Contributors * more photos to appear soon

Contributors * more photos to appear soon
Christy Namee Eriksen, kim thompson, Jon Schill

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A "Reading"

I will do more of these if I can figure out how to get a more Korean-looking "actor."


Saturday, November 27, 2010

A REMINDER FOR FATHERS WHO HAVE FORGOTTEN THEY ARE FATHERS

Sometimes I weep in his absence,
at dinner, when I call for our son upstairs and
he slides down our family backwards,
his young oak smile, wise in its open knot
as he runs to me, just a girl in the kitchen
that he mistakes for the ground.

This wood flute we made together,
I weep for him, his fleeting songs,
for this poem, undeserving of words,
for the headless horseback fathers,
stabbing into the dark with dull memories,
content with becoming ghosts.

Yet my child, son of the wind,
blows around the room a boundless toddler,
collector of questions,
and he asks none
of his mother’s love,
pausing only seconds
for these promising kisses,

for he is tear-free and peaceful,
and he has no sense of loss.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MADE

My friend NaHaan was telling me one day how he thinks there should not be a difference between poetry we write and poetry we speak, so whenever we speak, it should still be poetry. So sometimes I throw poems into our fb conversations.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

mad lib toast

Here is the Mad Lib toast I gave at my sister J's wedding.

Congratulations to the OUTRAGEOUS bride, J + the IRRESISTIBLE groom, A, the BIZARREst couple in the TIVON.

We join you on this, the day of your wedding, a day of DIAMONDS + YOUNG WOMEN.

Five years ago when they met, A's SACROILIAC JOINT was drawn to a GLAMOROUS creature, too OBSCURE for words.

He was overcome with MANIC PANIC and was sure that he had found the woman he was destined to share his SALMON CROQUETTES with.

She gazed at him with her OBNOXIOUS MAUVE eyes and his EARS began to DANCE JOYFULLY.

They kissed and they knew it was love at first IGUANA.

She agreed and he SMELLED her off her feet.

Then, one day, A gathered his courage and asked for J's BIG TOE in marriage.

J was so SHOCKED, she responded immediately with OPA!

And here we witnessed the climatic moment when A kissed J, which he told me tasted like SEXY SHOES.

That's when I knew, this was meant to be.

Their love is as PHAT as the HUDSON SEA.

Anyone who knows A knows that he is SPECIAL + that he can ABSORB with the best of them. He is an amazing guy but he will have to stop JUMPing now that he's married.

And J, my dear sister, who is so WHITE that she can PENETRATE her own COLLAGEN LIPS with her hands tied behind her back. She's not always the WETTest VASELINE in the LIONEL ROBERTS STADIUM, but we love her anyways.

J's ENDEARING TULSA is a great match for A's FUNNY REFRIGERATOR.

Now they are off to enjoy a long life together, enjoying each other's PUPU PLATTERS.

As you set sail on this SEXY adventure, may your love last forever, or until KITTIES can CARTWHEEL.

So raise your PIZZA and join me in wishing the ANNOYING couple a wonderful life together and that they live GENEROUSLY ever after.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CONVERSATION WITH MY SON

Now that my son's talking more, I wanna start a new "poem" series called CONVERSATIONS WITH MY SON.  Here's a couple to get it going.

#1: Dreams
[Son wakes up]

Son: Ishaw Ishaw Eshaw Ishaw

Me: You saw?
Son: Ishaw!

Me: What did you see?

Son: Ball.

Me: You saw a ball? [son nods] What else did you see?

Son: Moose. Cheese.

[age 20 months]

#2: Mama’s Boy
Me: Hey Sun, can I get a hug?
Son: Trucks!
Me: You want to play with your trucks? [son nods]. Can I get a hug first?
Son: No. Trucks.

[age 20 months]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bully w/ Blue Eyes & a Gun.

Dear Fong,
I bet right now you're wishing you had been gay
and bullied
and killed yourself--
made the choice to die--
because maybe then
Fong Lee would be in the papers,
your tormentors might see justice,
and Mr. Sulu would have to remember which face he wears first.
I bet right now you're wishing you had a closet to hide in,
to protect you from the bullets,
lock out Hatred with a badge and a gun--
but you can't take your face off
and bulleyes are too often brown eyes.

You didn't have a choice in dying--
there are no hotlines for kids who like to ride their bikes with friends
and your roommate didn't film it when who you really were--
your colors--
drained out of you from thirteen holes
onto North Minneapolis.


maybe a(nother)

maybe...


maybe this is just

a(nother)

self imposed

1 year plus hiatus

that leaves me

choked up crying on the floor

drawing portraits in blue lead



maybe

this is just

a(nother)

long gestation

waiting for the first kick that wakes me in the middle of the night

and i dont sleep for the next 9 months to 18 years...



... maybe

this is just...

a(nother)

way ive chosen?

a sort of winter 13/14... 15...16... month

urban dwelling basement hibernation

storing up till im fatty full of words

and spit out strings of lines formed from

silently chewed upon thoughts



maybe...

this is just

a(nother)

pot of water on the fire...

boiling for the soup...


