Monday 5 May 2014

5 Poems by Koon Woon

From "Three Quarks"  online magazine
January 11, 2013
Friday Poem

However Deep the Night I Expect Morning

Fog rolls into the valley, rolls
Where my mind goes into the evening,
As the rhythm of city syncopates my walk,
The roar of jets, the whisper of beggars,
Parks have their statues

In this city I know
Know where to find the best soup,
Where often the bands play the pigeons flock
Above heads of idols and unknown heroes
Not far from my tenement above Stockton and Vallejo;
I play Go from a book.

Rinds of light and rain fall silently
Equally on door knobs of silver or copper
This town dreams are altered by Andy and Val
Fight domestic while mice noisily cum
They do not expect morning

I think of crimson electric when morning sun rises
Arriving like a Chagall painting
A man floats up to kiss a woman from the Bolshoi Ballet

I am writing to you as I do, ever so remorseful
The window sill announces there is rain outside
But your purring has begun here in pulses of 8 to 80
As you break night once more and again
I write to you as I do and writing as you yourself do

On onion skin the lightest of verse
The lightest of verse, the lightest of verse
[Posted by Jim Culleny at 06:29 AM | Permalink]

face-to-face as in the back of a dream

so many years the sun blazed
and how could it not blaze?
as grass is parched in summer months –
fifty years have passed
a heart is torn from the chest every decade
still and green the grass of children do not fade

the flowers and thorns of childhood remain inarticulate
as the small woods lead me farther and farther away
when the years in quiet moments flash again in my view
everything genuine escaped the discarded
as I detached hearts to snag the coastal highway
turning in the wind they sing, oh, still they sing!

[may 4, 2011]

The Way I Had to Feel

Tree, darkness envelopes, dead but still stands
Center of forest a foreign life stirs, like “lilacs out of the dead land.”

A field of cigarette butts manifests as a Westward-bound on the streets of San Francisco
With that Parisian air of City Lights Bookstore spanning Columbus Street

I come home but the house is no longer existing; a light rain assails my face; I begin to feel
I miss you and this feeling is not optional

I carry a camel on my back as I walk from one poetry rejection to another
From one frown to the next

Even with coins I lift from a dead man’s eyelids
My actions are still explainable

That is, however tenuous is our link, I love you, pretty woman,
Though you might not believe my sincerity or that you are pretty

And so it is your perfumed handkerchief as T.S. Eliot would say that makes him digress
In my case it is buffoonery that makes my ambition to go way up

To infinity almost that my love is climbing for you!

This is exactly how I want to feel
And to hear tender words whispered into your ear as a very exquisite earring I am dangling therefrom

So please do not let me dangle anymore as a hanged man
For even in death I can feel with my right side and the obverse

And I can take the pain – your pain, and let’s roll them into the River Ganges

A cousin of mine swims to escape the August heat
She says to me, “Your speech is dense as bees, but your writing is cursive as chicken intestines.”

And if there is any truth to what she says, in my country I love you
For it is the way I feel because it is the only way to feel…

[February 14, 2014]

The thunderous applause of oceans
(from the collection, The Way I Had To Live)

We do not say our destination is near
Or that our journey is far,
But we do know our intent wins the applause
Of oceans.
We do not say our love melts butter
Or dissolves gold,
But we know its core is the white flame
Of fire.
We do not say our companionship is for
What hours,
Nor do we say we agree or disagree,
But we know that it has been a quarter of a century.
We have to live.
We have to live this way.
We have blemishes
And so are we to blame?
You have circled the city in your car,
Looking for a place to get good cucumbers,
But the loneliness drives you on,
Of this club you are a member.
I have rattled the typewriter and the sound
Bounces and rebound in my sparse
Rented room.
I seldom see a friend or even a foe.
Now we say we have to live
Simply because
We have to live the way we do, as victims
Of secret and nameless wars.
And we live like we do,
Until we can stroll along the seashore
And to hear the thunderous roars
Of ocean and ocean waves,
Until the oceans do not begrudge us anymore.
They give us their shores
As we embrace on the sand and the waves forever applaud.

Between Shaves

Between shaves, I grow in years
That bears a witness to your absent hand
Stroking as you would a pale fire
On the chin of your pet
Between shaves, I have lost you
To the grottoes and grovels of the underground
Where upon which the city was built
And nameless indeed the men and women
Who powdered their cheeks after each mining accident
Should life be as complicated as this?
Kowtowing to ships that bring tissue paper
For immaculating nostrils,
Lenses of stupefied clerks, the fat cheeks of children
Between shaves, I have looked into my coffee
And known myself for the repetition of meals
And I wonder, what can I give you,
That is three-leaved and not a clover,
And will startle you into magic!
The magic of a palm and a vulnerable face between shaves
An endless stream of bills and invoices
Telling me what I should be and to live
If only to satisfy those obligations
As I flee from pillow to pillow
With clasping hands but no supporting arms
With feet sinking into sand
Touching the rims of sand dollars
And you, the daughter I did not have
And you have a mother
She never has left you
She stayed and walked these sands of the Oregon coast
The prints are gone, but it was, it was in Oregon.

[Sunday, November 24, 2013]


Koon Woon now hosts the online journal Five Willows Literary Review
Submissions welcome!
Koon is also an internationally-anthologized poet with two full-length books of poetry from Kaya Press. When he is not lost in cyberspace he is tutoring math and philosophy and acting as a literary consultant in Seattle. Like Changming Yuan, he is a village boy from China. His great-grandfather is buried in Seattle's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. They were the first wave of Chinese to come to America. Despite all his rhetoric and pyrotechnics, he is a peaceful and peace-loving man.

[editor's note: Koon Woon has been one of the most popular poets featured in Poetry Pacific thus far, and as a result was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by our e.Journal in 2013.]


  1. Koon Woon's poems add heft and delight to any publication.

  2. Thank you, George, you are very kind! And thank you too Michael; many hands make light work! May all of us continue to progress in poetry!