Archive for August, 2009


I Never Said I Love You

I never said I love you,
Though if I did,
I said it like a philosopher,
With words deliberate and measured,
Tentative –
Questioning Love’s meaning,
Its myriad parameters, manifestations,
Attaching disclaimers hoping to debunk
Romance’s mythological aspirations,
While with a bated, second breath
I cited its transcendent qualities,
Secretly hoping they were possible to achieve.
Then, to myself, honoring the comfort of your breath,
I would sheepishly admit that being in love –
A recondite admission at best –
Was better than being alone.

I never said I love you,
Though if I did
It was only in the place of anger –
My lurching, desperate words
A passive-aggressive plea to be recognized, subsumed,
Held up in the cradle of security.
Like that time when my father died and I had to travel
Half-way across the continent with money I didn’t have
To be his lone eulogizer;
To collect his ashes only to leave them on the train
And find, day in and day out,
That no one turned them in to the lost and found.
All the while there was you
Chastising me my incorrigible lethe,
Then turning smugly away, forgetting
That not a soul assisted my journey –
Not even you, my love,
Who stayed behind luxuriating with money
And friends you did have,
Loving me in your self-satisfied way,
With phone calls on the cell phone
You bought me for the occasion,
Prying from my stoney lips
Those words . . .
Always right before hanging up.

I never said I love you,
Though if I did,
It was when I was drunk, and so were you,
And there was laughter in the borderless field;
And we like aquatic angels were swimming
With translucent wings
Along an endless stream of possibility,
Howling cavalier exclamations
In camouflaged tongues,
As if knowing that all –
And of a sudden –
Would evaporate as all magic does,
With the blink of a weary eye
At the soundless morning call;
Leaving us with erased memories,
Headaches, cotton mouth,
And eyes unable to meet the golden light.

I never said I love you,
Though if I did,
I didn’t know what I was saying,
Nor perhaps what I was
Not saying.

I never said I love you,
As if three words comprised an anchor
And your heart a bottomless sea;
As if your saccharine cliches,
Your shine-eyed eternal promises,
Your long-winded, osculant kisses,
Your emotional transferences and
Your wiles, sneaking about the cage of my laconic heart,
Would somehow braid a sticky, sinewy ligature
That would bind me in eternal rue.

I never said I love you,
Though if I did
I take it back,
Because I never said it right.
And if ever I see you again –
Though it will only make you scoff,
And prompt you anew,
In one final, parting tremor,
To spatter my error
With the blood of your unrequited heart –
I will say those words.
And I will say them with a tenor
Worthy of their sound,
Even though it won’t change a thing.
Because now, only after years of practiced surrender,
Do I know what they mean;
And know too
That they apply to you,
Belong to you;
That they sing a song of reckoning,
However artless and clumsy,
That is,
Or at least was,
You and I

AN ~



Open window yawns;
Repeatedly though, the fly
Rams into the glass.


Book 24 ~ Entry 9

Instead of movie night at Luke and Irene’s, we went to Sam and Kahlil’s. I was kind of relieved at first. I’m tired of movie night, but dinner night at the Poser’s wasn’t much better, at least not at first. Katie got all in a froth about dressing up. Apparently Irene filled her head with stories about how cool and sophisticated this couple is. I figured it was a dinner party – what’s wrong with chinos and a button down? But Katie donned her burgundy dress, the strapless one she wore to her sister’s wedding, and she insisted I wear something that didn’t make her feel overdressed. It was a dinner party, not a night at the opera, so she was going to be overdressed no matter what.

We fought for fifteen minutes before I finally acquiesced to wearing those French jeans she bought me in Paris on our honeymoon. I always felt like a dick in those things. Stylish as they might be, they’re as tight as hell. I feel like some sort of gigolo in them. Katie used to flatter me about how good my ass looked in them. Wearing them just made me think of how it must be when a woman stuffs her loins in a pair of jeans that cuts off her circulation and makes her walk like she’s got a stick up her butt. But I put them on anyway, thinking they might make me feel, and perhaps even act, a little defiant for a change. We fought over my choice of shirt as well, but I wouldn’t bend, choosing the simple black tee shirt I paid eighty bucks for in Milan.

