Top Secrets, 2012 and collected Poems, Copyright Doug Stuber, 2012

 

Top

Secrets

 

 

New Poems 2009-2012

J. Douglas Stuber

Dedicated to

Park Kwang Suk and

James Hyuntay Stuber.

To Michel Stuber

W J Stuber

Donald Hall

Beverly 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

W. Michael Keller

Harabojay

Copyright 2012

J. Douglas Stuber

Katherine James Books

4404 Cedar Pass

Chapel Hill NC 27514

The poet may be contacted directly at:

dougstuber@gmail.com

Table of Contents

 

KSP Gets a Lump in Her Throat                                         5

Seoul IV                                                                                   6

Yobo II                                                                                     7

Prophecy, Friday February 29, 2007                                  8

Carolina Wren                                                                            9

Open Eye Affair (“I Like My Religion”)                          10

Upper Deck, 17 February 2007                                        11

Easter 2007                                                                          12

Belgrade, 23 July 2008                                                       13

Windows, BB #29 SFO_CHT June 12, 2008                 14

Dad Sonnet, Father’s Day 2008                                        15

Dark Brown Suede Pumas                                                 16

No Bees, No Honey, No Apples                                        17

Death is Snow                                                                         18

“I’m Walking”                                                                       19

Future Shock?                                                                      20

You Know…                                                                        21

Zoomanity                                                                            22

KFC, Falls of Neuse Rd.,  22 January 2007                           23

Play                                                                                        24

Play II, Thirty Five Years Later                                        25

Try                                                                                          26

Anchored in                                                                          27

Welcome Mat                                                                      28

Lost girl and                                                                          29

Her hair shines,                                                                    30

Huntay Talks                                                                       31

This ill man                                                                           32

His hours suck.                                                                     33

For KSP                                                                                 34

Now she waits                                                                      35

Sapphire Valley                                                                   36

For Yobo:                                                                              37

Dream One                                                                           38

Dream Two                                                                           39

Dream Three                                                                        40

The Good Life                                                                      41

Welcome Back                                                                    42

Basics                                                                                    43

Yobo III                                                                                                44

We’ve Woven a Web                                                          45

We Don’t                                                                               46

Ode to Kwang Suk Park                                                     47

Yobo IV                                                                                                48

Carpe Nostrum (Seive the Night)                                      49

White Day, Ides of March                                                 50

Gwangju, Mau 18, 2010                                                    51

Money Can Buy Friends                                                    52

These strange says                                                              53

Truffaut here                                                                        54

This one walk                                                                       55

This on, a                                                                              56

Pianos                                                                                    57

Smile to laugh                                                                      58

Yeosu’s art                                                                            59

West Meets East                                                                  61

After a Two Month                                                             62

Female crane lands on                                                       63

Cicadas                                                                                 64

Try to compute this                                                             65

Nose tingle, gut wrench                                                       67

She keeps the pumice                                                         68

Windy courtyard six                                                           69

Bombed Belgrade                                                               70

Would you miss being                                                        71

Fast food paradise                                                              73

Live Strong                                                                           74

When facing the loss                                                           75

Saint Valentine pulls                                                           76

Eunheungsa One                                                                 77

Eunheungsa Two                                                                 78

Blatant Fouls                                                                        79

Better Off Red?                                                                   80

For Binayak Sen                                                                  82

Foul smelling fish juice                                                       84

First Grub, Then Play                                                          85

Scattered fan-shaped leaves                                             86

Interrupt                                                                                                87

Pittsford, N.Y. Meets Gwangju, R.O.K.                           89

She steps off the bus                                                           89

New Occupation                                                                  90

WJS at 83, The James Gang Rides Again                       91

Spring 2011, Gwangju, South Korea                               93

Zen Dye, Sendai, Send Die                                                93

Over-Trumped                                                                     94

Blaring Heat                                                                         95

New Navy Base Horrors                                                    96

Witness Monk                                                                      97

April 7th Poem, 2012                                                           99

Blibbity Blah, Blibbity Blee                                               99

It’s Your Duty                                                                      101

Excuse me                                                                            102

Gang Bang                                                                            102A

Mayan Angelou Prophetic Calendar of Events             103

Labor Day, 2012                                                                 104

Man In The Shiny Silver Suit                                            104

News Poem #246                                                                 106

Soul Rumble                                                                         106

Stuber Haiku Labeled “Dad”                                            107

Buddha’s No Rae Bang                                                     109

O’s1                                                                                        110

O’s 2                                                                                       111

In the Groove                                                                       112

Does one blushing smile                                                     114

Yang overload                                                                     115

Tae Kyung                                                                            116

Watercourse                                                                         117

Scraggly crag                                                                        118

Fieldstone                                                                              120

Cooking smell                                                                      121

You could see                                                                       122

Kopenhavn Logo “Have a Fun Time”                           123

Kopenhavn                                                                          125

Copenhagen 2                                                                      126

Copenhagen3                                                                       127

Sweden                                                                                  128

Moemories of Drottninghoff                                             130

Skansen Travelogue                                                                131

Three in Three                                                                         132

Wiebke                                                                                    133

Grand Hotel varna                                                   1              35

Bulgarika Symposium                                                             137

Bulgarika 2                                                                              138

Bulgarika 3                                                                              140

Nikolay and Marina (Bulgarika 4)                                          141

Bulgarika 5                                                                              142

Bulgarika 6                                                                              143

Bulgarika 7                                                                              145

On the Danube                                                                        146

Boat Dinner Dance                                                                  147

Hamburg to Copenhagen ICE 35                                            148

Hamburgers Come From Hamburg                                        150

Fruit comes form Frankfurt                                                     151

View From Train Window                                                      152

Thirty-Four Hour Day                                                            153

Separate                                                                                   155

Viscosity                                                                                 156

Commemorative                                                                      157

Keynote                                                                                   158

24 October 2012                                                                     159

Worth the Struggle                                                                  160

It Happened One Auymn                                                        161

Now or Never                                                                         162

Ode To Horace Mann                                                             163

Canary Hoe Ho Ho                                                                 164

Armistice Is Only Words Away                                             165

Hargraves Blues                                                                      166

Jesus Is A Liberal                                                                   167

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.

__________

5

Seoul IV

(Sweetcakes)

 

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.

__________

6

 

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.

