Contributors * more photos to appear soon

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I gotta get back on top of posting on Thursdays.  I apologize.

In the meantime, here's the poem I did at the APIA Spoken Word Summit, and at the Woosh K August Slam. I feel like I've been working on this poem for a year, in different drafts, but it was never clear to me what I wanted to say, so it was never clear to anyone what it said.  I think I've finally got it, or come close, for this poem at least.  Love to my adoptees, and love to my birthmother.


I wish my birth mother
had Facebook.

If she had Facebook,
my newsfeed would repeat her name
and I could know how many carrots she cut for dinner.
How the sun kisses her and skins her and calls it summer.
Whether work is slow,
     or alive and steaming,
     when it’s not just a dark square on the street and we are in a taxi pointing,
     when she is counting the till at night
     and mixing sugar into the kimchi.

She could poke me. I could poke her back.

If my birth mother had Facebook
I could know her favorite quotations.
Is she a live life to the fullest, don’t look back kind of lady?
Is she stuck in song lyrics?
     Let me come home
     Home is wherever I’m with you.
Or is she obsessed with love like it’s a blessing worth repeating?
Maybe she left it blank, like I do, because there are too many words that lift us in this world and it’s hard to nail them down.

I would stalk her mobile uploads:
samgyetang on the first dog day of summer,
her son, stooped by a street vendor, buying onions and tea.
Cabbage and radishes stretching into her corner garden,
a couple, squished together on the subway,
her new shoes.
An entire album of little moments,
her moments,
the ones she has to save.
And the glow of my screen would catch my smile
as I got to know her.

Would we both
have a photo of the fog
soaking up the sun,
like the bright haze could lift our own shadows.
Is there only one sky,
showing up on both our profiles
over and over across the ocean?

If we were Facebook friends
she wouldn’t have to call me at 4am to tell me that she’s sorry.
We wouldn’t have to blubber in broken Korean about how wholesome we’re eating.
She wouldn’t have to let her tears out, I wouldn’t have to receive them,
she could just post on my wall that she loves me, and I could “like” it.

We could invite each other to events we can’t attend and Facebook could send us birthday reminders

would my mother curse the screen every august 13th like an annual birth pain?
would Facebook remind her to breathe?

If there was Facebook on the night I was born, my mother could have asked for more courage.
Her friends commenting that they hoped everything was okay,
sending light and love
and my naked mother holding me on her blood stained floor,
skin to skin,
my fist clenched around her finger,
us, weeping together
and still a secret.

Someone, somewhere, would say a prayer for her.

Maybe she would have 811 friends.
Maybe she would have ten.
Maybe she would have closed her account,
closed her doors,
closed her heart, her laughter, her words.

Maybe there isn’t really anything to say
when you’re dressing your baby for the last time.

But I want to know.
I want to be a mobile upload, too precious to forget.
I want to hear her quaint descriptions:
how long is the train ride to the city?
what is the woman next to her reading?
does she get lost in seoul?

I want to follow her check-ins:
to the payphone,
to the social worker’s apartment.
to the alley outside, where she threw up a piece of her.

I want more than an apology.
I want to know what I was wearing.
I want to know what I was doing, what my mother’s eyes looked like as she said goodbye.
What song was playing on the radio?
How many other mothers were in that black book,
sat on that sinking couch,
handed their children away
in return for their hope?

for how long did she sleep that night?
Has she woken up

time-drenched broken mother,
let’s not wait another 21 years for a birthday party.
for you to teach me what it means to prepare your skin at night,
to scrub our bodies before bed,
to measure a red hanbok around my waist,
and feed me a lifetime of meals in one sitting.

Forgivable mother,
this is a friend request
from a stranger,

this is a friend request
from your daughter.

Monday, September 5, 2011


as nore namo"
she taught me...

our backs resting against weary rucksacks
somewhere in the middle of
poland's nowheres
of mafija crawling train stations
stars to guide us home
i was the size of a speck of light
our desires the size of galaxies
(ive always had this thing about
in all forms)

we slept
heads buried in our arms
so as not to be spotted by
invisible kidnappers
on the other side of that fence
my toque full of the stench of
"stinky cheese"
"ah zvegsdute...
as nore

so many years have passed
since that night

so many mornings have passed
since that sun
when laughing school children
appeared from beyond a fence
how close to home we were

so much of life in those days spent
catching one train to the next
steel girders...
i have clickity clacked across the world and back
outflown birds
and outdrunk the most seemingly decrepit

everything back then
was steamed
by desire
everything right now
is guided by
the taming of
once raging inner waters

when i think back to the spring
and the late winter just before
the heartache
that was like a violent jolt of
tectonic earth plate shiftings
and the smell of late blossoming lilacs
i think now
"that was then"
"now is

and i am all the better for
all the lives ive lived in such a short span of

i still look to the skies
solitary murmuring
"ah zvegsdute
as nore namo"

i am still the young
20 something
looking down the tracks
head out the window
of the carriage
laughing into the wind
that swallows up my exhales
giving me my

i am still that
london twilight
somewhere off of brick lane
too broke to buy even a full pint

all of those things from then
are still with me

but i am not those things anymore
and yet
and yet
i am

every place of searching
is inked
every place of longing
is easily recalled

i have whispered to the skies
since before the desolation of
polish mafija train stations
and they
- the skies
- the oceans travailed
have answered
to my
longings of
as nore namo"

little star
i want to go home.

i kiss
the sky
my face
with the holiness

kim thompson. 13.21 seoul. s. korea. tuesday. 6 sept. '11