Primula: it’s finally spring

Poem at the bottom of the post (see bold).

Yesterday we were blessed with 29 degrees (Celsius) and I spent the entire day at the park. I’d been so swamped with work, I needed to take a break and meet up with a friend, any friend, to relax and recharge. It was wonderful. Today it’s 27 degrees and I am taking advantage of it because it’s bound to get rainy and blegh again soon. Summer, hurry up.

Lovely weather has such an impact on me; rain and darkness always brings me down, whereas warmth and sunshine lift my mood and do wonders for my complexion. My mum’s exactly the same way so we rejoiced when we saw the prediction a few days ago. I literally screamed YESSSSSS at my TV for a full minute. Yes, literally.

To celebrate, have this poem I wrote a few weeks ago:

Primula

You’re beautiful
Like the primula
In early spring

Remember when we used to pluck them when we were little?

You’re sweet
Like the primula
In early spring

But a drop of their nectar was plenty to satisfy us.

You’re intoxicating
Like the primula
In early spring

Their scent carrying for miles, long after we left.

I’m grateful
For the primula
For returning every spring

Long after you’re gone they remain, reminding me of you.

I’m alone
But I’m happy
For I will follow you soon

We will both be scattered there, where our memories lie, nourishing the primula for springs to come.

Advertisements

I miss you

It appears I forgot to post this.

I miss you

I miss you
Would you miss me
Had we met once more or less?
Not a day goes by
That I don’t regret
Would you regret?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you known back then and there?
But it’s not enough
For that pain to pass
Would you have overcome?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you been here in my place?
But it’s me alone
Fighting the same fight
Would you please lend me your hand?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you not killed yourself?

Foam

Poem at the bottom of the post.

My BTS CD finally arrived the other day and I’m so happy. I love CDs. The sound is so much better than any digital file. Even the songs I was kind of indifferent about (Dimple, Best of Me) sound good to me. Jimin’s Serendipity is the most beautiful thing ever. My favourite songs from the album are Pied Piper and Sea, which I already knew before I had the physical copy in my hands, but I love them even more now that I hear them played on my old radio. Aaaah CDs. Maybe once I get my next paycheck I can splurge and get Wings too, as well as Jonghyun’s Poet|Artist (or Artist|Poet – I can never remember).

I’ve been spending way too much money lately.

A few days I ago I received some books I ordered in Korean. One was waaaaaay above my level (though to this day I don’t know what my level is) but the other seemed doable. It seemed doable.

The first word that appeared was 거품, which I faintly recalled as meaning ‘foam’, but I couldn’t figure out why a book would start that way. It just seemed weird. As I read on, I came across the name Aphrodite and it all started making sense but by then I’d already mentioned foam to my friend, who’s also learning Korean. (Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was born from the foam of the sea.) Only later did I remember it was a poetry book. Oops.

Knowing I occasionally write poetry, she requested a poem about foam. It was supposed to be a joke but I took it seriously. When I showed her the result, she was shocked so mission accomplished. I quite like it myself but you judge for yourself:

Foam

Fragrant, silky foam

Like a lover’s carress

Smelling of you

The strawberries you ate

I can still taste them

Enchantingly sweet

Treacherously soft

Luring me in

I’d almost forget

I’m here alone

With all this foam

Reminding me of you

What used to be

It’s time now

My time to let go

Enveloped in bubbles

One last breath

I let it take me

Then I disappear

And only foam remains

Honja (alone)

Scroll down for poem (written on the same day, within the same hour, as the previous post’s poem).

A little while ago I was having a good talk with my mum when she opened up to me. We’ve had difficulties with money for as long as I can remember, most likely from the time my parents split up. (I was 11, btw. I don’t have that many memories. My mind is filled with so much knowledge, it had to prioritise so it forgot most memories. I’m a bit sad but I can’t really help it.) Yet she told me that even though she worried about money she also had faith that things would work out well. She doesn’t have much to spend but she never worries too much because she trusts that something will happen to make up for the amount she overspent (which is never much because she’s very responsible but still). So far it’s always come true.

I’ve since tried her method myself. I still worry about money but I’m less desperate and more optimistic. The situation doesn’t seem as bleak anymore, even though I’m at risk of being unable to pay my bills. Balancing school and work is something others seem to do effortlessly but I’ve been having the greatest trouble managing it all. I was job hunting again but it didn’t result in much (except a new connection and more resilience) until I got a call from my former employer asking whether I had time to work tomorrow. I thought it was supposed to be over, though they did hint at seeing us again when we were leaving the company dinner we had last month, so it was an unexpected blessing. So far my mum’s theory is working splendidly. I do not recommend it – I don’t want to be held liable if it doesn’t work out for others – but I will continue to live this way until my luck runs out.