__________

7

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.

___________

8

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.

__________

]

Carolina Wren

This time a solitary wren perches on

power lines that divide purple-blue sky,

slicing rhombi, diamonds, thin rectangles,

pushing geometry into a regular autumn

morning. This makes you wonder how birds

keep their feet warm in countries with no

power, or how people survive on a hundred

bucks a year, or where refugees go when war

hits.  Our wren flies, a speck, ever smaller

as she finds her way.  Given our superior

brain capacity, how is it we cause misery

across the planet while creatures so small

live, content to take their share peacefully?

__________

9

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.

__________

10

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.

_________

11

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.

__________

12

 

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.

__________

13

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.

__________

                                         14

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.

__________

                                          15

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.

__________

16

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.

__________

17

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.

__________

Death is Snow

Death is upon her. Death is persistent.  Death be not

proud. Death is a series of twitches, days worth.

Death is snow.  Death moans and screams.  Death

is not easy, death is not random, death is not timid,

death runs on time; death hangs in the air, then

dives from on high, but not always that quick in the

suffering phase.  Death is Catholic.  Death is not

pretty.  Death is white.  Death is ginger ale, death

is dehydration, death is omniscient.  Death leaves

bills to pay; death does not smile or frown.  Death

is a whisper.  Death comes fast for those in a hurry.

Death waits at the doorstep, greeting old friends.

Death reunites, tears asunder, acts as the final good-bye.

Death motivates.  Death inspires.  Death has its own terms.

__________

                                          18

 

“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!

__________

                                                       19

 

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.

_________

20

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.

__________

                                                       21

Zoomanity

 

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

__________

22

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.

__________

KFC, Falls of Neuse Rd.,  22 January 2007

When a sub-culture dies, the world gets dragged,

Toes pointed up, and appropriately tagged.

You battle to work your way up the scale

But now it’s three bucks for a pint of ale.

Blue collar means work at the new KFC,

Good jobs, and vacation days moved overseas.

You can play gangster but you know it’s no game,

Or you can throw down to attain fleeting fame.

You can educate your way out of this mess,

But cubicle jobs only go to the blessed.

Blessed to be white in a world full of color,

Blessed not to know what it’s like to live under

The rules meted out and enforced by the law:

So do you tell them what you just saw?

Or are you inclined to let it slide,

While children cower, their Dad’s full of pride,

But most likely part of those already jailed,

The cross is salvation, but who’s next to be nailed?

23

Play

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?

(1974)

__________

                          24

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.

__________

25

Try

So this is

it: you’re gone, wind blows,

Hyuntay cries.

Three serious gossip hounds

laugh.

You’re back; shake

cute butt as Hyuntay

screams and runs

joyous in our nest, his soul

thrives.

It is love

that ties us, but what

else?  Gwangju?

Language? Art? The smell of dried

squid?

You love me,

so I love you, so

what comes next?

Noh is gone, I’m here.  Love me

now.

__________

                           26

Anchored in

oblivion, attached to

lost friends, so

gone they have no fond

memories.

You do though…

the flowers picked, presented

to warm eyes,

neighborhood news man

bicycling.

Chestnut wars

fifty paces from “blue lake.”

She jumps in,

swims under water,

pulls shorts down.

Decisions

pile, conspire, socialize, while

baked clams soak.

You walk into gray.

Where’s Hyuntay?

__________

27

Welcome Mat

Poet laughs,

husband finds friends a burden,

son complains,

poetry pines, not

written now.

Another

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.

__________

28

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

presente’.

Escapades

unfold under soft

surfaces.

Their inquisitive eyes search

so deeply.

Provincial

tent sprouts on the square.

His answer

is a natural response:

love grows now.

__________

29

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.

__________

30

Hyuntay talks.

Adults everywhere stop to

listen.  Yobo smiles,

someone else

hears.

Her hair and

body change, drawing me to

rediscovered youth.

Again she

paints.

Daily burn

gives us two hours to discuss,

reconnect over

radio

songs.

It’s spring, and

the long rain stops, art begins,

children run.  Yobo

ages like

wine.

__________

31

This ill man

threatens springtime with

nuclear desires:  one last

erect missile, then

death.

Butterflies

Attract your blue eyes

so you wave between classes,

offer dinner

date.

Why can’t we

escape conventions

just this one time?  I promise

it’s between me and

you.

Twice now she

has sat in my class,

overworked, yet together

serious, but so

soft.

__________

32

His hours suck.

She’s worked him, others

to the bone with re-writes that

conform:  Confucius

rules.

Rock and roll

shall not grace airwaves

during the last gasp.  Summer

must yield to winter:

“han.”

Foreign songs:

only acoustic

so-called alternative junk

no one listens to

now.

How to keep

good people here, when

solutions are so lame, so

old fashion.  Still love

blooms.

__________

33

For KSP

 

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.

__________

34

Now she waits

free in her solo

quest to become the woman

she’s meant to

be.

Beautiful

in so many ways,

this one knows the path

to unlock secrets of life:

personal

bliss.

This time it’s

one conversation,

extended through eternal

connected

love.

Agape,

now rebounds off rocks

sticking up on Mudeung’s top,

symbols of

strength.

__________

                                                        35

Sapphire Valley

 

Glistening

blue in empty rock

field catches soaring hawk’s eye.

Sapphire’s cones

protrude in spring air.

Bicycle

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.

Previous

sadness remains trapped

in blue light.  Alive and free

she exudes

universal joy.

__________

                                                      36

For Yobo:

 

Yobo plays,

aware that secret

love lasts only so long when

he never

comes.

Once last May

he stopped by to ask

if she would kiss in public.

She broke his

heart.

He was a

fool, she was too young,

beautiful.  Seriously

she thought, then

left.

Every day

he pines for her, but

does not bother her with calls.

He loves her

so.

__________

37

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

intentions.

But wait, it’s

your intentions that

guide this dream, so dive in boy!

This delicious swim

Tastes so good.

__________

38

Dream Two

 

She takes off her dress,

bra, panties, shoes, and unties

her short curly hair.

Yobo is

hot,

she asks you not to

towel off cool water drops.

Blood rushes, bulging’

shapely man

part.

Legs spread, but you start

with toes, individual

deep sucks for each as

she starts to

sweat.

