Saturday, December 6, 2008


I watch trashy reality television because I watch trashy reality television.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


the image: a girl

abandoning her pet in the park.

a small, defenseless



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Very General Preservation

Been opening books,

turning into spooks,

seeing what they once saw;

thinking what

they once thought;

sitting the same way

they once sat.

Been dead and alive

in my room;

alive and dead,

between covers;

been living the life,

their lives;

been living the lies,

their minds.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bed Sore

Death had a strange way of being at the beginning, rather than the end. My mother had been dead for three minutes when I was loosed from a gash under the navel, a womb or a wound. My father chose not to tell me. He’d say I was born like Eve from Adam’s rib, like Athena from Zeus’ skull-cracked open and split. And in that way I was entirely of him and no part of death. The explanation satisfied both parties in a fuzzy and incomplete way. He accepted that he would wear the role of the mother the way children wear school uniforms - with a sense of unsure obligation.
I have been in bed for a very long time, for all time, really. As an infant my father was told that my muscles were spongy, porous from a violent birth. And I suppose I never tried, those were my legs, there they were. It was skin. Not even fat, or bone, or muscle. Skin, a partition.
Physical therapy was recommended, someone pumping my legs like a bicycle mid-air. But my father said no. He wanted me to forget what legs were for, for them to become abstract. He would not even them dress them. My legs hanging nakedly from their shell. They grew willowy, formless.
My doctor came once a week to treat bedsores. He was slight, anchored by his leather medicine bag, giving him an artificial limp and endearing him to me. It was the medicine bag that I first noticed about him. Pockets and spaces for things that seemed too antiquated for modern medicine -- amber vials with rubber tipped droppers, magnifying glasses, cloth bandages. He never opened his bag though. It was always fat, fat with something. Other doctors began with thin pleasantries but he was stitched with purpose, some sort of worry that negated the need or space for casual conversation. My father did all the talking and then would seat himself in the corner of the room, his body bent forward and angeled towards mine. There was always coffee resting tenuously on his knee. It stayed untouched. The steam dead in the cup.
I could sense when the doctor was preparing to touch me. The hands hadn’t materialized but intention grows thick, pushes up like oil. And I’d brace myself for something cold, for medicine in the touch. But he always started at the nail, the hardness as a warning and then sliding into the balls of his fingertips -- something coyly warm. He would roll me to my side, finger the back of my ribs and I would become aware that I had been sweating, my shirt struggling to stay close to skin. Before treating the sores, he circled them, felt their limits. I relaxed into his fingers, let them knead through me, come out the other side. I wanted to pull him, to pull him through-the needle through cloth. Sometimes he’d grip the dip of my waist when massaging a sore and I shifted the image, made us vertical, created an affection that was not there. I had read somewhere that stuffing wounds with tobacco thickens the blood, coagulates the sore. And I thought about my body, the abscesses filled with tobacco and me as his cigarette, brought to his lips and then inhaled.
When he was done, he’d pull the sheet up for me though he knew my arms could have done the same-his hand ending at my shoulder and squeezing to say goodbye. The only time we faced each other was at his arrival. Even when he left, I kept my back turned looking towards the window blinds-the silver dust, the way it floated off when vibrated, too small and left behind by gravity.

-Saehee Cho, October 11.2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

for henry - nr

at family
on fairfax
I was asked
if I knew
of you

as feminine

you're famous


Sunday, October 26, 2008


In the mornings we expelled our bad spirits.  They come in sleep, spread thinly in our mouths.  There is a towel hanging on our bedpost, it is always there.  It sags pretty.  I gave him one end of the towel and held onto the other, the corners tugged between us.  Held our breathe-twelve inches back.  We whispered the bad spirits into the towel, caught them in the folds.  The stubborn ones hang onto the uvula and we roll breathe from our throats to coerce them out.  We are not forceful.  The malicious ones hide under our tongues.  The corners are brought together.  The movement must be quick.  And with our collective four hands, pinched and touching only at enamel, we empty the towel out the window.  The bad spirits slide against glass, no longer trying.
They let us be.  