- k. thompson. seoul. s.korea. thurs 4 nov 2010 @ 20.22

Friday, October 22, 2010

K-POP

Limited Korean vocab+love for K-POP/my ears=

friend,
love,
don't have,
one day,
how do I,
don't do it,
you,
me,
snow,
rain,
okay,
I'm sorry,
then,
I know,
I love you.

If....

chingo,
sarang,
upso,
haru,
ot toe kae,
hajema,
neo, dangsin
chonin,
noon,
bi,
canchana,
Miana, mianhamnida
krae, krum
Aryiso,
Saranghey.

Negga....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Question marks

To everyone here, my apologies for not posting anything in a long while; I conveniently blame South Africa’s lack in internet speed and connection. It's not thursday, but set my silence right, here is a poem anyways...


They told her poems shouldn’t end in question marks, they’re not questions, they can’t be. So she was told that her words need meaning, metaphor. Brushstrokes and the scratching of the fountain pen’s sharp point needed something more than she had given...

Bowed down head, set to work, assigned to write, to think and feel – with meaning, not questions. And the white paper softens under the trickle of tears... She hates filling it with statements, giving it such meaning.

But the whiteness, the virginity, of the paper made it meaningless; it had to be taken! Had to, so she was told... to rape the words onto it, and take away the innocence; leave it with meaning – statements they meant with that; because questions, well, questions don’t turn the paper into something, they only ask for meaning from something, someone, else...

Take the paper... and fill it...

Perhaps, but the only thing she wishes for is to leave a question mark at the end...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life

Life is the struggle to hold on.

Happiness is the willingless to let go.

Sadness is the absence of reconcilation of these.

Wah Wah Call The Waaahmbulance

Wooo new people!

I'm going through the folder of poems from NaPoWriMo and working on revising them a little. On days where I have nothing new to present (most days), I'm going to post one of these revisions:

Wah Wah Call The Waaahmbulance (4/17/10)


The truest poet ever plays at softly sentimental,

spinning sad songs for tear drops, love lost, and shock value,

settles for whoever

pays attention--

like he knows inside that he’s just selling lies to strangers,

squares it with his god that

believing him is their choice.

Still he spins his stories, sobbing, spittle flying,

crying so you know he means it--

reminiscing artfully about when they were authentic

while looking for a remedy for happiness;

sadness sells too well and boring folks

love a tearful story over dinner as proof

they still feel anything.

And in fifty years or so no one will care about him

but there’s going to be, like, plenty of replacements

who never heard his name.






Friday, October 15, 2010

CARHARTS, RAIN JACKET

CARHARTS, RAIN JACKET
after Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket”

I want a man with constellations in his ear drums.
I want a man with long attention.
I want a man who is not sure what to order,
treats the waitress like a princess, and leaves a big tip.

I want a man with intercultural charisma. 
who loves like he means business
and makes last requests.
He is not afraid to get dirty:
He is covered in fish guts,
He is fist up in protest,
and knee deep in my heart.

I want a man with carharts and a rainnnnn jacket.

I want a man with a waterproof smile.
I want a man who always knows where we are.
I want a man who has time for breakfast
who got something scrambled and sees the sunny side up.
He brings home the bacon.
And flowers and hitchhikers and cellphone pictures of the sea.

He is not afraid to get dirty:
He is covered in fish guts,
He is fist up in protest,
and knee deep in my heart.

I want a man with carharts and a rainnnnn ...rainn...... jacket.

I want a man with a marathon imagination
I want a man with bare feet on the earth
He is walking by me at Fred Meyer, he has somewhere to go,
he is in a hurry but he asks me my name.

He is well dressed for a Friday.
He is buying onions, tomatoes, and oreo cookies.
He asks my son for a fist pound and
says he loves this weather, partly cloudy, fifty five.

I want a man with carharts and a rainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn jacket.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

affluenza

can we not supersize the Mickey D combis
can we stop being Aberzombies
can we exchange our Armani
Chrissy Lou-wearing lasses looking bonny
liking mamas looking hoochie with their Gucci
fake Fossils found in the study of Anthropologie
Prada Fendi Dior Cavallie
people thinking they speak a foreign tongue
people chock full of affluent dung
close the Gap and stop being Forever 21
Diesel in our monster trucks
Diesel with our Chucks
lame ducks run amok with jeans full of Luck
fallin' like Dominos while consuming Mangos
can you hear the Holl[ow]ster EckĊ?
the H+M got us bound like S+M
FCUK CK DKNY FUBU FUBAR too far
no wonder we grew up on the Phat Farm
trusting an Old Navy to defend us
Dior worship can't transcend us
take a Guess what's gonna end us
reOutfit the Urbana
stop thinking the only Republic is Banana
splitting Sundays into stun days
stop wasting the C.R.E.A.M. in our Starbeezys
learn to go easy breezy
stop thinking Hugo is the Boss
what's the Lacoste?

