Idleness, a dog’s lot

The Rock (not the muscle-headed Hollywood Rock who doesn’t perform his own stunts but looks hard like he does) in T.S. Eliot’s play explains,

The lot of man is ceaseless labour,
Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant.

Now assuming idle here isn’t a play on idol—which, with a lit-crit cone on my head I’d argue it almost, incontestably, must be—I get this, really, in a knuckling way, a dig in my plexus; especially the difficulty of idleness, especially when the idleness in question breeds guilt. Our 0 hour contractors would surely agree with that about ‘irregular labour’ too, I haven’t met any of them, but they must, mustn’t they?

I am idle. Yes, idle. It isn’t my fault, I don’t think so anyway, I won’t take that slap in the gob. My routine is a binge of uncertainty. I wake early, read (a sort of reading. I re-read most of the lines) whilst my attention is drugged by the early morning roster of horrible American sitcoms, fuzzy and warm, a safety net cueing us when to laugh, the correct level of laugh-intensity, so we fit in—how else would we know otherwise? Every fibre of my snobbish taste rebels against the magnanimous push to be involved.

Why my dad watches these I just don’t know, they are bloody awful. One features the archetypal fat guy, who inflects his sentences, a cue for us to be hysterical, in the present tense. His wife is gorgeous of course, which dismantles the reality of the aesthetic pecking order, when, we ugly people have expended enormous energy accepting the bottom-tier ranking genetics plugged us in.

There is 24hour news to cheer me up. I am become an inveterate consumer of all news. I’ll even stomach the berating tactics of the indefatigable Piers Morgan, God bless him and his uncompromising, style (?). Actually, the way that he is programmed entertains me immensely.

Despite the exorbitant sum of money Susanna Reid receives for stomaching the patriarchal knob rash that is Piers Morgan, I can’t help but pity her. She can hold her own of course, she’s probably got a PhD in political science for all Piers might know. If you watch carefully, as I have inevitably begun to do, you can see her gnawing through her bottom lip when he folds his arms, gathers himself and starts to expound; sure she’ll draw blood one day. The live, brutal bludgeoning with a stiletto at 7:30 a.m. of Morgan, will be a good day for women, and I for one will rouse from my idle stupor and petition Reid’s release.

The irony of this idleness is multifoliate.

First of all, looking for work these days seems to encourage idleness. I went to a local agency in town the other day & they had one job: a warehouse packer, part time, night shifts. Everything being done online, you find gob-shite jobsites, upload CV, scroll lists of a billion menial jobs you could do standing on your head, despite being worded in such a fashion as to make them sound impossible to do, and with a single click you have applied. There is endless disappointment when you look at a job for laboring only to see you need a special permit; or gardening or even data input, where you need a special qualification—as if you need a special dispensation by some ruling-body to be slow-roasted with boredom. This goes on until you start to feel disorientated, vomit in your mouth a little, collapse with such force on your keyboard a key lodges under your eyelid—what follows is rage, panic & a visit to the NHS, where a nurse will tell you off for wasting resources & time.

I cannot adequately express in English how soul-crushing a task this is. The inexorable sadness of it makes me loath our systems, which have infiltrated this process because of the encouragement we tacitly approve via our reception to convenience.

My father has always been a hard worker. It is etched into our family’s moral compass. I agree with it. Yet I can’t help but think that idleness is really something I need to explore, something that might actually need to be more encouraged in society.

I often hear people whine about work, but then before they’ve exhaled, they’ll admit how it halts any uncomfortable thoughts, helps them regulate what simmers beneath the surface of themselves: an existential crisis. Thinking is a terrible thing. This is a limit of consciousness, so people think. It is easier to complain about doing something you don’t want to do consciously or otherwise, than it is being left to be conscious of one’s human frailties. I think there is a certain idleness to be scared or unwilling to participate in your own humanity. We are estranged from animals because of our thinking, to sacrifice this for repetition is to fear the immense complexity and duty to being aware of ourselves. The irony is, the idler is potentially more inclined to this pit of existential waywardness than the hive-minded and duteous.

