picking up deadwood

after a long winter
picking up the deadwood, revealed.
entertaining guests
who had left me to the snow.

A Parable

Two monks, Jihye (지혜) and Pyong-on (평온), were arrested and thrown in prison. Jihye immediately plotted to escape. He figured out how to pick the lock in their cell by using his own beard hair. Because the hair had to be quite long for the pick to work, the plan took some time. Throughout, Pyong-on said nothing. On the night when Jihye was ready to pick the lock and run to freedom, he looked at Pyong-on, who just sat there quietly. Jihye left without him, sneaking out into the courtyard, climbing the barbed-wire fence, and running as fast as he could through the woods.

Exhausted, he slept under an Oak tree, but his dreams tormented him. Early in the morning, Jihye stretched and walked slowly through the dense woods into a clearing overlooking a vast meadow. A low fog settled across the rolling landscape before him, and a gentle breeze swept and twisted every green blade. Far in the distance, a hawk swooped low to snatch its prey, but not a sound reached Jihye's ears.

Suddenly he remembered what was missing -- Pyong-on. Jihye ran back through the woods, scaled the barbed-wire fence, jumped back into the prison courtyard, and ran to the window of Pyong-on's cell. Pyong-on looked at him through the bars.

Jihye said, "You've got to get me back in there!"


Why did Jihye need to return to Pyong-on?

Appreciatory Verse

Jihye and Pyong-on, like an old married couple
constantly breaking out and crawling home
Who wears the pants in the family?
If you realize this, the grass has never been greener

response to a poem on a window

someone copied this poem onto a window. next to it, i composed:

there is no learning to attain
at MIT or beyond.
no mind to haunt
with difficult questions

set it all aside:
the past, evaporated
the future, fantasy
the present, unspeakable

set aside benefit and extraordinary.
stop making past
to fit in
with phantoms

with benefit and world set aside
and acceptance not willed,
even the ordinary
saves the universe

forget forgetting
and institutional bondage.
there is only one difficult question:
who is reading this?

different light

certain light,
you can see the scar
from the kitten attack years ago.

friends wanted,
and i stepped forward –
a bitten hand, an infected thumb.

another light,
you can see the scabs
from healing the heart wound, reopened.

hopeless, crazed,
a sense of failure,
molds an infinite texture of tears.

morning light,
what wounds can persist
when the goose squawks, breeze across toe hair?


to live a life of wandering,
tiptoeing on the burner of my stove
sluggish in the crisp morning.
who knows the fire source, or when it ignites?
for the sake of my oatmeal:
hornet cremation