A New Room in a Smaller City

(I just moved to a smaller city, so I've been writing a lot about that transition):

Let the cats trace the margins of your attention with their ribs, let them play with the thin plume of newness that flickers across the living room floor, where light takes the shape of a cathedral and passing car horns sound like prayers. Let your mind unfurl its attention like a white flag of surrender, let it loosen its tethers and release poems. A new town can do that, spread its arms wide and reveal hidden plumage. Small town felicity will mend your jewelry free of charge and stop for pedestrians in the cross-walk, provide piles of good maps, but will it unmask itself? In this town you smile at every face like yours and search for life on the railroad tracks. In this room the insistent growl of motorcycles outside swallows the stillness of your desk lamp. All the poetry born into this room will be tinged with the gray-brick loss of one city and the amber discovery of another.

ADVICE

Dear women,
Get him now, while he is still a hopeless romantic.
Now, while he will still cross the nation for you.
Now, while he wraps memories in flowers,
while his heart still has room,
while he is in the mood to find words in your hair,
braid them together on a roadside,
on a boat,
in a basement
somewhere.
There, at that moment,
should you have a chance,
you should love him.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Haiku Stand stuff

Ok I've been slackin the last few weeks what with preppin for the show/trip to Minneap, then traveling, then getting back into the swing of regular life.  But! I *have* technically been writing some, since I've still been doing the Haiku Stand in Juneau.  Here's some from this week:

For Maeghan (request: the ever-present rain)

For Anna (request: her new house)

For Rico (ransom haiku. long story.)

For Kathleen, for her husband (request: technical writer + creative writer)

For Stefan (restoring sanity)

For Tanna (request: how we see ourselves)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome 3 New Contributors!

Huzzah! Thursdays blog welcomes three new ibyang poets: Katie Leo, Jung Mee Bec, and Michael Sung Ho.  Hold on to your hats, these peeps have got it goin on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mo

The thing with stealing internet at home is that, sometimes, even when I have a poem written on Wednesday night, I can't post it until Sunday. I'm pretty sure this site has a backdate feature.



Mohammed emigrated here eighteen years ago

because Tehran was looking like hell

and he had a little boy to think about.

Two years after they arrived,

his wife said she preferred the Tehran because

any hell can be home and that one was hers.

That was the year Mohammed started going by Mo.


Mo has a shop in the skyway now.

He dresses nicer than I do, most days,

smiles brighter than I do, most days

and, I suspect, has more of a sense of purpose, self, or whatever

than I do every day.


I’ve seen his son helping him

stock shelves or work the register

but, now it’s Fall and I haven’t seen him in a while.

Mo smiles a little less when his son isn’t working with him

but he’s always a reliable destination for a smile.


As I watch art students drive themselves deeper into debt,

I wonder what kind of loans Mo’s son will have

and I hope it is none

and I hope that is the reason

Mo kept his smile bright

even when some gay guy called him a sand nigger.





Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday poems, Monday revisions

In an effort to compensate for my recent silence, here are two poems about Korean people I feel differently about. Both originated here and eventually got revised and performed at a recent poetry reading event in St. Paul. Symbolism?? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Poem for Brian


He came into this world harelip split open,

figured it would help him tell more stories

but was just a baby

with nothing to draw from

so lit lies and fanned them

with the books he got for Christmas

but didn’t read--

scorching his story into

pages penned by white dudes.


Twisted leg set his broken pace,

kept sentences unpredictable--

kept one foot where he was born

by choice, helped him look East

while his stories stayed “too yellow.”

Eventually, eyes turned from slanted to hollow.


Felt his heart swell with

a history no one knew,

didn’t bother to read--

but they liked his stories well enough,

felt sorry that he stopped writing

to lay his head in common ground.





Banana, Split


She knows all the words to Weezer,

was Go-Go Yubari for Halloween

and, in her white-washed mind, her chipmunk cheeks are the

the hottest you’ve ever seen

dressing like a school girl-dragon lady-

ex-Asian hyping the exotic East,

Hangul hurts her hands

so she settles for (what she’s pretty sure is) kanji

Reclaims her hanguk saram handle

But failure by any other name

still reeks like rotting from the inside out--

diseased with something awful, incurable

no matter how many yellow-fevered topicals

coat that vapid pout.


Hitchhiking--no, sidestepping--toward self discovery

or identity-reclamation all for popularity--

she breaks a sweat, remains half a hemisphere away--

grows Madame Butterfly wings

but stays grounded, West of anything worth finding,

blathering on to white boys about how much she’s already found,

pukes out a drunken, broken hangul greeting

and doesn’t understand that

solidarity does not make us friends.


She’s unable to speak--no, unable to be,

all her heart’s sob stories about hidden bloodlines

language lost, and guilty conscience

all turn to pathetic cries for sympathy.

The day can’t come soon enough

when she brings those bloodlines out of hiding,

lets her wrong turns pool beneath her

and still can’t tell

if our stories run the same color.





