One Last Fling At Love, Copyright 2011, Doug Stuber Poems








at Love


New Poems 2007-2011

J. Douglas Stuber


Dedicated to

Park Kwang Suk and

James Hyuntay Stuber.

To Michel Stuber

W J Stuber

Donald Hall

Bev Logan

Michael Mercier

Shin Gyonggu

Park Yeon Seong

Go Mi Ran

Kim Soon

Kang Ba Run

Jeff Zentner

Brian Schaeffer

Greg Devlin

Paul Aaron

Theresa El Amin

Lynn Ikenberry

David Manning

Friday Noon Poets

And the memories of:

Thomas A. Stuber

Nancy L. Stuber

Diane S. Stuber



Copyright 2012

J. Douglas Stuber

Katherine James Books

4404 Cedar Pass

Chapel Hill NC 27514

The poet may be contacted directly at:





KSP Gets a Lump in Her Throat


Frantic, Hyuntay squeals, runs, jumps, comes barreling

at you, crashing head into legs, reaching high, lifted to

eye-level, laughing to see you again.  His paintings soar:

landscapes in orange and green, and he’s mad about golf

since Eomji gave him that three-club starter set when he was

eighteen months old.  His cross-handed grip already produces

semi-consistent ball-striking. Putting’s going to take a while,

as his father can’t chip or putt these days.  If need be, should

big bear and little bear walk these woods alone, Eomji’s

visits had better come more often, or, with bag in tow, maybe

Hae La could hang with Hyuntay while big bear pulls a loop,

at least in his brain, with the charging young gun, sixty-five

on Sunday, 30th to third in one day, invited to Mission Hills

in just her first season, and missing rookie-of-the-year by

$519.00. Yup, it’s full steam ahead, back to days of painting

and love-making, memory-building and coming close, photos

and nature walks.  You’ve made a promise that should be easy

to keep:  remain positive for the rest of your life.  Bite your

tongue until bloody, if necessary. Be supportive, and remind

yourself how lucky you are to be married to Kwang Suk Park.






Seoul IV



They walk arm-in-arm, put us up, bring roses and

sweetcakes, hoodies and brassieres.  They remember

everything about trips through China and Mongolia.

The one who wears pink lipstick had an offer back

then, and the one who applies a full lipping of pinkish

red would get any gender quivering, so this series of

reminiscence isn’t all bad.  This one could be Wende

Logan’s Asian love child:  she dresses like Lexi too!

It means that, once again, genetic synchronicity (seeing

something of old friends in the body/language of new

friends) is at work, which means something long-term

will come of this last Kim.  She can exclaim, with

throat-clearing adamants, then turn her empathetic eyes

and sing-songy voice to convince you she won’t be out of

Park’s life for ten years again this time.  She’s covering

a much wider range of experience than the others.  Maybe

she’ll come to Beijing with us as we extend our visas.  She

would visit her sons.  For me, sector 798, the art scene, is

what matters.  We can stroll along tourista-style and see the

homes they’re knocking down to make way for the Olympics.





Yobo II


She’s in a biopsy now.  A Mike Pease print of the

Mohawk Valley hangs out here, waiting to be

recognized as Upstate New York via only red barn,

trees and moraine-built hills, left behind when ice

caused the river.  Finger Lakes just southwest from

his well-made snippet, the fifty-eighth of one hundred

twenty.  Pease is good, but not good enough to keep

my mind off Yobo’s procedure, no less results, and the

road ahead.  She’s scared, visibly scared, even a tear

in her eye, but this needs to be a no-stress day, so I

excuse myself between ultrasound and biopsy, allowing

that leaving creates more nervousness for Park, not the

type that cottons to surgery of any kind.  This room has

folks from Danville, my matriarchal great-grandmother’s

home.  This and the print nurse me through this time.  A

quick run over to return a brace-shop miss-mailing keeps

the innards from churning.  Now laughter flows through

the room full of cancer patients and their supporters.

Yobo’s late now, in overtime on the biopsy table, with

Doctor Chong overseeing an Indian intern.  He’s got

trachea, arteries and lymph nodes to miss, and whew, he

did miss, so here she is, ice-packed throat, alive, but upset.





Prophecy, Friday February 29, 2007


The wide-winged hawks that glide the wind

are cheered by little boys

whose parents huddle by the fire

as if they had a choice.


But times are tough, the drought moves in

as cattle eat hills bare.

Pandemic flu slows elders down

but they still have time to care.


On sunny days we turn the soil

with ashes, leaves and rinds.

February adds a day this year:

a chance to clear our minds


so overwrought with changing times

we’re scared before seeds grow

we’ll have to move the family

if the mortgage lays us low.


Pa said he was a little tike

the last time money soured.

I know I’m spoiled, and caught unmasked

with no wheat to flour.






We send out signals to our friends

and even to our foes.


We’re here to help, if you can work

then join us in our woes.

























Open Eye Affair (“I Like My Religion”)


The pattern is a machine knit on standard tuke

just placed down, exposing real blonde hair.  Her

deep-blue-green dress allows knees to poke at a

ninety degree angle, like a compass using the table

leg as an arc point of a ray emanating from her

inquisitive eyes, intelligent forehead.  A vortex

of cold winter heat initiates contact points that

turn from glances to hair toss-backs.  She’s the

type too absorbed in study to realize how her

essence can fill a room.  For now, knowing how

many men (19-25) take a second look is sufficient.

Her hairy boyfriend sips chamomile, and now she

goes for a reverse fold-over: a hair move where

you raise your elbows as high as possible.  “This

coffee is disgusting.  It tastes like it’s been sitting

at the bottom of an urn for a week, then re-heated.”

But that’s Fred on the back row.  Blondini the Great

is on about the relative merits of a quote read to her

by her boyfriend, from a textbook.  She uses “OKay”

logic to argue a finer point, distinguishing style from

subject matter in a post-deconstructionist, strict

feminist-Freudian interpretation , admitting, in the

end, that she doesn’t really know how things would

turn out:  changing positively, or damaging humanity

irreparably if her logic was to be applied in the real world.




Upper Deck, 17 February 2007

Something about a 30-year-old blonde waitress

sporting pig-tails, loop earrings, and hanging out

after her shift is over.  Mick’s far away eyes zoom

in, penetrate any man strong enough to make a play.

Rochester ramblings yield to thumb rings, cigarette

packing, and lean-in kisses:  the Upper Deck

twists and lurches toward winter’s eve.  Two thirds

of the inhabitants are in on the action.  It revolves

around solid butt smacks, who’s-with-who versus

who’s gonna get sucked in.  Darts and suds, it’s a

sports bra, leave your rings at the door, musicians

mingle with choppers type of place.  It’s a bastion,

a regular oasis in the midst of Disney-carved Cary:

Containment Area for Relocated Yankees” and

sure enough, the barkeep is a former executive chef

who escaped Kodak, Scottsville and six month snows

to open a pool-infested, smoke dominated, rock blaring

leather cultured hang out.  Old school in the middle of

a North Carolina new school town.  Yup, it’s full of

your colorblind, hold’em playing, hoops fans, and the

men who tag along with them.  Amazing they’re not

playing cribbage at the bar, or euchre at the tables.

Nah, that’d be too yankee.  Dang smart of this guy

Ted to open a place of automatic reunions built on

place, another place, a place where people can still

meet up, unwind and let loose other than church.



Easter 2007


Fortunate to live in abundance, blessed, but obsessed,

the hard-working American gobbles energy, changes hair

color, piles on debt, to live the life prescribed by television.

Jesus rose for this?  Carl Rove sends eight-page sermons

to Baptist, Fundamentalist and other rural denominations

whose preachers rarely resist, and charge on, Christian

soldiers, pushing the moral majority, which is neither, but

knows how to win elections:  limit impoverished voting

while accusing Dems of voting twice, pollute the airwaves

with scare tactics, some racial, some terrorist, all meant to

be “tough on crime,” which is to say working for the haves,

not the have nots.  1980, the turning point, at which all

American promise was raided by greed-soaked pirates,

who moved our middle class overseas, selling out for

personal gain, while creating pollution zones, anencephaly,

and a permanent foreign and domestic under-class never

able to afford what they’re building.  Jesus rose for this?

It’s just as bad that Muslims have been hoodwinked, but if

we don’t start preaching a gospel of brotherhood, acceptance,

and helping those who need help, our fate will be miserable.










Belgrade, 23 July 2008


Ivan, our favorite Serbian punk rocker dude

plays translator as we walk from church to

museum to atelier.  His dark paintings already

surpass Mayon, but he’d be nowhere without her.

Seven months of bombing in 1999 rid the town of

Milosovic but not Karadizc, and how many died for

this?  Ivan wants out; he’s tired of shortages, sleeps

where he drops, saving bus fare to the rocky suburbs.

He never used bomb shelters as sirens blared:  if the

bombs got him, so be it.  The clownish morose, post

Francis Bacon look to his art is horrifying, sharp, fresh,

accountable.  Maryon slams the door as we leave, having

twice talked of suicide on a closed-up Monday before

cold rain came.  These two need the smoke and drink

more than anyone I’ve met so far.  Although the terra cotta

forms placed in families on the square are funny, even

swimming, the medieval music can’t turn black clothes

and lipstick into merriment for long.  Lyubo laughs, talks

to friends; he knows everyone.  Two days later Karadizc

is arrested, Mr. President looks down on park whores.







