Betrayal

I will not let a coward
tell me what is brave
for our fear is but a symptom
of soulless misery,
remember that night you kissed me
and came out of the shower all
wet-headed and glimmering?
I won’t ask you to
pull magic from your
alcohol-impaired mind,
as honey spilled from your lips
all down my neck and
over the pillowcase…
your sweet, empty promises
and the blood trickling down
your leg,
were both pumped
from a young, beating heart
curse my numb fingers, the candles
and the rain
in the downpour I claimed
we’d never break my heart
and you said that’s okay,
so I gave only
my summer mouth a
good washing out
and never cried over you,
if only I knew how to behave—
but you won’t remember
the first night at City Hall
smoky room and soju
and old news, can’t be reprinted…
those eyes, an afterimage
long-gone their cold
scintillating light
on the black summer sky,
I will paint on the night,
your honey blood the ink
of each word I write,
this is not the first or second
betrayal of my intention,
so I’ll come around
burning, the last time
with a vengeful fire
I’ll rescue my lost words.

Guarding the Line

Your waist
catches my attention
too often,
it’s so small, so human,
I wish I could touch you
like she does, her arms
draped across your form,
your shirt falls gentle
against your skin,
bathed in a million sunsets
a golden amber
a warm tawny brown,
the little specs
cocoa colored spots
dotting your cheeks, ears, neck,
she doesn’t get it,
and I wish
you liked these sultry, smoky summer nights
like me,
I’d even sit by
counting the hairs on your head
just to be near you,
once more to see
the yellow moonlight
dancing through your eyes.

Jade’s Nights

cicadas crying from the bushes
the sound of water bubbling
in the seawater baths,
smoke and pale pink
the sweetly starchy taste
of shikhye, ice cold and
sipped through straws we don’t need,
her eyes, an ambiguous color
seem addicted to soaking in
the world around her,
as much as she can’t stop
soaking in the hot tubs,
these late nights spent
wet-haired and new-skinned
adjectives
we don’t have in English,
waiting on a taxi
our glistening eyes
reflecting the street lights
after everyone has gone to sleep,
come back here some day
don’t forget this place
let’s relive these
perfect summer nights.

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.

Hometown Nights

not a word of warning
about this memory
on restless spring nights,

no crickets calling
no train whistles
no stars,

the city kids here
have never seen the sky like me
clothed in all its diamond glory,

they don’t know the secrets,
of apple orchard drives in the
deep dark night,

the cool, fresh dew
thrilling, calling, to fly
a little faster down those roads,

let me out, let me go
release this wild yearning,
longing for my home.