There’s no need to be a poet (time is forgotten)

This poem from the Yoon Yong series is probably a personal anxiety of my own showing through the tissue paper of personality. I think all poets (I cannot speak for translators) have some such concern as this in their transmogrification of reality & experience into the poetic. The solution: not apologizing for seeing, trying, relying & relishing what is out there to relish, rely on, try & see.

 It’s probably for the best I never became a poet
or translator: a poet has the anxiety to write
something new | to transmute so much mundanity
into a coagulation of symbols that raises bpm
—else they must make a life busy with happenings |
dilemmas & so much heart ache & madness.
The translator must be at the beck n’ call
of this poet of happenings this force of nature
prone to the altercations of time & the motions
of weather with such acuity it makes my cells itch.
& isn’t the outcome of the translator | jealousy?
No permit by the public to be reckless & intense.
The poet gets to be the eyes of God.
The lodestone of the universe.
The precious birth of atoms damming space & time.
There’s no need for me to be a poet.
I need to be plain & pleased
with the me that I am. If I’m not what then…?

Last images

During my last few weeks in Korea, I made one final push to photograph the environment I called home for so long. Despite my tone of voice of late, I am making valiant efforts to reorient myself, this mostly involves going to the pub, as well as quaffing a few foaming ales, my reorientation includes finding work, making friends, reestablishing friendships, taking very long walks in the nearby forests, filling in obscene amounts of online forms, going to the bank, the Job Center, calling receptionists with pretty voices, talking to a bank customer services adviser about D.H. Lawrence’s free verse poetry & the difficulties of studying this & banging my head against the wall until I suffer semi-concussion. Such are the joys of no longer living in the 4th dimension.

God’s Barber
Inasmuch Chiasmus
Complacencies of the Peignoir
Confront the Broccoli
Convex Faith
Grip of the Vine
Hallim 5 Day Market

A good deal of confusion…

Still trying to get my head on straight, I have the neck thread into the shoulders, but maybe the thread has worn on the fixture or on the head. Toggling, wiggling to get the thread in place, the satisfying couple of the track of the thread so that the light bulb blinks on into full, hard light. The wagging struggle is on going.

Thought I’d compensate with a poem from the Yoon Yong series, not as daring as the previous one, but more formally different & in its form, akin to my current state of mind. In addition, & a bit late, but better late than never, thanks & congratulations to Linda Wolff for including my poem Moonlit Migrations in issue#1 (The Ache of the Pen) of her Wolff Literary Press & the best of luck in a long run into the future.

A good deal of confusion
-&-know-they’d-look-bett-er-in exa-gger-a-ted-wat-er-ing-of-eyes

April in Seoul

The title is a dead give away for this post.
Been sitting on this set quite awhile & finally got round to having a dabble with them.

I was visiting my pal Omar, a musician from Morocco. I happened to, at this time, meet a very interesting man called Saad, also from Morocco. We met outside Omar’s lodgings around 7 a.m. & proceeded to continue talking until around 4 a.m. while we flaneuered Seoul, taking in the sunshine & putting the world to rights. It was very interesting to watch Omar & Saad converse, as they would oscillate between perfect French, Arabic & English. One would ask something in one language & the other would respond in a different language. This was not done boastfully but in a almost absentminded, organic manner, which was joyful to watch. Saad was very pleased with my curiosity.

Alley 골목
Waiting for God
Tabby Tradition
Should the cat be trusted with the fish

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

…At a small harbor | old stone steps cut out with tools
or perhaps repeated use & weather.

She watches fish with silver bellies |
(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down

—one leap after another
a meter or so | the gulls watching.

She asks a fisherman nearby
why do they do it? She can’t make out

much of what he says | something about
“polluted water & noise from fishing boats”

which “rumble through the water.”
A gang of ajumma who work at a black-pig

BBQ restaurant | cartoon make-up & hair-metal perms |
tiger-print spandex & leather waistcoats |

crowded around something or someone
—“What’s everyone so interested with?”

A Haenyeo: Grandma of the Sea “heard music while diving”
a music not belonging to a time or even people

“no place on earth | a music played by gods”.
As if the ocean itself | changed into a god & sang

—“you cannot hear the sea talk in your heart.”
As if it bent sound into a form only the diver would hear

a singular moment in the history of that diver.
The sea lives they say.

“Many have reported such phenomenon | it is a blessing.”
Indescribably the lines of emotion tell in her old face…

Lunch notes on the Selfie (noon-ish)

Lunch notes on the Selfie (noon-ish)

…A Selfie with Biyang island behind her |
a sea “glittery as jewels—ㅋㅋㅋ.”

She shudders at the squeaky cute voices
: this habitual conformity to “Selfie…ㅋㅋㅋ” |

people queueing to take photos in designated

She deletes the photo & vows to take no more.
The Selfie is an odd fad | habitually required of

like a document of proof | a notarization of the done
—a passive showcase of life for others to glance at & nod |

to flick past…pause…with a prod…a moment’s recognition
—it say’s more about them than where they are

—could I get rid of myself as easy as their passivity?
Technology designed for passivity.

To touch the screen is to scroll through time.
“Do you understand what one lonely hand can do?”

I’d use that “lonely hand” to slap the world
& him | even though I know better: I should guide

the world with it— I should know better: (—ctrl + alt + del
ctrl + alt + del ctrl + alt + del ctrl + alt + del—)…

The light of a place (dawn)

The light of a place (dawn)

…Whatever place I visit has its own specific light.
Jeju’s light | is an aside | a confirmation of

the usual mask the weather wears
—marginalia of the wind & wet’s intent

that makes the grass still grow in cold
& vines tighten around the trunks of trees.

Seoul’s light is audible | like
the tintinnabulation of church bells—it never ends

& with it comes dead lawns
& fruitless trees through long sub-zero winters.

“Does the sea alter the sky |
or the sky the sea” I remember asking my father

when we came to Jeju
on holiday when I was a kid.

I wish I could remember his reply
—something precise | photo-synthetic.

The turbid smog that smothers Seoul
or even Jeju makes your nose itch.

The world shrinks when the eye
cannot push past its density

—just like I cannot see my future
for the polluted air of my marriage…

Four Impressions up at Marie Marshall’s Zen Space

I don’t usually write short poems, I always get carried away. Marie Marshall & Bob Okaji persuaded me to try my hand at something short, so thanks must go to them for the encouragement & extra to Marie for including me at my most unsure. Writing short poems is so difficult. It’s a neat little showcase Marie puts together, worth a bit of your day to have a browse, go here to do so. Also, worth a browse for the Man Ray photos.

Mid-flight digression on racism (8:15 a.m.)

The next poem from Yoon Yong, you can read the 1st poem here.


Mid-flight digression on racism (8:15 a.m.)

…I think it might be racism.
Am I a racist?

Is it racist not to feel
an aesthetic pull to another race?

Can Asians even be racist to white |
middle (age) class | English men

just because they find them | on the whole
“ugly buggers”? as my landlady

in Birmingham often described others.
Can you learn appeal | like digesting dairy

or coping with the aftermath of spicy food?
“Once nature was tabulated | the idea it could took hold

& we wriggled inside reality’s appearance |
with a microscope | becoming

deceptive in the act
— thus the grammar of modernity began…”