Friday, May 7, 2010

listlessly listing

It's exam time... and my mind will only think in abbreviated list form. sigh.

Things that are under appreciated:

Pigeons - it wasn't until I got to new york that I realized people didn't love pigeons... that actually pigeons were something disliked.
The calming, scurrying sound their little claws make, and the soft cooing, the rustling of their wings as it releases caught dust.. oh pigeons. =]

My childhood memory of pigeons was the scene in mary poppins with the pigeons swirling "feed the birds.. tuppence a bag". In the summers when we visited Korea, every morning my brother and I would beg my mom to let us go on the hour walk up a mountain with my grandmother to feed the pigeons with handfuls of sweet popped corn.

I tried feeding pigeons once at wash sq park, only to get some woman snap in horror, "what, why are you feeding them!? are you actually feeding them??"
I fed pigeons one last time at a plaza in venice during a year abroad (where this was actually encouraged) I held the birdseed in my hands, scattered it on my arms, running as pigeons landed on me as my friends watched in horror.

And now, since I've moved to hong kong, pigeons feed us, as a culinary dish. For some reason the restaurants always serve them in deconstructed broiled pieces with the head proudly propped on the plate. As if the customers need some more proof that the bird has truly been conquered.
There's something operatic about it. "Where's its head?! bring me the head of this bird! So that it can gaze at me while I feed upon it."

mayonnaise - mayonnaise is so good.. I know it's unhealthy and like butter, might as well be a product of demons.
In new york there were many butter haters - this woman at the office cafeteria would order her omelette with a frantic intensity, "egg whites. only the whites. no noo butter, no butter no butter! and a spritz of - hello! JUST a spritz please of Pam."
While I'd be getting my bowl of grits with tabs of butter melted in.. and she would walk past me and leave me with a glance of pitied disgust.

but yes. mayonnaise makes everything better.

During nutritionally dark days in london (and economic semi-darkish days), if I was tired of ketchup and peas or wanted to refrain from eating oatmeal for dinner.. I'd treat myself to rice with mayo mixed in.
mmm. try it.

electric fans - Korean people have this "medical" fear of electric fans. Specifically of sleeping with one on or blowing on your face in a closed room. It is believed that this will kill you. It's called 'fan death'. I don't really know the explanation, I've heard all the different ones from: your body forgets to breathe, or the fan takes all the air out of the room in some air vortex, or your body develops hypothermia... And most Korean people I know will say this in all seriousness. Colleges do tests and there've been several scientific studies on the mystery of 'fan death'. (All the theories are listed on wikipedia - 'fan death')

When I was little, I asked my mom if death by hypothermic air vortex was the reason she would never let me sleep with a fan on, she said that no, she just wanted to save money on electricity.

That explanation made more sense.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


it's one of those hawk-eyed nights
where even i seem to have wings
feeling haunted
by wind
by the promise of metal under my feet and
a breeze hard against the body or a taste of concrete.
the night holds the terror
the secret that you are alive.
you are living!
the night is a question
and it is demanding the answer
the whole being yearns
for completion
for the embrace of safety
wishing for power
for conviction
to no longer hunger
for the heart to stop mid-beat.

she traced orion in the black velvet of sky
the sharp line of his belt
the shoulder clasped hard in her fist.
she was wearing a dress as black and soft as the night,
tied up to her knees as she moved through the ocean.
listening to the waves shape the shore -
walking as though she'd become a shadow
a single shadow blurred into the edges of night.

again again
the human body can take more than one would believe.
skin and bone when thrust upon will press back.
A hard slap across the face - a punch to the head
yes there will be noise and the emptiness will ring
Stomping on the feet
a kick to the gut
slashing of a belt and buckle
ad yet the skin does not break. It learns to stop bruising
not to swell - quietly retaining its own protest.
one would think there is something glorious in it
some triumph or rebellion from the pain
feeling the ache the reminder of life
but there's nothing glorious about it
there's only the desperate echo - a desire to claw to hang on to keep life.
again and again
you will the body to break
but it won't.
it remains
and you are its prisoner -
but safe in its cage.


Things that I wish I could do better:

planting flowers - I have 3 dying pots of flowers on my balcony, they look like they're gasping for air. No matter how often I water them, or say positive things to them, the faster they seem to die.

The only time I had a very successful flower garden was one spring in grade school. I'd just read "Secret Garden" and wanted nothing more than a key necklace and a friend named Dicken to run around with. With all this enthusiasm, I'd managed to make a vast meadow of flowers - crocuses, marigolds, cosmos, wildflowers...

Unfortunately, my father absentmindedly bulldozed over them with his mini tractor when he was mowing the lawn one day.

flowers never forget.

cycling - whenever I go to a spinning class at the gym, it's an exercise of how inadequate I can feel for 50 minutes. There is the amped up music and the instructor whose sweat runs off like a constant stream while he shouts into his headset - rpm! rpm! Resistance should be at 10! (Mine's at 3.) Rpm should be at 100! (Mine's hovering at 70.) Give it all you've got all you've got! (All I got was when you said that five minutes ago.) sigh.

Sometimes in moments of clarity between the feeling of collapsing, I feel strangely aware that I'm pedaling so hard and staying stationary, and that's multiplied by looking at the mirror wall, and all I see are about 30 of us pedaling like crazy making these silver disc wheels spin around.
And then I wonder what a discovery channel guide would say to explain this to those people who live in isolated tribes in the desert or on a mountain or jungle. "In places where there is not much space to move around, these men and women get on these contraptions and work as hard as they can to pretend that they are moving and ... no they do not go anywhere, no they do not mind it."