This is an old poem, written when i was in the middle of building our guesthouse & cafe. The sentiment of escaping from teaching was still very immediate & i’ve as of yet, not got around to taking my escape for granted; don’t think i ever will.
plenty of work to crack on with
plenty of work to crack on with & after teaching brats
their ABC i’m eager to use my hands again
—to jeer at snow & wind, chase it out the nooks of our edifice.
we prepare tables of red pine for sinks, we release
the pong of woody, saccharine molecules
which sand paper & planer rub to burns that loiter in our midst
& i appreciate the scent : the village smells like dirty pants
i stop pursuing the wind.
the tin of black wood varnish, froths with a waxy orange scent.
we need brushes with tiny heads to make lithe long strokes along the grain.
my wife swishes two & fro in itchy distances
hopping here & there, patches left undone, which frustrates me.
we pretend to be calligraphers, but write no words
no need : we lost our ABC— we do not struggle with the elements
that smother us in cold & make our working hard
— we do not struggle though our hands grow grubby & numb.
just going to put this out there. Tim Miller at wordandsilence.com said that this passage from an email i sent him had literary merit, or as i interpreted his response, stirred in him something beyond an email response. i have a lot of trust in Tim’s opinions so i am going to test the waters. if it works it may become a new micro-fiction style which i’ll work on more.
email to Tim Miller
here are some poems, which i am thinking about sending to the High Window. they are perhaps a bit raw, maybe into their 2 and a bit draft, & been swimming around in my thoughts for a very long time. they are hard to write because Master-nim, though he will never read them, deserves them to be the best i can produce, regardless; because the experiences i had with him were so life/mind altering, if only because i saw a whole new way of living, which is weird, because we had no in depth discussions, even though he seemed to be able to fill in the gaps of my pidgin Korean & we communicated to a certain point quite fluidly, but mostly we just dealt with stuff, we just got on with something, drank a lot & laughed at our predicament. he taught me through action to not grit & bear, but thrive in hardship. i am still not great at it, but at least i know how to approach that method of being. it is quite sad to see him decline into alcoholism & self-destruction because of his situation, but that is because he is not emotionally fertile, he doesn’t know how to rebel, to complain, to resist people’s manipulation, he just takes each day as it comes eat shit work work work shit work work shit drink eat drink drink eat shit sleep sleep sleep repeat