Saehee Cho
2008, October 26

Thursday, October 23, 2008

refrain. -nr

It’s hard to write when you don’t know for what purpose.

We can lie to each other, Bam! a lie. whispy, a whispy lie, too.

I went to a reading once where the performer recited a long poem from memory about gay domestic abuse. The same string of words were repeated, as though it were the refrain in a song. She said bam so loud, I felt myself frightened. Every time the narrator hit her girlfriend, she followed it with an apology. But after third attack, even I braced myself for the next bam in her poem, shouted into the mic.

Knowing of a different culture. Seeing beyond yourself. Why see beyond yourself? Why see beyond yourself and your needs? I do not understand this yet. If chaos is purposeful.

Friday, October 10, 2008


All the graphs on the television screen are diving downward, the newscasters are telling their viewers between the commercials: that it is all coming to a head. The experts agree. People pop up and say: Yes, this looks quite bad, The worst this generation has ever seen, Terrible, really, for everyone, This will affect school children and children yet to be born, When this happened 79 years ago, in October, people flung their bodies from the highest buildings in New York City because they couldn’t bear the thought. Hey, Doc, says a waiter as he enters the kitchen, table six is yours. He enters the dining area to find the conversation is still going, the people all smile and toast and sip and shovel food into their mouths, and they laugh and laugh and laugh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


is a day is a day is a day

can time be

-tween time


but loss of diversion

if i had passion

i would rally

for your cause.

and yours, and yours


i'd be there

in it.

who wants a cure

for boredom?



Just the women: CAREFUL!


for hours.

I return home
and see the dog.
there is no tension between

she gnaws on raw hide sticks

and i watch her.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

mr. molar

he’d dug

hands into holey

suit pockets poor

to watch television

to help him decide

every channel promised

wealth and truth, health

beauty and a way away

in the window bird

tree lawn street

and worried visage


“all going to hell

my man the best


replied “ok"

then "goodbye”

four hours passed

went to bed

dreamt toothpaste

woke again and dressed

holey suit pocket



Monday, August 25, 2008

the morning

my love left
i turned right
in a borrowed grey car
drove 7 californian blocks
under the half-
clouded sky
to cash my check
and buy a certificate of deposit
to sit and collect
over the next months


Monday, August 18, 2008


farewell to those
who come and go;
the good ones
seldom know.


Monday, July 28, 2008

I Like California Better (Simple Syrup #4)

I was sitting in the car with Seung Kyoon, he seemed a little excited about sitting in the front seat and I wondered for a moment if it was illegal, or something. I think I had heard somewhere that you had to be 80 pounds to sit in the front seat on the car but I'm no good at gauging a person's weight-or anything, really. We were in the car alone and it struck me how strange that was, and how much stranger that this thought would occur at all.

Chemistry is decidedly different in the presence of just one other person, it shifts/slants in, canisay, a more accurate perspective. Seung Kyoon seemed more shy, more aware of the focus, but all the more grown for it and there was something sweet, maybe a little somber, about the whole thing. I was asking questions, the kind that suggested larger questions, but made digestible. Questions like, "Do you like Korea or California better?" I had asked this questions before, in its many forms but somehow, in this moment, it seemed understood that the expected answer was something a little meatier than usual. Usually, there'd be a boxy answer that required little supplemental explanation but I think he knew that this was not what I was looking for.

He said," I like California better. I..."
He paused, broke.
"I'm just more comfortable here."
He paused again, the effort of interpolating reason and emotion evident.
"I don't know why."
He laughed in a requisite way.
"I just do."

And the whole thing seemed as good an answer as any.