Windows, BB #29 SFO_CHT June 12, 2008


She says he’s recovered some color since his heart

attacked the same day as Harabojay’s* third stroke.  High-

healed walkers negotiate new grooved cement on one side

of campus as the dust settles over sandy bricks that

finally cover construction that twisted ankles all semester

in front of Humanities-One, where office-class time

stretches from six a.m. to midnight depending. . . Back

benches beckon bold beauties, who sleep folded over

each other through three classes, undisturbed by passers

yapping, ROTC drills, and snickers, since her hand is

placed on top of his groin.  It’s the funniest window

view yet, as the between-class stream is dull, landscaping

hodge-podge, and Ggachi birds scarce, but just this once,

this couple is enough to distract you from dwindling family.

Solve this dilemma:  first your Dad’s wife says “don’t change

travel plans” right after his cardiomyopathy flared, so you

keep all plans, but he is not in good enough health to see

you, and it appears you’ll only have a six-day window in

which to visit with him before you have to leave again

for your next semester in Korea.  Feel rejected yet?


*Harabojay means grandfather in Korean.  My wife’s father

and my father had a stroke and a heart attack, respectively,

on the same day, May 30, 2008.  Both survived.





Dad Sonnet, Father’s Day 2008


No abacus is equipped to add

All youthful occasions when your kids were “bad,”

But, before you call me your second eldest spoiled cad,

Remember all the fun you squeaked out of being “Dad,”

Now past the latest health “egad,”

Still making merriment as if it was the latest fad.

The experiences you inspired are the best we’ve ever had,

It’s been true since we were little lads,

That some around us could make us mad,

But once we graduated to our own pads

Around colleges other than the famous Hahvahd Quad,

We invented creative lives some would label “rad.”

No time these days for anything like sad,

Only sporadic smiles and laughter when we visit Dad.












Dark Brown Suede Pumas


The effervescent funniness that permeates college

campus ladies and gentleman floats in coffee -stench

air.  We all love star-torn loners wailing away on their

notepads.  It’s a down vest Polar Fleece January night,

full of head-nods, poke-ins, note-taking.  Up at the bar,

a white sweater stretches to accommodate her hands,

now behind her back, and pushing, full force, forward

and upward at the barista dude.  “The book of General

Ignorance” blares from a chest-top.  Umbrella-boy,

cautious, finds a quiet corner, as F-Bombs float at Gillian

from a newly-arrived admirer.  Small Carolina students

filter in to the increasingly multi-cultural meeting room:

a concrete and sofa and card-table and schoolhouse-bench-

desk decorated box that outstrips most coffee houses for

ambiance.  Ear phones become a secondary defense (again

the laptops are the number one wall) as the glance comes

back strong from Puma-girl.  Peruvian art goes mostly

unnoticed, but proximity leads to new friendships today.









No Bees, No Honey, No Apples


A wagon wheel of discontent

hangs from the rafters above

a stark white room where people swoon,

but rarely fall in love.


A drenching rain flows past dead grass

on land scorched from global heat.

A Heron chick wades in a pond

no deeper than her feet.


A farmer trims the pond-edge growth,

but gets his tractor stuck in mud.


Neighbors store great gobs of art

that once hit Berlin with a thud.


A liar squawks from a studio box

at W-A-M-U.

Diane responds, in quivering voice,

“How can you say that Stu?!?”


A multitude swarms the streets

many without regret:

economics, home to roost,

in the land of war and debt.




A singer sings, arms hiding breasts,

but otherwise she’s bare.

Selling sex far easier than

selling songs that dare.


A worker trapped by bills and mate

has nothing but beer and TV.

Wagon wheel turns as Iraqis cry out,

heartbroken refugees.



















“I’m Walking”


She heads down gravel lane, walking ancient Cedar Pass.

Nature’s flow soothes demands that threaten simple plans,

Tugged by generations old and new, daily walk like skipping class.


Geographic interventions cause surrender into foreign hands,

but culture is not the biggest challenge that she has:

It’s my moody mornings and countless creative clans.


So once our 18-month-old slows down too fast,

or once he falls asleep by music stands,

she sneaks out to the studio to paint or teach a class.


In the morning we bow and press our hands.

Buddhist gong sounds through a machine, not mass,

but a reverent moment broken by clanging pans.


He likes to play in cupboards, pull tea or frozen bass

onto the floor, onto his feet, surprise!  He learns to carry cans

without incident.  We can’t wait until he wipes his ass!









Future Shock?


He bows, nods, and points to hawks gliding.

Wide-eyed, 14-month-old gusto, untainted by experience

and foreboding forecasts about ice-cap or economic

melt down, happily engages in self-feeding, floor hockey

and fire watching.  This latitude should provide food,

extra rain, and room for friends in the post-American

world, barring local war.  As a parent, I’m torn: do I

teach activism or farming?  Accounting or self reliance?

The glory of the moment is the way a back-spun Frisbee

wavers before settling on oak.  Sometimes flipped quarters

vibrate to a rest, but not the way a Frisbee does.  So each

morning, after he pulls me out of reading, little James

hands me an inflated bat we use for hockey, or the

fluorescent green Frisbee he wants me to spin.  He speaks

volumes in a language trapped between Korean and English,

And no matter how I respond, we’re off to the next adventure.

It’s a crying shame that so many parents get so little time

with their children.  Heck, the economics of suburban life

keep getting harder, meaning less goofing-around time.

Caucasians have been in ascension for thousands of years,

with few interruptions.  What will James face as deserts grow,

ice slips into the sea, and Asians, through good old hard work,

take charge?  If he’s lucky, his Korean heritage will help keep

him motivated, while the ability to grow his own food serves

as a back-up, just in case all the prognosticators have it right.



You Know…


You know your child is smartening up

when he starts to squirm at the smell of a

doctor’s office.  You know science is

right when it’s sweltering with no rain,

a triple drought, but the developments continue.

You know the leaders are wrong when one

giant war creeps at us with hundreds of

thousands of families against us forever.

You know the cocoon of innocence no longer

cradles most children when food wars

break out in Africa.  You know that the

widest love still lacks the power to spread

resources equally.  You know how lucky

you are to be at the top of the economic heap.

You know there is much to do to change the

system, but wonder how to do more than change

your immediate surroundings.  You know that

hard work by a small number of dedicated

people can make things better.  You know you

are now part of this change, whether recorded

or not, painted or not, written or not. You know

life is too short to waste time.  You know how

to squeeze everything out of this, produce a

winning recipe and feed your friends.  You know

life pulls you to the corners of the earth, but each

new set brings opportunity to share and progress.





Specks of cherry blossoms remain, six months after, crunched

to microscopic, yet able to detect the soft November feet of

knee-booted beauties. Washington’s engorged monument is

Korean, six inches, but proud, laying-in to boot-skirt on the mall.

Blushing blossoms accept the thumping as better than souls,

more aesthetic than the spiked dens that welcome the kinky

Dupont Circle crowd, you know, congressmen on the town with

their page boys.  We’re now “all -in,” bushwhacked into this

winner-take-all culture with few winners, proud sinners, all-meat

dinners. Unshaved Hispanics growl when the dealer hits two

black jacks in a row.  Cactus stand, not waving in the wind that

tumbles weeds over mountains, that then ignite to torch homes

of the “richies” who once had it made.  Malibu, New Orleans,

Florida in general:  is there a pattern here?  Gaia, perhaps our

only god, has good aim, giving the haves ample opportunity to

atone:  few do.  Perpetual human error peaks again now, as

Christians preach morality, their U.S. leader tortures, slaughters,

greedily spilling blood for oil, trading tomorrow for carbon-filled

today, while children and nincompoops watch, jaws agape, because

they didn’t see it coming.  By nineteen-eighty-three it was evident,

but still, twenty years into the fall, the one-two combo of religious

propaganda and twisted “news” helped smooth over electoral fraud

in time to put the slow crank on World War Three.  Skip forward

to November, back-peddle to the leaf pile, where larger color

combinations lure Alexis and her playmate into unbridled bare-

backed adventures.  Cool air slows his sweat, but not before a drop

jumps his nose.  She thrusts to lick it out of the air, which is just

the angle adjustment he needs to finish the act.  Show this to the





wonks, well-walled on cubicle row sixty-seven, and BASHA! Your

job is over.  It’s that easy to escape the grind, but near impossible

to be your own cowboy and feed the kids.  This is when corporate

can be your friend:  just throw out all convictions, trade values

for value-added do-dads that increase profits and productivity

simultaneously and do not stress the details.  No one minds if you

are loading atomic weapons, making attack ads, fucking your

“niece,” as long as the leaves rustle gently, lips quiver repeatedly,

and voyeur neighbors get a hot glance, on an Indian Summers’ eve.




















Brandy barks at swooping swallows,

Life lowered to eon foot or so

In summertime is simple,

As the lure of tired dogs and clover

Greets only those who need to play.


Scampering down outside stairs

Past the skidding bicycle marks

To a tumbling fit of joy

Goes the only daily memory

Of a happiness once known.


