Poetry

battered but Unbroken – a Poem

by Kellyn Gross

being battered but Unbroken

being battered but Unbroken is presence

standing at the squat pedestal of bygone King Sejong

standing on two feet in defiance of police protecting the Stars and Stripes

while some are wheelchair-bound

affirming that you don’t need to be able to stand

to stand for something

where badged spokesmen warn through megaphones to let bygones be bygones

under an altar of 300 Korean martyrs to the cause of social justice

their captured smiles in the muggy heat

burnt incense and sobs breaking silence


“In Memorium” – New Planet Cabaret

More submitting by me here (and you wonder why I’ve had so few minutes to spare). This was for RTE Radio 1′s ARENA show which has been hosting a radio based creative writing course (yes you read that right) called New Planet Cabaret, with the assistance of the very competent and energetic Dave Lordon (I’d say more but I haven’t read much of his poetry so…).


A Stanza Of Medieval-Renaissance Korean Poetry

I woke up this morning with a fervent desire to study and download the literature of ancient East Asia, and have so far dug up this gem from Korea, the second canto of the “Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven“, written in the fifteenth century—

A tree with deep roots
Because the wind sways it not,
Blossoms Abundantly
And bears fruit.
The water from a deep spring
Because a drought dries it not,
Becomes a stream
And flows to the sea.

I think I prefer James Hoyt’s translation to my own. I could make almost no sense out of the early Hangul used to write this poem, but the modernized Korean did resonate inside me, and I am able to provide my own translation—


Notebooks

I’ve been going through my old computer files and notebooks lately hoping to find some encouragement. It’s always interesting too look back, be it in a diary, an old collection of photographs, or even old posts on a blog. Pages and photographs fortunately have a stronger sense of permanency than timelines or twitter feeds, and even if you can find everything online, the nostalgia is physical when leafing through the old pages written in slightly different handwriting and in faded pencil or ink.

Aside from my newest Moleskine and a collection of my newest fascination as a writing medium, yellow A4 lined paper, I believe it’s called legal pad, I have all kinds of paper and notebooks scattered around the bookshelves and packed in boxes around the home. All of these have served some function in my scattered and impotent career as a Nobel laureate.


Reading List: Gay/Poet/Korea: An Interview with Gabriel Sylvian on the Poetry of Gi Hyeong-do

Gi Hyeong-do
Since I spend a good amount of time looking up information about gay Korea, I've come across Gabriel Sylvian's name quite a bit. Sylvian founded the Korean Gay Literature project in 2004 as a means to spark an interest in the discussion and promotion of LGBTQ literature and poetry in Korea.

Reminiscing

Last night, in bed, while he was looking at an old photo on my phone, my husband said… “I miss that time.” He was referring to the day he came to the Philippines after many years that we haven’t seen each other… our relationship uncertain… so many tears and heartaches had faded away and healed in time.


A Memory by Yi Chongbo (1693-1766)


If anyone ever tells you homosexuality was brought to Korea by the West, laugh for a bit and then show them this poem. 

A Memory by Yi Chongbo
Translated by Kevin O'Rourke

Demons, Distractions, and Demands

I am my own worst enemy, and when it comes to giving advice I don’t think I stand a chance when put in front of the judges. Why would anyone care to listen to anyone who cannot claim to have achieved as much as they’d like to? I’ve an answer, and it is because I know what I’m doing wrong and I know that if you’re looking for a way to get over something perhaps, and I really mean perhaps, what I’m about to say might help.

I was born as a procrastinator. I’m lazy. I’m easily distracted. I tend to blinker myself from the reality of life’s requirements. Much of this doesn’t really effect me until that awful last minute arrives and I suddenly have to get everything done in a fluster. I don’t know if I was born like this. I don’t think I’ve inherited this gene from my parents. I do wish that I could be just a little bit committed to one of the many causes I assign myself to.


Things you should do to make your writing more effective.

1. Write about yourself.

2. Don’t write about yourself.

3. Cook dinner.

4. Don’t describe anything.

5. Remember stuff you can’t recall.

6. Don’t write about stuff you don’t care about.

7. Don’t write about stuff nobody cares about.

8. Everyone cares about something. Write about it.

9. Check your spellings.

10. Don’t use fucking metaphors.

11. Be bizarre.

12. Be straight.

13. Write drunk.

14. Be addicted to something.

15. Sign up for facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc.

16. Delete your facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc. account.

17. Have sex with someone you shouldn’t.

18. Go without sex for years.

19. Break your heart.

20. Hate everything.

21. Travel.

22. Look at stuff.

23. Walk.

24. Read stuff that annoys you.


What’s in My Bookcase?

This is a permanent collection. There’s a lot going on here. A lot of history. Not that many history books mind you.These shelves contain a few stories in the own right, and plenty of memories of friends who have left Korea among other stories.

The most significant feature in my apartment is probably the bookshelf. It’s a tall double-rowed case five bays high, but we’ve pushed it down on its side and it functions now as a room longth mantle piece where our television and family pictures now sit. Each of the book shelf bays is full, although not completely with books.


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