Some days, it is very difficult having a memory. She’s gone. She no longer remembers. She’s elsewhere. But I remain. I remember. I am here.

The sky presses down with its own specific clarity, that density of turbulence and change, of light turning and receding all the time ever. It makes it difficult to have eyes. To see. To recognize always this act of seeing, how I fail to converge with the horizon, am still.

The most perfect memories are unremembered. The most perfect memories are the ones we forgot we have. I would like to lock you away in a cedar chest somewhere warm and forget you there.

“Barrow. Flower. Bulldozed. Sun.”

What terrifically painful keys to carry, to have let loose in the wind.

I stand up as I uncover this. I cover my face and cry.

 

Korean Pizza

A friend of mine passed this along to me a while back, and it made me laugh until I cried. It’s by Gumshoe Pictures, based in Brooklyn. I LOVE the way it makes fun of some Korean nationalist tendencies, which I can see in my own family… I remember telling my father once that the bright colors of traditional Korean clothing were a practice brought down from Manchurian ancestors…my father’s response? “What do you mean it came down!? It went up!!!” indicating the peninsula’s supremacy as cultural influencer of the region. Sigh.

SUN

So, some of you know that I’ve finished this manuscript titled SOLAR MAXIMUM, which in some sections imagines how solar disruptions can lead to incredible transformations in our psyches. I’ve obviously been incredibly interested in solar studies for the past few years, as well as cryogenics research, visions of the apocalypse, etc.

My husband rented the Danny Boyle film Sunshine, recently, for me to watch. I actually hadn’t EVER seen it, despite my interests. He told me that the first half of the film is incredibly beautiful, and the second half stinks. We watched the first half, up until the huge fire. I don’t think I need to watch anymore, because one scene utterly destroyed me.

I don’t think I can watch the rest, anyway, after having seen that scene. It’s deadly gorgeous, the immensity of it. It’s the spirit of so much I’ve been contending with intellectually and also emotionally these days. It’s impossible to have an intellect before it.

Sometimes in the face of this kind of experience, I can get a bit dejected about writing. I have to remind myself that my path is a bit different, and I have other tools available to me. I just have to find more of them. For example, one of my projects for SOLAR MAXIMUM was to pay homage to my favorite book, Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, without simply restating it, but make it again new, perhaps able to speak in a new voice. I’m pretty happy with what worked out…

 

A devastation of unknown magnitude

To the small star inside, we set up a makeshift rotation that gives us each a momentary relief. Watching is a rudimentary course of action, and we detail each thought as it appears. This is a gentle activity, despite the aggressiveness of the surround. A thought is the beginning of an opening, and we work diligently to trace its aperture, the outline of its extent. When he tells us he simply doesn’t know and is unable to track any origins, we recognize the rotation has failed. The small star inside is an obvious integer, but to this he has become blind.

Our job is simple but can lead to a devastation of unknown magnitude. The inconclusiveness of feelings that arise move with a heat and dynamism analogous to the surface of the sun. In the end, our documents amount to the need for a primary mother. One member of our party becomes obsolete.

I Love Consciousness Even if I Don’t Understand It

I’ve been listening to Radiolab’s broadcasts while I fall asleep the past few nights. It’s a way of culling my bad habit of reading internet trash before I shut my eyes. So far I’ve listened to podcasts about sleep, memory, and identity. The upside of these podcasts is that they are FASCINATING, and I’m finding out some things about what scientists have come to believe so far about the brain and its function. The downside is that, of course, everything is stunningly fragile, mysterious, and only vaguely understood.

My husband mentioned to me the other week that western science still hasn’t determined the exact moment of death. It was previously considered to be when the heart stopped, and then that changed to brain death — but with technology allowing for ever finer and finer measurements of brain activity, even that last boundary is losing its clear distinction. (Side note: I believe Japan may have been the last industrialized nation to adopt brain death as the legal definition of death, doing so only in the past few years.) This thought brought me a terrible dream…I’ll share that another time if I ever feel up to it.