People (those bloody people) these days, often ask me what I will do with myself now. I have explained my plan to do my MA, then to work toward a PhD. Explaining that PhD’s are funded, has on numerous occasion provoked an outcry: “Why do I have to fund you reading books?” Some, more than makes me comfortable, think PhD’s are funded through taxation. Terrifying isn’t it. As far as I am aware, PhD’s are funded through universities or by businesses. It isn’t the taxpayer’s burden. (Brief aside: these same people forget the miniscule amount of the British budget that goes to people out of work, most of the money for the benefits budget, goes towards pensions, some 100 odd billion.)

Ironic then that that which un-idles us establishes idleness in other areas, areas essential to our development as human beings. Therefore, it takes a daring escape into idleness, to go without the securities afforded by employment, in order to work on yourself. Eliot was onto something, who’d have thought? Because of societal resistance to this, few people are afforded the luxury of being inveterate readers, having hobbies that involve training oneself to be proficient at an art or in studious pursuits. It is in the interest of those that structure society to demonize such pursuits. I think I half believe this, I mean I don’t really think our overlords demonstrate a keen enough intellect to sully our efforts to, get smart. I do still think this was why Gove said what he said about nobody wanting to listen to experts, and why education is no longer hailed as the cornerstone-decision of every school leaver. Plenty of statistics have been produced on how much more money non-graduates are paid than graduates—Google it. What is never remarked, is how little a properly educated person really wants. Maybe I am sheltered by my own requirements and a few I know, who manage with so little and while not exactly happy, probably wouldn’t  trade what they have figured out for flash cars and holidaying twice a year. Puerile aren’t we. Daft. Stubborn. Doomed to a life of misery, to be sexless, saggy, ugly, useless: human.

It is complicated. Everything is. Idleness simplifies. While I am not open to an extended period of doing nothing, I will try to make the most of my current idleness. Everyone’s doing something, a lot of those doers are making a right pig’s ear of what they do, I don’t see how it can hurt to just stop being a doer for a while and watch what’s going on.

There is in idleness the sensation of feeling invisible; I could do with disappearing for a while.

John Looker (Chapbook Confessions #1)

So pleased to have John Looker (a poet I personally admire & enjoy reading immensely) to start off our new series Chapbook Confessions.
I really do encourage you, after reading John’s piece, to have a glimpse at what this Chapbook Confession malarkey is all about & if you fit the criteria & want to contribute, then we would be more than pleased to read what you send us. We are hoping this will be not only useful to readers, but perhaps…what’s the right word, Ah! Cathartic (that should do it) for the writers themselves.

Underfoot Poetry

Chapbook Confessions is a series in which poets discuss, at length, the writing of their most recent collection of poems, in whatever way they desire. For more information on the series, go here.

Below, John Looker writes on his 2015 collection The Human Hive (Bennison Books)


519wanKURJL._SY346_Asked to explain the secrets of his craft, the alchemist would wrap his cloak more tightly and withdraw to his tower in silence. The mountebank however, holding his phial of coloured water high, might become loquacious about herbs gathered by moonlight on the shores of Arabia. 

I feel uncomfortable talking about how I write my poems. I would prefer to say nothing. Saying anything at all incurs the risk of becoming a charlatan. However, as I’ve been ‘shown the instruments’ and have to say something, I’ll try to find a middle way. I am grateful to Underfoot for publishing some of my poems, and I…

