“Be like your mother” (8:44 a.m.)

The next poem in my Yoon Yong series.

Be like your mother” (8:44 a.m.)

…Orange is warm & marriage is blue
—my mother is transparent | I always wanted (want…?)

her transparency | to follow her example
—what stopped me | or rather | who? My young self mostly

still straggling in the remotest substrata of me
like the flag of a bankrupt corporation.

Is my skin too lemon to wear a heart on my sleeve?
—“We will be landing shortly please make…”

“…me a cuppa’ tea darling brew it for 4 minutes like I like it.”
(That double like makes my skin crawl.)

Her husband lounging on the sofa engrossed in some Netflix
drama on his laptop | eating his way through

a pack of chocolate biscuits | crumbs gathering
in the folds of his hoody—I had too much say

in myself…

6 thoughts on ““Be like your mother” (8:44 a.m.)

  1. I am still most fascinated (I find) by the way you construct these poems – the basic reliance on couplets and yet the interruption of | symbols which conventionally indicate, in a quote, where a line would end… the way ideas and images change abruptly despite either of those two breaks, yet somehow there is a link between them (surprising, surreal, oneiric)…

    In this poem, the tension between attraction/repulsion.

    1. The couplets is the dialogue of self (identity) & soul (culture) I suppose, but I wouldn’t rule out interchangeability as the reader discovers for themselves.
      The ellipsis I use as a trail off of thought, but they bracket each poem to illustrate the poem is ongoing, but I am sure you realize that.
      The | symbol is essentially a dramatic comma. It serves a more slowing function, to try to slow the readers pace, to create physical barriers for the reader to linger in in order to extract meaning cautiously. A sort of shelving of each phrase, if you will. I haven’t by any means perfected my system, if there is one. I usually know what I want to say & the composition of it is what feels best, what I want it to read like, how I want to lessen & quicken pace. My long — is a sort of jump, a flattened | so the logic is, barrier / collapsed barrier, but this may only feel right to me, it is how I think of the progress unfolding. Maybe me reading them might express this, but I haven’t got a particularly strong reading voice, but it is something I work on.
      I wanted Yoon Yong to not be so much a scatter brain but that she finally on her little weekend trip, feels free in her own company to think without interference from family, duty etc. There the collapsed barrier, closed barrier again. She’s in conflict remember, she hates her marriage & would like nothing more than to exit it, but there’s the duty part, her daughter Sarang (the Korean word for Love) & that duty from the shame of divorce in Korea.

      I like it when you’re in analysis mode.

  2. Those questions of transparency and opacity are interesting, Daniel. She has that view of her mother while hiding herself. A lot to think about. I sometimes wonder how it translates, our perception of our own opacity/transparency. I suppose perfection would be appearing to be perfectly transparent, while in fact being completely the opposite; as summed up in the first rule of keeping secrets: never letting it be known that there is a secret.

    1. Whoa! You just tied my brain in knots. You really are reading these well Steve. Ttansparency also means simple here, her mother knows her place, Yoon Yong wants that but you can’t become ignorant of what you know. I think secrets are somewhat part of individuality. I don’t care if Google mine my data but I don’t want anyone in my head at times.

      1. Haha, just the way I read it, Daniel. I agree, as long as the secrets are not toxic in some way, they are kind of okay, and make us who we are. From my self-observation, there are many levels of secrecy, or pretending. I put a gloss on, try to see myself as doing my best, even when I’m not, and I don’t think I’m the only one. If Google can make sense of what’s in my head, they are very welcome to it.

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