Friday, September 10, 2010

I Am From

Our Juneau Writers of Color group is gonna meet this weekend so I thought it'd be fun if we all did an assignment, did the classic "I AM FROM" poem (prompt credited to George Ella Lyons, I believe) to share. It was kind of a selfish assignment because really I'm just forcing them to speed date with me for a moment, tell me where they're from, what makes them who they are, at least at this point in their lives. The last time i did an I AM FROM poem it was like my first year of college and where I was from Then is very different than where I'm from Now. It's interesting to think about how where we're from isn't just a cumulative list of experiences, they're weighted so that some stuff seems bigger, feels heavier, takes up more room than other stuff at different points in our lives. Well, here it is, proof I did my homework, current stuff taking up room in my life:

I AM FROM

I am from combat shopping day after Thanksgiving, sun still feasting on dawn, my mother coaching us in the parking lot:
Grab whatever looks good, think about it later. Be quick, travel light. Socks are half off.

I am from brown hair, black hair, pepper, pennies, sunrise, strawberry blonde locks,
gossiped and snipped, pieces of other people’s beauty as of yesterday,
their rich wigs, fallen to my mother’s spare change feet, kissing the ground she walks on.
I am from the daughter of daughter of hairdressers,
of gentle hands at your pressure points.

I am from May the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance to you, and give you peace!

and I am from god damn peaceful people,
who choose to say nothing
if they have nothing nice to say,

so I am from begging the LORD to love me anyway.

I am from high school sweethearts married almost 40 years now, whose sole concept of hurting each other’s feelings is not being able to find the other person at Costco.

I am from heroes, who I never saw in their normal clothes until I was grown.
I am from ripping them apart, searching for their capes.

I am from
the single tear a woman lets herself cry only once a year,
rolled along Seoul’s sewer system,
carried by rat to the coast,
shaken off hands wiped clean.
I am from a drop
a ripple
a storm
gaining strength across the ocean,

I am from destruction
from men at their knees
from frantic mothers, their children’s names an endless echo,
and a sore prayer in the throats of presidents,

and I am from not knowing my own strength,
reaching out to touch him and my wave breaking legs,
I crash, just wanting to lap at his ankles.

I am from two hundred thousand sunken ships,
our treasure lost at sea, and like ghosts
we haunt the streets of our homeland,
looking for what’s ours,
I am from passing our hands through solid objects as we name them.
Korean men and women,
maybe our brothers and sisters,
stare straight through our accent,
our american hips,
our histories,
so we can not tel
lif we have really come back
or not.

I am from abandoning myself.
From tucking me
in a basket, floating down a monarch vodka river,
From leaving me
at doorsteps, in backseats, under silk sheets, between body heat.

I am from two driftwood twigs paler than they ever were,
softer than they appear,
broken from a weeping tree somewhere,
and I am from the fifteen year old haphazard love making of their edges as they
rub together like they were meant to be fire,
limbs in a collision rhythm.
See I am not from sparks,
I am from friction, from smoke, from a slow burn that scars you from the inside.

I am from a dream left open and men like happy thieves
I am from a pirate wife’s life, who let him steal from me.
and I am from mutiny,
from a plank made out of fingernails I pulled from our hearts.
And I am from the watch tower on starboard side at sunset,
wide awake, with death grips on a pistol,
on my steel child not to be confused with bullets,
and old poems I quilted into a white flag,
some days we raise it.

I am from the Queen of Spades,
the Ace of Hearts,
the Five of Diamonds.
I am nothing. I am royalty.

Pick me,
put me back,
shuffle me, cut me,
let me be found.
I am magic, I am from tricks.

rain

* in honor of my 6th grade writing teacher and the writing exercises we once did and memories of conversations in the lbc.


rain

sounds like fingers tapping on a castle tin roof


rain

tastes like the end of a duracell battery


rain

smells like green soft grass freshly mown


rain

feels like pin pricks to the skin that do not pierce but spread


rain

looks like thin lines running down a page.



-- www.thursdaypoems.blogspot.com

kim thompson friday 10 september 2010 14.09 seoul korea

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

a very belated thursday poem

* so ive not been writing the past weeks but it doesnt mean ive not had words writhing about... this isnt a poem its just a lot of words...


- so im sitting

listening to "this american life" and thinking about "here"

- "here" being - korea.

and im thinking about what it means to be adopted.

and im thinking about all the white foreign faces here and im not sure really how i fit in... how it is that i can feel this sense of indignation at times with the white faces when its the same kinds of faces that back in the states and over in europe i consider to be some of my truest friends and family...

but here... i confess

at times

i just wish

that

they would all

go home.

and then i get confused cuz i think "kim youre not exactly korean korean and no korean korean will ever see you as fully korean korean and you yourself dont even feel that you are korean korean..."

and then i see white men... white women... chasing after ones who suddenly i consider "MY" people ...

its the sense of superiority.. that gets me

its this attitude that i see in almost every single white n. american i have met here... that somehow where they are from is better than here... and that how they look is more desirable... and that "we" are this experience this delicacy to be had...

