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

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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.

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