Contributors * more photos to appear soon

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Town Called Whisper / Poem for T.

There’s a town called Whisper,
always a whisper’s length away;
exists in that warm energy, those fleeting breaths
before our world gushes back,
always leaves you in wisps, purged and dark. 
Still, alone now, Whisper calls:
There’s room for you just down, 
just down the river some. 
[redacted], please don’t go. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Verdict

Finally accept your life is worth not quite nothing but markedly less.
The soul as a transcendent entity helps you sleep again. 
But you are someone’s child;
your child’s life is worth markedly less and
Sleep is the least of your worries. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Abject Authentic Atheist
Assimilated Adapted

Anulled Abscene
Abnormal Antithesis

Abandoned Alone
Amazing Artist

Autistic Abrasive Arrogant
Abominable Adhesive

Asskisser Addicted
Abusive Adult

Abitch Abastard Abductee
Always Appropriately Angry


Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Am a Rented Room

NaPoWriMo 25/30: "I Am a Rented Room" (second draft/near immediate revision)

Carefully cleaned, walls painted over
between residents.
Every forlorn look covered in fresh, white paint, 
every exclamation aired out through opened windows.
The steadfast dresser remains
but its drawers are lined with new paper;
I don’t live here anymore. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Warriors Part 1

NaPoWriMo 4/17 "Warriors Part 1"

We believed we were warriors
until the day we fought the Ocean.
At first, we thought we beat it but 
brief retreat is only its nature;
It surged back, nearly drowned us.
Soggy, exhausted,
salt stinging our eyes, 
we wept salt water
into salt water
amid ruined battlements made of sand.

Friday, April 12, 2013


My legs and their legs were
mazes to a hard bass
on the dance floor.

Chris dared three of us to kiss him at once
and our tongues
were so empty
they learned anyone’s language.

I watched John eat a hot dog
and it was disgusting.
Mustard on his chin.
Words and relish falling out of his mouth.
Later he took my shirt off
so hungry
and I stood there like I had things
to offer.

Ryan told me he didn’t like me
but would sleep with me
and I did that for years.

Some nights I held him.

They are whistling,
they are talking about us,
the most beautiful women in the world.

I have never been ashamed to be Asian
except for every time
I wore my skin
like a drink

every time I
let them throw me back
and call me smooth,

I could have been anyone’s granddaughter
I could swing on a bell on a mountain of prayers
I could shave my head and sprinkle pieces of my midnight
all over Korea like a trail, like a bad joke
I could bear the name of a prescription drug
and my ancestors would never feel the pain
I could swallow the pacific
mile by raging mile
and spit
in my mother’s kimchi because

that’s what happens
to your insides

when you see
what they see

when they look at you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Adoptee Statistic

Context: the suicide rate among Korean Adoptees is something staggering like 5 times above average. Here is one guess why:

The Adoptee Statistic (4/5/13, edited 4/11/13)

At night, when the stars come out, I like to pretend each one is an ancestor.
I don’t know if that has any relevance in my History, my heritage;
it has lots of significance in My history. 

They look down at me, speak in a language I can’t understand,
that I’m too lazy to understand;
below the stars already, I sink deeper.

I call my mom--as a troubled child always should
and complain about my job because I lack the vocabulary to say what really bothers me.
My real sadness doesn’t translate,
but manifests as anger, as hate
and she tells me to stop bitching. 
And she’s right
but our blood doesn’t speak the same language
and we’re talking in codes that can’t be broken
so I hang up,
wish I had a mother who needed no translation,
yearn for darkness to reveal more ancestors in the sky
so I can learn by immersion. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


My mother was a song
in an empty hall.

When I met her
she ended twenty one years of silence
and filled me with her notes

Even with open ears
I barely heard
every e-flat apology
every d-scale dream
every Korean crescendo 
about our lifetime 
of broken chorus

and now I’m haunted
by the screech of strings
that no one listens to.

Some days
I still see her face
in instruments
that no one plays

and I recognize the look 
on a piano 
when someone 
bumps the keys

and all the sounds 
reach out at once

like the music is 
trapped inside it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Oma (Attempt #3)

I finished I Wish For You A Beautiful Life this week, coinciding with a goal to compile a chapbook of adoption-themed poems and find my mother in the next year or two. After I return to the homeland, there will likely be a follow up to this that has a radically different tone. 

Dear Oma (Attempt #3)

Dear Oma, 
my Oma,
I read your letter--or what I think, hope was your letter. 
I forgive you.
Please forgive me. 
Our nine months together impacted, scarred us
physically and in ways we’re still learning. 
Forgive me that I only know you as Oma.
Some day, without translation, I’ll tell you
you didn’t need to worry; I turned out okay,
it all worked out okay, 
I think of you a lot and am
I haven’t wanted for mothers, for love.
Lately, I haven’t wanted for God--but that’s another story. 
Oma, forgive me;
Like a ship into the ocean, you wished safe passage and Faith for me,
I only delivered one of these. 
But maybe we can call it even. 
Maybe we can accept fault in what we build up most,
bring the unattainable that much closer.
Language will matter less, 
culture will matter less, 
you and I will matter less, Oma. 