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Hiatus

    i have decided after some deliberation this week, to take a hiatus from blogging. Perhaps a month or so, until the summer is over— i think it may be searing my brain, short circuiting some of the neuronal connections, my dendrites are firing blanks.
    i furthermore, received a high number of rushed rejections from journals which tells me a number of conflicting things: that the journals didn’t even bother to read the poems properly, further adding to my inkling that there is a hell of a lot of cronyism going on. My poems are not good enough. i am not presenting myself as best i can; i have no ego for this; i don’t like myself enough to be confidant in the etiquette of the submitter’s voice. i am trying to write for the journals, which is showing in the poems, absent of the honesty in my usual poetic voice: i am not an experimental poet, it seems & need to know the boundaries of my experimenting with syntactical units to affect my themes— i blame Roy Fisher. i am thus choosing the wrong journals to submit my poems. i just don’t know what the hell is going on anymore, the world terrifies me more & more each day & i don’t know how to be happy about anything anymore because i am so confused about the positions we can take because taking one omits others & that leaves us standing on an ever encroaching shore on all sides that is eating the land around us, until we are marooned on a 4 by 4 bank of sand surrounded by a boisterous ocean. i am struggling to produce enough poems for journals & the blog. i want to post my best poems on the blog & to journals, but i don’t have the time to write for both, so i feel my writing is getting sloppy. i think some time out will allow me to replenish my stores & focus on finding some matching journals. Anyone who thinks a journal or magazine would be interested in my poems, please let me know & i can look into that journal & submit.
    i am sure in the chaos of everything & the uncertainty of my mind these days that i am missing a lot. As much as blogging helps me write, it is a cause of anxiety at the moment, because i have gotten a glimmer of attention & worry if i don’t perform i will loose the few readers i have worked hard to form relationships with. Have i worked that hard? i dunno. i sure feel an obligation to post & continue dialogues with the poets & bloggers i enjoy reading. i feel now that as my stores are dwindling, i am perhaps writing with less attention & branching to themes i might not have a decent enough grasp of to justify writing about. i need to spend some time considering again what kind of poet i want to be & how i am going to unify any new directions to the voice i know i am confident with. i take poetry very serious, perhaps too serious & witnessing myself lose sight of what kind of poet i want to be, i must reel myself in & give myself a decent talking to, make sure of my purposes.
On top of this i have a bag of bones narrative poem which i want to but a good deal of focus on. i want to get it into shape for sending to publishers. A few bloggers have been kind enough to read my first draft & steer me a little (you know who you are) but i could do with more strong readers willing to help me. i particularly need a woman to help me get the voice of my protagonist right. So if you want to help me, please email me at danielpaulmarshall85@gmail.com & i’ll send you my draft to read over. Any feedback would be helpful.
    So i’ll take my little hiatus & see what i can do. This all sounds very dramatic, but i felt a message worthwhile if only to not seem ignorant if i don’t reply or give the poets i enjoy reading any attention. i will return with, i hope, sacks of poems & maybe some prose.

The Wreck of the Wallace

Another from The Wallace Variations. After too much time in the spotlight of the media, Wallace needed to get away & visited me in Jeju.

The Wreck of the Wallace

He was a salvaged man in my B&B,
the media’s attention started getting on his tits,
he needed to escape interrogation
& so took temporary residence at Inn Jeju
: he welcomed the choice
of cinnamon pancakes or cheese & sausage omelet.

Moreover, here felt outside of the world out there,
as if there was no time to grudge the motions of the day;
only a pattern of things to be done & do.
To be part of established patterns was common for him,
a comfort & distraction.

We grafted most the day, he made no quarrel with hard work.
& in our leisure time employed metaphors
to reason why the things outside of time
& reason why the world out there.

We took our makgeolli in little cups without handles
when shadow overtook the garden in the evening.
No sadness followed the plunging of the sun
behind Biyang Island;
here, outside of time, outside the world out there.

3 poems published at the High Window

Very pleased to have 3 poems published at the High Window alongside so many talented poets. Thanks to the editors David Cooke & Anthony Costello for taking them. The Resident Artist, Angela Smyth also did art work for my poem Cover Story.

The poem Cover Story, just to give you a bit of background, is also about Master-nim, the subject of the second poem, who was the fella i worked alongside while building our guesthouse. The 2nd Master-nim poem was published at Underfoot.

i’d like to take this opportunity to thank & greet any new readers (followers) of my work & to those of you who continue to ‘like’ & comment. It means a lot & it is an essential part of my days, as i am very isolated where i am, so discussions are welcomed. i also want to apologize if i don’t get around to reading & discussing your work with you, it isn’t because i got tired of you, or bored, but Summer has flash flooded me with work. We are finishing up two new houses, which require our attention now, as well as tending to Inn Jeju & the larger volume of guests due to the Summer season starting. So i will always respond & try to get around as best i can to reading & engaging with your work (you know who you are).