Long calf licks is all

it takes to send her into

wiggling and moaning.

What next

Doug?

__________

39

Dream Three

 

She waves from

under yellow shade.

Canopy conceals her smile

to all but

me.

She aches to

throw herself anew,

still constricted by parents’

ancient dream

box.

They let her

go, but drew her back;

dream to reality

will be a

trick.

Here’s how it

goes:  find her, love her,

vow this is not the last swim.

Submerged tongue

kiss.

__________

40

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.

__________

41

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.

__________

42

Basics

 

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.

__________

43

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.

__________

44

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?

__________

45

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.

__________

46

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.

__________

47

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.

__________

48

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!

__________

49

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.

________

50

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.

__________

51

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

notoriety.

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.

__________

52

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.

Extending

common despair, reaching back

to his best friends: one

must be paid,

the other his son.

Thunder reigns;

satisfaction  eludes him,

colleagues disappear,

assignments

evaporate.  Gloom.

                                         __________

53

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.

__________

54

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

Korea,

this lunch should be with only

department men to

remain beyond reproach, so

we sneak food.

__________

55

She humors

everyone around with full

catalogue

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

Navratilova

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

__________

56

little more

other than desire to help

a friend’s friend find a

better place.

Thank you beautiful lady.

                                                __________

Pianos

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.

Resolute

students concentrate

somehow not distracted by

good attempts,

even atonal ones.

__________

57

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,

conclusion.

Family may

shrink again, grandmother

struggles, husband not

silent enough, must now make

a life of farming.

__________

58

Dynamic

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.

__________

59

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

 foreigner

visit:  “look, he’s fat!”

Fog and rain

mostly hazy green, but orange

interrupts

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.

     __________

     60

West Meets East

“Peace”

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.

Guilt,

shame, ridicule

come to all who resist sage

Confucian

rules: forced unity.

Outsiders

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.

__________

61

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.

Breathable

air return, Gwangju

gathers, parties, drinks

preparing

for long insipid winter.

__________

62

Dangerous

influences sneak in to

disrupt once

sacred Thanksgiving,

culture changes too fast.

Free teens find

immediate elation,

stimuli.

Gratification

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

attention

without overhang.

White and gold fade off

this locked door,

the one that leads back

to your heart.  I am left to

cry alone.

__________

63

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.

                  __________

Cicadas

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

__________

64

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

recently

__________

65

moved to town,

who already own

a business, or outsiders

coming to set up

factories?

Two branches go in

and out of

view as you crawl on

ring road three (eight lanes) thinking

slave labor.

Opulent

towers shade bikers

momentarily.  Coal fired

air-conditioning

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.

__________

66

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

anyone

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,

promises

to be there again.

Yearning man

screams, cries, gives in to the whims,

worries that

to reclaim his life

could mean tearing this

__________

67

known trio

apart, but must forge back to

familiar

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.

__________

68

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.”

__________

69

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

__________

70

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.

Selecting

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?

__________

71

 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

delusions

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,

loneliness,

everyone else heard.

Life here is over.

__________

72

Fast Food Paradise

 

Inequity rules,

Sun works hard to poke through smog.

Dust excuse

doesn’t fly when green

phlegm erupts.

Utopic

Marx abused, modern

Russian Roulette played out

on the backs

of those same workers.

China protects new

totalitarian box.

Nine percent

get absolutely

everything.

Once-a-week

KFC dinner

means middle class.  Tourists

spend enough

to help more survive,

but what is

the life expectancy in

cities so

polluted, water

scarce/overflowing?

__________

73

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.

__________

74

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.

__________

75

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.

__________

76

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.

 __________

77

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.

__________

78

She sweeps leaves

with a branch found near

riverbed, clearing a way

through yellow to fruit

so healthy.

Guttural

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

together.

The penalty for

not thinking

is another round

of corruption, worldwide wage

slavery.

__________

79

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

magnify

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

__________

80

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

__________

81

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.

Amateur

and pro videographers

coalesce

to record it all.

Will anything change?

Aroma

of showerless days and hot

coffees meet.

Unemployed now have

work:  revolution.

__________

For Binayak Sen

Love/despair

combo causes pure

anxiety as

cool weather

stays, nipples stick out, no spring

__________

82

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

marauding

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?

__________

83

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

unanswerable

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

excitement

beyond the daily

grind.  None will happen.

__________

84

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.

Tornadoes,

Tsunami, Earthquakes,

Melting Ice, Foul Air, Monster

Hurricanes:  need more?

Stop driving.

Electric

cars are fast enough when you

plug them in to self-

__________

85

generating power thanks to

Bodini via Tesla.

Corporate

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.

__________

86

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.

__________

Interrupt

angel flight to

reach and cry,

communicate love

again while still in ear shot.

__________

87

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.

__________

88

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

__________

89

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

finally

take to the streets; without jobs

… they try to

formulate systems

inclusive

of everyone’s needs

by consensus: a

direct democracy for

small town change.

__________

90

Local gains will be

miniscule,

national non-existent.

Fascists don’t

give up, they just die.

Corporate

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.

__________

91

“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.

__________

92

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

__________

93

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).

__________

 

Over-Trumped

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

__________

94

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

__________

95

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:

__________

96

democracy not

squelched but assured by

U.S.-backed para-

troopers executing dire

overkill,

inspiring rich

kid pamphlet-drop suicides

at Seoul National,

until, on the most

unlikely

peninsula, they

yielded power to

the masses.

A scant thirty years later

tendencies

toward those ugly times,

dictatorial

edicts, a

supposed presidential

suicide,

concrete rivers, eight

beef protestors dead.

__________

Witness: monk

aflame, broken bones

mutilated girl,

troops sent in

__________

97

over and over.

This behavior

is emulated in the

new dash for

ever-decreasing

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?

__________

98

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

__________

99

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.

__________

100

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

__________

101

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…

__________

102

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

__________

102A

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?

__________

103

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

__________

104

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.

__________

105

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,

__________

106

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.

_______ ___

107

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.

__________

108

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

lotus-filled

stage high above the

Najuho Valley.  One cute

seventeen-year-old,

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

__________

109

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

palatial

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,

respectful

of others, mindful

__________

110

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

surpasses

the Ray Brown solo

in bass register

that floats in

and out of perfect

__________

111

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,

horrified,

shy, hard-to-describe-

to-outsiders crowd.