With love, always, 

Your Son. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

open letter (or something) to korea...

dear korea, (or ... anyone else who may or may not be listening/reading... lurking)

as you may or may not be aware... (most likely you are if youve ever paid attention/been able to decipher me at 4am on some random night where ive had too much soju and am stumbling about your streets mumbling things against you that begin with the oh so poetic phrase of "fuckin-fuckyoufuckinkorea-andyourfuckin...") i have very complex... unresolved feeling about and towards you.

seeing as i have now been living here more than 3 point 5 years (consecutively) and have spent about... 4 plus years (here) what with that grant and all...  the one thing i have been able to "ascertain" thus far is that... i evidently had a lot more expectations about and for you than i first realized "once upon a time ago" back when i first "reunited" with you in 2007... back then i recall only wondering if i was going to have some kind of "amy tan/joy luck club - 'As soon as my feet touched China*, I became Chinese*.'" experience. (* insert korea and korean for china and chinese)

 the reality (for me) is that the moment my feet touched the pavement outside of incheon airport on the night of december 15th of 2007 - not only did i not find myself "turning korean"... it hit me... as my friend and i stood by a rubbish bin to smoke... that... the truth was... i had (been) "turned" "western" so long ago that like a westerner i really didn't give a fuck that korean ahjushis were staring at us as we smoked ... and yet... something else hit me...

that i ... didn't need to "turn korean" because...



you never really left my blood now did you?

... so

here we are ... 6 ... SIX years later.

my ability to communicate with you only exists if we are discussing types of meat or seafood or booze... along with a few other random things that probably aren't too useful (though rather impressive party trick phrases when wanting to amuse korean-korean friends)

my ability to communicate with her as in HER... well... we all have different views/opinions on how public we want to be about HER... and for now... all i really want to say in this form of an open letter is that... thanks to you... thanks to a lot of other things... HER and i... really dont speak much anymore... (how many times can you repeat the same conversation over the course of almost 4 years?)

anyhow... back to YOU - korea.

i have such complex unresolved feelings about you.

one of these days... i will have to leave you.


... i have... a lot of feelings about that.

(feelings that i am not yet ready to fully express... give me a few more hours... days... weeks... months... years... lifetimes)

... but here... here is the thing i DO want to say to you in this open letter:

you cost me... us? A LOT.

not just HERE. not just LANGUAGE. not just IDENTITY. not just CULTURE. not just BLOODLINES.

you cost me... over there as well.

to the point that i am numb.

to the point that i am pretty certain that i am "supposed" to feel quite strongly about how things are (are not) with (that majority but not all of) my... "adoptive family" but... no longer do... and have not for quite a long time.

and the only real sadness i feel about that...

is that

i dont
for that
loss (of connection).

and that started long before reuniting with you...

but i know... that reuniting with you...

has made the one day possibility of "repairing that bridge"...


as the white people (who say this type of thing and who truly ALL HAVE) a fetish for asian things (people)... like to say "i feel quite zen about it all" (*imsosickof the idea/phrase "exceptional white person") *note: though i dont really need to say it... i will: i do not speak for others i only speak for me.

but the truth is...

ive got this sneaking suspicion that im not actually meant to "feel zen" about "it all..."

and korea,

you see i have this sneaking suspicion that ... when it comes to adoptees... or ... at least "to me, as an adoptee" that you really like to play the subversive game of "home wrecker"...

like there's this unspoken price that in the "quest" to find (my) identity the price is "all."


and for that... amongst so many other reasons that my brain and heart are just too tired to get into right now...

i have such complex and unresolved feelings about you.


i DO love you for so many reasons -- if you don't believe me ive got hundreds of pages of poems that i can send you to prove this...


there is nothing about you that has proven to be... clean or tidy or... possible of resolving.

here is the only reality that i seem to understand these days (years):

one day, i will need to leave you... for my own sanity and future.

but leaving you... it will not be "easy"... nor will i be leaving you with a (white) english teacher's fat pension check or able to exclaim via facebook "YES! paid off another loan today!"

... (not that i ever came to you for financial remuneration) ... (but yes i did come to you hoping for another kind of remuneration... that ... it seems i shall not be leaving here with either)

... leaving you (when that day comes)... will not be clean... and i know i shall not go to wherever it is next feeling like "well, glad to have tidied up that mess in my life."

... here is what i suspect... here is why i feel so complex about you...

when i leave... and even before leaving you...

the realization... the reality...

is that...

i will never resolve anything about you... i will never find that point of perfect grace or peace in terms of having found my resolution with you...

i will never feel like "i got everything i hoped for" (in spite of what it may seem like "i got")

because the price of you... has been and is... too high... and leaving you... that price is and will be too high...

but... i will and have been paying it... and i always will...

because somewhere... in the midst of realizing how i will NEVER feel resolved about you...

that therein is where i find my own form of...


with oh so complex feelings that i know shall never be resolved,

kim thompson
seoul, s. korea
8 jan 2013