Much obliged

daniel

A tousle with a Keyboard Warrior

A tousle with a Keyboard Warrior

‘Keyboard Warrior’

(Footnote 1. i. A Person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owning to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing that the Keyboard Warrior would not (for reasons previously mentioned) be able to give form to in real life.
ii. The term is a combination of the word ‘keyboard’ (the main tool by which the person expresses his/her latent rage) and ‘warrior’ (due to the warrior-like aggression, tendency towards violence, headstrong nature and propensity towards brute force as a means of resolving conflict rather than more subtle means dependent on finesse).
iii. The Keyboard Warrior seeks to use the power imbued in his ‘weapon’ to effect death and destruction (in a strictly-metaphorical sense) upon his foes (other virtual identities he has encountered on the internet). In essence, the keyboard (ie. text input ability) allows the keyboard warrior to manifest his true warrior nature in a safe and removed environment, from which no real-life repercussions.
iv. Keyboard Warriors are generally identified by unnecessary rage in their written communications, and are regarded as ‘losers’ by other virtual identities on the internet. (The Urban Dictionary))

is thankfully a derogatory term. On hearing it i/we & the Urban Dictionary (here’s me hoping we are on the same page) think of a lonely, white, middle class person, in the suburbs, with super-fast Broadband, between 16-30 something, living at home, jobless &, between meals, preparing for the impending Tory apocalypse & adding to their George Monbiot shrine, whilst scouring the Internet for the best Hentai/Anime porn sites featuring their most loved cartoon & video game characters so they can wank their wrists cramped in an addictive, time sensitive schedule of ecstasy ———y’know, to fill the time between 2 p.m. & 4 a.m all the while probably wearing a t-shirt with some witticism on it like Star Whores or I am Beta than You. They used to be greebos, but have slightly grown out of that late 90’s fad.

With that out my system i can move on to why ‘Keyboard Warriors’. Recently i was character assassinated by one of their kind. An old pal of mine had put some meme about how to maintain your mental health at work. The guidelines were pretty obvious, stuff like, Make sure to take your breaks, Drink plenty of water, Do some stretches, Get some fresh air every now & then etc. Nothing much about the meme really suggested this was aimed at anyone other than John Smith Quotidian who suffers a crick in his neck from gawping at a screen all day, or any of your work-a-day folk with the woes of full time employment. My friend, had furthermore, tagged his chums, who assumedly shared the burden of their boring, daily graft as there was a lengthy hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah, which my friend had annexed to the close of his tagging spree.
Nothing about it was remotely to do with, or aimed at, those with severe mental collapse, schizophrenia, bi-polar or some such serious ailment; not even common depression seemed implied, just an average range of things, which my friend seemed to find funny as such options were denied him, so they seemed banal & yet impossible— benign in total.
i chimed in, & said something like you can also just get on with it & realize if you don’t you’ll have no food or shelter & no guitar strings when you thrash them snapped. My friend laughed at this & saw my point. i replied again i think sometimes people just need to suck it up. Now it is important to note the context, which is provided above, before we move on & in addition that i said people, a generalization, meaning the entire human race, but in tandem with the context suggests normal, admittedly stressed, but not chemically imbalanced people with serious ailments.
So you can imagine my surprise when his younger brother (the Keyboard Warrior) came along & said that mentally ill people can’t just “suck it up” they have chemical imbalances that prevent them from dealing with things (i am summarizing in my italics as the feed was eventually deleted, so i couldn’t quote this all verbatim). i thanked him for the chemistry lesson & said something else to piss him off. Then his girlfriend & a vegan PETA type joined in claiming that i am ignorant, i hate the mentally ill, that i am evil, i am a dreg on the brewery floor (i am being hyperbolic, they just insulted me generally) & more besides, which i didn’t memorize because, to be frank, it was all a load of guff.
i tried to explain myself, the context which i responded to & some other stuff about an ex of mine who had bi-polar, i apologized too; but nothing would stop their assassination attempt, which was very successful.