Landing in a pile of limbs,

Which includes the golden hair

That shines of wetness on the

Back of Brandy, the player

Laughs at the summer sin.


How long will it be

Before the play begins again,

Before the youthful joy

Once known appears, before

The love, if ever, returns?






Play II, Thirty Five Years Later


There’s this shadow made by Korean Pines that hits

the white wall of building two at one every day.

If you’re sitting upstairs at An Die Musik, lazily

waiting for your favorite lunch-mate, this shadow can

appear to be the cliff seen in ancient watercolors.  A

dark cliff and foggy white air in a far-distant place.

Foreground cloud-clipped conifers add a touch of reality,

nudging you back to lunch, which arrives, unlike your partner.

Today it’s the newfound cliff, visible only from three

southeast-facing seats.  Students move, shoes push grains

into jagged cracks, yellow buds enlarge, the sun warms

frosted souls, but it’s the shadow cliff that matters.  Now

you have a new friend, silent but hopeful, strong yet fake,

everlasting but ever-changing, finally receding with the sun

to a place no one knows.  A morose quartet, early romantic,

pops at least one bright piano note, while cello, violin, viola

continue their lament.  A new banner is stretched between

trees.  The perpetrators are efficient and mingle into passersby

in less than thirty seconds.  Now the cliff cascades, trios walk

and talk, you dream of love alone, confident it will return.










So this is

it: you’re gone, wind blows,

Hyuntay cries.

Three serious gossip hounds


You’re back; shake

cute butt as Hyuntay

screams and runs

joyous in our nest, his soul


It is love

that ties us, but what

else?  Gwangju?

Language? Art? The smell of dried


You love me,

so I love you, so

what comes next?

Noh is gone, I’m here.  Love me







Anchored in

oblivion, attached to

lost friends, so

gone they have no fond


You do though…

the flowers picked, presented

to warm eyes,

neighborhood news man


Chestnut wars

fifty paces from “blue lake.”

She jumps in,

swims under water,

pulls shorts down.


pile, conspire, socialize, while

baked clams soak.

You walk into gray.

Where’s Hyuntay?








Welcome Mat


Poet laughs,

husband finds friends a burden,

son complains,

poetry pines, not

written now.


season passes undone.  Teams

pick quick boys.

Forced army time sucks

precious youth.

Plums blossom

as Buddha dreams sycamore

birthday light,

accepting all death

has offered.

Cool girls smoke.

Fetish heals pump frilly shorts.

Gwangju rots

under motel lights.

Home sweet home.



Lost girl and

Found one scribe for him

working hard

as summer brightens early:

zephyr smiles.

Orange ball

rolls across dusty

path.  Fat man

chases it, dreams of mocha



unfold under soft


Their inquisitive eyes search

so deeply.


tent sprouts on the square.

His answer

is a natural response:

love grows now.



Her hair shines,

face smiles, legs walk to

new rooms.  Freedom arrives in

time for festivals.

Spring feels good.

She works hard,

writes her future in

a foreign tongue, delicious

words become the fruit

of passion.

She changes,

confidently strides

to life’s welcoming siren:

an innocent song

sung to her.

The singer,

under sycamore,

is older, brash, excited

by this firm woman.

Love flutters.



Hyuntay talks.

Adults everywhere stop to

listen.  Yobo smiles,

someone else


Her hair and

body change, drawing me to

rediscovered youth.

Again she


Daily burn

gives us two hours to discuss,

reconnect over



It’s spring, and

the long rain stops, art begins,

children run.  Yobo

ages like




This ill man

threatens springtime with

nuclear desires:  one last

erect missile, then



Attract your blue eyes

so you wave between classes,

offer dinner


Why can’t we

escape conventions

just this one time?  I promise

it’s between me and


Twice now she

has sat in my class,

overworked, yet together

serious, but so




His hours suck.

She’s worked him, others

to the bone with re-writes that

conform:  Confucius


Rock and roll

shall not grace airwaves

during the last gasp.  Summer

must yield to winter:


Foreign songs:

only acoustic

so-called alternative junk

no one listens to


How to keep

good people here, when

solutions are so lame, so

old fashion.  Still love






Purity class

is not needed for

the most sincere, warm woman

some man will get next.

Tears of joy.

Don’t blame him.

He could not resist

keeping you tied down so long.

He had to have your

spirit’s force.

Your light will

sustain me, not him.

Whoever has the time will

find earth’s angel with

soothing hands.

If not for

you, memory would

die, life would flame out, ashes

swept to a deep corner.

Stay now, stay.





Now she waits

free in her solo

quest to become the woman

she’s meant to



in so many ways,

this one knows the path

to unlock secrets of life:



This time it’s

one conversation,

extended through eternal




now rebounds off rocks

sticking up on Mudeung’s top,

symbols of








Sapphire Valley



blue in empty rock

field catches soaring hawk’s eye.

Sapphire’s cones

protrude in spring air.


peddler flows with wing’s

shadow, misses this jewel,

eyes fixed on

nature’s majesty.

Gem springs to

life, a beautiful

woman made by over-gods

who want her

to go out and love.


sadness remains trapped

in blue light.  Alive and free

she exudes

universal joy.





For Yobo:


Yobo plays,

aware that secret

love lasts only so long when

he never


Once last May

he stopped by to ask

if she would kiss in public.

She broke his


He was a

fool, she was too young,

beautiful.  Seriously

she thought, then


Every day

he pines for her, but

does not bother her with calls.

He loves her




Dream One


Now just one

centimeter tall

living under Yobo’s arm

in a dream that shows

two hearts’ paths.

You climb smooth

breast, sit on textured

nipple as it rises with her

breath.  Slide down to her

beating heart.

Asleep, she laughs

but doesn’t know you

secretly inspect her skin

to detect her true


But wait, it’s

your intentions that

guide this dream, so dive in boy!

This delicious swim

Tastes so good.




Dream Two


She takes off her dress,

bra, panties, shoes, and unties

her short curly hair.

Yobo is


she asks you not to

towel off cool water drops.

Blood rushes, bulging’

shapely man


Legs spread, but you start

with toes, individual

deep sucks for each as

she starts to


Long calf licks is all

it takes to send her into

wiggling and moaning.

What next




Dream Three


She waves from

under yellow shade.

Canopy conceals her smile

to all but


She aches to

throw herself anew,

still constricted by parents’

ancient dream


They let her

go, but drew her back;

dream to reality

will be a


Here’s how it

goes:  find her, love her,

vow this is not the last swim.

Submerged tongue






The Good Life

Too fat to be loved,

too old, smug,

American, male,

but wait, here’s the love at home:

Herb burns, puzzles, teas.

So it’s three more jobs

all for mate.

No more middle school

visits, but time for

the ladies, friends old and new,

Daecheon, Busan, Seoul.

Manura gets them

while tears flow,

pure loneliness Plath

could relate to, but no one

in this blistered burg.

Grab a movie, sit

and enjoy

yourself, work six to

midnight, smile, teach, play, walk, laugh,

cry alone.  Alone.



Welcome Back



You offered the moon and I snapped it up, one hooked

whale, not able to assess repercussions. I offer it back.

It’s seven years after the fact, but so many yesterdays

don’t come close to the prospect tomorrow will bring.

This yummy fake blueberry cheesecake covers the

lucky sequence that led to this moment: a flowerbox

café across from the dig that will become a cultural

magnet if the funding holds up from Seoul to finally

finish the thing!  Obscure, yet often poignant American

jazz floats over a wide-slatted wood floor. “Do not laugh

if I love you, love lasts a long time…I’ve found a good

laugh leads the blues away.”  There was no way to skate

around the drama back then, but this simple piano riff

and the knowledge that what was once a dream became

this complex, amazing secret, then public coupling, in

full regalia, full of turmoil at the start, then art, travel,

art, teaching, journalism, and oh boy, Hyuntay, our wild

child with one thousand questions, answering his own

queries with art, dances and his sneaky smile.  It’s time

to pull close, enjoy the feel, make the stress disappear.










The cancer comes, gets held at bay

as Gators munch on dawgs.

We’re happy that you’ve passed this way

to lumber our new-felled logs.


Your demure smile lasts a short while

As your dad sits down.

But you kept your poise and guile,

respecting the new-found clown.


You caused a laugh on rain day,

now politely out the door.

Your life turns out the same way

not a genius, not a bore.


I may not get just what I want

at the time I want it.

But I get it (she said, as a taunt)

and I’m not afraid to flaunt it.


Off she goes, then he does too,

Wondering who he thinks he is.

This man with a plan and nothing to do

Falling head-first into the abyss.






Yobo III


She works all day to soothe away

the anguish in his life.

She finds the class, she knows he’ll pass

such a dedicated wife.


When needs run high, like a butterfly

she fills our lives with honey.

I love her, and by now she knows

it’s not about the money.


She never spends a single cent

on diamonds, pearls or fashion,

and when the day slips into night

her art becomes her passion.


He wipes his tears and heads to bed

after ten hours of TV.

But there he finds the comfort

sure to fill his every need.


So here’s a toast to Yobo,

you deserve more love than this.

Just have fun with the one you love

and he will do everything in his power

to give you everything that you wish.