and ive heard stories of "them" walking into bars saying

"doesnt it feel good to walk in knowing that you own the place?"

and ive seen and heard for myself

"koreans want us cuz we (white people) are so good in bed"

(and because im not a nice person i cant help but think

"its because back where youre from you cant get laid")

and then i scold myself for not being nice...


and ive seen and heard for myself white people telling us (ibyangs) how we need to feel about being here

and how we have yet to really experience here


and i think "i dont care how long youve lived here... this place this land is more mine than it will ever be yours"

but then im reminded of that invisible manned military line created by "their" governments... and how theyve been taking from here the moment they set foot down on this land

and i scold myself again for not being kinder...


and then i think about the accusations and how ive seen... ibyang men and kyopo men almost desperate for a korean wife... like korea is this new world where they can be the man that they never felt like they were back over there... and i see it with kyopo and ibyang women too... and i wonder how guilty am i of the same?


and yet i know its somehow different

because i know what it is we've lost

and i know who took it...


i see adoption


how it sets everyone off

adoptees cant even get along with each other because of it

i think ive lost friends back home (back home being mpls) because of what i believe...


and i see how torn we are all


ripped not only from our mothers fathers brothers sisters aunts uncles cousins grandmothers grandfathers


but from our land

our country

our identity

our way of seeing in the mirror


and the white faces here

remind me of

how and why this all started


a war

that america encouraged

that gi's fathered

that well meaning white americans and europeans pitied


and i think

"havent you taken enough?"


but then i think of europe

and what i saw in lithuania

and the influence of the west

and how theres a lot of good that has come

but so much bad


i think about ola

and how she told me when the new fountain had been built in her town square

"ahh the west has its influence even in zory now"

and how she told me

"the good is that our education is opening and expanding

the bad is - mcdonalds and fountains and this consumer mentality"


and i think here in korea

who am i to judge a thing?

and i cant judge every white person here

and i even like some of them

but i still wish theyd stop dating my people

but then i go back to

"what exactly do i mean by that? ibyangs or korean koreans? or?"

and

"since when did i become such an ethnocentric type? its a mentality i always deplored in the states and europe and im sorry england i love you but youre amongst the worst for ethnocentric thinking"

and its too many tangents


and theres no resolution


and everyone just gets offended and says "who are you to say this? shouldnt you be more grateful?"


and then i go back to the word "grateful"


and how white people are always saying this

and adoptees have picked up on it


and we're all just so broken and torn and confused


so i dont know


i really dont know


but im trying


because you see


we have no role models


(sadly) we are called into being the models to role something that we are stumbling about in


... i think back to christys poem


- how she said "what would harry holt do?"


what would he do if he knew that this was how it was going to be?


... i look at the white faces here - and wonder if their ignorance is excuse? if their need to pay off debts is enough? if their living or learning language makes them ok?


but then they go and date us


and ive heard them say with my own ears


"korean women like us cuz they know how good we are in bed"


... ... there is no end to this


there is only this middle


and we are in it


www.thursdaypoems.blogspot.com

kim thompson tuesday 7 sept 2010 seoul.s.korea

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Carver

A First Nations man, a fifth generation carver, was shot four times by a Seattle police officer on Monday when he was walking with his folded knife and a block of wood.  I wanted to write about how it was not an isolated event of police brutality, or even brutality in general against indigenous people.  Likewise, there is something poetic and devastatingly symbolic about the perceived threat of the knife of a carver to this police officer.  Is it the carver, or the tradition of carving, which cuts and heals simultaneously? Anyway, late night questions.

This is my attempt at articulation of my anger, and actually deserves better attention than my rough Thursday poem habits of just typing whatever comes to mind, but at least something's out there, and we can talk about it.  Good night.  Christy

THE CARVER
For John T. (“Trouble”) Williams

Dear John, you’re Trouble, I love you.

Your grin in the sidewalk,
your sidestep stagger, a spin,
I am your lady,
you are my duke,
let’s be rich until midnight.

Dear John, you are two thirty, I love you.
Open your eyes, see me in
my torn threads as I
de-sparkle,
glass slippers, one slipper, barefoot as you blink.
Now we are dancing servants,

and we are early.

John, time’s got a joke in your drink,
take a swig and laugh it backwards,
I love you in every generation.

Dear John, Father of John, Father of Father of
John, Father of Father of Father of John,

with knives as hands,
cut across a block of wood like sons
whittled into bears, into birds,
into brave beasts.

With knives as hands, I love you.

This ribbon world, shred it.
Spiral it to your touch.

Me, my drunk passion for you,
prick my finger, make me promise.

Dinner, a lavish processed plate,
divide it, take what you need, leave it, share it.

The day, cut and paste the hours,
dream at noon, stumble in somewhere
when you are not welcome,
where you are not welcome,

The welcomers, scrape heart scars onto their chest, lest they forget.

Your feet, slash the bottoms, a trail to your mother, go home.

