Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jee Leong Koh

Payday Loans, poems by Jee Leong Koh

(Poets Wear Prada) Hoboken NJ 2007

I encourage you to buy this book, but please go to the poet's blog to buy it, and to find the many stimulating things he has to say there.

In a series of sonnets, Koh writes of his struggle to find a job.
Every poem is about waiting: waiting to get a job, waiting to move in with his boyfriend, waiting to write the great poem. Koh is an expert sonnet maker. The sequence was written after Hurricane Katrina and I like the self mockery of this poem.

April 27, Wednesday
I can’t decide which organic bread to buy,
the pumpernickel or the multi-grain.
The tents of death still fly on flooded plains
and campers pray for drops of food supply.
I can’t decide which organic bread to buy.
The fucked-up prisoners-of-war complain.
The pumpernickel or the multi-grain,
I ask the empty counter. No reply
but the new pope speaks out against the tie
of gay marriage legalized in Spain.
The prisoners protest for checkout lanes
and campers pray to satellites that fly
over their heads while I decide to buy
the pumpernickel, or the multi-grain.

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