Poems

IN ENGLISH THE KOREAN WORD BOP MEANS
“GLUTINOUS RICE;” or, AT THE WOMEN’S COLLEGE

 

                                       Can’t stop messin’

                                       with the danger zone  — Cyndi Lauper

 

 

Halfway through the semester

finally

they stop asking me

How old are you?

Don’t you miss your home town?

Is it true you’re not married?

How much do you drink?

And we go on

to deeper things

What, sir, does

she-bop mean?

Good question

I wouldn’t’ve known

except I read Time’s

Music Section

to keep up with

my race

It means, I say

authoritatively

Female Autoeroticism

Blank stares all around

exotic frogs

on lotus pads

gazing up

into the Light

so I say it

in Korean

yoja jah-wee haeng-wee

and I sense a ripple

in this placid pond

of Oriental souls

How does he know

that bad word?

they whisper

quite rightly

given my struggles

with their tongue

but at least I’ve

let them know

what we sing about

back where I come from

(From Fluid in Darkness, Frozen in Light, Pearl Editions, 2000)

 

NAILS

Ever since I’m not allowed in bathrooms anymore

I like to watch bedroom people trim their nails

It seems the one thing people do with absolute sincerity

I heard in India they save their parings in little boxes

Maybe enameled with a shimmying Shakti or Krishna Jerking Off

And give them to their sweethearts

Hi, Doll, thought you might want to slip these under your pillow

Or Give the box a little shake now and then

When you think of me sleeping in the street

Well what the hell do you expect on 3 rupees a month

A goddam Whitman’s Sampler? It’s true Robert Ripley said so

I wish I could watch me doing my own toes

I think I’d understand evolution better The monkey part anyway

Some people actually chew themselves right down to the bloody quick

But their mothers always stop them Stand up straight

Wipe those crumbs off your lips Remember you’re a human being

So you marry you wake up catch your honeymoon bride nibbling a piggy

And you wonder if Maybe she doesn’t love me in just way I thought

Then you die according to some books your nails keep on growing

Right through the casket Right through the tamped earth

It’s no coincidence we speak of lawns well manicured

But that’s morbid It’s probably not true But it’s why

Nails are such a serious matter like everything else

In our daily human animal lives

(From Fluid in Darkness, Frozen in Light, Pearl Editions, 2000)

 

“SHALL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN”

Suddenly mother Nature got up all over and brushed herself off

Scowled at us kids at play in the graveyard Don’t Touch A Thing

I Want All This As It Is As Evidence Of What Your Father Done

She commenced to tremble like leaves till all the patches of cloth

On her body was on the ground around her in a little circle heap

And all her flesh was mouths like her face’s like her between the legs

We kids scrammed We had to warn paw with his bags of coal dust

In the bar She’s Up Again This Time All Wet Lips And Wet Teeth Tonight

But he had heard her anyhow Might As Well Try Silence The Crack Of Doom

Slid two shells in Over Under we jumped up and down and up

Till paw pulled us off the ceiling Popped the gas inside our heads

With his picker so we’d Stay Down so we’d Keep Low She Don’t See You

Then up the Path of Skulls and Cans to where she was wailing

Them mouths was cats’ mouths now with flatten noses skinny tongues

She’d gotten Grampaw out of the grave His fresh skin pearly white

But half his head was gone He had that look in his one left eye WOMEN

They Never Quit but paw drew his bead with his Smile of Smiles

And blew the bitch to smithereens Them mouths just little loops now

Hung on twigs like rubber bands Little O’s so still and quiet

Just like a woman mother can sometimes be

(From Fluid in Darkness, Frozen in Light, Pearl Editions, 2000)

 

PIETA

A young man bowed politely

His head snapped off at the stem

The head hit the ground with a thud

The young man kicked the head

The head bounced away

Bounced politely into the lap of a girl

The girl was sitting in the grass

She cradled the head and stroked it

The body without its head staggered in the distance

The girl watched its blind feints and lunges

She asked the head if it wanted its body back

Not quite yet said the head Let it wander around a little

It will go to pieces once it realizes what it’s lost

Let’s wait and watch it come groveling back

It always puts on quite a show

And the head liked the girl’s lap

It liked being cradled and stroked without its body parts getting in the way

It liked being the center of attention

Sooner or later the rest of the body would grope its way back to them

Sooner or later it must tumble upon their intimacy

See said the head

Already the young man’s arm was crawling toward them in the grass

The fingers of the hand clutched the grass and dragged the arm after it

Not far behind it a leg came bounding along

Bounding along gamely and drunk-like but bounding along nevertheless

Somewhere in the distance the torso lay writhing in the grass

As soon as it learned to sit up it toppled over again

But in this way discovered a method of locomotion proper to its kind

Clumsy, clownish, in breathtaking somersaults of slow urgency it too would come

Last of all would come the young man’s cock-and-balls

How it inched forward in the grass would remain a mystery

But come it would

It would come because desire is shameless in its naked persistence

Because the blunders of instinct once set in motion are unerring

Because a cock-and-balls creeping forward in the grass

Moving without seeming to move but closing in all the same

Is a marvel no brave girl has ever yet been able to resist

Picking up and cradling in the palm of her hand

WAIT said the head HEY I GOT HERE FIRST

Said the head ENOUGH

But already it was too late

Already had the girl lifted the cock-and-balls to her lips

In despair the head buried its face in her lap

Buried its face there in blubbers of rage amid childlike snuffles

Princess and Frog Prince and French wet kisses

In the grass even today you can find their fairy tale statue

Above a simple plaque that reads: SOIXANTE-NEUF

(From Overdressed to Kill, Backwaters Press, 2005)

 

For “Miss Min’s Magic Monday Morning” and Commentary go to:

http://www.asiancha.com/content/view/1982/484/

 

For “On Bumping into a Formerly Snaggle-Toothed Young Coed” go to:

http://atticusreview.org/on-bumping-into-a-formerly-snaggle-toothed-young-coed/

 

 

 

Print Friendly

Write a Comment

Comment