In all the various statements on identity and being, the only one that rang true to me was from a researcher out of the UK — that we are essentially narratives that we continue to tell ourselves. I think of my own experiences over the past fifteen years or so, and the person I was in my late teens and early 20s would ABSOLUTELY NOT RECOGNIZE the person I am now. Even the things that I was interested in and fueled by just a few years ago have changed. The only consistent thing I have is being in this body, being recognized (and confirmed) as myself by others in my life, and telling myself that I’m the same person — that these experiences over the years are all mine.

It’s fascinating — how slender yet layered and tenacious it all is.

 

 

KJI has died.

So the news has blown up all over the internet since yesterday that Kim Jong Il (KJI) has passed away.

As many of you know, I have a longstanding fascination with KJI. As a public figure shrouded in such propaganda he was, and will remain, beyond any stable understanding. So, I’ve spent the day thinking of how best to respond to the news of his death. I’m not a policy pundit, and I can’t claim to have any insight into the man or what can/should happen in Korea now. I’m a spectator from a different shore, but I’m pained and concerned.

The only thing I could think to do was share this poem I wrote about 4 years ago about him. It’s from my first book, That Gorgeous Feeling. Unfortunately, I’m not able to get the formatting quite right. I’m just not savvy enough. So, this piece appears mostly left justified.

For all those who have been cut apart, split, cast away, and somehow survived the same forces that pushed even this man into being.

_________________________________________

Kim Jong Il: A Reader

He is the great teacher who teaches them what the true life is, a father who teaches them with the greatest political integrity and a tender-hearted benefactor who brings their worthwhile life into full bloom.

—from an official North Korean release

We don’t want our own native dogs to die out.
We must make sure that Pungsan and Jindo dogs prosper and propagate. 

if it dies then bring it over
bring it over before it dies

this is my piano
I have studied it for years

*

“perfectly rational”

“isolated but not uninformed”

heralded by a bright star and double rainbows
a crown prince of sorts in the world’s most isolated state

*

“we have not been able to give them the kind of reassurance”

a crippling famine.
fruit; a nut.
a young radish.
come to fruition.

*

You may have received letters from your relatives living here about the food shortage.
The situation is not as bad as it may appear. 

this and that. between you and me; between both sides.
make a fire ((in the stove))
smoke. lifelong. one’s lifework.

necessary articles; necessaries. necessities.
daily necessaries; the necessities of life.
naturally.
driven by. a requirement.
be indescribable. be [beyond] description.
be [unspeakable].

avert people’s eyes. avoid [keep away] from bad company.
do not touch me. dodge [duck]. from disaster.
avoid. flee from ((a war))

                                                                                suck on our fingers to kill the hunger pains

*

Supreme Commander
generalissimo
Taewonsu
Dear Leader

a member of the Central Committee
reported to have concentrated a great
deal of effort on the performing arts

good fortune in love; a lady’s man.

Madeline Albright
she allegedly held his hand

*

have ((something)) snatched away.
become. be [exhausted] impoverished. stained.

a. a limit. limits; bounds. “Human desire knows no limits.” as [so] far as. as far
[much, soon]. as much as one can. as much as possible.

b. one. a single. a [one] man. some; nearly. in the same house. the same.

c. big; large; great. a (main) street. the most. the very; in the middle of the night.

d. a bitter grudge. rancour; hatred. bear malice ((toward)). vent one’s grudge. an
unsatisfied desire.

regrettable. deplorable. a lasting regret; a matter of great regret.
a life full of regrets.

                                                                      no barriers in heart

one place. the same place. one mind. one accord.

our wisdom. our will. our strength.

*

Iran, Iraq and North Korea
a new bond of brotherhood
in the mouth of the American president

ardent(ly)
passionate(ly)
a passionate love
be eager [anxious] for
(after, to do); long for

“we long [are eager] for peace”

*

“his brinksmanship does work”

former years.
the years gone by.
a large eyed person.
of what was said and done.

(be) thin
(be) light; pale
light colored; faint

                                                             I am an object of criticism in the world


Elective Affinities

Dear Friends!

Carlos Sotos Roman, who runs Elective Affinities, “a cooperative anthology of contemporary US poetry,” has included me in this week’s post.

Go check it out!