i had tried to make the whole discussion about the acceptance of work (the context), about how English people complain so much about work & should try to mirror the way work is viewed by Asian cultures. Wouldn’t budge. i remember him saying this isn’t about work or something along those lines, which of course, as you can see above, this is very much what the whole shebang was about. He brought up Aokigahara, the Japanese suicide forest, stating that he doesn’t want to live in a country where people commit suicide because of over work, which fairplay, but the place does get 4.2 stars on Google Reviews, so it can’t be that bad a place. Again though, recall the context

(FN2. This made me quite annoyed as i dislike it when a Westerner with no experience of another culture thinks they have the moral authority to criticize its customs, without knowing enough. This is Western thing).

Rather than fuel any anger or resentment, i started to doubt myself, was i a hater of the mental ailed? Was my comment to my friend somehow insensitive? i scrolled through my comments, re-read the meme, but could find no room for any charge against me. i became upset, i felt bullied. Suck it up! i told myself. Ok, so i shouldn’t have provoked him, but he also had no right to intrude on a perfectly harmless conversation between two old friends & subvert the wave length we were on, or did he? Is that how the world works for these people? Is this how it should be? A panopticon, a Big Brother within every informed person, ready to pounce & do us the service of correcting us, of policing our moral compass—can they swoop in from where ever & put everyone right, a super hero cracking skulls with a qwerty keyboard, plugged into a modem for power & masked by a VPN, to keep their identity a secret, about as subtle as Clark Kent’s specs.

The next day my friend came to my rescue, i hoped he’d be the trusted voice of reason to defuse the antagonism, as it was his brother & maybe he’d see i’m not the kind of person to spit on crippled people or urinate in the letterboxes of the mentally unstable. He reiterated that they have misunderstood the context & that they had no right to say such things to me. They then attacked him, saying much the same as they did to me. Turns out one of these two Keyboard Warriors didn’t work, can’t hold down a job for longer than a few months, due mostly to laziness, the other apparently actually having depression (which, remember, i didn’t actually insult directly), but nevertheless, apparently guilty of milking that a bit (not my assessment, i never even met the person) & pretty much matching the introductory depiction of them, not toe for toe, but enough (again not my direct assessment, because i don’t know these people).
This feels like a rant but is something resembling truth, if only because i can’t quote anyone, because the exchange (which i receded from like a middle-age hairline) got very nasty & by the next morning had been deleted. i do have a point to make, even though i think i’ve been making one, i hope;— it is, what is the driving force for this behavior? One of them actually suffers depression, but their behavior did little to nothing to make me sympathize with them. That is surely either a desire to make enemies, to shoot oneself in the foot, or hypersensitivity which led to a sort of blindness to the intentions of others, but if this were the case, why go like a bull at a gate & not try to see what is going on? Too many questions. So sorry.
i’d put it down to excessive moral policing, which is founded on the democratization of opinion & the protection of that. People have started wars for democracy & this is the cowardly, microcosm of that. For democratic conditioning infiltrates all aspects of people, not only their systems, by their etiquette & their manner of discussion & opining— centuries of democracy have evolved in psychological reflexes, ways (i can’t say for certain) that seem little studied (i hope somebody can point me in a direction for material on this).
Democracy means everyone has a right

(FN3. de·moc·ra·cy
(dĭ-mŏk′rə-sē)
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
[French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratiā : dēmos, people; see dā- in Indo-European roots + -kratiā, -cracy.)

