EDIT EDIT: I did my first spoken word reading in Korea last night at a bar in KSU called Cafe Radio. It was so great to be back in front of a microphone reading my words again. When I was there, I was surprised by how much I had missed the concept of reading poetry in general. Of course, I miss Barley Rhymes and Hops on Birch, because they are populated and run by the best people in the world.
As it turns out, though, I also miss just sharing my work. I miss having a reason to put poetry together. I miss the bravery it takes to stand up in front of people (beer in hand, of course) and lay everything bare, to be open, to say here I am–well, part of me–take me or leave me.
WordZ Only gave me the opportunity to do that again. I’m looking forward to attending many more events in the future, and writing a lot more because of it.
Tell me what you think of my reading in the comments!
EDIT: Nick was actually featured reading this poem in Episode 3 of Barley Rhymes’s web series! Yay! Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTd4lmi88_U#t=449
I don’t really fit here.
Korea is beautiful. The ocean, the mountains, the forests… I see amazing, beautiful things everyday. But I don’t fit. I think maybe there are places where you feel immediately at home, as if you always should have been there, and there are other places that you merely exist in, no matter how much they have to offer. For me, Busan is the latter. There is nothing wrong with this place, but it’s just so very far from the person I am.
I wrote a poem on this theme, my first in quite a while, and I wanted to share it here with you all. (My brother also read it at the best spoken word poetry EVER, Barley Rhymes! You should definitely check out their web series. Nick doesn’t appear, but tons of other great poets do!)
MockingbirdsThere are birds here,black and white,that look like mockingbirds.A thin, dark-haired woman,smiles, wrinkling the corners of her narrow eyes.Every morning she tells meabout something beautiful.Today, she saysthat when a Korean hears the songof the black and white birds,she will knowgood luck is coming.I step out of her carand the bird we’ve been watchingpicks insectsfrom between blades of grass–silently.In the hills behind my school building,there are dozens of tiny farms.One day, I stand on a road and watch.A man squats over a row of cabbagewhile the birdsfly in arcs from field to forestabove his head,landing first on green house,then rooftop,then nesting in the nearby trees,singing.The sun sinks and their black bodies are silhouettedagainst the grey and pale pink sky’sdimming light.Sixteen birds on a wireturn their backs to my bus as it passes.If they are singing, it is a soundI don’t hear.Are you mocking me,bird in the grasswith your beak too full of bugsto speak?Or do you knowI’ve already had my share of luck,enough to bring me hereto a country roadwhere you shower a man with your song,to a setting so pastoral,it seems pulled from a paintingin a history book,removed from timeand set hereon this hilljust far enough from the highwayfor the song birds to stay.One evening, I walk through woods.My path winds its wayaround houses with crumbling concrete wallsthat were once washed in brilliant white,and then between fencesbuilt to keep farmsand farmers in,and then between clumps of bamboo shootsand trees with fall reddened leaves.Among the farm plotssit small shacks, of plastic sheetingplaced against itself at right angles.From one shelter,across the ravine,I hear saxophone notes.They follow one another slowly,then a few burst forthall at once,unable to endure the wait,to sit back in a man’s breathwhile the othersring out clear,in the cool air,building a melody that settleson foreign ears,ears that are deaf to all language but this.The notes rise and falland drag from her a sweet sadness.She thinks of her homeand she smiles and cries all at once.The notes penetrate her chestand massage her heartuntil its beats slow,fill her lungs until her breathcomes deepand low.Her eyes close.She stands there,her non-conforming blonde hair,her clothes that aren’t right,her voice only capable of forming wordsthat don’t belong here,and she listens.The notes sweep up the hillside and breakagainst the edges of the ravine,like water over the spillway of a dam.The melody surrounds heruntil she is no longer separatefrom this country, from this world,until she is no longer a womanamong the trees andthe breeze andthe sound.She is sound.She is breeze.She opens her eyesand a bird that’s not a mockingbirdflies silently by.My luck has all been spent,she thinks,chest tightening,eyes closing.Alone in the forest,slow saxophone tonescarry her home.