Songjeong Market

The night breeze blows
and fairy lights twinkle
to the backdrop of old songs
we talk about everything
exes and drugs and careers and
chocolate and wine
and Son Heungmin,
but I don’t think you know
I don’t think you know
what this is,
a single lotus blooming
in the foggy, steamy night
of a warm Korean summer
the moon peaks at us
through clouds, a shy
of earth’s brilliance.



When his eyes paused
my heart stopped
as he gazed,
that same, sweet, long stare
of some astral,
universal appreciation,
just to my right
just to my right
he casts his deep, dark eyes
endless as the night sky
just a few feet away,
crinkling and laughing
sparkling and dancing,
filled with stars,
just to my right
just to my right
what has captivated his
beautiful, convoluted,
secretive mind,
just to my right?
“Your earring”,
he says, “is pretty.”


I am loneliest
not in the crisp, cool fall or
the freezing, bitter winter
but in the heavy air
of summer nights,
when no one wishes for anyone
to be the space heater in their bed
when no one wishes for anyone
to touch their skin with hot flesh,
i just want you to come and
fill up the hole in my mind,
while everyone sleeps
tropical nights make me restless
with longing and emptiness,
at midnight just
want you to lie
exactly 60 centimeters away
and whisper to me about
the stars and
the greatest birthday of your life
and the character you want to be
in your own story,
until I fall asleep
I’ll tell you about
the best blackberries of my life
the first time my mother
painted my nails purple,
and why I write,
emotions swirling inside my world
unable to fit on this paper
or in this night.

“So tell me…”

does my hair smell like
herbal baths
or my breath
last night’s 막걸리?
your eyes burn stronger
than my pounding head
my throbbing heart
you read my face
because I wanted to look
in your soul, because
when I come here I’m
not in front of
unknown faces, I am
dancing in your warm gaze,
I am breathing
beyond this space,
and into your essence,
what restaurants do you visit and
which bars do you frequent
are you the class of 2007
or 2009?
why did you come here
to the City of Light?
does it need you to shine?
that’s a bad pickup line…
I sit here silent as you speak and
ask me what’s on my mind
if only you knew
converse highs and
bright pink cheeks, finally someone
who doesn’t mind
me opening my mouth.

Stranger’s Funeral

In my red polka dot dress
so embarrassing
I’m too Southern for this
I know my manners
now my face is the same
tone of red
ripe summer tomato
where all I’ve been
what all I’ve seen
the more at the funeral
the more blessed she was
he said
and I remember how I was
short shorts in the warm night
his burning, needy eyes
I knew
next to
I was
next to
I’m super sorry but
I keep making mistakes
so I need to run away
and stop finding
these kinds of places.

The Search

i wanted to find her
not long since we lost contact
maybe a few years
or so,

i blamed your dirty streets
your pubs and clubs and bathhouses
your haphazard buses and impulsive drivers
your noisy coffee shops and phone accessory stores,

i cursed your trends, your red-lip makeup and
short skirts, your bottles of soju
lined up behind your long-legged boys with
bowl-cut hair and torn up shoes,

but it was me, i was the one with a problem,
my brain forgot how to function
and my heart forgot how to love you
like it learned a few summers ago,

it’s been five years since i lost her and so
finding her again has been so strange
i’ve felt sick and dizzy and very very uncomfortable,
but she is smiling

her big eyes look into mine
in the mirror, and she is very pretty,
she likes things and doesn’t care
what others think.