We’ve woven a web, you and I,

attached to the world, for no matter

how long, inscribed, though poorly, for

scant eyes, still, as bright a love aura as

has ever glowed, tightly wound around

our hearts, yet soaring miles above

Meudung’s  fog to warm cold February.

Sparks fly off a round-rock fire rarely seen

in these parts. We laugh, it feels like we

shouldn’t be here on a cold winter night,

just a few meters from trails so packed

during the day.  This charge will never

leave.  We’ve marked this space but must

go to where the stars shine, deer run, art springs.


Keep my heart in your brain, words in your hair.

Matched lifelong yearning bursts in my hand,

fluorescent. Quick, pack what you need, let’s

flee! live life in the positive zone, expand

what we enjoy together, bound by the luck

that brought us this far.  Where to next?









We Don’t


sit in a parlor, harmonizing, conducted

in on cue to solo over the top,

nor bump the snow off dark branches

only to ruin the soft-edged contrast.

we don’t know anything of traipsing the

woods for love, skiing three miles

cross country to peek at the town beauty

working out, unaware, glistening, another

Cynthia Brewster or flower-sniff come

spring among thick rushes, floating above a

rocky bottom pond, water so clear you drink

as you swim, laughing, naked, holding back

nothing, calm, sitting one branch up the

plum tree, white-blossomed.  Careful now, do

not adore her too quickly or she’ll think you are

weak.  We don’t know naturally how diverse



life interacts, lavender and finch, smiling

girl and chrysalis, no, we’ve allowed ourselves

to be penned in, self-domesticated via

electricity and cars.  Come love, let’s walk.







Ode to Kwang Suk Park


The dust that covers Gwangju’s moon

chokes the kids to death.

We see the buds, they shoot too soon,

Korean Spring’s a mess.



This would surely not be so

if my heart was pure.

No matter who would come or snow

the mountains would still lure


us up to breath the fresher air

where brooks still freely run,

where couples openly declare

their bodies are meant for fun.


Twenty bridges cross the dribble

that flows enough for cranes

to dip in beaks and get a nibble,

as old men play “Go” again.


Beautiful smile reminds me

that you twice saved my life.

No better friend has a man seen,

be they lover, sister, wife.




Yobo IV


There’s nothing cruel about the smell

Of lilacs in cold air,

Nor the clang of high school bells

Laying tardy students bare.



Local cats prowl orchard yards,

Screech when toms come mating.

Urban tigers, three-iron canard

Makes a farce of routine dating.


The crowd is deep into the sauce

We’re late upon arrival.

Thank god we drink without the boss,

Mates being our survival.


We intersperse, the fluid flows

Measured in cubic inches.

This stress relief adds special glow:

Kisses, strokes and pinches.


While most couples drift along,

We exercise our right.

When it feels this good it can’t be wrong

Come here, my love, get tight.




Carpe Nostrum (Seize the Night)


The stain of nitrous on the streets

Is matched by the stench of coal.

Entertainment between the sheets

Flew on the wind (it shows).


Young hotties with their strollered kids

Shuffle form store to store.

Be happy for all the fun you did

So much you wound up sore.


Because as wrinkles turn to gray

And memories surpass the present

The fun you have tonight, today

Will make arthritis pleasant.


And wash away your lack of cash

And brighten ancient clothes,

And make you laugh out loud at last

When tubes run out your nose.


So if you’re past the middle-point

Prematurely retired,

Do not give up your haunted joints

Get out, re-light the fire!






White Day, The Ides of March


I confess my deepest love

But this you already know.

The smile upon my face is real

Inside my happiness grows.



On this day so white with glee

The magic comes back to life

You know the joy I feel each day

comes from you, my loving my wife.


I know I put you through a lot

Now it’s time to have some fun.

This life provides us many shots:

I prefer golf to guns.


So here’s to goat farms by the sea

And photos of our days.

A life made full by passion’s kiss,

Art that cannot be delayed.


Turn off TV then throw it out

Come, hold hands with me.

Let’s re-invent what life’s about

Becoming all we’re meant to be.



Gwangju, May 18, 2010

Neon lasers singe camera lens, pupils, buds,

As locals expand down alleys.

Strutting coifs hold tight their newfound studs,

Surreal images, an overture to rallies.


Here brave opposition faced bullets, knives and tanks,

After thirty years, commercials outrank tears.

The young are not sure who to thank

So they pull up soju, whiskey, beer.


President Lee Myung Bak has failed to honor the dead,

Commemorations have started to fade:

He took tea with former dictators instead.

Freedom is ours, but who paid?


Democracy is only a word when corporate dominates.

We’re free to work an eighty hour week,

This keeps us too busy to demonstrate,

So we “elect” the next fascist freak.


Economic stuff will soon be enough

To cause the “no-work-home-or-family blues,”

Maybe no jobs will cause the young to get tough,

But for now they’re less than enthused.





Money can buy friends

even illusion of love.

Paul and John had it

all wrong and

found out the hard way,

how bleak it can get

when it became evident

that their loves were in

it for the


If those chaps fell for

this regular trap, none are

free, few find true love,

many doomed

to yearn, scream, cry, grunt:

Alone in a full

room, drunk on sadness, stoned on

venom made of their

own complete

inability to love.








Those strange days

thought long gone crash back in to

interrupt small gains

made in hard

judgmental Asia.

Never one

to fit in, protagonist

sits alone rotting

with monsoon’s

ammonia stink crotch.


common despair, reaching back

to his best friends: one

must be paid,

the other his son.

Thunder reigns;

satisfaction  eludes him,

colleagues disappear,


evaporate.  Gloom.



Truffaut here

means movies, booze, a

quiet respite, candlelight

and real jazz though not

a “jazz” bar.

Here, a “jazz bar” is

one tender

per male patron; they

offer mostly talk and peanuts,

no music.

Thunder skies

wake adults: children

do not hear, nor frequent bars

this side of downtown.

Truffaut rules.

Musicians start or

end nights here,

the truly hip find

nooks to plan clandestine trysts,

or gossip.

Time dissolves

under piano riffs,

sax wailing,

conducive to heart

calls, so couples come.



A sip of

Baileys on the rocks, better

here:   life fades,

deep meditation

for us lost drunk souls.



This one walks

in very mini

skirt, making many wonder

where she shops

and who she married.

She finds a

friend who wants to talk English:

new alliance, lunch

has to move away from eyes,

too much fun.

Now thick three

go to a distant

neighborhood, though no sordid

plans arise,

impression pervades


this lunch should be with only

department men to

remain beyond reproach, so

we sneak food.



She humors

everyone around with full


of Milan-Paris

New York fashion sense.

We decide

to meet with my family

to avoid

all lip-sinkings: those

local gossip blasts.



This one, a

pretty Asian dead

ringer for

Martina, tennis-playing


sits one last

time at lunch, last smile to see,

coloring fabric,

jumping last

hoops before Ph.D.

Goodbye now,

it was such a short

friendship, I

know you have two children, a

loving husband, and



little more

other than desire to help

a friend’s friend find a

better place.

Thank you beautiful lady.





rumble melodic

as one, but noisy as six.

Novice left

hand versus C-chords

in quarter

note rhythm collide in

afternoon lessons

synchronized to maximize

teacher pay.


students concentrate

somehow not distracted by

good attempts,

even atonal ones.



Three ladies

converse, one while teaching, as

cacophony in

A-minor repeats in time

with fan blades.

One pops out

of her mini-room to check

whether she

is being listened

to, plays though unheard.

Teacher hears

a mistimed pattern, jumps from

bench to room

encouraging with

firm guidance, soft mind.



Smile to laugh,

gleam to sweat, in last

Gwangju summer, packing one

more time, one more move,


Family may

shrink again, grandmother

struggles, husband not

silent enough, must now make

a life of farming.




bounces from caustic

to tolerant, but stress mounts,

throws Dad for a loop.

Numbers suck

so doctors

check; stress ruins love, kills the

romance. The batting

order is a team of three,

not Kia Tigers.

Pressures ease

as sweat replaces rage for

hot gym rats

and their mascot, our

running, hiding, son.

One semester

to make everything look good,

quell rampant

rumors, teach better,

kiss Gwangju goodbye.


Yeosu’s art?

Soju, seafood, sand,

pebbled hard beach and Expo,

twenty twelve: condos

on the bay.




Rain fields yield

visored ladies, red peppers

underpriced rice and

meager lives,

dedicated work.

Fish flop in

nets, sushi bars dot

harbor walks, children,

forced into English

do not talk.

Gray Sunday,

not-so-much-fun day, rewards

classmates with a rare


visit:  “look, he’s fat!”

Fog and rain

mostly hazy green, but orange


in the form of steel

bridge support project.

Scattered scraps

pile between “downtown” buildings.

Gulls fly, seek

a meal in trash heaps.

Art survives this place.



West Meets East



cries Ggachi to rice

farmers who laugh in response,

toiling, poor,

so we can be rich.

Korea offers

so much to those who fit in:

village hands to raise

great children.


shame, ridicule

come to all who resist sage


rules: forced unity.


benefit if quite

diligent, but few survive

universal shame

if applied.