__________

In The Groove

 

Polaroid, the jazz

band brushes

its first number as

a trio

__________

112

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?

__________

113

Does one blushing smile,

innocent in its attempt

to say hello and

good-bye at

once qualify as

poetry?

Or must there be some

Philosophical

Underpinning that

Jumps to the fore?  Peace

means adult red face

as an opportunity

to blossom, and a

restaurant

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

__________

114

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

constructing

personalities

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.

__________

115

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.

__________

116

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?

__________

Watercourse

 

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.

__________

117

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

together

working on projects

made simple by love.

__________

Scraggly crag,

a rock  that landed

sideways when

tossed by an angry

god towers over farmers.

__________

118

Except for crooked

pines, post-war

square architecture, country

apartments,

the green is British

in summer

as fog covered rice

might well be

adequate cover

for foxes dodging hunters.

Old habits die hard,

but here it

is the grandfather riding

his bike to

the park to play “go.”

But it’s not

“go” but Padook, frustrating

As it seems

Simple to the untrained

Eyes, yet as complex

as any

chess match once you understand

how easy

it is to blunder,

hard it is to win.

__________

119

Fieldstone stacked to make

a house stands out where

greenhouses

and silos are the

norm.  Multicolored

school invites

youngsters to strive to

reach past rural start,

beyond chicken feeding to

some known school

the whole village can

be proud of, the first

student to

matriculate from

this county, later

a statue

built in honor of

the first from Jido

to become a Yonsei grad.

Not all will

do so well,

but this boy’s grandfather did,

his mother’s

Dad, the one who read

a lot, got lost one

__________

120

time tying

plastic orange ribbons to

red bud trees

so your Dad would not

cut them down in haste.

__________

Cooking smell,

it’s beef bourguignon

devours the ground floor of

three story cottage.

The attic

is used by

number four dancing

girl, who sips coffee

while working Kia

games for a mere one

point five per

month.  “But she may have

a moonlighting job” my friend

suggests pays that much

per weekend.

But this is

wild speculation

thrown around when down

one zip in the sixth.

Then a well-shaved fan

__________

121

bounces a

few enthusiastic cheers

causing breast

wiggles New Balance

could use in its next

ad, or is

ample replacement during

cheerleader

breaks.  Then Lee Young Kyo

makes game-saving catch.

25 July 2012

Kia 3, Nexen 1

Henry Sosa pitches for Kia

__________

You could see

how a teenager

might get a case of

cold feet, or

if there was an age

gap, or if the two

cultures were

far apart, or if

his unreal

philosophy countered hers,

__________

122

but in this

case, no visible

yield or stop sign comes

into view,

just straight romantic

jitters from being

so lonely

so long.  Rather than

countering

with bravado, he lays low

applying finesse,

not his long suit, then

flying off,

allowing time to

ponder which thrust or

parry will

accomplish intimacy.

These two, so

bonded by words but

so shy in person.

__________

Copenhavn Logo “Have a Good Time”

If middle class were

this good world wide there

would be no

war, just beer-drunk anchor climb

kanal wall sitting

__________

123

no aluminum

collecting

in low-slung hat, or

child beggars

or water

and food deprived, just

on big high-heeled sit

down chat with

waffles, perfect tall women,

misplaced Asians lost

in nervous laughter

pulling out

warm beer from pockets

as a cool

breeze allows

brief reprieve

from overheated planet

if, if, if

Copenhagen was

The norm, but it’s not.

Too many

camera-perfect scenes float

past to feel

guilt for long, so you

drop photos, write more.

__________

124

Kopenhavn

 

Well-captained schooner

comes about in a

tight space, two

meters to

spare, without touching

bow or stern

on kanal 9, so

full of Friday merriment

few notice this maneuver

nor count the

forty six moves it

took to get the boat

headed out

to sea.  Better shots

taken as football

fan smoker

strides confidently

to greet, as it turns out,

one.  Couples of all ages

rule the night.

Some drag thirds

along, and parents take kids

to shield all

temptation, and here

there can be plenty.

__________

125

The noble

pose is a tall woman at

the end of

a bike ride,, dressed up,

gliding to a stop.

__________

Copenhagen 2

Intense look

mingles with laughter

conversation that

you sat down

next to on purpose finding

yourself a love, yet

in a group of four,

with limited time to learn

how things work

while fifty

something goes

backless in a black

bra, fluorescent dress,

deep tan, blonde,

of course, seeking any love.

Just your luck, these two

short-skirted happy

party girls remain in full

chat, moving

long hair with

__________

126

outstretched arms

that raise breasts into an

upward tilt

that conveys desire

without remotely

suggesting

who the target of the move

may be.  One

break-up news causes

pterodactyl laugh.

__________

Copenhagen 3

 

While butting out

a smoke, pulling out

box for another

auburn-haired

girl keeps listening and now

does her symbolic

hair flip as diners

finish, rock sitters arrive,

pizza and

beer in hand.

Two rasta

players tote guitars

as laughing ladies

__________

127

pack shapely

legs, turn but sit back down here

where a child’s tweety

balloon rises as

swarms of edge walkers come up

and see the

chatters go

to the far

stairs, descending away, trapped

in old lives

that never change much.

Ny Havn strollers

still some in

lace, come look at each other

or themselves

to make sure a breast

isn’t out, or is.

__________

Sweden

 

Sweden blurs by on

the Violia,

forty six

thousand lakes

and a three hour wait with

nothing to

__________

128

do but look at the

outside of

Tivoli Gardens

across from

Copenhagen’s bikes

won’t fade, nor Sweden’s

endless fields.

One smart traveler

makes conversation as we

lurch, he now

ending holiday,

you at the

start as Kwang Suk and

Hyuntay sleep.

It’s eight,

two more hours before Stockholm.

Two diners

return to sit and

chat, find less noise in

sleepy car

thirteen.  By some luck the one

source of air

is an open aisle

window at our seats.

__________

                                        129

Memories of Drottninghoff

 

Three Asian

ladies decide to

share an elk

fillet in Stockholm,

much to the waiter’s

chagrin.  A young man out guns

his mother and sticks

to his cheeseburger order

over Swedish meat

balls or elk.