Anyway, enjoy the poem. Honja means lonely or alone. (Inspired by Jonghyun’s song.)

Honja

Alone, Together

Alone Together

A tear here,

A tear there

Without you

I’m still me

Are you still you?

I pushed and prodded

You improved

You got further and further away

I detached

For you

Without you

Is there me?

Back to square one

Push and Pull

Never share

Just me

Always me

I alone

No one else

Will you come?

Open me up?

Push and prod

Until I improve

No one else

No repeat

Success rate 1

Failure rate ∞

Infinity

Without you

Stars are just stars

Forever means nothing

Time is just time

Moments forgotten

All that we shared

Do you remember?

You are the moon

Changing my tides

High and low

Eb and flow

Take out the moon

Once disturbed

Never the same

Is this a high?

Is this a low?

Is neutral the new black?

I miss the old black

The warm darkness

Without all the thoughts

Now it’s all over

My head still works

Inside

That world

Safety

Break it

Please destroy it

Break me out

Save me from fantasy

Make me miserable

Together

Share my pain

I’ll take yours

Hurt me

Insult me

Yell, Scream, Bite

Silence is deafening

There is too much

Swallow me whole

Nothing is left

Just me

Without you

Alone

No longer together

Without you.

Ppiddakhage – written in a frenzy

As usual, scroll down to the bold part if you want to skip my thoughts. This time it’s a poem.

The other day I was browsing WordPress, randomly clicking people’s profiles to see how they managed their blogs. There were those with profiles that were hardly profiles at all, that literally had all the standard messages saved and showing (e.g. write an introduction to entice people to read on), and there were those with perfectly organised profiles, where posts were neatly organised into categories, where everything fit a theme, but there were also people like me, whose profiles were something in-between, chaotic in some ways but organised in others, where you could tell they were passionate enough about something to want to share it with the world but not motivated or skilled enough to learn how to work a website.

One blog in particular stuck out. I won’t name it but it was everything I wanted mine to be, in theory. This person seemed to have the same goal as me, or at least a similar one, yet their means of achieving it were so much more polished, so much more organised.

I was jealous.

I have long accepted my chaotic nature but this got me questioning my approach to things. Would I ever reach that same level of finesse? Was my writing up to par? Should I proofread and edit more? Naturally, I felt halted. Until I got these thoughts sorted out there was no way in hell I’d be able to be happy with anything I wrote.

I’m still not entirely sure whether I shouldn’t aim to be more organised, whether I shouldn’t put more effort into figuring out all the features of WordPress, whether my writing is good enough. Still, I found it in me to continue going. I don’t know how satisfied I should be with my output but right now I am happy with what I wrote. There’s a good chance I’ll hate it and only see the flaws in a few years – which is what happens with all my writing – or even a few months if I’m unlucky but I like it now. I really do.

The poem I’m sharing here today was written in a frenzy, while listening to G Dragon’s Crooked (or 삐딱하게) on repeat. Since I’m awful with titles, I just went with the romanised title of the song. I won’t ask you to listen to it, especially the first time you read the poem, but I do like the song a lot. While writing I kept in mind the lyrics, the meaning of the song, and the MV, but was mostly just focusing on the feelings and thoughts the sound of the song brought out in me. Enjoy.

Ppiddakhage

Break free

Unleash it all

Don’t hold back

It’s just me

Do it now

It’s the time

All of it

Let loose your hair

Do it for me

I’d do it for you

You’re everything

Show the world

They’re missing out

Under-appreciated

Recognised

But who are you?

Show him, show her

Consent?

Never heard of it

They want you bare

Naked isn’t enough

Show your all

Inside out

Who cares what you think?

They don’t

You don’t seem to

Do I?

Bad influence

Sure, if you wish

See me that way

Judge me harsh

Judge me right

Pay no mind

It’s all on me anyway

Do it

Do it now

Hard

Fast

I’m nothing

Beyond that point

It’s liberating

No secrets

Nothing to hide

Just me

All of me

Always

It scares them

Do I scare you?

Fear me not

I will bite you

They took it all

And I gave

I gave it all

Freely

As a promise

I didn’t need anything in return

They had nothing to give anyway

I’m rich

I have nothing

But it’s more

More than they ever will

All they took from me

Dignity

Shame

Respect

Love

Fear

I’m empty

Left with just me

In my purest form

Do you see me?

Flee while you can

I will take you

And drag you with me

There is no escape

Come here

Quickly

I’ll seduce you

By promising you nothing

There’s nothing left to give

So abandon me

Like they did you

Like they did me

I’ll live

I’ve succeeded so far

This empty shell

All me

Where are you going?

Road to nowhere

Versus road to hell

Or back to civilisation?