Driving over there I couldn’t help but think that everyone else would be dressed in their Banana Republic finest at best, maybe Nordstrom’s. But I was wrong. Irene got Luke all goosed up too, though I am sure he didn’t put up any fight. I suspect she dresses him every day. Irene wore her floral goddess dress and her finest artisan jewelry. Sam was dressed in a skimpy silk blouse designed to show off her bra as much as anything else. It was a nice bra, black and racy with straps like delicate, shiny tendrils; but I still couldn’t help wishing she wasn’t wearing one at all. And the skirt she wore: Jesus! The slit went nearly up to the waist line, and she spent the better part of the evening with her legs crossed, her elbow propped on her knee, her chin resting on her elegant, curved fingers, her torso bent toward the conversation, bending me toward her in return. Damn she has nice legs. Nice everything. She looked like a model in Vogue posing at a sidewalk Parisian bistro, looking off in the distance as if life was nothing if not beauty frozen in ever-moving time.

Continue reading ‘Book 24 ~ Entry 9’


Cosmic Love

Starry-eyed dreamer,
Your new-age aphorisms
Sing a naive song.


Book 24 ~ Entry 3

Katie and I had another fight tonight. They are growing with alarming frequency, these pointless spats. Tonight it was another toothbrush episode. As usual she was running the water while brushing her teeth. I came into the bathroom to take a leak and seeing the water running, sidled by her to turn it off, which only served to set her off. I can tell her all I want about how precious a resource water is, but she’ll just go off about the length of my showers. I could tell her at least there is a point to the length of my showers, that washing off my sordid day by tarrying under the warm wet does me a lot of good. But it’s a waste of breath as much as a waste of water. Of course, it’s my fault in the first place. I shouldn’t go into the bathroom when she’s in there, or vice-versa. Relieving yourself in front of your spouse is nothing if not evidence of a creepy co-dependency. The other morning she came in while I was taking a shit. Jesus, not even defecation is sacred.

It was movie night at Luke and Irene’s tonight. Despite my repeated protestations, another saccharine romantic comedy. Yawn. Barf. I think it’s the third time in a row that Luke and Irene were wearing the same colors. All they do is gush and cuddle, like life is a romantic comedy. Then when Irene hugs me goodnight she squeezes me with a sensuality that borders on propositional. Either she’s the most effusive and sensual woman on earth, or – despite her obvious love for Luke –  she wants to have a romp with me. I’ll probably fantasize about swapping partners again tonight. Seems like I always do that after movie night. Funny thing, I don’t seem to mind the thought of Luke fucking my wife. I’m either longing to become a swinger, or I’m really ready to be done with this marriage – maybe both.

Then again, I don’t think Katie even likes Luke, though she’s always going on about how wonderful they are together: “Aren’t they the coolest? Aren’t they the coolest! (More emphatic) They’re just made for each other, like God put them together to show the rest of us how it’s done.” Since when did Katie start equating happiness with god . . . anything with god. Hell, Luke and Irene probably go at each others’ throats just like any couple. Only I bet they do it when no one’s looking. They’ve got their  illusions to mind, too.

Damn. How did I become so cynical?

But I am aren’t I? Cynical, detached. Maybe that’s why we are having all these stupid fights. Neither of us wants to admit that our marriage had become a caricature of marriage itself. We’re just going through the motions like each day is scripted for us by the rising sun. So we fight about nothing to give the illusion that there’s some passion still here – there’s something to fight for.

I keep thinking about having an affair with the blonde in accounting that keeps flirting with me. What’s her name; Bessy or Betty? I can’t ever remember, so I just say hey to her rather than suffer the embarrassment of getting it wrong. If I could actually muster the gumption to do it, that would give Katie and I something to fight about. Then again maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it’s what she expects of me. She certainly doesn’t seem to mind that our sex life has fallen off the cliff of oblivion.  I’ve even given up fighting with her about it, and she certainly never instigates anymore – never even flirts with me. I think she just wants someone to cuddle with when she’s blue, someone to do things with. She could never abide being alone. Then again, maybe she’s having an affair. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t care anymore. She doesn’t seem like the type though, but how can you know these things. She’s a total mystery. My wife’s a mystery. A totally predictable mystery.

Like my life I guess.


Cabbies, Kimchi and Cancer ~ part ll

(To read part one  click here )

*** Part II ***

It was the end of the work day and as usual, I was exhausted. It’s only a six hour day, but there is something about this job that takes it out of me. Perhaps it’s all the fluorescent lights, which have always bothered me; or perhaps it’s the lack of a break that might allow me to catch my breath, step outside and let my retinas grab a dose of sunshine, my stomach a morsel of sustenance; or maybe it’s the five and a half hour marathon with children, who have a way of taking it out of you – or perhaps just a combination of all these things. At any rate, I staggered out of the building longing for a quick trip home and a horizontal position on my sofa. But I was just about out of won and I needed to find a cash machine that would swallow my American debit card and spit out some Korean money.