Saving face

means little in pragmatic

cultures built

 on dog-eat-dog greed.

Children grow wild there.



How to squelch

lifelong truth-to-power rants,

learn to lie

to appear pure, fit

in to this tight box?



After a two month

respite our hero

returns to

paint again atop

cement dealers dust.

They welcome

him back with smile and

nod as cool weather

lures him from

office to art studio.

Mudeung’s glory, still

green, is the base that

inspires, him

to philosophize

rather than just teach.


air return, Gwangju

gathers, parties, drinks


for long insipid winter.




influences sneak in to

disrupt once

sacred Thanksgiving,

culture changes too fast.

Free teens find

immediate elation,



the only dream, goal.



Female crane lands on

eighty six

lotus pads.  She’s not

done yet, but effortless love

is long gone.

I just want

to keep this alive,

adolescent, pure


without overhang.

White and gold fade off

this locked door,

the one that leads back

to your heart.  I am left to

cry alone.



Grow wings now.

Re-learn how to fly.

Celebrate what you

love about

me while you still can.

Here’s what I

love about you:  your art, food

laugh, bright eyes,

dedication to

a simple, kind life.

Your country

roots appeal to so many

in this raw

cold world.   Let me warm

you again, again.




rattle, willows sway,

deep in old Beijing.

Children play as teachers sing

tai chi songs.

Nearby landfill wafts

its strong air

but no one seems to notice.

Sparrows dart

from eaves to lotus



eating bugs

along the way.  Bright

sanctuary gives

moms their day, improves budding

social skills.

One male guard keeps this

preschool safe

while sixteen ladies mostly

watch the kids.

One young pink shirt struts:

Chow-chow hair,

near perfect physique, now she

checks posture

as a western man

raises camera.

Today’s breeze

soothes nerves, relaxes three-year

stress.  Time to

reflect on the mess

and how to clean it.



Try to compute this:

“The Beijing

Rural Commercial

Bank.”  Is this bank for farmers




moved to town,

who already own

a business, or outsiders

coming to set up


Two branches go in

and out of

view as you crawl on

ring road three (eight lanes) thinking

slave labor.



towers shade bikers

momentarily.  Coal fired


makes brown air.

So the same

bankers who grab percentage

think little

of workers who make

fifty cents an hour.

Their cut comes

from owners who wire profits,

summer in

Geneva, rarely

breath such stench-filled air.





Nose tingle, gut wrench,

throat tighten

all return even

as shadows

dance, children play, weather calms.

They all come

rushing back with one

flawed thought, that of life without


who understands or

can at least fake a

caring touch.

try to forget that

such a love

exists, because it’s an act.

You pay for

a friend who listens

nods, gives no advice, but smiles,


to be there again.

Yearning man

screams, cries, gives in to the whims,

worries that

to reclaim his life

could mean tearing this



known trio

apart, but must forge back to


ground, a place to write,

paint, play, love, live.


She keeps the pumice

perched on turtle’s neck,

toothbrush in its place

magnets all

in a row, perfect image.

She knows who

the rock represents.

She knows real secrets,

manages to keep this sad

man alive.

Her brother started

this “business” as men

rented first the house

then island

motel, fully stocked for trade.

Her hard work

earned graduate art

degree, flourished in

circumstances that would make

most wither.



She pretends,

but melancholy is real.

No man can

pull her out of this,

she might hate herself.


It’s not her

fault, and she could escape, if

she could trust

true love, and drop years

of “do this for me.”



Windy courtyard six

floors up finds

Korean shoe toss

game in “full

swing.”  Shade, dust, car-noise, Beijing.

No zoo move

on Sunday, so fun

day is screaming as dwellers

and office workers

jump, watch, sit.

Hours pass as the game

evolves to

hand-tossed shoes, shopping

cart rides.  Freeze

tag torments all who are “it.”



Mustard tiles

and grass patches mark

space between buildings.  Floors two

through five are shopping,

we’re on nine.

So we can

yell to the fantastic five

in case food

is ready or scraped

skin needs attention.

Yobo still

sees me as one of them:  in

need of her

supervision.  I

want some freedom too.



Bombed Belgrade

has less dust than the

beat up streets of Beijing.  Gray

dominates from new

construction, power, exhaust.

Even when eyes sting,

phlegm builds, lungs

suffer, locals trek

to bus stops

spend an hour stuck in traffic



to gain Yuan

so price-controlled food

is still within reach.  It’s hard

to scrape by here, the

workers still oppressed.

Incremental strides

toward larger

middle class have been

made: TVs

and mini laundry machines.

Floods, mudslides

and vanishing nature add

deep thoughts to

otherwise busy

parents.  What comes next?

Red flag raised,

Yellow stars so serious.


which youngster plays in

groups or swings alone.



Would you miss being

trapped, if once

free, you had to start

with nothing?

What’s life without friends?



 This time it

was an attempt to

squeeze you into a tight box,

so you blew it up,

but have four more months to go.

With no prospects, and


the only thread to

grasp at, you’ll

walk away tarred and feathered.

Will she leave?

Is the damage made

via exit strategy

too great for one soul

to endure?  If you can’t win

her back, what

will become of heartbroken

James Hyuntay?

Will you ever see

old friends again, huh?

You couldn’t

talk to her about sadness,


everyone else heard.

Life here is over.




Fast Food Paradise


Inequity rules,

Sun works hard to poke through smog.

Dust excuse

doesn’t fly when green

phlegm erupts.


Marx abused, modern

Russian Roulette played out

on the backs

of those same workers.

China protects new

totalitarian box.

Nine percent

get absolutely



KFC dinner

means middle class.  Tourists

spend enough

to help more survive,

but what is

the life expectancy in

cities so

polluted, water




Oh China

you bit hard on greed, now

ignore your

laborers. Fifty

cents per hour indeed.



Live Strong


Peripheral sunrise elongates table shadows, initiates morning calm

five days before the trip.   This mixed-race neighborhood

finds curious children stepping toward friendship while parents

remain closed in busy lives with no time for old friends no less

a new batch.  Small dose of warm leads to ping pong, kickball

and lacrosse.  Fifteen Korean kids experience the U.S., try new

sports, speak English to strangers, love nightly contests, yet

bored by Disneyworld.  Orange rays turn yellow, cause

dew-sparkle as a clank of dishwashing jolts early work-day

to life.  This heart, shredded, strewn like superfluous jet fuel,

scatters onto February snow so remote no living thing can

detect the agony caused by having to choose between family

and friends or prime faculty position in a culture that routinely

rejects emotional outsiders and is built on hundreds of rules

that strictly judge behavior in order to instill “maturity” at the

price of spontaneity .  No natural omens, like a darting cardinal

that prefigures any sound move have appeared.  Aspirations change,

fulfillment occurs when newfound silence replaces blabbermouth

stupidity and yard play warms frozen tears as well as crowd cheers

ever did in the days before finding redemption in family and work.





When facing the loss

of job, home,

family, each word

uttered counts

on spiritual levels.

Save others,

mend yourself later.

Use time once wasted hurting

your lost love to grow

a new heart.

Admit to errors,

but do not

give up everything

just to save

a life full of misery.

Reach out to

friends, give yourself a

pat on the back.  Stop tears by

finding new outlets

for your love.

Keep anger

away from your children, but

speak to them

about challenges.

they will help solve them.



Hard work can

solve problems, save love, retain

some aspects

to ease transition.

Keep children happy.



Saint Valentine pulls

flowers from

his frock.  Do all saints

wear monk’s clothes?  Here’s to Mom’s our

working saints.

I love you,

though my mouth causes

huge rifts, please stay close now.

Our nation of three

remains strong.

Since love conquers all

allow this

small ink flow to wash

past agony away.  Your

heart needs me.

Busy life

leaves short hours to be

alone with you, but your heart

beats inside mine all

day and night.



Let the smiles

return, let me support your

art, teach my

slice of the world to

Hyuntay, our hero.

Take clues from

him, the son who asks questions,

the light that

brings us together

with daily magic.




Eunheungsa One:  8 November 2011

The shade of a 300-year-old Ginko stretches away

from the double-persimmon called “cam:” the ancient

tree grows fruit and then a baby one inn the center remains

intact, a local phenom.  Beautifully colored roosters

flair wings, young hens follow bobbing tail-feathers as

adults and children sort fruit from yellow fan-shaped

leaves.  All hands repair to the mushroom logs, sixteen

inches wide, maybe four feet long.  These mushrooms are

dried and made into medicinal tea, good for those ailing

from bad circulation, like me.  A monk and six helpers

fill baskets, and a hen chases another away from the game

cock.  Twenty six types of birdcall and one human singer

fill quiet hillside with their best songs.  Ji Hun, the lucky

fourteen-year-old opens a rice-paper door to wave “hello.”

Sometimes a fan-leaf spins down, another dives quickly.




Visitors speak, a quiet monk gathers.  Six-year-old lifts black

mesh to discover rolling Ginkos, as singing man sits with a

branch-full of fruit. A boy learns many days worth of school

at once here.  His first real lesson in life from the land comes

none-too-soon, but Ji Hun stays roomed, having lost interest.



Eunheungsa Two: 8 November 2011


This ancient

temple village gives

refuge to

city dwellers as

two monks do fall chores.