Warn the others

Of the monster I’ve become

The monster they made me

The monster I’ve always been

Set me free

Tell them and set me free

It’s the last warning

Tell them that

There will be no more

I’ll let loose

They destroyed it all

Fighting spirit

That’s all that’s left

Mine

All mine

So go

And don’t return

Never return

I’ll shatter you

Worse than they did

Why are you still here?

Flee

Don’t come back

This is my place

Away from all

The only place

Don’t disturb me

Please go

Please stay

Don’t look at me

See me

Before you leave

Just once

Remember me

And show them

See me

Demand they show you

Who I was

I know there’s proof

I assure you

You’ll know

I’ll show you

Who you will become

Given time

So go

Don’t ever return

Because I won’t be here.

He was right all along

When I returned

There was no trace

Not a single shadow

So I took his place

We were the same anyway

And the cycle continued

When I saw you

And told you to flee

While you still could

Because I’m the one

They warned you about

The monster

Civilisation created.

 

 

A Daily Dose of Inspiration (Blonote review)

I almost accidentally deleted this post before publishing it. I am so relieved.

This blog post will be a little different. For one because I don’t have a suitable short piece to share with you – everything I’ve written lately has been very dark and a bit disturbing – so I’ll be sharing the prologue to my new book instead. If you’re interested, scroll down. I hope you’ll stick around to read the rest this time as well.

I might’ve mentioned a few times that I started learning Korean again. I wasn’t really making that much progress so I decided to give myself tests. It worked for English in high school so why wouldn’t it work for Korean too? Every time I scored under 70% I’d have to do 100 push ups and 100 sit ups as a punishment – it’s the closest thing  to my mother’s disappointment I could think of – but if I got over 90% I’d get a reward of choice.

Of course, being the shopaholic I am, I splurged and ordered Blonote on January 17th, three days after my first test. (I will refrain from posting any pics because photography is not a skill I possess and the ttmik website has great photos posted in the link provided.) I then had to study extra hard to make sure I deserved the reward.

If you’re unaware, Talk To Me In Korean is a great resource for anyone interested in learning the Korean language. I haven’t bought any of their books yet – not counting Blonote, as it’s technically Tablo’s book – because I’m permanently broke, especially nowadays, but they have plenty of free resources on their website too. I mostly rely on their podcasts for grammar. They’re fun to listen to, the speakers have great chemistry, and they provide helpful PDFs to summarise what they said.

Last month I finally decided to take the plunge and order something from their website. Had I been smarter I might’ve gone with one of their textbooks but Blonote caught my eye and before I fully realised what was happening I was looking at the order confirmation email. The shipping fees are kind of expensive but that’s normal when ordering stuff from Korea. The total for two books and a CD, including shipping, still only came down to a little over €40, which is reasonable. Estimated shipping time was 2-3 weeks.

Imagine my surprise when I received my package after only a week.

Ever since that day I’ve been practicing my self-restraint, only allowing myself a single page each day. It’s so hard not to read it front to back whenever it’s in your hands. Tablo did a great job and I am so stoked TTMIK made it available for sale on their (sister?)website. It’s hard to come by books in Korean here (in the Netherlands) so I’m happy I found a reliable source.

Unless you’re completely broke, I greatly recommend checking out TTMIK, especially if you’re (interested in) learning Korean. Honestly, I was tempted to even buy the Hangul Master book, even though I can read Hangul pretty well. It’s just that the promise of being able to read the titles of dramas/films from the poster /cover image/whatever it’s called was tempting. I had to remind myself that I couldn’t even read handwriting in the Latin or Cyrillic script to stop me from spending more money. If you do have the money to spare it’s easy to justify shopping at My Korean Store. I know I learnt more from TTMIK than I did from the Sogang textbooks I own.

So, now that I’m done freaking out over all the stuff I cannot have, enjoy this short piece:

A Bed of Flames – prologue

The scent of fire carried for miles in each direction, allowing bystanders to enjoy its exhilarating odour without the need to worry about their internal organs shrivelling up. In a way he was doing them a favour. As far as addictions went, his was fairly safe and unobtrusive to others in the vicinity.

Or at least it used to be back when he first started. No one looked twice at a homeless guy warming himself near a small fire, especially in the capital. The homeless were pariahs, social rejects of an entirely separate calibre, and as such more often than not completely overlooked.

That he didn’t actually fit it in no one seemed to notice. People were predictable that way; they didn’t want to see him so they didn’t. It was nothing new. A better person would’ve felt a shred of remorse at his blatant disrespect for the community but compared to the rest of society his actions were mildly bothersome at best.

At least he noticed them, provided them with warmth on those dreadfully long winter nights. He wasn’t a saint but he was honest about his shortcomings, at least to himself. And he didn’t pretend to be a good person.

