Tuesday, February 22, 2011

love, korea

over cigarettes
we raise our arms but never our voices.
we show to tell
he waving the words of our two languages towards me
and nay, i understand.

2. our mother

today i watched her anger
rise like the quickest sound
the melody struck her foot, a blue bruise emerged
and so she threatened
violence, two hands high and her voice.
my niece with eyes wide, palms flat over face
my nephew watches silently
she spends
her last puff of rage on the baby
a plastic swat to the face.

her love, misdirected on me
these 25 years later is lost.
i, who don't know how
but these children will spend a lifetime
a grandmother who hated them so
stuffing a stranger's adult mouth with rice, with
kindness that spills over
red spicy stain
that stays
on the lips and skin.


with every breath in
i build in my mind a tower of light.

i fold my legs together, then my fingers

once, i drew a picture of this
black and filled the hands in with yellow.
placed it on a plastic tube

like everything i make, burns.


twenty minutes every morning
i focus on what could come
arms and legs moving through a day
my mind
two magnets
i detract thoughts
with books
with knit pearl knit
with painting my sister'sniece'smother's toenails
by overdosing on bottled water.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


in the night
my american bones pressed against
heated cement floor
i ache for something that gives.

four fingers away
the woman who is my mother sleeps
begins to cry
a small tube of sound from her soft center
her coarse day voice in the dark
whistling high
and then my name
the words she placed on my forehead at birth
she is calling me.

her two tooth mouth agape
i can only turn
sharp hip on stone
and will it to end.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

february twelfth is full of farewells


what, have i done. 
my suitcases too heavy to pick up with two hands 
i say quietly
this is everything i have.

i'm not afraid, but i cannot see what's coming.
write she said. don't forget to write.


my best friend looks nothing like me
but she is my best friend.
i open a card she has placed in an ivory envelope
and suddenly my face is wet, my nose, the ink filled paper.

across the airport, an older korean woman watches me
the yellow beneath her eyes reddening
im glaring at her, i feel the fangs beneath my upper lip emerge 


i push the words down with spoonfuls of soup 
biting into jalapeno skin, crisp to forget what i'm doing here

well, i say, throwing my cigarette to the ground. 
i want this to be over
i want to be alone on that plane
an ocean between us
to forget.

he looks at me, or my right ear
my hand gathering the black around me, cold.

why so dramatic he laughs
my fingers grasping 
his elbow, my mouth settling for his dimple. 

he forgets what it's like to know me 
to love me, or he would.

i turn without looking back
willing him to miss me, to want me like 
two bodies in a quiet room of books.


joel says goodbye
tears streaming down his face
his lower lip catching the time between us. 
i'm a pint of whiskey in, squinting into his sadness
we touch hearts and whisper the word special
so quietly, neither of us will forget.


two forks, nachos, two corn quesadillas and a side of rice on the bed
beth and i eat lying down spinning crying. 
we hold hands and try to sleep.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the weeds have moved on to a quiet place

lately, i hear my mouth
practic​e the word seoul
like i speak the language the sounds spell.
whom i am nearing
it is monday​ and the dreams return​.

the specks in ​her skin like lemonseeds in a straw
inside of me, sour sprouts 
​grown, like she​ imagine​s i haven't​.
l remain inside the ​flawed b​lue-flow  
of her histor​y, a child's body now dust under soil.