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.

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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.

dry mouth

all i can see is gray
from this room against a wall,
and i can’t even say
that it’s miserable, because
poor children everywhere need places
to lay down their heads and
get some peace,
and i made memories
of this time on the sleepy island
these monotone hours,
the mornings when blue light
creeps up the wall
like a cat, silent and
cunning, deceptively
announcing the sun’s approach,
a liar, like the soft arms
around my body
i woke up thinking someone
would be next to me,
it was just angry words
from my supervisor
for mistakenly
signing the wrong dotted lines,
for my sleep and my
good dreams,
for being dizzy
from drinking on a Monday,
and now I just have a
dry mouth
that tastes like someone else,
definitely not the time
for speaking rationally.

Trace the Steps

hug me,
I dare you to do it again
pull me into that body
I can’t forget,

soft and sweet
stubborn and silent,

the days of summer
being wished away
on the arms of
one midnight embrace,

impetuously
we trace the steps
to self-assurance,

maybe we’ll know one day
if we died too young
and missed our chances.

but you aren’t waiting
for an answer.

Blue

Blue, color of the sea,
sadness and peace,
smile like that forever
edges of your puppy brown eyes
crinkling up
your wrinkles are all the colors
of your years,
never part with their warmth,
your delicate fingers
dancing in the air
every time you speak,
your shirt cuffs
blue, linen blue,
like the dark ink splotch
on this paper, I can’t
be rid of
your stubborn brilliance.

Phase

womanhood
is pain, all the objections
we’ve made towards
our past lovers,
tissues
blown into, peeling off
and dying away,
womanhood
is blood, of our mothers
and daughters
given up for life, thousands
of times we lie
and say we’re fine,
womanhood is this
cursed lunar cycle,
the cold yin of my body is
only comforted
with a warm sock
stuffed with rice
microwaved as many times
as this day has come,
womanhood is eleven years old
hiding in the corner
wishing
it would just stop,
womanhood is curling up
on the square
checkerboard
moonlight at midnight
on the carpet, soaking in
the luminescence of our
sister, her coming
and going spells
bringing me closer each day
to that phase, again.