JIANNA JIHYUN PARK
On Highway One
Dying light of sun shatters against your skin
Thumb knuckle burnt from cooking salmon
The night we fell asleep with candlelight on
You said you wanted a future—
Said you don’t know what you want anymore.
And I wonder
How quickly a body gets used
To another extending from one’s own—
A different kind of remembering.
Bends flexing asphalt turns water turns lucid—
To bury a belief is an exercise of free will
Or just an immense pretension
Like choosing love.
I once tried to put a beginning and an end
to something so vast as an ocean.
A crevice of thought—
And I’m almost here
I’m always looking for something
Without knowing what it is
Does it take away our attention from the present
Or does it reveal to us what it really is?
A robin merged with smoke before returning home.
“The form is garbage,” said a body
Towering over his own shadow.
Maybe an anchor in the bottom of the sea
Is not so different from an overhang suspended
At the tip of a crashing wave for a second
Split between a now and another
Open source relation
Nourish granular elevation
In the underbelly of scrutiny—
Security as a false memory
(But the warmth)
We birth ourselves out of ourselves.
Nausea gives a heart
Slightly bigger than the last
Just ever so slightly
That we wouldn’t notice.
This thread you and I are holding
Is not the same as
The thread you and she are holding,
Or me and her,
Or me and him, you get the sense—
And that is okay.
You too, are terribly alone.
This is an attempt at catching
Sand slipping through fingers
To not reject anything—
To trust the nothing—
You stop driving
We step out of the car, into sweeping gusts
Our hands form a delicate net.
A pair of dolphins from afar—
Our clothes, wanton leaves,
Touch the ground once more.
Circumferences, Your Body
Circumferences: vestiges, footprints, paths other people left on you
Victor Higgins, Circumferences (1914), oil on canvas
It took years to complete you, but less than a second
to convince me you’re worth all my time
Those who you loved, like violent blades, marked their sharpness onto you
yet you remember only the caressing glances, and yes, the touches
that were burnt sienna, salmon pink, and dark green algae
that embraced your midnight blue, telling stories of different altitudes
Fish scaled strata of your atmosphere are thin, but when you let me in
I can taste the soil teeming with your cool breath and sunsets and violet jazz
You’re hiding a volcano within (the fire reflected on the collar of your shirt)
Pressurized clouds dangle from your forehead like berries while oceans sing a soothing lullaby
And the moon, its bright downward face the last remnant of light
receding at the speed of one orbit per day as you wake from honey slumber
You’re a work of art, nature’s Eve, a body made of earth, water, fire
exploding and folding underneath, the rocks of your valley gently erode, rearrange, soar
and catch even the flying time in crystals of atoms hailing column by column
No traveler really merges with another, but I believe in the softness of memory
The glimmer coming from the left lower corner of your lips—could it be a denouement
of a ballerina, a clash between two wishes, or a glimpse of a smile that holds
so many possibilities to bloom like fractals? Let me ask again:
How many circumferences can you count on a body like this?
will you walk the mile with me
reverse assemblage: notes from summer ‘18
pressurized head sore eyes drank water from a bottle but the mouth disappeared and water dripped over the chest i don’t think i just do repeats someone gray mention of an apocalypse not knowing what day you’re in read a newspaper and wonder if it’s from last year scrap article quoting the future of wealth and end of labor or was it the end of wealth and future of labor stare at the outside drenched in lightning and a thousand silk webs simmering before inquiry cowering birds perched on bone branches ghosts without knowledge of the living if i were a dog i would be howling all day and night admiration of perseverance maturity as a tall glass building doesn't one need a body to hold a book doesn’t scale proportionately to the mind it reads a chronic disease called remembering white mountain expands then sighs if licking is the only love language he knows i shall let him lick silently memory tastes its tongue to want ordinary between two worlds would secrets double up or offset when exchanged a country made of what if’s simplicity is not simple bliss keeps losing its head regrets pull over discomfort of discomfort expectations morphed retrospectively to fit someone else’s narrative preference of silence over fear anxiety or both i tasted silence when i spoke worries demanding comfort of knowing stillborn accumulation of _______, of _______, of unknowing resistance assimilates into subject when i write without the i dilated ego experiences cannot be lived entirely by one mind or one body but made possible by surrounding the mind with other minds (and the body, other bodies) cobalt line blooms to the right (saxophone) as incarnadine line coordinate (voice) follows suit carves a cavernous outlines overlap and sway until dead reading too close hurts the eyes indifference not the same as letting go priming effect: the most recent recall brings the wall closer to your thorax
thorax closer wall brings recall recent most effect: priming letting go same not indifference eyes hurts close too reading dead until sway and overlap outlines cavernous carves suit follows (voice) coordinate line incarnadine as (saxophone) right blooms line cobalt bodies) other body, (and minds other mind surrounding possible made body one mind one entirely lived cannot experiences ego dilated i without write i when subject assimilates resistance unknowing of _______, of _______, of accumulation stillborn knowing of comfort demanding worries spoke i when silence tasted i both anxiety fear over silence of preference narrative else’s someone fit retrospectively morphed expectations discomfort of discomfort over pull regrets head losing keeps bliss simple not simplicity if’s what made country exchanged when offset double secrets worlds two between ordinary want to tongue its tastes memory silently lick him let shall i knows he language love only the licking if sighs then expands mountain white remembering called disease chronic reads mind proportionately scale doesn’t book hold body need one doesn’t building glass tall as maturity perseverance of admiration night and day all howling would i dog were i living the knowledge without ghosts branches bone perched birds cowering inquiry before simmering webs silk thousand lightning drenched outside stare labor of future wealth of end it was labor of end wealth of future quoting article scrap year last wonder newspaper read you’re day what knowing not apocalypse mention gray someone repeats do just i think don’t i chest over dripped water disappeared mouth bottle water drank eyes sore head pressurized
Born in South Korea, JIANNA JIHYUN PARK recently graduated from Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing in Brooklyn. Her works have appeared in Re:Visions, The Felt, Notre Dame Magazine, and others. Her first poetry book Contusions (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019) talks about her personal experience with mental illness in hopes of continuing conversations on inherited memory, vulnerability and care.