Category Archives: Poetry

Transcendent

I wrote a poem for a poetry class.
I was told it sounded like a love story.
I was told it didn’t work.
I was told it was too much of a romantic love poem;
that the love I was speaking of didn’t exist
between the people I spoke of.

I was told by a scholar and published poet,
a master of fine arts in literature
with a focus in poetry,
that I should re-examine my poem.

I was told to research the definition of love
as proposed by the Greeks thousands of years ago.
My version of love didn’t fit into their perspective.
Perhaps it was too broad for them.
Perhaps it was too narrow.

Either way,
if their perspective didn’t understand my love,
then they had never truly experienced love like I have.

I was told it was too much of a love poem.

It is.

Because that poem was about the first time I ever saw you.
The day you were born.

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“I Can Love You Better” by Joi Miner

This is by one of my favorite poets, Joi Miner. Приятного аппетита!

I love you hard and deep
Like pains kneaded from shoulders after manual labor
Like chops through wood in preparation for Winter’s chill
That penetrating kind of love
That blisters hands and leaves hearts pusting just beneath skin’s surface.

I love you with no expectation
Openly like a flower welcoming the Summer sun though it may soon be beaten by the same beams that warmed it.
Innocently as an infant loves the mother nursing it, though the toxins from chain smoking will certainly poison her
That trusting kind of love
That asks not what should be given, only tries to meet the invisible quota set at its creation.

I love you tirelessly
Like the quarks in a watch strive to accurately record each moment in time
Like the cycle of hydration, evaporation, and precipitation course from earth to heaven to earth once again
That repetitive kind of love
That can come to be expected causing chaos in its change.

I love you passionately
Like a succubus draining the life through kisses
Like a lizard wrapping tongue around meal that squirms hopelessly rather than accept its demise
That smothering kind of love
That smolders a flame in its youth, killing its warmth and promise with my ambition.

I loved you angrily last night
Suffering from the exhaustion that weighs on a body following overexertion
Swallowing saliva to silence stomach pangs from a hunger not satisfied
That single-sided love that forces one’s hand in Poker play
Your Poker Face had me taking faith in your bluff because you loved me with a love that was never enough.

I loved you stubbornly today
Continually giving you everything you never asked for
Wishing to meet needs before knowledge of them arose
Deafly thinking my knowledge of your desires far surpassed your own.
That dehydrating kind of love
That offers sand in place of fluid, and then gets frustrated with suffocation.

I have loved you ignorantly.
Like dying roses in a vase littering the floor with withered petals
Like sparkling diamonds sitting upon satin bust in museum chambers
That useless love
That disguises its lack of attention with moments of grandeur.

My love a feast spread here to yonder
Like plastic décor fruit dusting on grandmother’s table
Like Christmas dinner lain out before homeless orphan just beyond window pane
That taunting kind of love
That could be enough with a bit more effort.

-Joi Miner, “I Can Love You Better”

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“Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn’t
dammit: No tears.
I’m stone. I’m flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way—the stone lets me go.
I turn that way—I’m inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson
I see the booby trap’s white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman’s blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird’s
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet’s image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I’m a window.
He’s lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman’s trying to erase names:
No, she’s brushing a boy’s hair.
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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~Dylan Thomas

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The Brave Stare Fear in the Eyes

Flowers nap above the body
As the spirit sets free to soar.
The voiceless sing through cries.
Love shells pain through the door.

We men gently settle the casket.
My thoughts draw around the widow
To the loneliness of love
And the wails for the parting that grow.

“Old men in gray suits lead them.
That’s a web of a mess we coiled
In the wasteland of deserts
For pipelines of oil!”,

The cynic free in shackled minds muse,
Never knowing the costs of the words they use.

-Casey Robbins

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The Country Not So Far From the City

Missing the comfort of the sounds of the city
I step outside hastily, full of self-pity.
The shudder of the slamming of the door gives way
To the simple, broken symphony after day.
Crickets, chirps, croaks and other foreign sounds
From four- and six-legged strange noise-hounds
Blare louder than horns in rush hour streets.
All I do is nod my head, tap my feet
Like a proud parent does with their child
During their first of many recitals.

-Casey Robbins

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Korean Poetry

The following is a random collection of poems from poets both now and centuries ago. All are Korean in origin.

This first one is beautiful in its cynicism and truth:

“The One Inside Was Already Outside”

The rumor that firelight burns for someone is a joke by childish troubadors.
Firelight simply burns for itself.
Has firelight ever belonged to me?
Have I ever been firelight?
The fact that someone else is not going to die in place of me,
is not going to take the underpass in place of me
not going to linger in the corridors of a university hospital
not going to ruffle through the pages of magazines,
there are times when that fact is cooler than an early morning in winter.
The so-called solitude bestowed on me after fighting with gravity once I am upright,
there are times when that is really fortunate.
There is no lie more stupid than to say that you have combined flesh.
That stuff does not combine.
The one inside was already the one outside
and is the one who will go outside again.
Did I ever see a strong ray of light make a detour round anything?
Did I ever see anything left behind?
Has rain ever once addressed a single word to me?
Ever forgiven me?
It’s because there is always only me in this breathtakingly beautiful world
that I feel dizzy like this.

-Heo Yeon

This probably best captures how every writer in tune with nature feels:

“Using Five-Old Man Peak as a Brush”
Using Mount Orobong as my brush,
Three rivers for ink
And blue sky for paper,
May my poem express what’s held in my heart.

-An Jung-geun

This one is short, simple and to the point:

Tranquility is like a mountain,
Happiness like water.

-Jung Do-jun

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