day 1: black box

i am what is left of the wreckage

-well, me and the black box-

despite the destruction,

the casualties were small,

just two young college students with dreams interrupted

like a left parenthesis:

nothing to break the news with,

more commonplace than the last school shooting

(which you assuredly haven’t heard of)


The land of misfit toys -America- became my destination

I arrived with a traditional Korean gown,

a few won,

and the black box

my parents stowed these items

in the musty top shelf of my closet

(a place I only dreamed of reaching)

the shelf isn’t as high as it used to be

-my other dreams are still among the stars-

sometimes I push past the artifacts of my childhood

to play the flight recorder another time

hoping to find answers to my questions

(like why I was left with so much baggage)

but all I hear from this black box is

white noise.


yet the black box will remain with me

for the rest of my days,

it will go from my backpack to a briefcase,

just as a testimony to

the initial turbulence in my life.

there will be arrivals, departures,

hundreds of layovers:

but I have nowhere to go but up.


day -1

dearest alexandra:

you tell me,

or you think,

not writing this poem is not

“the end of the world”

but it is the end of a world,

one of many worlds that could have been.


and my world will be robbed of its pure

faith that you will choose to keep writing.

you’re no atlas:

you’re just alex,

but you,

and not the gods,

will choose your fate.

(no pressure)

day -2: pep talks for the hard days

sometimes your world is going to look like the dreaded red pen,

and sometimes an empty page will seem full of insults and doubts.

you’ll want to lay your pen down 

like you’re raising the white flag of surrender: the ink on your fingers feeling like blood on  your hands.

but your writing will only destroy people in the best possible of ways,

destroy them to build them up again like a phoenix emerging from the ashes,

and the ink on your hand may taste like blood and look like disappointment,

but it feels like work and smells like sweat-

by the end of the month, you will have run thirty miles worth of poems.

it is more of a marathon than a sprint,

and your hands will shake and get off track,

but at the end of this,

you will feel exhausted and invigorated:

your writing muscles will have created calluses

to show the pain it took to get from there

to here.

keep running. 

keep writing.

the end of the page is not a finish line.