr poem is obviously wise as all hell. Seriously though, a great poem, & even better with the photos. One hopes that someday there’ll be a deluxe Daniel Marshall collection, with photos. Dare I ask, but please write more trashy poems, they’re as perceptive about actual nature as how we’re destroying it.

    1. like a good shaman i pray to the rain to bring me such glad tidings. what a thing that would be to do, but i remain content with my small readership.
      very wise man that Miller bloke.
      i want to write more but it is one of those topics that has to be experienced & it has to be unique somehow from the previous one, else you fall into a repetition, each poem sounding much like the last— there needs to be that vamp, y’know. it’ll come, i just have to wait for the moment, i’m ever ready to pounce, i’m like a fine tuned machines (i seem to recall a very daft looking orange man saying something similar recently at a farcical press conference— hmmmm?)

  3. pseudonymous says:

    The wastelandishness of this piece comes off as highly appealing—I was hooked like the gull. We have a succulent here everyone calls a century plant, they think it blooms every 100 years (it doesn’t)

    1. I think the cactus may be so named as it seems ever present.
      Wastelandishness is an apt way of putting it. I like the idea of turning ugly on its head & making it, perhaps not beautiful, but aesthetic. If you can’t beat it turn it into a poem i say.

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