Rainy nights.

You know what I really love?
Rain.
Especially at night.
All the lights are turned off,
and you’re snuggled in bed with
the window cracked just a bit.
Just enough to smell the rain,
to feel the breeze, and hear the
pitter patter. And then, once
in a while you hear a car or two
pass by through the wet road.
And you can’t help but wonder,
where they’re going and if they
like the rain too.

“ These words I fail to speak
string themselves into a noose—
The more I keep inside,
The tighter the hold.

“ I feel like a jigsaw puzzle
sprawled across the floor.
Except the pieces don’t match
and I don’t know where to start.

“ the high of bulimia has finally worn off.
i feel the anxiety building up
and the sadness trickling in.
i am unraveling before i’ve even
had the chance to heal.

“ your words are like honey,
such sweetness they carry.
but even the sweetest of nectars,
can rot your teeth.

Purge.
This is something I wrote and recorded almost two years ago.

I want to run to the bathroom,
close the door and lock it.
To rid myself “clean”
and expunge my weakness. 
To push my fingers so far back 
that I have tears flowing from my eyes 
and snot dripping from my nose. 
I want to purge and purge until I’m empty. 
Till nothing else comes out
and all that’s left is the lingering,
bitter tang on my tastebuds.
I want to feel 
the sweet content of liberation
and high of featherweight dreams.

But more importantly, 
I want to remind myself
that this is a hollow victory.
No trophy or crown 
for this battle-worn warrior.
No glory or fame
for this war-torn survivor.
Just a porcelain throne 
and the stench of failure.


An attempt at a spoken word poem about the Korean diaspora.


Audio: Passing By - Yiruma

This is a song I listen to when I think about or am reminded of my grandfather. These are a collection of recorded thoughts that came out of listening.

When I was younger, I would take my grandfather’s hand and measure mine against his.  We’d then laugh and he’d squeeze my hands tightly, telling me how fast I was growing.  Over a decade, two strokes, and a thousand miles later from those times, a lot has changed.  I no longer live with my grandfather and see him (if I do get to see him) once a year.  My grandfather, while a stoic man of little words, always took the time to tell me stories of Korea and greeted me with loving smiles.  Now, he replies to me with only nods and his once bright smile is rarely ever seen.  No more than a few words or sentences are exchanged between us.   But once in a while, I’ll sit next to him and hold his hand.  He’ll pat my hand then lock his fingers with mine, squeezing tightly like he used to.  I squeeze back and he’ll do the same.  We go back and forth like this for a couple of minutes; and a least for that short time, it feels as though nothing’s really changed. 

                                         —————————————

After his second stroke, my grandfather told my grandmother at the rehab center that he didn’t want to die yet.  He told her if he could have a few more years and watch me grow up, he could then die peacefully.  It’s been eight years since then, I wonder if he still feels the same.

                                         —————————————


My grandfather’s beliefs had long consisted of a mixture of Taoism, Confucianism, and Muism. For years, he had called my grandmother crazy for her Catholic ways ever since she converted saying it was Western nonsense.  And after his two strokes, he rarely ever left the house because of the discomfort it caused.  Yet on one Sunday, he went to church.  It was the Sunday after my hospitalization.  When I was 16, I tried to kill myself and was hospitalized for 12 days.  Each day he prayed to a Catholic god he never believed in.  I saw him a week or so after I was released.  He never said a word to me about any of it but hugged me tightly when I went to greet him.  The few visits after that, he would pat my back whenever he would pass by me.  I like to think of it as him trying to tell me he loved me.

                                         —————————————

One day, I was helping my grandmother pack for their move to Illinois when we found a photo of me and my mother.  It was hidden among shirts in my grandfather’s drawer.  I never asked him why he kept that photo.  My grandmother says he must have been saving it till I was older so he could tell me about her.  I wonder how many other stories my grandfather had wanted to tell me.

                                         —————————————

 

Years ago, I was telling my younger brothers stories about my grandfather.  When I asked them if they had any questions, they asked me which grandfather was the grandfather in story.  I looked at them confused until I realized that they believed my grandfather before his strokes and after were two different people.  I’m not sure why I cried but after that realization, I couldn’t stop crying as I explained to my brothers angrily that they were the same person.

                                         —————————————

Sometimes I wonder if my grandpa wished I was a born a boy after all.

                                         —————————————


I wonder if my grandfather showered me with so much love because of how horrible of a father he was.

                                         —————————————

I think about which one of us will die first a lot more than I should. 

                                         —————————————

I often wonder what my grandfather would think of me if he knew all there was to know about me. 

                                         —————————————

My dad told me that when he was younger, he caught my grandfather holding a picture of a Vietnamese woman and a little boy.  He angrily confronted him and demanded to know if he had a half-brother and that they needed to bring them if he did.  My grandfather denied everything and it was never spoken of again.  I wonder how many lives my grandfather has lived.

                                         —————————————

I’ve come to realize it is very easy to love someone while knowing very little about them.


you are my first love - hyowon

넌 나의 첫사랑.

첫.
as in first.
첫.
as in innocence.
첫.
as in clueless.
첫.
as in clumsy.
첫.
as in too fast, too soon.
첫.
as in naive.
첫.
as in gullible.
첫.
as in wide-eyed and stupid.
첫.
as in i should have known better but i didn’t. 


넌 나의 첫사랑.

사랑.
as in love.
사랑.
as in bliss.
사랑.
as in smiles.
사랑.
as in laughter.
사랑.
as in butterflies in my stomach.
사랑.
as in want.
사랑.
as in need.
사랑.
as in overflowing yet not enough.
사랑.
as in not so much falling but gravitating 

넌 나의 첫사랑.

넌 나의.
as in you are my.
넌 나의.
as in you will always be my.

넌 나의 첫사랑.

넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in you are my first love.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in i never felt this way before.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in you opened a door in my heart,
i never knew existed.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in you occupied all the space there was.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in you tore the walls down as you left.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in we were doomed from the start.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in i got so used to your presence,
i don’t know how to deal with your absence.
넌 나의 첫사랑.
as in i will always remember,
but wish i could forget.