Below are some unedited scribbles I’ve scribbled over the past five months. As such, they reflect a spectrum of moods. Please enjoy them.
Tomorrow, I leave Korea for good. Time to depart, again.
Thank you for reading any of my posts. Whether I accomplished my overarching motif of ‘emphasizing the upsides’ throughout my journey overseas is hard to say. What I do know is that there is never a wasted experience, especially if given the chance to reflect on it. So, I’m glad I could share some of mine.
I’ll miss, in no order:
- The subway
- Delicious plump grapes
- Some of the students
- Sharing culture
- Sauna culture
- Bamboo forests
- Lemon honey tea
December 18, 2016
Blood trickles down to my brain, engorged and live. Synapses re-glued; neurons re-sewn. Everything gathered, all one.
Death is so close, at all times. Life is a miracle. Every day I am living is some soft dream.
But words fail—all thumbs, all just arrows, you know.
August 17, 2016
As long as I am here, and able, and willing,
Bigger beauties await.
August 25, 2016
Geok Son and I climbed to the top. In drizzling puddles and fog-tinted lenses, we hustled our short hike to the top of Bulgugksa Temple in Gyeongju, Korea. Not the most charming of places. Korea in general is...not the most charming of countries. But, its people feel humble and earthy to me. Like it has been around the block and doesn’t give a ton of shits if it’s not the best…?
Who knows really, I’m no expert. But it feels...meh. Maybe I’m just homesick.
October 6, 2016
Nature does not spare eyes for perfection. She heeds it all--pragmatism so often her design of choice. Mushy, severed, oozy--this is what propagates, if it works. And sometimes we call it--Her--beautiful.
But she is always full, always juicy with life if it works.
October 3, 2016
We were as thick as thieves.
We were childs of the night.
We were conjoined little secrets.
And upon us came age.
October 14, 2016
Korea--I won’t ever fully understand you and your culture because few really can become new cultures. So, I cannot say much about you beyond surface interactions and brief living.
Thank you for having me. It was a mixed bag. Thank you for the mixings.
October 14, 2016
“Delicious!” shouted my Truth Class students. “Sam-Teacher-Meat is juicy and yummy!”
“Ah, okay, Class...but if you don’t finish your work, I will eat you today!”
“Uh!” (*Worried faces turn to each other.*)
“Hubert, do you want to be soup or noodles? Ann? Yeni? Jay? Aiden? Jenny?”
“Sam-Gogi (‘gogi’ is korean for ‘meat’)! We want to eat Sam-Teacher!”
October 18, 2016
I fell a million times asleep, only to wake up as nature herself.
I fell a million lives ago, felt them all upon waking.
I stretched my limbs and could reel in my own opaque history: eons, eons ago.
October 18, 2016
ON ON ON ON
the tangled heart--
the brain like the monkey tamer--
To flex the soul,
To propagate as miracle.
October 22, 2016
“Hello, Sam Teachuh.”
I preferred embracing the children as Monkey, Rabbit, and Tiger than as Patrick, Alice, and June, respectively. At the spritely age of six, weren’t these namings more accurate than their English counterparts?
And as much as I loved playing with them--tickling them, singing with them--I had to manage and assembly-line them. They were part of the “English-learning Brigade.”
Sorry, kids. Play another day.
October 26, 2016
One time with my older students I said, “Next week, I will ask you how you plan to kill me. Think of creative ways!” We were joking during the class about how we were already dead, and how I might kill some of them again.
It all started with an absent student. “Haena, where is Ellie?”
“I killed her.”
“Again?! Haena, last week I told you to stop killing Ellie!”
November 19, 2016
I’ll keep you okay.
In insanity, I’ll keep you just fine.
In horror and ill health, I’ll keep you all alright.
In broken window sills,
In revolting dark alleys that smell like rubber,
In unforgiving heat and wetness--
I’ll keep you okay.
November 22, 2016
In morning, I feel it--my finite fingers, my edges.
I live in this body, spinning on this planet, soon to die and un-become. What a wild thing it is to be.
November 24, 2016
In the midst of dullness, of a lonely winter, I find myself fighting back for harmony. Among trouble I brew lemon tea. I avow earnest steadiness, albeit imperfect and the fully human kind of steadiness.
December 6, 2016
It’s not all so sad, really. We go on forever, in some way or another. It’s true. No one can fully disappear. No one can just vanish eternally, even if they do.
It’s not all so sad, see. A giant wicker broom sweeps up our dust into the next room. Another afternoon. Another string of living.
December 8, 2016
Ages turn into creative but analytical episodes. Opposites combine: known and the ineffable; heart and numbers.
Ages of my life flow backwards like art periods: romantics, cubists, surrealists count in curved, straight seasons. A lifespan. A single moment a trillion times created.
December 10, 2016
Golden golden locks, strewn down her cheeks like criss-cross pie crust. Hers is a cherry red set of cheeks. Hers is a heavenly face, an angel among humans. A delicate harmony.
December 12, 2016
I’m thankful for the stars at night.
December 17, 2016
A goodbye letter to my friend, addressed to her Spanish-named plants:
“Dear Gustavo, Rosa, Ernesto, y Berenice—
Please be good to Charlotte. (I’m looking at you, Berenice!) And no speaking Korean. (I’m looking at you Ernesto!) Otherwise, gangsta people will come to the apartment…and CUT YOU!
Rosa: blink twice if you’re still alive.”