We parked and got out the car and I hung my hand mid-air and he reached for it. I've always found these moments immense, because of the compatibility of understanding in the absence of words-finding an expecting hand without much meditation. It is, if anything, a nice reminder that I am, in fact, not a cold person. But with Seung Kyoon, these things are easy. He is, by nature, an incredibly affable child-endearing, and I think I've always felt that way about him. He seemed genuine, like he experiences things with wide fingertips and is apt to smile about it. And I was grateful.

-Saehee Cho, July 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

to the unfortunate lack of understanding, nr

what should i have looked at?
to grow again before
a person.


in comparison
to now.

the extension

hanging from
an outlet

in a way
is powering

the space in
which i am writing

but not the
one in which you are

which is a
a translation.

and i don't know
who to tell

that years ago
i was not

the truth

          i really did feel
          i would be young forever

in telling you
i hated you


now seeing you

you   you   you, like
accepting the lottery,

lucky you,

is how motherhood is

i can't say
more (remorseful)

          four palm trees
          and two hammocks

          are ready
          where you grew up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

void - n.r.

the sound of a helicopter as a low growth
heard from within a garage
until its distancing

the recording
of a favourite

between these two
distinct sounds
after STOP
had been pressed

was silence

for a moment,


Monday, July 14, 2008


Big black heart big black spots all over outside
Beat beat beat hole got beat into big black heart
Went right inside
Time gets tough for all of us
Everyone try and everyone die and everyone lie the whole way through
Big black heart with fresh new start
Forward on forward on goes song
Big big big dark and dark shadow grows old in shadows of holes
Deep and deeper machine goes boop
Big black heart with holes throughout begins to slow begins to droop
Begin and end this dirty heart flesh begin and end says only we


Friday, July 11, 2008

by n.r.

No creative project completed. I tried to sleep to have my dreams tell me something. And they did. I dreamt there was a hole inside the ruins of a church that one descended into to feel what it is to die. You had to pay to enter. My mom handed me our Chihuahua and went. I was also expected to enter, but my excuse was the dog. I was afraid of it running off. So I did not enter. The fact that you had to pay wasn't humorous in the dream. The money was more of a donation and wasn't necessary if you didn't have it, but we all had the money. The brother I hardly ever speak to was in the dream. I had made it down some huge crumbling stone steps that were made for a giant to climb effortlessly, and when I reached the bottom, still carrying the dog, my brother couldn't make the final jump down and asked if he could support himself on me. I said yes and stood rigidly. He put his hand on my head and lunged off the stone. I felt all his weight push down my vertebrae and I cried, What the fuck, I'm never letting you jump off me again! My back felt awful, and I tried straightening my posture, feeling my back snap. Scornfully I watched my brother as he gave money to the woman seated at the hole. I didn't see him enter. He was just gone.

I remember how the hole had been described to me. I was told you'd see unbelievably terrible sights despite it being pitch black, you'd hear the wails of cloaked demons mourning your death, right next to you, and the origin of these sounds would be unknown. Full pain beyond any experience one could live through, worse than the arms being ripped off like an insect’s, pain ripping apart your soul -what allows you to perceive the beautiful, shriveled and crying- and your mind, disseminated -your thoughts ending as they are formed. The thoughts formed during your living obliterated- so that, in death, there'd be nothing of you left. What was most eerie was not that the description of the torments continued, detailing who you would fearfully encounter, and what you would see done to you. Not this. The unreal aspect of death was the return of your tortured self, unharmed, the You you had known yourself to be emerging from purgatory, somewhere, there, awake, beside the church, and you'd see the woman seated, accepting donations, from far away.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


a bottle
looked into
as though it were a

to see



Friday, June 13, 2008


the drums he did play;
and the violin, she.
the skin and the strings

the fingers.

f. martinez
june 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

someday (an homage to prayer)

I remember feeling good when I saw the light that shined through the tree under which I rested, thinking, This is the light not trapped at the top, held there. It was on a weekday, several months ago. While Prayer worked, I napped under a tree. She'd return in three hours, she said, and when she was through with work I met her in the lot where she had parked her car, crookedly. We got in her car and pulled out, and then, so happens, the parking spot held no significance, no matter.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Known Ends/Ends Foretold

This morning I woke up to neck in face, throat in palm.  You breathed heavily and away.  And I thought about all your prettiness, flailing.  You, in fact, have a way of hurting my right spine.  I've always been a fan of braces.  You taper at (my) ends.  I, round.  