Five buildings

are reconstructed

already, but this place once

had thirty.  Armies

stayed and burned.

Fifteen years

of dedication

yields modern

comforts, new paint, an

enlarged plan to show.



She sweeps leaves

with a branch found near

riverbed, clearing a way

through yellow to fruit

so healthy.


chicken clucks echo off walls

as the day’s

mating dance starts on

the yard.  Two roosters

thrust necks at

each other, then chase five hens.

A chopper

disrupts natural

flow, soon disappears.


Blatant fouls

distract virtuous

life.  Even autumn

colors can’t pull us


The penalty for

not thinking

is another round

of corruption, worldwide wage




A girl in

an engineer’s cap

wraps an afghan on

her grandmother, gets

I-Pad news.

Hip swerving golfer

prances through

a coffee shop with

fully clothed three hybrid: a

sponsor’s gift.

Lifestyles, so

incongruent, mingle while

Wall Street adds

A hundred to the

Dow: record profits


obvious bias bestowed,

via GATT,

to owners of the

means of production.



Better off Red?                                                                                          


Getting caught with your pants down in some neighbor’s bed

is better than when the papers accuse you of being red.

Capitalists cast a spell, and communism was dead,

the world’s factory workers are now so ill-fed



that the twelve rich guys left have got a big head.

No need to protest, watch TV instead,

or play the last version of Tennessee Jed

while dancing, or tripping, in your brand new Keds.

See how easily credit card consumers are led?

But no money left to bury Uncle Ned!

Best burn the pictures you took of young girls, you “ped.”

It’s still the good life compared to being “red.”

Better not listen to what I just said

or anything broadcast by the thinkers at <www.Ted>

So divorce your thinking before you get wed

to the notion that the world would be better of red.



Grievances outweigh

all nightsticks combined.

Wall Street laughs:

in private donates

millions to police

Leaves scatter, people

get rousted,

causing more to appear, all

betrayed by

Obama’s lies.

“Hokey Pokey” shakes

create consensus

while the list



swells past Luther’s;

what next, worldwide strikes?

Hot dog’s waxed paper

floats above

sewer steam, refuses to

land: the crowd

is too big.


and pro videographers


to record it all.

Will anything change?


of showerless days and hot

coffees meet.

Unemployed now have

work:  revolution.


For Binayak Sen



combo causes pure

anxiety as

cool weather

stays, nipples stick out, no spring



in Gwangju:

ice water wanders

freezing coast

dwellers, causing flip-

switch summer, torrential rain.

Today we

scurry to honor

a doctor, freedom

fighter, jailed

for helping untouchables

attempt to

retain land sought by


developers.  They

starve even with the forest

so his help

guaranteed his arrest as

he doctored

them gratis, then tried

to save their meager

lifestyles.  Steel

giant, Korea’s Posco

the culprit.

Globalized pirates

what more do you want?






Foul smelling fish juice

puddles in

the elevator we ride from

eight to one.

Three minute walk to

school  allows

our souls to breathe, ask


questions that cause Dad to sweat,

son to smile.

Then past the same church

lady each day,

we used to

bow and even utter words.

Multiple contact led to fear.

Still, in her

predictable garb

you can feel her need

to expand life, even if

in small ways.

New glasses,

new love, a new haircut, some


beyond the daily

grind.  None will happen.



In the last

Segment…subtle walking

Race occurs.

Youth view switches your

focus, walk hard man.


First Grub, Then Play

Gather, flee

your box, demand an

equal share, decide how to

work to make local

dreams survive.

Convert to

solar, electro-magnetic

energy, skip both

utility bills

and taxes until war ends.


Tsunami, Earthquakes,

Melting Ice, Foul Air, Monster

Hurricanes:  need more?

Stop driving.


cars are fast enough when you

plug them in to self-



generating power thanks to

Bodini via Tesla.


stress immediately quelled

with more time

to play with children,

talk with old/new friends.

Dropping ties

to globalized slavery

means doing

the work together,

for security.


Bertold Brecht said, “First grub, then ethics”

which is a touch too Machiavellian for my blood.


Scattered fan-shaped leaves

make natural art

from Ginko

that is three hundred

twelve this year.

This birthday

is celebrated

with seven hundred pounds of

healthy, hand-stinging berries,

nutty tea.



A magnolia,

no more than a bush

at age five

springs next to temple

steps, wet leaves.

Crane wing roof

bedecked with slate tiles

shades exactly half the three

doors that open to ancient

rock Buddha.

Hen submits.

In this yard two roosters tend

five hens, more

to come.  Conversely,

five women, two men

repeat a

three-dunk cabbage cleaning that

yields “salad”

known as kimchi, so

spicy throats are singed.



angel flight to

reach and cry,

communicate love

again while still in ear shot.



Scream in the

night, one more lover

torn by deceit spits,

begs the stars for love

but finds none.

Coffee does

not cure deep blues in

cold weather.

Her son is dead and

her man slept around again.

It’s four a.

m. and even eight

floors up, the piercing

wail wakes everyone.

She’s insane.

In twenty

eleven, what can you do?

Offer hugs?

Learn her language in

a snap, then cure her?

Still, you feel,

and can even see her pain

floating up

to spite her mate, touch

her son one more time.





Pittsford, N.Y.  Meets Gwangju, R.O.K.


It’s amazing how hard bakers work, the way trumpets still

blow jazz, the interplay between street peddlers and birds, the

look on the face of the young couples strolling the day after

their first night together, the hundreds of tornadoes that

visit the U.S. in this, the time of global disaster on a

multiply-local scale, the softness of a plaid velour shirt over

terrycloth sweats and flip flops on a comfortable woman

who can move slow in a world so fast palm sized computers

can’t keep up.  Even one square meter of shade is sought

on a 20-minute walk in this heat.  The shady side of the street

defies Johnny Mercer era, attracting everyone once summer

hits.  Sincerity, so hard to find in the info-overloaded now, is

natural in Gwangju, Korea, the city that suffered for the cause

of democracy, only to see its fate pushed down repeatedly by

elected officials who ignore the fact that their seats in power

were enabled by the very place they withdraw funding from.

It’s why laughs and friendship last forever here, why it

reminds you of your grandmother’s four-mile walk to teach

in a one-room schoolhouse, or Uncle Ken’s Pharmacy/Mayor

combo back when he knew everyone’s prescription and name.



She steps off the bus, my heart aflutter, I crash two

bags into her in an awkward hug. Mother, the role she

favors most screams back when her son, then five, squeaks

from behind a wide pole.  Bonded to the exclusion of all

life’s worries, these two are a unit, and, though it appears

no conspiracy prevails, clandestine two-pack leaves others



way, way back on the priority list.  But, look over here,

there’s Dad, new soccer ball, lacrosse sticks in hand,

able to lure his son away from books with Gator sports

and card games, chess and long walking talks.  So

what a family it is, one happy with the other, the other

happy with the one, a .670 batting average that is only

tainted by occasional errors: in judgment, decisions, long-

winded arguments about things that don’t matter.  For this

I am sorry, so sorry, so sad, so alone, so heartbroken.

How hard I’ve worked to correct my evil ways, only to lay

waste weeks of goodness with a single morning question.

One utterance, one error, one life on the line, as the now

five-year-old has to hear one more disagreement, his cries

for us to stop, his perplexed look.  Stop this crime.  Stop talking.


New Occupation, 2012



The disenfranchised


take to the streets; without jobs

… they try to

formulate systems


of everyone’s needs

by consensus: a

direct democracy for

small town change.



Local gains will be


national non-existent.

Fascists don’t

give up, they just die.


mouthpieces seek

leaders to blame, a

list of demands, ribbonned box

to veto.

Two of the

twenty-twelve candidates will

address these

issues, three percent

will vote for them. Though

protests are

on behalf of the ninety

nine percent,

ninety six remain

unable to change.


WJS at 83    The James Gang Rides Again

Twister, the game of

tangled bodies, morphs

this year, as

alarms sound:  pillows stacked while

friends huddle below.



“This year our

weather is so strange:”

indeed, Tsunami, melting

ice, monster

volcanoes blowing.

As another year

passes, the James gang,

not Jesse

and Frank, or some 60s rock

band, but the Stubers,

stretch across

continents, soon to

reunite because closeness

must first be

geographic, then

hearts beat as

one because we can see each

other’s eyes,

read emotions in

body language, play

games, relax.

Skype does not replace a hug,

nor poems.

Ink unites by brain,

Hearts connect again.





Spring 2011 Gwangju, South Korea


Splotchy white-barked Sycamore pushes to surpass pines,

atop Chosun University Mountain.  To reach this bench

three hundred ninety seven staircase steps and fifty drops

of sweat are spent.  Pretty rich girls stroll on Saturday, but

this empty campus lets spring roll on unadmired by soccer

kickers and potential mates.  Chirping birds are more likely

to feel naturally sated after planting egg fertilization, eating

grass seed, flying in the Gobi’s yellow dust.  Invasion comes

to mountain peninsula not just from the west, but this spring

from post-tsunami Sendai and its blowing-up nuclear reactors.