And in the city park garden, carve your name into the woodwork,
your father’s name, all their fathers’ names, carve their wives’ names, their children’s names, your clan names, the animals that make you cunning, the wind directions that you make tremble, carve it all, give it a new shape, an old shape, leave a reminder,

because today, my love,
today they will yell into your bad ear,
they will demand that you drop your knife to the ground,

and they do not know.
They do not know how your knife holds me safe against nightmares,
how it held out tokens, how it opened trees into stories,
how you were born with the family glint,
how it healed a man to know where he came from,
they think it’s something you can let go of.

And you will not surrender,
you will fall to pieces.

You will not be put back together.

John,
the police are looking for witnesses.
But they will not find them in the park,
his and her recollections of a few spare minutes.

Who will tell them how you loved?

That these are not your king’s horses.
That these are not your king’s men.
This was not a wall you fell off of.

It was tradition.

The Carver

A First Nations man, a fifth generation carver, was shot four times by a Seattle police officer on Monday when he was walking with his folded knife and a block of wood.  I wanted to write about how it was not an isolated event of police brutality, or even brutality in general against indigenous people.  Likewise, there is something poetic and devastatingly symbolic about the perceived threat of the knife of a carver to this police officer.  Is it the carver, or the tradition of carving, which cuts and heals simultaneously? Anyway, late night questions.

This is my attempt at articulation of my anger, and actually deserves better attention than my rough Thursday poem habits of just typing whatever comes to mind, but at least something's out there, and we can talk about it.  Good night.  Christy

THE CARVER
For John T. (“Trouble”) Williams

Dear John, you’re Trouble, I love you.

Your grin in the sidewalk,
your sidestep stagger, a spin,
I am your lady,
you are my duke,
let’s be rich until midnight.

Dear John, you are two thirty, I love you.
Open your eyes, see me in
my torn threads as I
de-sparkle,
glass slippers, one slipper, barefoot as you blink.
Now we are dancing servants,

and we are early.

John, time’s got a joke in your drink,
take a swig and laugh it backwards,
I love you in every generation.

Dear John, Father of John, Father of Father of
John, Father of Father of Father of John,

with knives as hands,
cut across a block of wood like a son
whittled into bears, into birds,
into brave beasts.

With knives as hands, I love you.

This ribbon world, shred it.
Spiral it to your touch.

Me, my drunk passion for you,
prick my finger, make me promise.

Dinner, a lavish processed plate,
divide it, take what you need, leave it, share it.

The day, cut and paste the hours,
dream at noon, stumble in somewhere
when you are not welcome,
where you are not welcome,

The welcomers, scrape heart scars onto their chest, lest they forget.

Your feet, slash a trail to your mother, go home.

And in the city park garden, carve your name into the woodwork,
your father’s name, all their fathers’ names, carve their wives’ names, their children’s names, your clan names, the animals that make you cunning, the wind directions that you make tremble, carve it all, give it a new shape, an old shape, leave a reminder,

because today, my love,
today they will yell into your bad ear,
they will demand that you drop your knife to the ground,

and they do not know.
They do not know how your knife holds me safe against nightmares,
how it held out tokens, how it opened trees into stories,
how you were born with the family glint,
how it healed a man to know where he came from,
they think it’s something you can let go of.

And you will not surrender,
you will fall to pieces.

You will not be put back together.

John,
the police are looking for witnesses.
But they will not find them in the park,
his and her recollections of a few spare minutes.

Who will tell them how you loved?

That these are not your king’s horses.
That these are not your king’s men.
This was not a wall you fell off of.

It was tradition.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Aftermath

AFTERMATH

The night you planted the bomb I mistook it for flowers.

The smell of affection like silk on my neck,
the curve of my spine a glass vase,
our bouquet of hair,
an odd number falling against each other,
and each piece of clothing stacked against the balance of our nature
so we lessened the weight,
broke from our bases,
I thought
we might spin
in the wind.

I did not spin.
I was not beautiful.
The mattress, sunken and unloved,
thought my bud too sweet to pass,
so it held me hostage in its shallow arms
as you laid me like something exotic to be picked,
something rare to be pressed between you.
Perhaps you saw something in me you wanted to keep.
Perhaps you saw something in me you wanted to take.

I didn’t remember how you took it.

But you followed me.
Years later,
in the birth wing of the hospital where every day is a miracle,
in my room made to look like a home
with laminate cabinets,
with sterile sheets and
law and order
and saltine crackers,
and my lover,
who is waiting for his son to come like a drink in his desert soul.

You crackpot gardener,
you are no one, you are nowhere,
but you got here, doctor’s hand inside me,
checking my cervix and then it is yours,
reaching too deep, too quick, too long, too many times.

I am a dozen roses tied at the waist with barbed wire, I am mid-thrash, in a storm of blood petals, I am no glass vase, just a tornado of shards
and I am cut, years are cut, tongues are cut,
eyelid cut hair locks cut ribs cut cunt cut

I can’t let a baby through this, this aftermath,
this destruction, this city leveled, this ash globe,
where nothing, not a person, not a plant, survives.

