Niedecker and Wonju

Both chose to fly their rounds, tempestuous,

yet, I preferred woman on paper,

you preferred your men illiterate...


Deep within a mass of illiterate men

across the ocean southern peninsula

at a bar in Wonju, he mused,

his wounds, colorful old raw.


Helen started a chain reaction

created Achilles upon her shore

created generations of warriors and war.


The last fight provided his frame

with an adequate amount of punch

before he returned blow by blow

a powerful sting from boyhood


In Vegas, In Troy, on the strip

or on the bow of a Greek vessel

where the warrior sat with heavy

head down towards the waves,

a meditation,

before thrown onto the sands and swords.


Each bout provided ample mental challenge whether

the control of his body through exhaustion

or when to move each foot to avoid stray fist

or when to win gracefully with a much

weaker opponent. tonight he soaked

his wounds in Soju, ate dried squid,

watched a gray haired man, shrunken,

aged, fall from the height of his bar stool,

crawl back up and with a ferocious face

devour the exit drunk and lost.


I followed him around South Korea,

helped him function after every fight

held the towel, provided the light,

as he fought his way through Korean cities.


A year of my life much like reading Greek,

reading Niedecker:

we chose to live our lives tempestuous,

I preferred woman on paper

like Helen of Troy or Lady Macbeth

you stopped loving literate men

now I sit alone without you

or random warriors.



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2 comments

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 7 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Enjoyed this. I was always partial to Lady Macbeth myself.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 7 months ago from Reno NV Author

Thank you Gypsy. I appreciate your support. Jamie

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