couple that with an over-sensitive, egotistical brain, which judges itself infallible because it has the internet to prop it up, to help it react, with a speedy rebuke, in real time; then we have people who use that for achieving & defending moral superiority, to the point where they are so hell bent on being morally perfect, they don’t consider the context & make spurious, emotionally fueled claims about a person’s character, using an ill-inflected medium as the platform for their rhetoric. Facebook is no place for an argument, it does not accommodate for the subtleties that are tone of voice, inflection, hand gestures, facial expression. Facebook is an arena of egos & little productive, without co-operation can be achieved through it.
The liberal has learned a few tricks from the conservative: yell loudly, respond angrily, but there is a difference: the liberal overwhelms with tons of facts, from various sources & smugly counters anything the stupid conservatives thinks, whereupon the conservative should, so the logic goes, crumple under the sheer gravity of knowledge & be converted to the light of liberalism.
However, such a process of dehumanization is dangerous. i have read in Facebook statuses that people who vote conservatively are apparently, soulless. i mean, conservatism has an immensely ugly side, but the voters are strung along by whatever scapegoat or lies are filtered to them through the small window of media they relate to: TV & tabloids mostly;— they are just people, who go to work, raise a family, have a pint on the weekend, watch football in the pub & whatnot. They are ordinary

(FN4. i must add here that i am not one of these people, the average Joe thinks of me as one of the over opinionated yobs of the liberal intelligentsia, but since living away i have changed & i have to express this, not directly, but through a new manner of reaction to this charge, which is fine— i was never a Keyboard Warrior though, i spoke to people & used what i knew & read to try to help people see something. Was i right? Probably not, i should have been more skillful in my method of delivery, but i was young & volatile; i’ve since deodorized that side of me).

Ok, so this yell tactic makes sense, it is a natural thing to do, it is what children do. The problem being that, when you have a democratized public opinion, who is right & wrong? Because somebody can sit at a computer, sight reading articles ticking them off for ammunition, bookmarking them, like a loaded gun, does this make you an authority? In March 2014, there was a Guardian article titled ‘Keyboard warriors’ have taken over climate debate, Bill Shorten says Shorten who is still the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia said the following

“In this age of self-publishing platforms, it has never been easier for people to broadcast their opinion to the world – regardless of its veracity or foundation,” he said.
“On scientific matters, this means any outspoken blogger can pit their anecdotal ‘evidence’ and ‘commonsense’ reasoning against years of painstaking, peer-reviewed research.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/17/keyboard-warriors-taking-over-climate-debate-shorten)

He hits the nail on the head.

For arguments sake, as a tactic, these Warriors would not agree to this charge but might raise the right to argue as justification for their opinion & explain they are informed enough to defend that opinion. But this becomes defunct if you won’t even pay mind to the context, which, if altered, if not agreed upon, means the information they spume becomes invalid. What are you even doing then? i’ll tell you, you’re turning people away from what should be a shared progression for a more informed society, who can use information to eradicate falsities & lies. But still, an agenda persists because of the right to opine, regardless of the lack of information a person has harvested from available sources.
It feels, when you’re on the receiving end of their vitriol, as if they want only their opinion to watermark forums & Facebook feeds. We the opposition, can be discounted in much the same manner as conspiracy theorists discount doubters, by saying you don’t get it, or that you are ignorant of the truth— myopic to the realities they seem to have extrapolated from the same information. Their opponents might as well be in parenthesis. An aside, inessential to their purpose, but necessary enough to be present, if only to give the mirage of an unbiased discussion. It reminds me of Kim Seung-hee’s For Nomads series, a verse of which goes

What seals me
within these parentheses?
Who is it that is secure
only when I am within these parentheses?
What is it? Who is it? Why this fascism of desire
below this old horizon
that is held up wholly
by these parentheses? (For Nomads 5, Kim Seung-hee)

This is what it feels like to be put down (attacked is a reasonable word to use) by a Keyboard Warrior, to be barred in parentheses. They need an opponent to be combative, you take the role of cannon fodder, sometimes blindfolded, for their reactionary impulse. They cannot diet from argumentation, the dull repetition of their anti-social life compels them; like my mother who tells me the mundanity of office work means when the coffee & biscuit trolley comes around, you always tuck in— she now works from home.
Now, i’m not saying tackling issues online cannot be a necessary part of society, but it must be approached with a better tact. People don’t like feeling stupid & certainly don’t want to be overloaded with facts that have no relevance to them. There needs to be coercion through understanding. & a realization that the answers for some is not the answers for others, but that a common ground must be discovered

(FN6 This is what i’ve always understood the appeal of Socrates to be, that he didn’t know how we could arrive at truth without a lung collapsing tirade of questioning, which may not get there, but is something.)

i’d like to say i have an answer for this, but i don’t, at all, & i can’t even articulate all i’d like to say, because, it seems as if everything comes back to something, which should be & is, a wonderful freedom of modern society: that we can have an opinion & that if it isn’t totally free of barriers then it isn’t free at all. i think that is right.