Knowing all that, it was only a matter of time before he attempted stretching his boundaries. Stretch they did, further and further until even he was amazed by his lack of morality.

It was, therefore, only a matter of time before another human being would get caught up in it all. And another moment for him to realise it didn’t bother him in the slightest.

Jackpot!

As usual, scroll down for the story.

Some good things have happened recently.

Lately I’ve been mildly obsessed with the Korean idol and rapper Zico. Seriously, his song Artist is one of the few things that can make me happy whenever I hear it. The MV for it is a piece of art too.

My former best friend contacted me again, out of the blue, and we’re talking again after several years of silence. Not sure what will come of it yet but she caught me at a really good time so I gave her another chance without much thought. Besides, she seemed apologetic and more mature so why not start over?

Sadly I haven’t won any jackpot – I could really use the money – but I did get really inspired by all the music I’ve discovered so I have a bunch of stories I need to get onto paper ASAP. One of those is called Jackpot. It was born when my sister asked my help with one of her assignments for school, about science fiction (which is a genre she doesn’t know anything about, except what she learned from Black Mirror). Please enjoy:

Jackpot

Martha worried about her daughter. At seven weeks, it was still possible for the child growing inside of her to be fixed. If only they could afford it.

Time was running out and Martha couldn’t bear the thought of sending the child into the world with a disability.

‘’Mom! I found a solution!’’ Martha’s youngest yelled from the living room. Martha perked up and rushed towards her son. At 27, he still had two years in high school ahead of him. If he continued on this way, he’d get into college before 30! No one had succeeded at that in the past century and back then life expectancy had only been 180!

‘’Mom!’’ he repeated, grabbing her sleeve to rush her towards the TV. Once there, he pointed at the screen, a grin evident on his face.

‘’Look, mum! They’re doing a lottery again!’’ he exclaimed.

There hadn’t been a lottery in 5 years. What had made them change their minds?

‘’Can we afford it?’’

Martha checked her balance. She only had a couple thousand left for groceries and the month was still in its infancy.

‘’How much are tickets?’’ she asked, fearing the answer.

‘’Only a thousand each, mum! They haven’t gone up in price at all!’’

She sighed. She had hoped they’d be cheaper but this was for the sake of her grandchild. Martha was willing to do anything.

‘’Sev, darling, why don’t you go out and buy two for your poor old mother?’’

Her son rolled his eyes. ‘’You’re only 98, mum. Don’t be silly.’’

He took the card from her and hurried out. At the door, he turned around. ‘’And don’t look a day over 100!’’

Before she could throw the remote at his head he was gone. The little rascal!

#

On X-mas the family sat huddled before the TV, drinking hot chocolate and eating ginger biscuits.

Linda de Mol Jr appeared on the screen and did her usual routine, prolonging everyone’s suffering. ‘’And now, the winning numbers…’’

Martha felt anxious, more so than she had even when giving birth to her eldest as a teen.

‘’8.’’

Martha uncrumpled the piece of paper in her hand: it showed an 8.

‘’1.’’

The paper wasn’t the actual ticket but she had copied her numbers onto it as soon as Sev had returned. The real thing was safely hidden, just in case.

‘’3.’’

One number showed a 4 instead. The other had a 3.

‘’We’re all so anxious. I love it!’’ the woman on their screen exclaimed.

Martha sighed.

‘’7.’’

Her hands shook. Could it be…?

‘’Now, before I say the next number, I’d like to thank our sponsors.’’

Sev groaned.

Soon; soon, they’d know.

‘’5.’’

Everyone was silent now. No one dared move.

‘’And the final number…’’

Martha bit her lip.

‘’…you’ll hear after the commercial break.’’

Martha threw her head back against the wall. This was pure torture. Surely even back in 2003 people must’ve been sick of commercial breaks. Too bad it was live or she’d have skipped it.

‘’And the final number is… 4! Congratulations!’’

Martha couldn’t believe it. the last number on her piece of paper was a 4 too. But it was too soon for jubilations; she had to check the original. Surely fate wasn’t so cruel?

She held the ticket in her shaking hands and read the number over and over again.

  1. Eight, one, three, seven, five, four. 8-1-3-7-5-4.

It really showed the number.

Martha’s eyes teared as she beckoned her daughter.

‘’Baby, it’s for you and the little one.’’

Her daughter’s eyes teared up too. ‘’I’ll call him Jack.’’

Little baby Jack.

‘’Congratulations! Remember, your prize is all-encompassing: that lucky baby will be disease-free and you get five personality changes of choice, as well as three cosmetic changes.’’

Martha had to sit down. Little Jack’s flat feet would be prevented and his eye colour could be changed from brown to blue. Maybe now he’d stand a chance in society.

End