-Saehee Cho, June 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

a mexican says to another:

leaving, dying
we are leaving
and dying


Saturday, May 24, 2008

On the Present

I made it
for you.

for you.

f. martinez
may 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

necessity (pure)

Could we say if
our phones weren't
or had their batteries
drained, such as last time,
that distinguishing
vellum from
tracing paper,
for example,
should not be fascinating
as long as there
are images
to see
opposed to
see again in?

the bars on a phone
would be peculiar if
imagined elsewhere,
three hollowed petri
dishes stacked beside
fourteen more of the same.
it'd be like more time
or more errors
or more notches
of wastefulness,
as every word
cannot be
recalled for
later use.
very few.

the option
to misdirect
is here
as what i understood

but how could
any truth
that is not
a tracing,
for example,
of how, for one,
we have taken
so much from each other
because we speak so
infrequently, and consequently,
only to find
our own mirroring

i guess i'm wondering
if exclaimed in my voice
is what's just as
apparent in yours -
to spare
and leak
out into the world
that gave it
to us,
as if to
accept as
an image
we only
ever felt,
and so,


Thursday, May 1, 2008

a dream (pt.1)

One man kills the boss
and becomes the boss

(everyone thinks at one point
or another about flying
Being a bird because
birds can fly and
everyone is on the ground)

Another man kills the boss
and becomes the boss

f. martinez
May 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Morning Libations

sugar in the hair
warm hips
and a casual burn

sleek death

[                           ] trails

-Saehee Cho April 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

on living all ways

What is not real about this life?
What is not real about this life?
What is not real about this life?
What is not real about this life?
What is not real about this life?
Your recent desire to succeed as success is measured.

Is this moment unreal?
No. This is real.

Is this moment unreal?
No. This is real. It’s real. It’s as real as nothingness was. It is real. It is real. It is real like nothingness is real. Was nothingness real? Of course! What do you intend to mean? Of course. Of course. It is all as real as it is nothing. This is not equilibrium. It can’t be equilibrium or the discourse on aliveness and deadness, which are both states of living, could not be real. Death is real so long as death is alive as a concept to the living. What were to happen if concepts that prevented longevity through their negative influence on the body and mind, what were to happen if these concepts were upstaged by other desires – such as the want of verisimilitude – again?

Do you feel distressed?

Because the difficulty of living is non-existent to people who choose to live uncomplicated lives marked by ritual. Because the difficulty of life, being measured here by the willingness to accept errors of others, not the errors that cause us to be late for work, but the errors of others that cause us to debate our own worth, our own utterances, our own abilities towards achieving at least complacency in this realm of suffering, us, who can help, even!, who can prevent major suffering in others if we tried harder, this is not difficult, according to some, not becoming a malcontent, but I disagree.

This became the problem for me. There is a difference between how success is measured within society, and how it is measured by the people who want me to live. I want to say about living, “I am part of it too,” that is, it is not a part of me, hence, I’m am not the fragment, I am the complete one. And I want to say this without implying society has won.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The city.


Depending upon the point of perspective.

You see.

Don’t mention it.

How it is always growing.

Like a tree.

You don’t see.

f. martinez
feb. 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

hajimemashite: a memo

Imagining having guests in our
beautifully decorated home/house.
Conversation will reveal my
occupancy of this residence.
Then, as if an inevitable
fall, disclosure of a relationship
between you and myself
will cause the interrogator/guest
to smile, then, to wonder.
This wonder, such wonder,
is only of one thing.

