The hardest part of getting old
isn’t the near constant aches and pains
but the senses that slip away,
replaced by an ever deeper truth.
She says to really play the blues
on piano you must have Seoul
and listening to her, you agree,
although you aren’t sure if hers
is Gangnam-gu or Jung-gu, but
the distinction is a fine one,
and she plays with a heart and voice
that you could only hope to find
in Insa-dong, recalling history
and hardship in each note, each run.
It is only later you realize
she said soul, but hers was
forged in Seoul, so it is really
a difference without meaning.


I can no more
imagine a lack of freedom
then they can imagine
the freedom I assume.
It is always like that
imaginings are real
until you try to make them
corporeal, then the evanescence
is all that is real.
It is easy to ask
how can they live
in such poverty, and had
they free voice they
might ask how you
don’t drown in a sea
of freedom and choice.
We cannot see
the world through
each other’s eyes
if we don’t first see
each other’s eyes.


They stole his words,
carefully sidling up to him
when he was distracted,
and plucking one left
hanging from a pocket
or in his room at night
slid one from the dresser.
He never saw them
and never suspected.
They toyed with him,
for a while taking
only verbs, leaving him
transfixed and cursing
his pen, for reasons
neither it nor he could fathom.
One morning, lost
in the first sun of spring,
they took nouns
and his world became
more vague and indefinite.
Now and again, in
moments of boldness
they would take
a phrase, or when
he was particularly vigilant,
merely a letter
that would not
often be missed.
His world grew darker
and his notebooks sat
patiently awaiting his return,
but he had less
and less to say
and covered the window
of his study with an old tarp.
He cried in increasing
silence until he
was caged within his skull,
left to stare at the vacant walls
seeing nothing.