Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

Daniel Paul Marshall strikes gold:
“(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down…”

And the discussion on similes in the comments is like a bright torch in a dark well… Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Daniel Paul Marshall

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

…At a small harbor | old stone steps cut out with tools
or perhaps repeated use & weather.

She watches fish with silver bellies |
(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down

—one leap after another
a meter or so | the gulls watching.

She asks a fisherman nearby
why do they do it? She can’t make out

much of what he says | something about
“polluted water & noise from fishing boats”

which “rumble through the water.”
A gang of ajumma who work at a black-pig

BBQ restaurant | cartoon make-up & hair-metal perms |
tiger-print spandex & leather waistcoats |

crowded around something or someone
—“What’s everyone so interested with?”

A Haenyeo: Grandma of the Sea “heard music while diving”
a music not belonging…

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What if you close your eyes
and your throat relinquishes

the morning’s bright
fingers, freed from bruises.

Suppose that particular night
never happened, the way

a wave crashing ashore
empties itself and trickles

back in separate communities,
mingling yet aloof, a

diminishing cortege. What
is the question? Take this

spoon. Fill it with saltwater.
Upend it into the pail. Observe.

“Saltwater” was first published in Nine Muses Poetry in May 2018.

Morning Suizen

Morning Suizen

Boundless, it sips direction in the way of all music,
tonguing each note for its salt.

We call this ecstasy. Or peace.
Follow, and they still escape, always beyond
our outstretched fingers.

Exhale slowly. What do you know?

That long tunnel, ribbed in silence.
The scent of burning cedar.
Days framed in darkness and birdsong.

* * *

Note: Suizen is the practice of playing the shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute, as a means of attaining self-realization.

“Morning Suizen” first appeared on Nine Muses Poetry. Many thanks to editor Annest Gwilym for taking this piece.

Election Day Poem Up at Vox Populi

My poem “The Theory and Practice of Rebellion” is up at Vox Populi, nestled between Daniel R. Cobb’s essay “Democracy Dies without You,” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s powerful poem “United.” Fellow citizens of the USA, this election will change our lives. Vote!

Until the End of the Rain and the Sudden Demise of Endless Rainy Nights

Jose Padua, one of my favorite poets, writes about loneliness and the broken world.

Shenandoah Breakdown

Photograph by Jose Padua
And I was waiting at my local dive bar
for a woman who never showed up
and the longer I waited
and the greater the amount of time
without seeing her face at the other end
of the swinging front door
the less I liked my friends
the less I liked my bourbon and my beers
and instead of leaning on them
I just wished I were somewhere I could be alone
which if I remember correctly
is what I finally did though
I had to go to a different neighborhood
where I didn’t know anyone
because these were the days when I knew
so many people and so many people knew me.

One night in New York I met a woman
whose parents came from Asia like mine
and she was in her late twenties/early thirties like me
but she was already a widow
and she worked at a…

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Poem Up at Formidable Woman

“Dead Rose at 5 Points Local,” a collaborative poem with Stephanie L. Harper, is live at Formidable Woman. Many thanks to d. ellis phelps for taking this piece, and for offering the prompt which set it in motion.

Poem Nominated for the Pushcart Prize

I’m honored and delighted to report that my poem “Other” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of Bold + ItalicThe writing is everything, but it’s nice to know that someone out there in the world has responded to a piece. And as it turns out, my friend Kristine Brown was also nominated by Bold + Italic. Be sure to read her poem, too!