Friday, December 31, 2010

Charity is back in Cheonan. Damn, the art these people put outside the mall...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December less one cynic

No plane rides this December. No awkward run-ins at Polo Park counters. No accidental high school reunions. No late nights with old friends or fighting for cabs on the snowy streets of the Exchange district. No entrance to small city gay bars full of men who wonder who you are where you’ve been lately.

Only a piece of art and an idea of home, this place we hang our clothes at. So lie down under the string of postcards and art show cards you’ve hung up and wonder where you are. Lay in the haze of mid morning and wonder when your father will be coming to wake you for school.

The cell phone sings its a.m. anthem. The water drips through pipes and down the showerhead. The gas runs in and heats the room; the fridge cools the broccoli.

Don’t wake up, five more minutes to sleep it off. Let the shower pour just like it always has. Let it all remind you of where you came from and what will bring you home.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just a question some people on the street have been asking...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas with David Sedaris, poolside at the Ritz Carleton. Bliss.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa and other secrets

We all came clutching a gift. Three weeks earlier a folded note had been left on my desk. I’d missed the draw but was still given a name: Kristen B. The first gifts were to be opened before the ones from our families, still sitting in apartments waiting for video chats on Christmas morning.

Two bottles of house red, the six of us sat crossed legged and picked who drew first in the most obvious way. Just like our students at school we each stuck out a fist, shook twice, and saw whose rock beat whose scissors.

For Kristen one a sleeping mask for the imminent flight home. For Ashley forks and a Mrs Claus cooking apron. For Kristen two cute socks and a toque to stay warm. For me a navy circle scarf. One last wrapped box to rip open and a new true blue friend. On the piggy bank belly, the words: Happy dog! What makes you happy?

And I thought to self: this.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Empty end to nothing

We’ve come to expect the world to end every single morning. So when the clouds come down we see nuclear marrow ash and breathe it in our lungs. At an hour not normally seen, the city is draped in pale shadows.

Figures mist into eye, become full as they walk closer. Reach out and lose an arm, walk through empty intersections ripe with hidden traffic. Wave to a black silhouette you assume is your friend, waver till you see him hand you a coffee.

Wait at the bus stop seven minutes, sigh when the fog lifts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New semester syndrome

No student stays forever, each has its expiration. So the fall semester of autumn leaves are buried under winter snowfall. The kids they come, then they go, demand pizza parties at all intervals, behaviour unwavering.

On the final day I give each JA a pencil. Pour out Cokes, rip bags of shrimp chips; avoid any teaching. They line up to take cell phone snaps of their former teacher. We close our books and I give them stamps, some even say they’ll miss me.

The first day of class is a teacher’s gift of silence. The new ones wobble out words of second guesses; stare up expectantly. Not yet are they sticking staples in my sweater, teasing my tower of a nose, or cursing in Korean.

As five quiet girls file out the door, another teacher’s class follows at the entrance. A quick reminder of noise to come hits as I see Tom, who sneers a smile at me and says, “Hey Yuck-face.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spent the weekend in Daejeon, clubbing and Christmas shopping.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas will come to Korea in one week, so long as we have anything to say about it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adventures in Popland

It starts with Heroes and the General Public as patrons hunt through paintings to find another self. Start with Lee Dongi’s Atomaus to float through stark, graphic happy feelings flying on worlds created SuperFlat. Next the New World order of 16 congress of CDC, by Liu Dahong; look into glass floors to see your face amongst a ceiling of military men.

Stare at Portrait of the Hero, Mr. Wolverine, and think back on all those ripped movie stubs, all the men you so wanted to be. Ji Yeon Hong’s Millenium Fantasy sews together classic culture heros, Mona Lisa, Frida, Van Gogh, with the ones we loved more despite ourselves, Le Petit Prince, Mickey Mouse, Fred Flinstone, and Popeye, all meshed together as a wall of dolls.

But Superman never came to save us from all of our debt. So we’re born into Visa hands, account numbers for every baby boy and girl, says Wang Guangyi with an eerie wall of credit birth. Not the Hero, but King of Pop, Takashi Murakami’s toys are kept in a box. Monograms black and white, and full of color; give life when we spend.

Devour dinner Mimi with Makoto Aida in the future, when food has perished and we must eat the waitress. Sip beer spat out two twats into giant mugs. Tie up arms in the evenings for sex games played with Monopoly dollars. Before Hong Kyung Taek can ask if you are the slave, run down Feng Mengbo’s hall.

Return to those Repressed feelings the pioneer’s couldn’t harvest. Dive down the grasshopper green tunnel into Mario’s living lair. And when the gallery tells you to take the exit, hand back the controller to the attendant, and admit to self and inner hero: Game Over.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dinner darlings

When dinner dates dissolve call a friend who answers phones, watch him order a martini dry and eat all the pretzels. Eat Thai off each others' plates and tell him one more time about the plot of that Don DeLillo book he hasn't read (and isn't going to.) Talk to the table strangers beside us about their evening plans. Buy him a beer from the corner store and depart with a kiss to scruffy cheek when its reached its bottom.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Super Sketch

All night she ran back and forth between two parties, dis-and-re-appearing like two parts of some Zack Morris plot. One moment she’d be with us sipping coke-and-something, the next she’d be at the punk show down the street.

We stood under the projections of some guy we met once on a mountain, watched paper art slide by above on a conveyor belt. The music hit and miss, we cranked our heads through shadows to see if it was a DJ or live electrics beats.

From the balcony I heard my name, saw my secret was out. I’d used the ladies washroom, no bother to the other pissers, gave them a giggle. Talked to strangers about hometowns and oral sex skills, ordered drinks from a girl in blue polka dots.

Took the longest cab ride to the suburbs and fell asleep with friends.