So his dad

gets the elk, and rare

at that.  What

a delight, with top

notch Béarnaise sauce and

a delicious brown glaze with

tomatoes and red

onion, super, and since we

were killing time, topped

by cheesecake

and cakey

tiramisu that could leave

a lasting

memory of our

Stockholm time.  I wish

__________

130

My best new

Friends were here to see water,

boats, lone man

standing in river,

“fly fishing palace.”

__________

Skansen Travelogue

 

On one of many

islands, around which

are docked boats and ships of all

sizes, just

like yesteryear, a

set of old

farms and Nordic zoo

are planted with the

actual barns,

houses, churches pulled apart

and reassembled

with original chairs,

beds, plates, dating to thirteen

twenty.  One

sight worthy of note:

a T-shirt

saying “sleep with me,

get a free breakfast.”

__________

131

Those rumors

About blondes in Sweden are

True, the vast

majority are blonde all the

way.  Beauty

here is a lifestyle

except the brunette

waitress who

lost six points for being so

uppity,

bringing the wrong food

and hating her job.

__________

Three In Three

 

Once every thirty

years you had

to pull the logs off

your roof to replace birch bark

used to keep

the rain and

snow out in Sweden’s

medieval farmhouse.

Out-in, in-out, it

matters not

which direction as

__________

132

this is all

you can think about

as you talk to women who

perform the

typical

duties you would wear

clothes to do, while they

wear appropriate

ancient garb.

After half

a day chatting old school with

milk maids and

baronesses, the

three at the outdoor

grill spark warm

feelings, serving “big or small”

hot dogs.  One

of each plus you would

be three on three.

__________

Wiebke

 

She’s not changed except

for the relief from

Jule’s coming of age, and

Hellmut, so

loyal, supportive

__________

133

and full of good taste

in music,

philosophy and

the magic of social life.

Lack of drama sits well on

a gray Hamburg day,

beautiful for a

walk because the rain was short

and light.  Years

do not oxidize

closeness attained in

batmobile

moments on beaches,

trading paintings with Liz Briggs,

eating B.C. Young’s gumbo.

Bowie asked

“where have all the good times gone?”

But they’re here,

Harder to find, less

Frequent, still poignant.

No amount

of sadness or delinquent

youth can stop

us from enjoying

our time together.

__________

134

Kassel

 

Hyuntay sports his green

outfit at Documenta,

skipping and

squatting depending

on full or

empty.  He

screams hunger between

white walls and the walk

to “New” gallerie.

Mom takes him to ice cream as

Grateful Dad runs through

the yellow building down in

The park.  No

special effort has

been made by

the curator

to cover the last

five years, as has been

the custom in the

past; instead, she displayed the

letters sent

to beg for inclusion, but

she only

included their letters,

none of their art! Oh

__________

135

what a mess

this minimalist version

was:  I can

imagine enraged

artists everywhere.

__________

Grand Hotel Varna

 

Hundreds of happy

families flock to

the Black Sea,

end up lobsters, but

sit all day in the sun

without tops, then a

swim, more fun,

all day music and would-be

Olympic

water polo stars practice

in a four foot pool.

Here, the men are so

big I fit

in as medium

sized.  What a relief

after being stared

at so long

in Asia.  One sixty is

not too much

__________

136

even for women to sport

bikinis.

Reserving a pool-side seat

must be done

early, as no one

ever leaves a spot

before six.

Novice swimmers, low-flying

seagulls, sand

castles slip to the sea,

happy families.

__________

Bulgarika Symposium

 

We sit inside, out

of the sun, telling

tall tales, short tales, and

fairy tales,

the inescapable psyche

of the group

as found in folklore, culture

and problem of how

individuals

fit in to these strange boxes.

Pakistan enters

as does the question:

__________

137

“How well do you speak

Korean?”

I know none or little, so

this question

continues to haunt every

corner of the globe.

Some are hard find

like Camilla, Luiza,

and those who

insist on painting.  I wait

for liquid

acrylic paint but
have had some fun with

sand and oil

for textured beachside backgrounds

between sweet photos

of passing

bikini bottoms.

__________

Bulgarika 2

 

A map of Varna

gets passed around so

one can find a shop

to improve

computer performance in

__________

138

one way or

another.  Marina hates

the sun, she being

so pale, and now thin.

She’s an animal, or so

her Skype announces,

but more in the mode

of painting than in

a social

setting.  When cultures meet it

inspires new

work, new perspectives, new friends,

new techniques, and for

the brave and sneaky,

new love, new philosophy.

Internal

values, being important,

get put back

as we reach out to

each other around

beer talks

long enough to attack the

canvasses

some new way, with oiled

egos, Slavic style.

__________

139

Bulgarika 3

 

Under sycamores,

strange double-trunked trees

that drop cream white bugs

the comedy

continues, and jealousy

is replaced

by multi-cultural jokes.

Our Adam Sandler,

Nikolay Rouusev

makes one about his own art

place, Russia, while the

true Russians hunker

in stripes, a table

for four.  When

Nikolay goes into his

giggle, this

boyish cuteness presents a

free man, himself, an

appendage while still

allowed freedom by the strong

Marina,

who, when she laughs appears to

have clown roots:

the frightening kind,

the ones who can so

__________

140

a lot of

damage if angered because

they have been

through much, suffered for

their art, protective.

__________

Nikolay and Marina

(Bulgarika 4)

Here in their

new house, the one with

old fruit trees, rabbits,

grape vines and

an apartment for

his parents, a dog,

a cat, two

studios and wood,

beautiful

antiques from Holland, the whole

artist group

invades for “Kvas,” the

Russian bread juice they

line up for

in Moscow.  This one

is a touch sweeter

so Hyuntay

and Kwang Suk drink it.

__________

141

Cheese soufflé

wine, Bulgarian pizza,

fresh fruit and

crepes round out the authentic

local lunch,

as cameras flash,

Marina laughs, and

proudly shows

us Darina, seventeen,

a model,

bodacious, and just

as pretty as Mom.

__________

Bulgarika 5

 

Mini disco

at eight pm means

dancing in the sand

after the

son goes down in dry

Varna.  Hot

But, with cool overtaking,

Gymnastics ensues

On the beach stage.  Are

Nikolay and Marina

still in the

__________

142

woods painting?  Are all

four Russians in the

same room? As

three Ivanas dance

and twenty

others hit the beach stage from

Saint Petersburg, are

they amateur or

professional?  Each morning

they stretch to

the commands of the three coaches

who themselves

have more than one set

of priorities.

