This poem is the 1st of a series of poems making a single long poem, which i have called Yoon Yong. I don’t know what to do with it, so I might put a few up here now & then, to see what people think.
The basic outline is that Yoon Yong is a 30 something Korean woman on a weekend trip to Jeju, alone. She works as a translator & is married to an English man. She is conflicted culturally. The poem is a mix of her soliloquies, Jeju scenery & conversations or just quotes from people in her past. Yoon Yong is nothing like my wife.
Flight to Jeju (Friday 7:45 a.m.)
Rising out a futurity of turbid cloud | pulpy buboes
the airplane lances to the sound of applause.
“It baffles me | in spite of the countless daily flights
that take off every hour & break through barricading smog |
that there is not a larger sense of urgency to fix the sky.”
I’m getting out— “we’re nowhere near…”
I’ll sweat it out | not get abroad myself
—i should not spend this time from Seoul | nullifying
myself with psychometric tests | but spend it frivolously
on remembering who I am | spotting the difference
—playing “eye spy with my little eye something beginning with… 유…”
my own interior sister & mother for playmates.
Nor fall in line with the cultural stereotype like
young couples taking in-flight selfies | nuzzled
in the crease of one another’s elbows | dressed
in couple-clothes & silly hats—they look inter-bred |
arms numb with romance.
Yoon Yong is glad to be spared that rigmarole
: I’m not photogenic (“attractive in maturity”)
& he sure as hell isn’t with his serial killer chin
& bitten off gawp | his nondescript hair like a winter lawn
& nose shaped like a syringe—we still look strange
with faces in the same frame | locked smiles |
pretending we’re sooooo happy. “& for whose benefit…?”