Let me know your thoughts. This needs to be discussed i think. The logical (not necessarily correct) conclusion, for me at least, is a gauge with which to measure a person’s take on a matter. This raises the problem of class & privilege, education & the baloney of higher intelligence (which is notoriously difficult to gauge as i hope is a little clear by now) & neglects the autodidact, who can often school themselves adequately enough to hold their own. But if we are to be sensible thinkers, we cannot override the work of experts, we have to initially trust them & do our utmost, if we want to be opinionated, to learn as much, from as many points of view as we can— which seems to contradict what i said earlier about overloading a discussion with irrelevant “facts”. This to me suggests that the platform we use to talk & what we talk about should be selective, to avoid know-it-alls interrupting & debunking what they don’t know enough about. What to do when you vertiginously spin at the mercy of a tornado? Dunno. We can only, tolerating & respecting each other, try as one to muddle through.

Storm & Stress

An oldish poem i have neglected for sometime, until i recently injected some new words & remodeled it.

Storm & Stress

the light switch of the storm
shaped like the roots of the 팽 tree, its fibrous anchors
split the torrential downpour in a sparagmotic seizure
& tugged the claggy cloud, the sky itself with meteoric thrust
toward the ground.

afterwards, as the storm reeled to sea
i found a conduit persimmon torn from its heels
moaning agony, dying— the fruits of its labour mushed in sodden soil.

the sun appeared
& from its twin

hard hats, over-worn faces, a cement mixer
& bulldozer guffawing

leaked out…

팽= peng, the Jeju word for the Chinese Nettle Tree.

Fishermen

This poem first saw the light of day at FourTiesLitReview this time last year. i was grateful then & remain so. They are open for submissions, so send your best.
This is a revised version from the original.

Fishermen

i find scorch marks, black smears
barely noticeable against scoria rock hemming
the sea wall, a place concealed from the road
where tourists seldom trespass due to the stench of sewage
from a nearby factory— here fishermen gathered

: the picked ribs of mackerel, a ribbon
of its blue scales in the extinguished embers
a stack of soju bottles, splintered
disposable chopsticks, tipped with ramen stains
in 5 neat piles where each man sat.

what did the men discuss, what tantrums?
i see no footprints back to the road
there seems to be no testimony
as to where they were destined next
—did they jump into the sea & swim to greet the dawn?

Publication at Underfoot

Very pleased to report i have 6 poems to kick start the new journal Underfoot, started by the amiably mannered & amply minded Tim Miller. I unfortunately missed the vol-au-vonts & the champagne reception, slept in, time-zones are a meither, sometimes.

Get over & like, comment & submit. i foresee a future of fine poets for Underfoot, i know a few in Miller’s address book & am eager to see what they turn out.

Here’s the best of luck to Tim’s new venture.

early

A simple lyrical poem from the time i wrote as much poetry as i could in a week, which prompted me to start to write from my experience of my environment & life, which i was previously not doing & struggling to write any poetry; in fact until my Week of Poems, i was on the cusp of giving up on poetry.
During the writing of this week long odyssey, i was in the middle of constructing our guesthouse & would quickly jot anything down in my notepad. Some of those poems have survived— though pulled into shape a bit, their raw beginnings persist.

Halla dawn

early

awake before the sun
i slip my dirty work jeans on
without the help of artificial light
pull on my shirt
freckled with green paint
& white mortar
eat sticky rice, kimchi
a spoonful or two of bean soup
to scoop the tired out my head
—then feed the dog & sit with her
awhile, stroking her cold fur
whilst waiting for the sun to bob up
—buoy of the day, it comes
from behind the mountain
same old sun.

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