A Little Girl Again

after one week of wandering
I’ve come round to you
a little girl again, sitting
on my bed at dusk
drinking juice
daydreaming, please
just talk to me,
my rainbow manicure
from the orphanage, tipsy
after draft beers
expensive queso
blue skies by the harbor,
the strong smells and loud songs
of a five day market
that went swirling by
in one single morning,
won’t you ask me,
why I’m like a child again,
or who has done
such a thing to my heart?
magpies and eccles cakes
the smittens
repeating again and again
oh, the night is long
I’ve come round to something,
like first, new love
fourteen under the moonlight
refused to be alone
without him,
or summer’s nostalgia
salted watermelons
patriotic rocket popsicles
on that misshapen back step,
swish-swish-thap of my bedroom fan
fireflies in the cool green grass
childhood and happiness.

I wrote this poem today after a beautiful morning at the five-day market, an afternoon playing with kids at an orphanage, and burritos and beer to top it off.  I spent a few weeks in February and through March feeling afraid of the future and doubtful of my abilities to pick myself back up after disappointment to start again. This poem begins with my realization that things change quickly in good ways sometimes, delving into my wonderful day, and finally taking this amazing feeling into some lovely nostalgia about my fourteenth summer (of puppy love, dashboard confessional, and the smittens, haha), and then into my early summer memories from when I was around five or six. I hope you can still enjoy this more personal piece and not suffer too greatly from my lack of inspiration as this challenge wears on haha. 

Tamna

Slowly I’ve begun
to want for nothing but you,
I have been bewitched,
I have fallen into your charms,
your coastal roads
and fields of yellow flowers,
your rows of women
in pink gloves and straw hats,
your dark ginseng farmers
lives spent in the sun,
and the earthy-herbal afternoon
bus commutes, of high school
boys in gray and black
long legs and flyaway hair,
among stone walls and
statues, your grandmothers
raising two generations
of sea women,
your crystal green waters and
white sands, the wind
knocking breath from my lungs
like a brief glance
from the prince of your kingdom,
if only he were my own love
and not another’s,
I want to steal him for myself
before he is taken by you,
together we must escape
or I will be enchanted
by your fiery mountain,
ever watching us
like the presence of God,
yes, I should go
before I want nothing more
than this.

Ornamental

Poem for April 14, 2017

Ornament, glittering in the
Jeju sunlight, as the
East sea, a treasure of the depths

You dance and sway in the
breeze, and my vision swirls into
an array of brown and green

You sing and laugh among
the yellow yoochaekkot, but even
their sweetness is not enough

Though admiration is no sin,
those who look give but glances,
while I cannot turn away

Not once, but many times have I
loved such a prize, such a masterpiece
all for naught but my ruin.

Dismal

Deep forest green are the trees,
their backdrop the gray

Jeju skies of winter,
we fly
down a mountain road, it
reminds me of that time
I broke through
the clouds
sleeping over the island,
but I could still see
Mt. Halla,
“jejune” sounds like
Jeju, and it echoes my past
of naive happiness
as if I were screaming
into a canyon,
but instead of returning
my voice just keeps travelling
on and on and lost forever,
a song repeats
in my head, it tastes
like cigarette smoke,
car exhaust, and
fried red bean bread,
steaming warm
in my gloved hands,
bought in a grimy subway station
in old Seoul,
the young man
who is singing, he knows
the dreary days I
keep seeing, he feels
this lukewarm winter,
loneliness
painting the landscape
a dull pallet
of breathtaking wonders
gone cold, and
old joys made
lifeless.
I wrote this about winter in Jeju, and the depressed feelings I experienced during my winter here. One of the things that made me feel better during that time was Kim Namjoon’s mixtape, as I felt like he understood what I was going through. I wanted to capture that experience for a long time, but I couldn’t really write until I started feeling better.