mere dreams

i heard you coming home

the keys in the lock

the friction of shoes slipping off socks

and flopping to the ground

i said i cannot live alone

winter lights golden the wood

of the floor, the desk, the bed

red and blue flannel throw

over the couch

our house

and i smile

before i lean over

and kiss you

before my eyes open

and the light

fades away

and it is a cloudy spring day

you are far and i

have made you that way.





Star gazing was made for
sweet lovers at the edge of
the sea,
and with you I’d like to live
at the edge of
the sea,
like a pair of rocks at the shore
molded by the tides
at the edge of
the sea,
let us become one with the
wind and waves, my love.


I didn’t think it’d be like this
the cold world opening up
too vast, endless, and terrible,
so much darkness
and fearful things, and I
a lone dreamer, cast aside and
for safety,
a cozy, quiet place
to call a new home

old home
miles away, over the Pacific,
big Cali cities
and the empty Midwestern plains,
my home is sleeping
among the green mountains,
it is safe
fields sprawling out
between ridges and tiny towns,
roads winding up
the rolling hills, smiles and laughter
of friends like family
holding me in their warmth

dreams and reality
but it is too far
when they tear my soul,
break my heart, and laugh
at my simple dreaming,
no one heard me crying
through long
winter nights, steeped in
political protests
and pollution debates,
up through May
my heart was breaking
I bandaged it with another
cold compress
just tried to ignore my pain
and cover my fear

that’s why you came
your warm eyes, windswept hair
long form standing
in the sunlight of a Jeju summer day,
I a pink and white flower
soaking up the summer,
you the cool gray surface
of moonlit cliffs,

we climbed a hill
overlooking the ocean,
and I know
all the little ships
on the big blue sea
have differing journeys
some long, some short,
and I knew
the answer to my quiet fierceness
longing for a place to rest,
lay in the hypothetical
journey I might take
by your side,
now I
stand next to fearlessness
your strength becomes my
steady beacon in the night,
keep on, it calls,
through the violent storms
come here, you cry,
come into my open arms.


rest in peace,
rest in peace, I repeated
if only I knew
are you resting in peace?
the cold sky stretches beyond us
with no reply,
it does not open its frozen lips
it simply grows darker
turning its face away,
the blue winter night
filling up my eyes,
I saw your empty room
shadows crawling in,
I saw the quiet kitchen
so much like my own,
I saw the coal briquette
the symbol of winter comfort,
and then
I saw you sleeping
in the December twilight,
and you were to never
my heart went deep down
into the pits
of my soul,
looking for you.

did you cry?
did you think twice?
before you chose to die?
we stand unanswered
in a vast white space
a frozen lake, an empty wasteland
you are gone
you cannot speak
you cannot live
ever again.

Good Boys

July 18th, fooling around with a guy in the insufferably humid summer of 2017, in Jeju Island, South Korea. I was told I didn’t have a grasp on reality that would get me very far in the dating world. But my idealism served me well. A month later I met a good boy. And now he is mine. 

he said good boys don’t exist
spitting his words out like
a forsaken wish, maybe
he is right about everything
that every man is just a member
attached to a body, and a boy
won’t ever think
beyond his greed,
but I have my dreams
my prince charming doesn’t swear
that often in front of me, and he
doesn’t wash his white shoes,
he forgets things
like he forgets to be popular
among the drinkers and smokers
and skirt-chasing Casanovas,
there’s no white horse but
plenty of Taylor Swift,
no shame for our hand-holding
simplistic romance,
late-night calls to discuss
the universe and hamster homes,
and our future music exchanges
earbuds shared on long bus rides
and trips to the sea
late at night,
only to sleep in separate beds
but the same hotel room,
he’s laughing while I write
this middle school
candy sweet nonsensical
ditty of immature proportions,
but maybe boys are good
and get ruined
like I did, and maybe
they want to listen to
pop-punk throwbacks, and go see
matinee movies
with me, too.

Autumn Market

brown and white grains
the deep red of dried dates,
filling twenty-something
square boxes in a row,
the dingy multi-colored awnings
stretch out against a pure
bright blue sky,
thick puffy blankets sprinkled
with tiny red and yellow flowers
and sparkly pink princess dresses
hang from floor to ceiling,
we drift from stall to stall
the disgusting scent of chickens
and ducks in cages,
mingles with burnt sweet potato
and honey rice cakes,
one ahjusshi grins at me
with sparkling, wrinkled eyes
as he playfully gives me
a package of yak-gwa, like a father
feeding his son with a “rocket spoon”
the yak-gwa crashes into my bag
and we all laugh.