In the two days previous I had had no luck finding such a machine, and being down to my last 4,000 won I had no choice but to find one at last. I wanted to take a cab, but 4,000 won wasn’t enough to cover the fare, so I paid the 1,000 won fare and hopped on the bus to Mugeo-dong. Like his cabby cousins the bus driver bolted, jolted, dashed, shimmied, shucked and jived his way from stop to stop, pausing briefly to let people on and off – tarry your way off or onto a Korean bus and your likely to get your nose crushed by a hydraulic whishing door. In fifteen minutes time I skittered off at my normal stop in Mugeo-dong. From there I walked up and down the boulevard and meandered through the side streets, lucklessly searching for a means to get some Korean cash. After an hour’s search I gave up and decided I didn’t have the energy for the twenty minute walk back to my crib. I had just enough cash left to hop a five minute cab ride home, so I made my way to the queue across from the university. I got into the car at the head of the line and gave the driver my destination. Apparently however, he didn’t like the way I said Mugeo-dong, because he proceeded down Mugeo Road in the center lane, prepared to take me god knows where. As he approached my turn I told him he needed to go left. Fortunately, the light had turned red. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in the turn lane.

Now, for a Korean cabby that shouldn’t matter much. It’s not like they drive on sidewalks here, but traffic rules are general guidelines at best, especially for taxis, so making a hasty left turn is hardly our of the ordinary –  but for my driver it proved more than reason enough to begin chewing me a new one. He started ranting about my pronunciation of Mugeo-dong – at least that is what I inferred. Of course, he might have just been pissed that he was taking me for such a short ride, and the fare wouldn’t exceed the 2,200 won drop fee. Who knows how long he waited in that queue for a fare. In either case, he scooted to the front of the turn lane, bolted in front of the oncoming traffic and proceeded to speed up the hill toward my house, yelling at me what were doubtless obscenities every ten seconds or so. I sat in the back like some helpless lamb watching this guy stew till I thought his lid would blow.

I immediately recollected the times I witnessed pent-up Korean drunks popping off in bars. Once, a guy got into a yelling match with his presumed girlfriend, which nearly turned into a round of fisticuffs with the fellow that tried to calm him down and remove him from the premises. Even after the cops intervened he tried to re-enter the bar for another round. Another time it was a guy who cleared the contents of a large table, not once but twice, with what must have been one long swoosh of his arm. Twice we heard the loud crash of dishes, glass and silver shattering and clanking to the floor. The second eruption led to his attempted removal, which led to him pulling the place apart while three guys fought mightily to drag him out of the establishment. You can see it in the faces of some of these guys here. The pressure just building up and the need to release it rising. I was seeing that with my driver, and all because I didn’t make it clear to him that I wanted the NaMoon Apatu in Mugeo-dong instead of some other dong.

Half way up the hill he at least gave up yelling at me, instead reverting to menacing glares through the rear-view mirror. I was heartened by the knowledge that this whole experience would be over in a minute or two. I turned my attention out the side window hoping to find some pretty girl to look at, some diversion, but was soon disheartened when we got stuck behind the usual narrow-street logjam. He began yelling at the traffic as if in doing so it might clear it up. I should have just gotten out of the cab right then, but for some reason it didn’t even occur to me, so I spent an extra three minutes with him, suffocating in his seething stew.

When he pulled up in front of my building I gave him my last three thousand-won notes. I didn’t even want the change, but I waited for it nonetheless, needing the bus fare for the morrow. He handed it to me and while exiting the cab I bade him a cursory “an-yang-ha-sa-yo”. I, of course, didn’t know the meaning of his curt retort, but if I had to guess I’d say it was something along the lines of, “Fuck off foreigner asshole.”

It took two bottles of cheap Korean beer and a half a score of cigarettes before I was able to finally enjoy the much needed repose I had been looking forward to for the past couple of hours. It took another day before I got his blood-shot glower out of my mind.

To be continued . . .

AN ~


The King of Pop!

Ghosty-faced freak boy,
Once black, pop chart pederast ~
May you rest in peace.