The world functions as one
big, giant, intricate
pyramid scheme in my
eyes. I don't want to
get involved in what it means
to live, in living, because
then I would be a
participant, incorporating
more, coercing by influence
an acceptance of that
which gave me no original
choice, what will give
them no choice, the
acceptance of equality as an
idea; translation; that
we can fully and truly
communicate all that is
not loss.

nancy romero 2.15.08

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Considering Our Considerations

We say the moon, forgetting it’s only
a moon.
I suppose we are justified in saying the sun,
though we sometimes admit it's only
a star.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This white blade
it doesn't budge
but I've seen it fold

-Saehee Cho January 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008


She fell
out of love the way most people hoped to fall into it
brashly and without the stink of intention.

He shifted in bed. And she hated him for it. The way his body breathed sticky in her general direction. He rubbed his feet on her ankles with drowsy affection. And she hated him for it. He shivered with such steady dedication when her hair licked at his neck. And she hated him for it.

She felt a rolling impulse to punch him in the neck, bruise the jugular. Instead, she chewed on the corner of her pillowcase, souring.

She loved him in the way one loves nostalgia, grappling for voided air-that is to say that she did not love him at all, only gestured towards it. Except when his voice slipped into that damp space. It was shallow and as uninterested in her as she was in him, and the weight of that, the vague murmur that she could be to him as he was to her, collapsed against ribs with the weight of everything that had ever recycled between them. Everything grew meaty in those moments.

These were the moments she believed in.

Humiliation is something of a parade.

Maybe he’d die in his sleep. These things have been known to happen. A brain aneurism. A silent heart attack. A mysteriously unrecognized and untreated ailment. Really, he was a ticking time bomb. If it were to happen, if he were to combust peacefully in sleep-she’d wake up
and roll his weight back and forth with the force of both hands and when the body would not respond appropriately she would climb out of bed, tunnel her feet into the house slippers tucked half-way under the bed and shuffle towards the closet-the sleep still gnawing in her lids. She would pack a suitcase. She would not need much. Her toothbrush, a pair of pajamas, four shirts, two pairs of pants. And underwear, plenty of underwear. Few things disturbed her more than the thought of running out of clean underwear. The last things she would do would be to turn their wedding photo onto its face, because this was the definitive gesture empowered heroines made midway through movies. The resulting catharsis would be disappointing, more silly than she had anticipated.

Then she’d walk out of the house and drive 400 miles, to Kenny. Nevermind that she hadn’t seen him in twelve years. He would still be living in the same open courtyard apartment complex, the kind with a pool in the center, calling all the tenants towards it with a force not unlike gravity. She would knock. He would open the door, long haired and beautiful at her expense. He would look exactly the same, aged 26. Nothing would have changed, except perhaps his mouth, a thin upper lip-noble and disproportionate to the fleshier lower. He would look surprised but not shocked, as if he had been expecting her but was unsure of the timing. He would open the door wider and it would not look like the door was being moved but as if the room behind it were growing larger and larger until she found herself in the belly of it. He would be brushing his overgrown hair out of his face, pushing it into an extreme and undefined right part. There would be a liquid quality to it-toss back the head, brush the hair, laugh.
It was enough

to make her fall in love
brashly and without the stink of intention.

His bedroom would still be inappropriately festive, Christmas lights stapled to ceiling corners and dripping soft shine. And then they would fall asleep, deflate on the spot as if their air had been vacuumed out of their toes and into the ground beneath them. And that would be everything.

-Saehee Cho January 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

this doesn't exist

i wish money didn't exist and that we could live the course of our lifetimes by simply breathing air.
i wish i could say to my future employer in response to the question regarding my qualifications, michael moore's documentary SiCKO is now on dvd, and have that advertisement suffice. (please hire me)
i wish forever, inside the very center of my spirit, which for me feels like my sternum, caving inward - i wish for my sadness to imitate my happiness and be henceforth indistinguishable from joy. this forever forever forever, please, forever

nancy romero january 2008