Then sun sets,

tide rises, a six-year-old

builds with sand

as sisters frolic

a weary lady waits.

__________

Bulgarika 6

 

Kwang Mi stands guard, up

and down the cove beach

as grandparents swim,

one girl bathes,

the day’s last sand castle is

__________

143

built.  Bright white

occurs on the tops of now

purple clouds as a

tiny threat of wet

weather floats into seaweed

being tossed and twirled

in the air, and one

dancing architect

stops between

moat and tower to get a

Samba step

in.  Then he’s laughing at the

Olympic short skit

comedy, then he

learns to swim, tie a bow knot

on his swim

suit; Varna has been a place

to learn, meet

new people, enjoy

relaxed life.

Shade soccer

triangle with a floating

rainbow ball.

Performance art talk

makes big laughs for all.

__________

144

Bulgarika 7

Marina, Janez,

Nikolay, Kwang Suk,

Katerina, and

Hyuntay sit

with me under gathering

clouds on the

only cool day for a week.

Lobby bar table

fills to seven at

a table for four, reduced

to four again, one

man, three women, two

of which, viable

playmates, but

not serious, not to lose

to later

take dinner with around fish

at Albatross, one

of many hidden

gems, including green smoke past

blonde hair, so

frizzy, and one clown laugh you

can’t help but

continue to need

to be here, so you

_________

145

make a list

of all the artists you know.

Luiza

is the one you will

remember:  alone.

_________

On the Danube

Cliff tram to

palace, taken by

Girlie, James

and James while adults

climb around

fails to deliver

expected crew

at the bottom, so

you wait, by the Danube as

sun sets, in

the hope that

they make the seven

thirty cast

off, but not knowing

whether to

stay another hour

and just make

the dinner cruise in

time, or to leave to stop

the worry.

__________

146

At the boat

In case they got by you all

Together.

But either way we

should have seen/met by

now.  Could it

be that Budapest resolves,

as Johnny

said it would, issues

old and new for good?

_________

Boat Dinner Dance

Dinner on

the Danube with James

Johnny and Girlie comes with

dancing (Waltz to Watusi)

on a slow

boat the provides us

perfect shots

of Budapest as

night.  A tall Russian,

four Chinese, and two

really good

dancers (though not in

partnership) one male: ballroom

star, one female: with extra

_________

147

high-heeled kicks

thrown in to perfect

rhythm in

the most mini dress,

a trophy bride for

successful pink shirt

marketer.

Girlie looks a little hurt,

three months with

child.  The pleasure is

new friends, sharing life’s

bounty, as

earth spreads wealth unevenly.

Whether new

or reuniting,

nothing beats a dance.

_________

Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE 35

 

Nine scooters

wait on a country

road as the

ICE thirty

five motors

past, carrying one

heartbroken, depressed

_________

148

man, among

a scant three

cars of train-boat-train

travelers.

A beautiful trip

destroyed by

an outburst brought on

by no wi

fi capability in the

same place she couldn’t

get any

before.  It

was a rigged blast, and

could have been

brought on by a phone set-up

to reverse

back, including my

g-mail, thus pushing

this final

moment of hatred in front

of Hyuntay.

I almost hit my

Wife last night. Such shame.

_________

149

Hamburgers Come From Hamburg

 

Wiebke gets

left to Helmut this

time by, as

the wheat farmers crank

combines, and

dust flies in Germany, north

of everywhere but

the Baltic.

Train travel,

which shall never end

in Europe,

as it has for all

but cargo

in the US, gives

us a view:

lush loam, cut crops, windmills and

sail boats: another

warm cloudless

day to end

a near-perfect trip.

Boats bring tears:

too many memories of

lake days past,

summer swallows, those

studio lodgings

_________

150

in warehouse

buildings, Lexi Logan and Phil

Floran chased

Out.  Family is

The new happiness.

_________

Fruit Comes from Frankfurt

 

Two men work

a crane truck in warm

Nykobing,

Denmark at four twelve

under blue

skies.  Memories of Varna’s

beach, Beethoven’s house

and cities

we never

saw like Frankfurt run

through dreams of

Oma on a ski

team with a

Korean flag on

her hat as

she slaloms a course only

his subconscious could

dream up.  “Fruit,

_________

151

not hot dogs,

are from Frankfurt,” James

tells the Times,

or some fast-moving poet

he must know

forever to be

the interpreter

of what they

all mean.  Small forests between

Half Moon Bay, reach now

for love, make it last.

_________

View From Train Window

 

Cubicle feed crop,

farm houses

and power windmills

create a peaceful

neighborhood

in plentiful years.

Distant dust

floats a signal to farmers

only in

August on the first

of many northern

islands, a

_________

152

touch isolated

except for passing

trains, bikes, cars.

White plastic as thick

as mistrust

wraps round bales for winter use.

Corn grows well,

price doubles due to

failure in

the US.  Most salt away

or pay off

debts with a bumper

year paid for well by

a market,

ever growing in size and

need. Denmark’s

luck comes at a time

of mass starvation.

_________

Thirty-Four Hour Day

 

We pressed our luck once

James conked out,

and took the last train

to Oslo (not to

Clarksburg) to mingle with the

_________

153

dancers, whores

and all-night kebob

cookers.  Four

corners in

a row of working girls made

us duck for cover

in a pub

the featured disco,

Earth, Wind and Fire, and

a Tom Jones rendition that

missed many

words, but delivered

melody

notes on cue,

adding to the rainbow globe

lighting as

patrons paired off, leaving one

table of old

men to grumble, laugh

commiserate in

a bar that

sported better glasses than

beer.  Weisbier

is best in warm booths

watching cold come-ons.

_________

154

Separate

 

I hate to

see a dumpster full

of broken frames tossed

furniture,

what was once love thrown into

a heap, don’t you?  It’s

always love

that tries so

hard to glue that which

is irreparably

shattered: a

heart, or both.  Sunday,

work day, is no day

to have to

walk by this to prepare the

new semester, but

there it is

pounding your

emotions because

it’s too late in your

own house, now

sweltering with hatred and

vicious “junk

purges” that are, in

fact, your entire life.

