Late breakfast//early lunch near Gwakji Beach (10:10 a.m.)

The next in my series Yoon Yong. In the previous poem, I used the word, malbok. Malbok is a word for the final, intensely hot days of August & the passing of Summer into Autumn. After (as they are now rattling my door) dramatic winds swipe in & push out all the heat & headache of summer. There is a line in this poem, foreshadowing the change after malbok, see if you can find it.
Yoon Yong is taking her trip during these few agitating, hot days, where people are just sick of heat & long for the clemency of Autumn. We just passed Malbok a few days ago now & the weather has cooled by about 4-5 degrees, which relieves a lot of pressure from everyone, it is very tangible, from the air we breathe to the mood of people. The high-pitched screech of cicadas, which really does make it seem like the day is frying has been usurped by the lullaby trill of crickets, melodic & calm.

Late breakfast//early lunch near Gwakji Beach (10:10 a.m.)

…Raw fish | squid squirming on white plastic dishes
—“slurp it down in one?”—water down a plug hole.

“The traffic’s pretty bad this time of day—in fact it’s bad all day.
Where’d you want to go?” Gwideok!

He’s not here so I’ll eat what I like.
Reddish-pink tuna & spicy cutlass-fish full of bones

thin as fiber optics | tender flesh that breaks like weather
& sea-cucumber | toxic orange | priapic | cold & dense —“a woman’s pulse.”

He pulls the same flip book of faces to illustrate disgust
at the very mention of sashimi

—”perhaps there is no mind | just behavior…”
I suffered his dramatic charade in Sokcho

& after I’d spent 8 hours in blistering sun on the beach
bored as a muzzled dog with only beer to drink & corn chips.

Wouldn’t have been so bad but I forgot my book
& he wouldn’t drive back & get it for me.

Yoon Yong gets off at Gwideok & sees
a little girl empty a 500ml bottle of Jeju spring water

into the sea | then plead with her father to
“gather the water I emptied.”

Her anxiety gets the better of her as if some
exacting portion of her character has been duped.

She looks puzzled while her father
explains the impossibility of retrieving the water

because of the nature of liquid.
She has her first lesson in “cause & effect | daughter…”

3 thoughts on “Late breakfast//early lunch near Gwakji Beach (10:10 a.m.)

  1. Love the graphic culinary descriptions, Daniel, and the father-daughter relationship. Once dined with my family at the home of a visiting Japanese professor. My wife tried unsuccessfully to hide the disgust you mentioned; I could see it in the photos of the occasion he sent us after.

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