Cancer only slows the drums that demand we build illogical

radioactive electricity.  Post-modern deconstruction should

be applied to decommission these ogres rather than ascribe

meaning to writing based on assumed idiosyncrasies acquired

during the author’s adolescence.  Human activity has brought

us both to productive heights and this wide-mouthed abyss

between rich and poor:  it will slow to urgent needs and war

now that demand outstrips supply universally. The young will

have, and the old will keep trying to have sex in order to keep

economic realities at bay, but the very richest will not fashion

legislation to help the poor this time, thus assuring mega-disaster.



Zen Dye, Sendai, Send Die


Throat swells, gums bleed, lymphs bulge on and off in this

post-nuclear tsunami Asian spring with its radio-rain and




sadness because years of stress already determined most people’s

cause of death, but now it’s a relative surety that cancer rates

will fly five years hence.  Sixteen students sweat a mid-term,

young enough to never have imagined life-shortening storm,

still sure the orgasmic joy of youth will last forever, or at least

looking forward to blissful mating, large alcohol, unflinching

prosperity and a good job awaiting stellar grade point average

in a system where a B+ is a slap in the face.  Stress exudes

and clogs up the aisles with a goo so sticky it’s hard to collect

the exams.  So Bright smiles, scores well, heads to a mid-term

a scant 10-minutes removed but ever so cheerful, even if she

is truly so embarrassed about leaving her pencil case behind.

Living proof that life goes merrily along amid the worst type

of disasters: corporate (Tepco shouldn’t have allowed tons

of radioactivity to spread into the Pacific), financial (banks

got trillions, sold homes at 70% off, foreclosed 9000 per day,

then asked for more bailouts), governmental (fascism at every

turn), environmental (look at it all, and still we drive our cars).





This so-called life, this enigma wrapped in pain,

surrounded by a sea of nuclear waste, this end-game

controlled by those who can profit the most by the end

of, what?  The end of humanity?  Oil? Seas? Biosphere?

Planet? “We the People” only included white landowners,

while three thousand cultures got cleaned off the map.

Masonic fascism has only worsened, now infecting the

Christian church to the extent that abject poverty spreads,

a wildfire, as stock prices rise, products move, after raw



material shipped thrice to discover the cheapest possible

labor.  This shit is not poetic, but you have to scream,

so how to scream on stage, on TV, at the movies in any

way that will register with the already-brainwashed

populace?  Millions more will end up criminals, jailed

on this side of the pond, the “already dead” plus refugees

climb toward five million “over there.”  As long as about

half as many as needed have jobs, and foreclosures hover

lower than ten thousand per day, we’ll be alright, right?

It’s just too bad, and if you can’t fight to survive and be

in a lucky location, bomb-free, death will trump poverty.


Blaring heat

returns late, provides

relief to

muscles, brains, love-starved

newly-matched mates, here

in the land

of the morning calm.

Green Gingko leaves, soon

bright yellow

flutter unpredictably

due to fan

shaped leaf outweighing

stems by so

much.  Our mates walk in

and out of shade



forty times

on the sunny side

of the street.  Gingkoes

taste too strong

but medicinal value

is high, so

locals eat them boiled soft or

in soup or

tea.  Their shade is a

bonus, fruit is sought

after by

amateurs and pros so the

city grows

them down streets in

communal Gwangju.


New Navy Base Horrors


Historic flutter

returns as memorial

five eighteen

turns into KPOP,

miniskirt dance festival.

May eighteenth being

the day Chun went nuts

on Gwangju:



democracy not

squelched but assured by

U.S.-backed para-

troopers executing dire


inspiring rich

kid pamphlet-drop suicides

at Seoul National,

until, on the most


peninsula, they

yielded power to

the masses.

A scant thirty years later


toward those ugly times,


edicts, a

supposed presidential


concrete rivers, eight

beef protestors dead.


Witness: monk

aflame, broken bones

mutilated girl,

troops sent in



over and over.

This behavior

is emulated in the

new dash for


resources.  Modified crops

allow huge

population while

stripping collection

of next year’s

seeds.  World disasters

assured via food

wars, global warming, auto

mobiles, self-

righteous billionaires.

When we lost touch with nature

all else crashed:

humanity traded for

big money.

Is there resurgent

loving hippiedom

more than fad,

or are we destined to fight

on behalf

of the same rich men

who enslave labor?



April 7th Poem, 2012


Our “one-world-government” activist from the 50s has lived to see

the economic equivalent arise from the World Trade Organization,

IMF, GATT I and GATT II treaties, in which trade considerations

outweigh sovereignty.  This ideal moment for the profit centers of

the world has, unfortunately, been soured from within, leaving him

to wonder about the fate of the next 20 years, but he still reads hard,

is sharp about human relations, forgiving to absent-minded children,

interested in his grandchildren, wrapping experienced arms around

James three, the one who has international eyes, the ability to walk

into any classroom and excel, who takes the Asian rock game “Go”

or “Padook” as seriously as any chess match or soccer practice.  This

and so much more make up the experiences he has to thrive on when

the present slows down. This man, advocate for the freedoms won in

many battles, example to us all about how to squeeze everything out

of each day, threw fundraisers one season, lake frolics the next, and

is thought of each day by more people than he can remember, has not

lost touch with those who matter, and finds those good stories to keep

his brain brilliant, to extend new meaning into each day, to live more

than one life, the way he always did, say 40 years ago.  You inspire us

from afar; we’ll be alright thanks to your allowing us to be who we are.



Blibity Blah, Blibity Blee

Long old perm

adds to the tired look

on her face as she adjusts

bra strp, eye judges

walks past, then



doubles back to the

most expensive salon in

town:  Lee Chul:

Tokyo, Beijing,

and Gwangju?

A whopper error

unless Lee’s

mother lives here.  It

is parents day, so Moms

hoist money at kids

so they can

buy cheesy flower

baskets best suited for a

county fair

in the deep north of

New York State:  Easter tacky.

No one is above

suspicious conversation

so ladies

pair off above the

fray to gossip non-

stop, full-tilt,

smiling, laughing, knowing their

rivals are

across town saying

the same about them.



It’s Your Duty

The ten days

of spring, over now,

bring dust-rain volley, bow-tie

dances under sad

streets.  This slow

city offers chance

encounters.  Relationships

in tearless land mean

getting used

to work-hard love,

the kind that

pays off in respect.

Still, countless occupations

Influence beating

Hearts so shut,

into lead boxes

that us spoiled visitors can’t

find what we know to

be human.

some make the leap, some

   force love on

historical foundations,

meaning they

must connect with those

who know the entire



reasons why

“hard work, no play love” adds up

to good life.

Vanquish excitement,

find love in floor scrub.


“Excuse me

are you from New York?

I thought I saw you

there in May

or June.” “No Shanghai

but I visited

Manhattan in June, maybe

you did see me there.”

This is how

the opening lines

are played in

his head, but chess is

simple compared to

size, culture

generation gap.

He’s up, the ruse is

a refill at Foster’s in

Chapel Hill two days

after a

home loss too…



But dude boy

is not about to lose this

one, no; cup

in hand he weaves through

tables, stops, pelvis

eye level

as she peers over laptop.

“Yes,” she says,

“Excuse me, are you

from New York?”

“No, but…”


Gang Bang


Molly, from upper-middle class London

“joined” a gang due to family arguments and

too much academic pressure at home.  She was

forced, emotionally, to seek love, and used sex

with violent gangsters to replace a hug and

soothing parental interface.  Instead of “School

Without Walls” (see Rochester, NY) she’s passed

her rite, and this has gone on for decades, but as

soon as she started her own sexual adventures

she was demonized as “sket,” Jamaican slang

for slut.  This only differs from fraternizing

and sorority-izing in comfort level, as both groups

excel at manipulation, winner-take-all, libertarian

capitalism, unfettered by law, rules or regulations

while free to beg trillions when their Usury schemes



fail then cripple the blue collar backbone over here

in the land of polarization, as in Ralph Nader, Noam

Chomsky and Michael Moore against O Reilly,

Gingrich and Palin.  On paper this is a smear,

but in reality we’re as fucked as Molly ever was.



Mayan Angelou Prophetic Calendar of Events


Enough concentration camps to hold two million at a time.

Enough new gas lines installed at these converted, deserted

former factories to assure that more than some millions will pass

through, away.  Is FEMA worried about an outside attack or

domestic arrests that follow economic collapse?  Why waste this

kind of money just to scare us?  No, these are for real, with train

boarding platforms, one-way turnstiles, and mass graves and

plastic coffins already in place.  Youtube profits beg us to get

out now, while we can.  They say the bible will take care of us,

“so just go, don’t worry about money or food.”  No matter how

loony they seem, unless you are firmly into the top one percent,

and philosophize to that effect, you may well be on the “list”

to join summer camp, or winter camp:  concentration is required

to survive such joints, but history suggests most won’t.  Instead

of enacting change after Reagan and Bush I, Clinton just made

matters worse, ditto Obama after Bush II.  This is not poetic shit,

but it doesn’t make headlines either. If Jews knew what was coming

don’t you think they’d have left before the SS and Gestapo moved

in? The CIA, FBI and Secret Service have lists.  If you KNEW you

were on all three, would you, in 2012, be hanging around the US?