_________

155

One story,

one magazine at a time

thrown out.  “If

you ship these home, they

will become garbage.”

_________

Viscosity

 

It’s a good time:  questions lead to vibrant conversations

in a meeting of oh-so-many professors.  They bus them

in so at least a few will be around to question each other

after their presentations.  Is there time then to huddle away

from the noise and aspirations of self-appointed dukes-turned

pirates?  Capital Diaspora increases in volume, velocity and

derivatives so labyrinthine and full of contradictory legalese

that determining melt-down culprits becomes so hard it’s not

worth doing. Voila! What should be heaven on earth for capitalists

is interrupted by those who have been oppressed the most, who suffer

the palpable divide of the miniscule mega-rich and massive starving

poor:  middle-easterners. Already cordoned by culture, further-assailed

by invading “infidels,” stuck living over oil, virtually landless as war

spreads and rival tribal gangs carve space, steal resources, add

torture to their bag of tricks to cover financial malfeasance in the

age of fascist vitality.  The double-eagle (not a hole-in-two

on a par five) rises from newly moved nest. Revenge of its own

well-planned firestorm gives the investment class a few safe

bets outside China, as Haliburton sails again.  Dick, Don and George

evaluated, forecast, gave this mess to opponents before the collapse.

_________

156

Commemorative

 

It starts:  if we attack, everyone loses, if we don’t attack

We lose, if we lose everyone wins.  What to do? Where

to go?  What to grow?  Typhoon Sanba threatens the

rice crop, greedy “Christians” defy their own book, reach

out  to the unwary lonely-hearts.  Speculators close factories

to eke out the last profits available: seek and find cheaper

labor, so Camden, Buffalo, Youngstown, Chicago, Durham,

Rochester, Cleveland, those towns are “coming like a ghost town.”

It starts: an ambassador here, Secretary of State there: here a

bomb, there a bomb, everywhere a bomb-bomb.  It starts: linguistic

arguments, religious fervor, acute rhetoric, Minnesotan response:

logic, common sense and communal helpfulness trumped by

irrational emotionality, marching orders, and class wars popping

up all over the globe, as money piles higher, yet in ever-diminishing

numbers of piles.  They say the first item anyone bought for minted

coins made in (present day) Germany was beer.  What will the

last item be?  A goat?  Arable land?  An I-Pad?  Song and dance

may not be enough, even Gangnam style, to distract the

masses from the next (last?) chapter in human history.  Saddle

up, you’re already on the most important ride of your life.

_________

157

Keynote

He hangs ten, podium six to ten inches too far

away.  One fears any excitement at all on the part

of the speaker could cause a chain reaction: sprawled

professor, smashed posium, head bruise, twisted ankle.

He’s a joker, one after the other, but one is not laughing

because, like 80% of the day, it’s incomprehensible Hangul,

unknowable Korean, another example of one’s inept academic

forays.  Drooping ill-hung banner plus sharp angle gives one

only a glare off the white board, as if seeing the words

would help.  On a good day once can pronounce the

simplified alphabet, but what do those utterances mean?

One joined a club in order to gain gas money for speaking

ir fame (and departmental approval) for publications other

than “Modern Russian History” or vanity-press poetry.  Just

what is the standard, where did the judges get their

license?  He’s a natural, well into his twentieth joke, still

sheltered in the semi-important field of academic prankster

by strenuous high school in the sub-zone attached to the

teachings of Confucius, modified by Seventh Day Adventists.

_________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________

158

 

24 October 2012

Poet Gary Snyder pointed out that most humans treat animals

As children: men are lecturing and giving instructions, and

Women tend to nurture animals as much as they can, to make

Sure they are alright.  To be closer though, one must, as Merwin

Wrote, become silent, observe, allow yourself to be observed,

Then commit to the relationship.  Which Lori has done, in the wild,

In her home, among the left-behind animals in Naples, becoming

Much closer to nature than most, and, having suffered numerous

Trials, also gained so much from the comfort of knowing that life

Interconnected is a joyous life.  Communication endures lonely

Continents, second-day football, a passing nod to tennis and golf

Champions, but Lori and others like her, knowing how the often

Careless false superiority makes us thinking beings thoughtless

When it comes to those we share the earth with, took up the

Charge years ago to make life better for those around her: toad,

Pelican, cat, dog, bear, fox, squirrel, and even the raiding bluebird.

Anyone lucky enough to also feel this kindness has the double

Pleasure of being able to speak, thus increasing the benefits from

A woman whose greatest gift has been to care.  Our goal is to

Carry on having learned something, as if we were that good.

_________

159

Worth the Struggle?

She’s back.  The one who knows how to joke you into a smile

because, somehow, she’s been through the same convulsions:

love and hate, joy and depression, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff.

Life is good, but also measured.  We humans have to measure. It’s a

shame…think of the deer or fish or hawk they live, they react to God’s

will, they obey internal and external orders but they do not measure.

Our struggles are so temporal, emotional, individual.  Can any two

reach that ground where it is safe to drop all shields and jump into

each other?  We already did, but what shall we do to keep such place?

Can James Hyuntay be our life’s blood, or do we need more to sustain

healthy attitudes, bright dispositions, a feeling that life is worth living

not as a solo act with social circles, but paired up, dancing our tango?

He is worth all the pain we have caused.  But today’s pain is so much

simpler, so easy to swallow without bursting into tears on the quad,

or laughing to cover what one assumed was to be our one true love?

I don’t know where we are.  I thought I knew for months now, and

there you are, working so hard, equally committed to this love, yet

much more committed to the steady flow that assures a safe house.

I am not a safe house, I am a hack poet, two-bit journalist, washed up

musician, paint-flinging artist, and emotions are dandy in the creative

world, but life is not just the creative world.  Both enticing and so

childish…the exact man to let loose with, but then why do I act in

such a way that makes you wonder?  Life should not be a struggle;

and for us it has been: together it is not, this is my offer, my hand.

It Happened One Autumn

She laughs, turns potential monumental error

in our favor. He practices Pys’s dance to dazzle

Gwangju patrons who cried when precious

pears fell to soon in summer’s song: typhoon.

A lady in bock colors totes granddaughter’s violin

as Saturday classes defy environmental commands,

non of which rises to priority level as two dressed

in white crawl the well, ring the farm supper bell.

