haiku-whitman-moon

haiku 

saucer in the sky
moon rises over whitman
tablecloth of stars

whitman 

cold as white whitman
cold as haiku whitman moon
walt whitman as haiku 

moon 

haiku face of sky
whitman rising over moon
flying saucer stars

Söt (Cute)

In 2011, shortly after moving to Sweden, I produced a chapbook, Övergången, containing ten poems in English and Swedish. The translations were kindly provided by Linda Bönström and Boel Schenlaer ahead of my appearance at the Södermalm Poetry Festival.

One of the poems, ‘Cute’ (in Swedish, ‘Söt’), would go on to appear in Leaves of Glass. So, in the interests of publicity and cross-cultural communication, I’m reproducing the Swedish translation here.

Nu kör vi!

Continue reading “Söt (Cute)”

대담시: Audacity

Signage advertising a PC Bang (Internet gaming room) in Jongno, Seoul (2005).
City of burnt grass and black limousines. 

City of nudes and spider lilies, 
     where the grass stands up even though it is on fire, 
     whistling a harvest tune. 

By the railway lines, 
     entropy rules: jagged weeds 
     and mystery melons scramble for space, 
     riddling the rails, 
     disguising the sleepers with their fantastic tendrils. 

Like a smoker's signal, 
     brave and futile. 

Trains slice these ribbons into tendons, 
     timetabling history, scattering seeds, 
     accelerating some abstract chaos. 

Trampled soccer balls like snakeskin or leather on the shining road. 

Dressed as inspectors, 
     we climb the stainless steel stairs, 
     pass the plastic clinic and the coffee mall, 

     then enter the machine room. 

Here, the rumble of traffic is merely a shiver in your bowels, 
     barely shaking the keys. 

Predicting story arcs is what it's all about. 

     Prisoners, 
          good deeds and friendships betrayed. 

The studios will be eating out of our hands. 

Privately, 
     we model alternate scenarios: 

     the prisoner escapes; 
     the can of boiled beef falls from the adjutant's hand; 
     a friendship is consummated in a bloody latrine scene. 

Here, 
     the streets are viewed as if through 
     the screenshots of an amateur photographer: 

     the perspectives slightly skewed, 
      casting one's eye off balance. 

Jets scramble overhead, but no one notices. 

The flags of a thousand federations 
      burst into the blue sky, 
      unfurling like false spring! 

The sound of trickling water consumes 
     bus drivers and cart pullers alike. 

Insanity is okay, 
     although mistakes are sometimes made. 

Usually, these thoughts disappear. 

Slowly, a city comes to know itself by 
                                            the bend of a river, 
               the argument of a steel canal. 

Behind us, mountains; 
     ahead, 

     cartwheels of conversation,                   

                                           opening.

Invisible Moon

there has to be an invisible moon
over on the other side of the sun
gravitationally drawing me to you
how else can i explain these forces
lifting me out of my dreams to float

like a silver balloon out our window
behind the dunes & under the beach
beneath the pavement & the rocks 
in my head & the stars full of music
i am its puppet now floating in space

its honey power rising in my veins
because each night i lie beside you
we’re walking on some other moon
neither of us knows its secret name 
it simply rotates at the same speed 

at which it revolves on a toothpick
tempting me to open up the window
to leave the curtains wide open
the doors unlocked & the radio on
playing ‘Hey Moon’ over and over 

until it’s as if we know each note
a starfield swirling slowly into zero
already full draped in white shadow
guiding us through the afternoon
my lips mouthing a weird loon-song

on some high cliff north of sound
otherwise what’s making me blink
speak to us in jazz notes only moon
without twilight we’d see no light
without the moon surfers would just 

be dudes with beards going ‘wow, man’
and here it comes: this pure wave 
that dares to engulf me breathing
solid & yet empty at the same time
so glassy & perfect is this cylinder

what a perfect moon that made it!
how else am i to explain the paths
that burn fluorescence as we walk
hey moon, i’m wearing sunglasses
but i can still feel you, feel me

come take a walk on the moon babe
& let’s make ours an incredible one
this thump-thump? our tiny hearts
you feel that moon? we feel you too 
rising like a science-fiction version 

of ourselves over the horizon wow
pulling us in with its silver strings
i can hear it calling out to me o hai
as a radio wave across the universe
about to rise ... about to set over us

our hearts about to go boom boom ...
i can see it shining through your eyes
we’ll walk in slow-motion on stardust
tuck a moon-beam behind your ear
& everything else will just disappear

dress young

you dress young but then you doubt it 
take a look at the band & think
who are these idiots? you remember 
dressing young & feel slightly allergic
to music while all around you (idiots!
fawning over you & new order yes now
i remember the way you dressed when
	you were younger (although not
as young as your sister was the night 
	you accompanied her to bikini
kill at the wollongong youth centre (would
	'chaperoned' be a better word? 
you remember kathleen hanna shoving
	an old-school telephone down 
the front of her undies you remember what
it felt like to feel old as cool blasts
of chill-wave air smacked your face head-
on ... you were too old to remember
the proton energy pills but nevermind
	i mean forget it i saw the future in
a room full of moshing girls & the minor 
	threat of sk8rs hanging outside
(bored boys who told stories about sk8tn
	& shit (did they also dress young -
you betcha (of all people! you grow old, you 
grow old you shall trade in that dud 
album by bob mould for a second-hand copy 
of theatre of gnomes who knows 
shakedown’s finale like me (i’ve seen spew 
coming out of a port kembla sky 
it’s just steam some idiot once claimed (yeah
there’s nothing polluting about it ... you 
grow old but continue to dress young like some
fifty-year-old drunk wearing okanuis
extra bitter still got it still yearning for that 
	clayton’s moment (whatever it was -
nevermind redux dress young grow old & die 

smiling

first published in Page Seventeen (2010)