Labor Day 2012


Today’s troops include cross back suspendered shorts

strutting hard over very high heels with a tight fitting black

cotton shirt barging through the usual suspects:  schoolgirl

uniforms, parental friends carrying children, well-suited cell

phone salespeople handing out glossy paper quickly discarded

to the messy square bricks of Shinae, the sexy, color-coordinated

monster friend strolling zone over here in Gwangju. Bobby coifs,

sculpted boys with well-done girls, now a solo lady, a complete

rarity in this duet-driven land. Hard to believe the gay scene

is microscopic with so many mono-sexual walk-mates. Anyone

even two inches off normal is way off here, but the ultimate

eye-opener now appears:  shorts, a deep blue shirt and fluorescent

green fake suspenders that are sewn on at the top and clip on to the

bottom of shirt or shorts depending on cup size.  Eighty-eight cent

coffee deal awaits on Labor Day (May 1 here) celebrated the same

day Russia does.  Russia picked the day due to a series of successful

1889 strikes in the USA.  By switching it to September in the US

the real history is lost, but not on Helena, the star professor

who wants to write her way out of Russia now, in order to join

this street club, as a social member, for four months come June.


Man in the Shiny Silver Suit


Now blossoms fill the space

otherwise concrete gray.

Students scribble guesses

about why she went away.

Poets lounge on benches



even as it rains.

Frigid March springs nothing

the walls are water-stained.


But these are John Pike masters,

naturally branching out.

Students walk, umbrellas pop

few know what life’s about.

But this is not the place,

nor inside classroom doors.

To introduce the counterpunch

to flowers: fascist horrors.


Instead we “Jack and Jill”

these kids, children at age twenty.

We dare not make them think or

work, their banks will give them plenty.

Heels and skirts, tweed suits, bow ties,

it’s a campus fashion show.

Some afford these easily,

others snort credit card blow.


Judgment comes ten times an hour,

more when class gets out.

It’s all about how well you dress,

and what you lie about.

Ten lies a day is not a sweat

but the truth is a big mistake.

To be a globalized professional,

your heart you must forsake.




News Poem #246


BC, my old pepper-sauce loving friend suggests

I buy a boat in case this here peninsula blows.

No it won’t, but that’s not the news.  The news is

“Extended Detention” for protestors, and “I’m going to

focus on Asia,” which is awesome when one considers

the potential havoc coming in Iran.  Here, plum blossoms

do the talking above fake windmills, Koi ponds and

German-style stucco/dark-wood Dutch colonial restaurants,

sunny days, half weddings, half funerals.  Personal set

of three appears ready to drop, but must be stopped.  You

know the routine: lose love, job and house all at once:

some by pink slip (job moved) or foreclosure (homeless

via fine print) or love torn, leaving children confused and

bitter, “exes” smoldering and emotions displayed for

boss to see.  Because of the young children you work

four jobs, both parents unable to parent, then, just as

the tulips rise, new hope with them, some major event

steps in to render efforts futile, tear asunder, return

existence to animal instincts.  Few find this thrilling but

2012 lowers the common denominator three more pegs.


Soul Rumble

This lover, these words

spread onto thin tissue

which passes for a bar napkin

here where jazz flows

only on Friday, unpredictable,



it’s a trip away from pain

inept life, life, so joyous

with family, friends, rockin’

school job, yet unable to

dance with my wife, fill

cavernous soul, having dropped

too many sustaining creative

outlets, but then: music

old friend, joined by three

others soothes enough of the

ache to render energy too:

dance again, punch ol’

Hemingway in the balls.


Stuber Haiku* Labeled “Dad”


Simple meals

with scrumptious drinks made

up his restaurant

fare.  “Pocahontas” was cheese

and bacon

on a split

hotdog, washed down

with root beer.

Vegetables were fries

or fresh onion rings, causing

many smiles,

future diet plans.

_______ ___


Today’s smile, decades

later, is at reunions

short but sweet.

Much water

over many dams

means we pray

daily, move to strong

tomorrows, spurred by writing,

reading; large

ideas continue to

refine thoughts

so you or we might

say the exact right

phrase, sentence,

paragraph that will stick in

brains so full,

hearts so swelled, lives with

little room for more.


*The “Stuber Haiku” has an A,B,A,B, C,C stanza pattern in which the syllables per line are variable in stanzas A and B (but obviously the same in A and B) and the C stanzas are always 3, 7, 3, 5, 5 in syllables-per-line.  “A” here is 3,5,5,7,3 and “B” is 3,5,3,5,7. Many of these have been written in the past.    The choice of odd numbered syllables is a nod to Japanese Haiku, best written in Japanese, consisting of only three lines in a 5, 7, 5 pattern.  Haikus almost always mention nature AND the seasons or a season, or the change of seasons in some way. Some linguists say 7 syllables of Japanese = roughly 12 in English.



Buddha’s No Rae Bang*

cranks up one

more time in late May

to celebrate his

true birthday.

Lumbini swells as

Koreans t\rock out on a


stage high above the

Najuho Valley.  One cute


Park Jin Hye

steals the show with a

song and dance routine

to die for.

Then, in a shocker,

esteemed visitors and the

seunim join

in minstrel making

merriment. Wouldn’t it be

nice if we

could see the creator smile,

but here on

a hot-dry Monday

we laugh together



each one of

us a god, able to solve

all earth’s

problems with what we

have.  Peace now Peace now.

             *No Rae Bang is Korean Karaoke



O’s 1


Moon beam bounces back

through deck slots next to


garden hidden in

the heart of Jeonju.

Curved pines rise

over crooked-branched

maple as

workers scurry to wrap up

another food day.

Diners linger long

after the kitchen

closes, as

this sanctuary

is genuine, calm,


of others, mindful



that this short

life deserves moments that shine.

Beauty surpasses

the anger

grind as oversized, puffy

bread arrives

by immaculate

delivery: a

waiter straight

from the L.A. scene, but

not, just well

trained.  O’s, the hipster

joint hangs your work.


O’s 2

Min Hee puts a prime

tiny movement at

station one

that sports water and syrup and

a spotlight.  Her eye


the Ray Brown solo

in bass register

that floats in

and out of perfect



weather that adds to

immaculate space

designed and

executed subtly

soothing without a

hint of self

applause, a refuge

in the valley that

once housed the

Chosun Dynasty.

Again some

grace of the creator sent

this chance while

the normal drift had

led to dance stardom

among the

slowly initiated,


shy, hard-to-describe-

to-outsiders crowd.


In The Groove


Polaroid, the jazz

band brushes

its first number as

a trio



before maestro sax

steps in to liven

the night in often sleepy

Gwangju, the

City of Light.  Close

your eyes and the bassist sounds

natural, with no

chart, and when

summertime bee bops

he cooks.  The

Maitre D’ is both

helpful and a touch

suspicious.  But by God he’s

given jazz

a place, so our souls’ relax,

find conifers to pull in,

and dreams to

chase over cocktails and smiles

when most joints

only offer smug

teenagers dancing

and asking

how old you are, and ending

the night with

“thanks for the dance sir.”

Is that in the groove?



Does one blushing smile,

innocent in its attempt

to say hello and

good-bye at

once qualify as


Or must there be some


Underpinning that

Jumps to the fore?  Peace

means adult red face

as an opportunity

to blossom, and a


where time is itself

worth noting

on this bloody earth,

starved, parched, war-torn tears

flowing, cruelty-

filled type of planet.

So if you’re

munching on plastic chairs at

some seven

eleven, able

to watch life flow by



for an hour,

imagine just how good you

have it, when

in front of backdrop

that’s not so easy.


Yang Overload

Bamboo surrounds the

hill Jin Hee

studies on.  Inside

two abstracts

find a home, the Yin

Yang one for her, dominant

Yang rooster

for Tae Kyung, the fake

red haired soft-face from Seoul.

They plan to

conquer the world by



that can win

in the male money club

world; the corporate, legal

bank account

world that assures their

children will attend foreign

rich high schools.



What about

love?  The artist asks, but she

is shy to

admit his softness

won’t penetrate her

dreams.  She fears

accepting his kindness will

throw off her

hard fight to be Seoul’s

top dragon lady.



Tae Kyung appears to

be ready

for the rooster now

headed her way. You can feel

the yearning

steaming up from her

loins as you sit with

Jin Hee, now

A mutual friend.

There’s just as good a

chance Tae Kyung will stay

in touch, as

she is less driven,

more conventional, already

settled in.



She’s much harder to

read though, so you’d be

wise to book

a few more meetings

to catch up to her

dreams as well

because there’s this one life, and

it’s half done,

but she’s just begun

to realize the

universe will

take care of her no matter

what she does.

To assist or take

advantage of it?




Your play time

will be limited

only by life’s plan

so grab a hold and begin

again under lips.

Your hands guide

great deeds.  We learn so

much from each

other, yet very

far apart.



The islands

of youth now replaced

by love yearning to

be whole.  So we work hard to

make it so.  It’s all

just plans now.

neither work nor play

can attain

true love, it comes from

heart magic.

Small waves curl

onto multiple shores at

the same time:

Black Sea, Pacific,

Canandaigua Lake.

One dreamer

imagines these perfect hearts


working on projects

made simple by love.


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