Lately taped to push face spots off, in order to

regain domestic intimacy, yobo wears an additional

mask so less are scared.  What spins next from

potter’s wheel?  Rekindled love? Sacred native feel?

Her talent rises, as does his, the artisan and music

whiz.  Effective again as a group of three, potential

reached, nothing questioned, only this time freedom

means wanting to be home more, or at the art store.

Bright Sycamore blue-backed sends large leaf

that lands between four arms, now six, stretched

in admiration, triple hug.  It took years to get this

feeling back, how nice it is to be back on track.

_________

161

Now or Never

 

A turtle flies through the universe.

We ride on the back of the turtle.

The Undergods dwell in Canandaigua,

The Overgods look down from clouds.

Even if we’re 300 moons away from

When this mattered, most of our lives

Are touched by one holy inspiration:  nature.

Cosmic coincidence should not amaze here.

You are in the middle of the new awareness.

Black rocks spin and dive in deep water.

A four-year-old runs then swims.

Relaxed willow provides humid shelter.

You peek under the giant grass skirt

And see four tangled feet.  You don’t peek further.

Gray locusts send twirling twigs to hair.

You swim out to a cooler spot of deep water.

The white snake, awake again,

Leaves Bare Hill, not reeking havoc

But cutting new creeks to hike along,

Full of crawdads and water spiders.

You retrace ancient steps.  You sneak

_________

162

Through the old neighborhood, now trespassing.

Four tangled feet, a few skipping stones

And the spirit within you.

Now awareness reigns.  Corn presents

A raw treat for passing minstrels.  Nothing

Talked about or noticed matters.

___________

Ode to Horace Mann

                                             Be ashamed to die until you have won some

                                                       victory for humanity. – Horace Mann

 

Be aware that energy is life, save some for your kids.

Be afraid that our minds are bent by news, not books.

Be awed by the healing power of the simple purple cone flower.

Be awake before the bombs drop, before the money rules.

Be agile:  live in a town that walks and bikes to work and play.

Be amused by ants and birds, goats and potato fields, lilacs and

Sycamores.

Be angry only long enough to solve the problem, then move on.

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

_________

163

Canary Row Hoe Ho

There’s a hippy girl in my class who wears Mao’s cap, dates

a long-haired boy and wrote a kick-ass environmental piece.

You’d like to poke through every long-leafed elephant-ear on

campus, stroking nature, this beautiful sub-plot, with hoe, adze,

al or clipper: chopping down in order to raise back up, involved

with earth as is intended.  Some say a new time has come, White

Buffalo and all. Consequences outnumber rewards at a twenty to

one clip, as Mongolians suffer from bad air and China’s expanding

desert, even though they’ve done their part to live in a preservationist

way.  But global means brutal these days:  global trade = wage slave,

global warming = no food, global war = death for the multitudes,

profit for the stinking rich few.  Love abounds in campus towns,

while “repo-men” reap millions, and songbirds still find seeds around

as legs spread out the leaves.  Our new man is African, and that’s

so fine with me, and babies laugh, and mothers smile, here in the

land of the free.  So what that free means money, instead of love

and food.  When no one has a dime to spare, friendship will lift

our mood.  Or will there be the occasional hijacked truck or plane?

Who cares as long as we can load up the kids, drive south to live

in a genuine, warm, Steinbeck-decorated pipe that used to be a drain.

_________

164

Armistice is only Words Away

Red and yellow leaves smash above remaining green

On brittle trees stressed by drought.

The fall crop grows together from fear.

War ruins the party here, starving refugees move out.

Warm sun parches grass to dust in Chapel Hill.

Light kills.  News disrupts gentle walks.

Two thousand one claims close lives, no way to hide

The reign death’s image starts with superficial talk.

Peaceful winds entice lovers bent on keeping war at bay.

Rice is blown to bits, extreme starvation, war means war.

The dissidents’ Gulag hut awaits activist Americans,

And “your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.”  1

Three deer caught in lights that look like monster’s eyes.

Nature, fraught with tarmac, endures another “bombs away.”

Scream , young angst poets.  Wipe the cynical smirk off and scream!

One life to infect your neighborhood.  One chance only:  today.

_________

165

Hargraves Blues

No obstacles in the physical realm can stop the

Flow of fix or ruin.  One bicyclist, content to move

In limited space, dodges traffic, kicks her stand

And heads in to read.  She gets paid to read, not many do.

No life is long enough to support all the relationships

We build:  kids to cats, Moms to cleaning, teacher-student,

Boss to worker.  One walker strides down Rosemary Street,

Pulls his hat over his ears, holds palms open, seeking change.

No gesture, however insignificant, goes unseen

In a town full of women.  Drivers bounce from one plan

To another, running reds.  Phone calls, calendar notes and

Breakfast fill seconds between lane changes, defying death.

No effort, regardless of intention, can sew a revolution

Without mass appeal.  Two men shrug, walking into shade.

Nothing for them to do but drink and smoke and go to sleep.

The truth is here to see but no one’s looking anymore.

No wind, even from Saskatchewan, can clean us now.

Some loudmouth stumbles in offering to teach, but

None will have it.  A rider, bussing there and back for free,

Takes comfort when a man stands to offer her a seat.

No sandwich, ever so scrumptious, lingers past initial taste.

Sun shines on a bouncing orb.  Four for four, he’s another

Wizard with his hands.  He does not get paid to shoot a ball.

His hand-to-eye skills have no value in this part of the world.

_________

166                                                                                                                                      

Jesus is a Liberal

 

Jesus Christ would not be proud

To see religion in this state.  (Virginia that is.)

TV evangelists preach a canon of intolerance.

Jesus never expected people to hate in his name.

4

Building amusement parks in homage to God

Makes as much sense as waging war for Christ.

A god who attracts such diverse attentions

Is not a nice god or even a holy god.

He must be the god of money, or,

The god of land acquisition, or, perhaps

Even the god of death.  Now that should

Set bells ringing in your bible-belt ears.

The god of death destroys life and love,

The god of death is worshipped in Lynchburg.

_________

167

A Special Thanks to Gwangju, South Korea for being one of the last truly communal places in a daily impromptu way.

Top

Secrets

 

 

Poetry written in Korea and abroad

J. Douglas Stuber

Chonnam National University

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