흑자 Jeju through n’ through


I am imperfect- I admire that in something especially myself
: such a dominant weakness in so many other living things
I have used to my advantage: to coddle humans
into feeding me scraps which I’ll get by on.
the tip grew into this burl like the grip of a gear stick.
I developed the use of my abdomen to even out
the missing equipoise like how a trolley at the supermarket
with one iffy wheel at the fore means people
put some muscle into steering to keep the straight & narrow.

I walk well enough, but racing into trots I veer the weight
of myself away from the direction I travel in, which makes the trot unique.
I have this peculiar manner of slinking like an accordion
a sort of stretch & move action arching the back like a nave.
already cooing like an Aboriginal with a bullroarer
calling across the bush, you know I’m near. I’ll eat more than the dog
– there’s infinity hidden in me somewhere. an infinity of tones
to my repertoire I’ve noted how seeming desperate to articulate
to speak the narrative of my day in purrs & meows

makes me appealing to people- they’re then likely to fork
out on a morsel of something. I was once called 흑자,
which is practically untranslatable -unique in character
– something like honest carefree incapable of ill will, the black stones used in 바둑
which the old men play in the shade of nettle trees they said.
they found me outside a restaurant where he got drunk;
i pawed out rolling around like 김밥 begging from guests leaving & entering.
I wanted feeding hadn’t eaten a decent meal in days.
he wanted to feed me the skin of mackerel flayed with chopsticks

that remained on the tables, simply because I tried
didn’t scarper like a pheasant when he entered but showed affection
like a monk with a singing bowl chanting for alms.
but the harridan complained 그 고양이 미우니까, 밥 주지 마세요!
i hate that cat, you shouldn’t feed it!
I rolled on my back purring & meowing- this was life or death.
I didn’t give a toss about the abuse she flung in my direction
this was a matter of life & death
– he scooped me up skinny with pleadings & took me with him… 

Choi Soon-sil, the “Rasputin” who Controlled the South Korean President, is no Shaman. — pagansweare

this is a recent post on what a real shaman is. if you are following the political turmoil in Korea at the moment you may be being misled that Choi Soon-sil is a shaman. here Joey Rositano whose photographs i have already introduced to you explains why she is not. please consider following him & supporting his work. he will be giving a TEDx talk at the end of November & when the video is available i will post it.

People have been suggesting over the last week that I write a post on the current presidential political scandal in South Korea and the media’s mischaracterization of shamanism. The truth is, I’m up to my armpits in TEDx preparation and don’t have much time to put together a proper post. I need to return to […]

via Choi Soon-sil, the “Rasputin” who Controlled the South Korean President, is no Shaman. — pagansweare

on the adequacy of landscape

i find landscape pictures difficult: the lighting must be absolutely spot on, which is determined by a number of factors you have no control over but must anticipate. your pretty much onto a winner for light early morning or evening, but the afternoon can be a nuisance.

the variegation of the layers of cloud must be bold for me, this will mean they are moving, shifting the light, if they break & coagulate constantly, giving the sun opportunity to break out. if a blue sky isn’t solid enough but washed with a milky patina mingled with light it makes for an ugliness i can’t abide & is difficult to work with. so i don’t always end up with what i feel is an aesthetically stimulating photo, regardless of whether the landscape has implicate beauty. unfortunately Korea gets a lot of humidity & on those days i pretty much throw my hands up in defeat. there just isn’t a good atmosphere to muggy, humid days. the most photogenic days for me are those days when the wind is swift & urges the cloud with its swiftness, the cloud tends to layer on these days & sometimes their tones will vary too & it just begs for being photographed.  

behind my place are farmer’s field that revolve through the seasons & can be very photogenic
view of Seogwipo from Donnaeko trail
the last stretch of Donnaeko, a treat after a steep descent through claustrophobic forest, to open into airy field of grass sloping into Oreum
that last stretch of Donnaeko offers some expansive views all the way out to sea
one of the lesser viewed sides of Hallasan, i don’t know whether north, south, east or west
autumn timothy on the east side of the island
Yeongsil trail 
Biyangdo island seen from hansupul, again behind my place

IIIrd publication of the year


i am very pleased to announce that my poem Fishermen has been published in vol 5 of Four Ties Lit Review. much obliged to all the editors of Four Ties & especially to Matt Larrimore who founded the journal & i suspect has been emailing all the authors with good news. please allow yourselves to be saturated in their literary picks for this issue & make all their hard work even more worth while. furthermore, stay posted for videos by a handful of the poets, authors & artists, including myself, coming in a day or so & perhaps more.



on the perimeters


on the perimeters

poor street bitch, famished & lonely, tiptoe
your perfect parabola, study me
for sudden movements, then scuttle anxious bursts
in mimicry of all the other homeless dogs,
risking the treacherous oscillations of traffic
to protect the precious cargo you ferry to life

: you must have 5 pups or thereabouts due.
in your warm hammock-womb
they swing to the omniscient hush of the sea
& develop in the only peaceful sleep they’ll know.
i don’t read in your tidy steps any complaint
about our leftovers being your only nourishment.

how are your sufferings measured?
if you do wrong, you wedge your tail between your legs & pin your ears back.
if cut you bleed & whelp, if throttled whine.
if without your permission we approach your pups you snarl.
if you see another dog you sob for their affection.
if cold you dither once it slinks beneath your fur.

so we’re not so dissimilar, you & i.
the disused perimeters of this island appeal to us,
the outer reaches skeptical of inward things
affect us, so too the elements & lonesomeness. we chose to be
as far away from tourists & their selfie sticks as possible;
it’s here, where we’re the only life for miles, we meet.


the harbour town, hallim, where i live, has an abundance of street dogs & they must have lived such miserable lives to distrust people so much. should you wave a tin of tuna before them they wouldn’t come & take it from you, for fear of what you may be capable of; regardless how pure you know your intentions to be.
i respect their capacity to endure. to endure loneliness. to survive. they cannot grumble. they have not the mechanism for grumbling & yet their complex emotions are plain to see when you note how they abandon a comfort to elude us. that we are to be steered clear of. not to be trusted. i think we can learn something about ourselves from their insight.

about daniel paul marshall

i still haven’t wrote one of these things as i find them very difficult to write; so i shall pare this back like the peeling of an onion to its naked core.
i don’t write for a living but i take it very serious. the act of writing & the progression to a completed poem, its podginess prodded into a meaning & form is a marvellous thing. as Wallace Stevens said, it isn’t everyday the world composes itself into a poem. thus it is a moment of chaos becoming intelligible; this is worthy of a pause for thought & as suitable a reason as any to write a poem.

i live on an island called jeju, a self governing province off the south coast of korea; i’m not korean though, i am english. i run a guesthouse & cafe that i built with my wife.

these days, reading a fair sum of korean poetry in its original with the aid of a good translation, i have begun to borrow its form & function; the direct treatment of emotions & things witnessed.
however, i do enjoy developing narratives & imagine all sorts of daftness; so you will find various projects all on going here.
i’m certainly more a person who walks & works in oscillations, like coleridge, i don’t walk in straight lines next to wordsworth. this means i do spread myself too finely over distances, but i’m in no rush. welcome.