I didn’t remember how you took it,
how you traded, how you left something to tick inside me,
to teach my son the sound an enemy makes as he crawls across lines,
to teach my body your sergeants, your manifesto, your anger,
your gloved hands on a seed shaped grenade you
threw into that field of flowers.

The doctors worked for hours,
my baby stubbornly surrendering inside me,
i had to coax him,
had to coax us,
had to lift this broken burning house off of me,
pull my stomach from the rubble.
I smeared my tears into war paint.
I dropped my shield,
let it clank against my baby’s father’s
as they locked.
And against all odds
I slowly opened my petals,
faced the emerging sky,
so bright it paralyzed us.

And it was not you.
It was him,
it was the sun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Banana, Split (draft)

NOTE: Personally, I get way more pissed off about ignorant people of color who ought to know better not knowing better and, in doing so, making us all look bad. This is especially true with other adoptees who "consider themselves white." Shut up; you are not white. Stop embarrassing yourself and everyone else by rejecting who you are. Most of the time, I just feel sorry for people but there's this one person I know who just pisses me off because of 1. how misinformed she is and 2. how loud she is about it.


I should also mention that I am not claiming to be any kind of authority on self-discovery or identity issues but I feel we can all agree that there is something very wrong when a Korean adoptee dresses up like a Japanese school girl at a party and doesn't understand why none of the other Asian people want to talk to her.


This is still a draft.




She knows all the words to Weezer,

was Go-Go Yubari for Halloween

and, in her tiny-mind, her chipmunk cheeks are the

the hottest you’ve ever seen

dressing like a school girl-dragon lady-

ex-Asian hyping the exotic East

Hangul hurts her hands

so she settles for (what she’s pretty sure is) kanji

Reclaims her hanguk saram handle

But a piece of shit by any other name

still stinks like she’s rotting from the inside out--

diseased with something awful, incurable

no matter how many yellow fevered topicals

coat that vapid pout.

Hitchhiking--no, sidestepping--toward self discovery

or reclamation for popularity--

she breaks a sweat, remains half a world away--

darling, you’ve got to go down the road,

not cross the street

and, remember, before you vomit

your drunken broken hangul greeting at a party

that solidarity doesn’t mean

I want to stand next to you.

I’ve seen Japanophile white girls less offensive than she is--

all alternating between being full of shit and white-boy penis

cleavage over-represented like adopted names in suicide rates

bottom-feeding, sub-human, race-traitor, wannabe,

I don’t care about how hard you had it,

Mom not listening or Dad’s whore-habit--

Unable to speak--no, unable to be,

all her heart’s sob stories about hidden bloodlines

language lost, and guilty conscience

all turn into pathetic cries for sympathy.

The day can’t come soon enough

when she opens up a vein or two,

lets her complaints pool beneath her

and still can’t tell

if our blood runs the same color.





my people

* note this is just a first draft and its saturday here in seoul but im posting this for my thursday poem... ive not been writing these past weeks cuz words are stirring in me... this is only a draft its not complete...

- kim



my people

im your people

who exactly are MY people?



the ones with tans who know that theres a dolphin you can eat

and sand crabs you can catch in paper cups

and that worth avenue used to be the place for drugs?

who know that cobbler goes with breakfast

and the grits demand a pool of butter?

who remember polyster blues

and yellow carded tallies?



the ones who know that svyturys is the best

and that the real reason that 1492 matters is cuz its when

stiegl was first produced?

the ones who know the weight of a quid in their hand?

the ones who know a jordie from a manky?



my people?

im your people?

who exactly are my people?



the ones who love their PBR and premo

who call a casserole a hot dish

who are wedge organic?

who sit on stoops

and know what -50 F windchill feels like?



the ones who express through words

through body language gestures

who know the warmth of the light

shining from above

filling your very soul and being

as you do the thing you were born to do?

who understand when i say

"i miss the light"



my people?



you mean the south?

you mean the midwest?

you mean all the crevices of europe?

you mean the bus riders in merida?



my people?



you mean the ones who raised me?

the ones i do love?

the ones in oregon with the most beautiful garden in the world?



my people?

im one of you?



you mean the ones who flaunt rainbows like a flood just ended?

you mean the ones who cry out for equality?



im of of your people?

my people?

who exactly are my people?



the ones who live here

who look like ones from my other life?

the ones who fail to see that

theyre descended of the ones who created that line of divide between a people?

the ones who think they know

just because its been years?

but still walk with a swagger like this is theirs?

but we speak the same

and dress the same

and they brag of their prowress

telling me my people do not sweat

as my shirt is drenched in summer's humid heat



or you mean

my people

like



the ones i see each day

whom i cannot speak to

beyond head nods and

nervous mispronunciations

and confident askings for "mul' and "hana soju ju saeyo"



the ones who turned their backs on our mothers?

who push us to learn faster than we can?

