Photographs were not the only product of my Busan trip, naturally, a poem emerged, a long poem.

Busan: City by the Sea— part 1

Just Another Tourist

A farmer’s profiled face, the ideal line,
tilted back 40 degrees
                                     watching the sky
bedded in geraniums, cosmos & violets;
the face made of white gauze bandaged round a wire frame
& decorated with green string— it looks like
a giant 3-D sketch, done with a pea-green biro.
Mountains veer to the horizon
like Venn diagrams, the granite circumference
                                     & spine of Busan;
tunnels gimleted through them,
causing a lament of congestion
buzzing like a game show,
the epileptic lights flash, indicative of where were heading next..
Pylons goosestep arêtes softened with pine, cast
energy down
                                     to subterranean depths
under highways, jammed
with buses & trucks, spent adrenaline
There are policemen smiling
& a salesman selling mosquito
paraphernalia, precautionary measures
& antidotes: zappers, shaped like tennis rackets,
wall plugs, lotions, roll-ons
                                     he chain smokes the day short
—people have only pocket change
for him.
               Suddenly the bus banks up
& the city escalates into rich towers, glassy,
squamous, hoarding wealth, the city
mirrored in celled facades.
                                     i cannot smell the ocean
yet, but see the estuary colonnaded with oriental willow
suffering under a burden of greyish, yellow smog
like a dog struggling in Malbok heat.
Later my wife will tell me
                                     this is the smell of Singapore.

Two Sides to Every Coin

The serotonin here is through the roof,
there must be alien minerals in the water,
no known vitamins in the fruit & veg,
the air less astringent due to lower anxiety,
maybe the oemuk or kimchi is exceptional.
i don’t see the kinds of faces that say
I might as well masturbate in the shower.

There are lonely business men
speaking 2nd languages casually in
unseasonable clothes, eating
flakey croissants & vanilla crowns
with espressos & Korean melon
at the buffets of expensive hotels.

There are taxi drivers
with smoker’s coughs, tracheas
like frowsty walls, unimpressed
with the questions
they have all the answers for.

There are immoderate values
at arm’s length
                                     & homes in clouds.
There are boys
in linen shirts standing in empty spaces
with a distance, bundled glass;
their comfort palpable,
their girlfriend’s hair
blending with the contours
of massive shadows.

The People on the Hill & by the Sea

Two epochs facing off
against each other, one humbled
֫by time, cautious of it
—bitten off stairways & roof top
2 by 4 veggie patches of chili & tomato;
Quasimodo homes & businesses
in pastel jackets, scratching
their heads instead of the sky,
home to old artisans
with coarsened hands, trying
to massage a life out of old
designs & new community.

& driven to the sea
the air-headed hyper-developed,
behind blacked-out windows
& 0-60 mph in 6 secs precision engineering
more like a prosthetic limb than convenience;
they’ve a tough stance on time,
jobs in finance or business,
groomed pets on leashes,
polished teeth & dry cleaned clothes
— how happy they must be;
they should test sadness
now & again,
money can buy both.

& yet they live
in the shadow
of the people on the hill.

Pub Bookshelf

In the Irish pub
of the Westin Joseon Hotel
the book shelf contains
a Danish Dictionary, an
Introduction to Alzheimer’s
& a biography
of Marilyn Monroe.

Posted by:DPM

DPM is an idea-logue (sic) and object-oriented speculative realist, attempting to be response-able in an irresponse-able society.

10 thoughts on “Busan: City by the Sea— Part 1

  1. i don’t see the kinds of faces that say
    I might as well masturbate in the shower.

    How unlike Dundee (and Perth), where I daily pass people and think, “Frankly, pal, I don’t give a sh1t how you take care of domestic issues!”

    This is a simile-rich, sound-rich, movement-rich, senses-rich evocation of place. Almost too much to take in. Almost, but not quite, and that’s good.

    1. Cities tend to bring me to this brink of richness where i want to pack & pack & hope it keeps the reader’s attention. I think the change from solitude to bustle triggers something in me.

    1. Cheers Pablo. Cities, perhaps because i don’t like living in them, & don’t live in one, set me to task in some peculiar recompense it thinks i deserve, as if the city is trying to impress me, to fatigue me with ideas & visuals, to say like a child “look at me, look what i have to offer, what i can do.”

    1. Yer a gent Steve. Thanks. Living far from a city, when i do visit one, they seem to provoke something in me, usually something dense. i wonder whether the same density would come about if i went to a city that wasn’t in Asia, not so dense?

      1. My pleasure Daniel. Mmm not such a stark contrast. Suppose it depends on what catches your eye and your thoughts, ie, no idea. 😀

      2. They are very different to me, there is an aesthetic difference mainly & an attitudinal & aesthetic difference in the people, with some things overlapping. The overlaps can be fascinating though. & sometimes, kind of tragic, like two left feet.

      3. I agree, sorry I wasn’t clear, thinking one thing and writing another. I meant a very low density town moves along the spectrum towards countryside.

      4. Towns these days feel trapped in a sort of limbo between a rural old way & a steady progression toward a city mentality, it makes for an odd mash up of aesthetics.

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