who turn us into high ratings tv shows

and tell us how we're bitter



the ones whose acceptance of me

changes me

makes me better

makes me stronger?



my body is of this place

my blood is of this place

my entire dna was split in 45 degrees parallel

when my people sent me to those who say im their people now





my people?



im your people?



im one of you?



im yours?



we're the same?



only people that i can truly claim

are 200.000 others

some lost

some found

some somewhere inbetween trying to still find their people



kim thompson. 16.56 21 aug 2010 seoul, s.korea

www.thursdaypoems.blogspot.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

Haiku Giveaway Day II

Hi, I had another haiku giveaway day for my Thursday poem this week. Wrote a haiku for anyone who asked for one.  I had a couple requests, too, like "a limitless haiku" and a "climber haiku", which is fun cause it makes me feel (as Tim put it) like a Haiku DJ.

The first one, for my son, is probably my favorite.

DIEGO'S SKILLSAW: Your saw is so skilled / carved this knotted wooden heart / into a hope chest.

HIGHWAY SASHA: Your Way is so High / They call you Bridge now since all  / the people look up.

BRANDON’S LOLLIPOP: Your lolli’s so popped / that center looks too good to / count licks on the way.

PADRA’S TEARDROP: Your tear’s so dropped / even your scary sad days / get down like they’re hot.

BIG WHEEL STEVE: Your wheel is so big / everywhere you turned I just / had to roll with you.

ANN’S WINGSPAN: Your wing is so spanned / the kids called it an earthquake / as their ground took flight

STEEL STRING TREVOR: Your string is so steel / stretched between mountains you walk / no fear, just music

MEGAN’S LIMITLESS HAIKU (as requested): Your hug’s seventeen / syllables playing tag on / your arms, still running.

COURTNEY AT LIGHT SPEED: Your light’s so speedy / somewhere between here and your / hope, the dark gave up.

TGIF THANK GOLD IT’S FRIDAY: Your day is so fried / Everything that you do is / frickin delicious.

CHRISTY’S SOFT COVER - Your cover’s so soft / they read you at night just to / hold you in their hands.

PHOEBE’S FREE REFILL: Your refill’s so free / no one in the room can feel / empty around you. 

ALICA’S SUN SCREEN - Your sun is so screened / it prints on people like a / designer label.

TIM’S WALLFLOWER (a climber haiku, as requested): Your wall’s so flowered. / Jealous, gravity saw you / and moved the ground there. 

REAL SIMPLE SARAH - Your simple’s so real / stressed-out fairies and dragons / pop you like a pill. 

KATIE’S COOL SHADES: Your shade is so cool / the sun wears your shadow on / Fridays out dancing.

CACHET ON THE NORTH SLOPE:  Your slope’s so North / you let it take its course but / it always points home.

KATIE’S STREET LIGHT:   Your street is so lit / the word on it burnt holes the / dead keep wishin on.

STACY’S BRIGHT SIDE: Your side is so bright / ‘course your grass is greener, ‘course / we wanna be there.

HILARY’S GRILLED CHEESE: Your cheese is so grilled / every smile got that burnt flipped / look that’s addicting.

COLIN’S MUD SLIDE: Your slide’s so muddy. / You know life’s more fun if you / get a lil dirty.   

SWEET TOOTH ANNIE: Your tooth is so sweet / that even the cuspids chew / nice when you’re around.

STEM CELL HELEN:  Your cell is so stemmed. / Like any cage, you can just / flower out of there.  

PATCHWORK MALIA: Your work is so patched / the broken places are what / make the quilt gorgeous.

in lieu of...

in lieu of a poem listen to this interview on international adoption, korea, korean ibyangs, etc...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p008ww0m

- kim thompson seoul, s. korea 13 august 2010

p.s. my brain is frozen hence the lack of poems... but soon there will be words

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Poem For the Woman Who Thought Asking Dr. Laura a Race Question Was a Good Idea

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38684474/?gt1=43001

"Schlessinger also said that if the caller did not have a sense of humor about race, she shouldn't have entered into an interracial marriage."

We had a dog once.
He was friendly enough
but always pissed on the rug--
just all over it.
We tried to train him not to,
gave him a shock collar,
rewards when he pissed outside,
even took him to a doggy therapist
but he kept pissing on the rug every time he got the chance.
We couldn't throw the rug out;
it had been in the family for years, was part of us now
so we cleaned it every week--sometimes twice--
and just did our best to tolerate the damn dog,
did our best to keep anything nice away from the rug.

He didn't see a difference between what was rug
and what was on or next to rug--
Mom said it had something to do with all dogs
being colorblind--I think this dog was just
too inbred to even see contours.
He'd just take a piss everywhere
and then sit there wagging his tail,
expecting you to take him for a walk.
He still does--that dog will live forever.
So don't get all angry if you leave your shoes on the rug
and the dog pisses all over them.
Look at that dog--that thing doesn't know any better.
He won't learn and
we can't just put him down.
Don't blame me--

I wanted a cat.