Three Act Comedy

By Cindy Juyoung Ok


How dare you question my Eastern mystical status,
which I earned with bells the moon will never hear
and by enchantment with my body (its limits, mainly).
See: intensity as possessive. Theory as detachment.

What had happened was I happened not to die. Spit
out and over by a series of buildings, ward to ward,
adjustable beds and notarized briefs. See, I’m begging
you: apology as redundant. The microphone as penis.


Bone by bone, this poem erases adjectives—green,
harsh, infinite—and their stains. It becomes a student
of waiting when its coffin doesn’t fit the hole, everybody
watching. It had been a student of borders, of the spider

web on the cave marking time, of the age of trees in
colonized lands. And a child of resurrection, measuring
windows: the poem disrupts its own lure, doing
the work of the body: power modulated by convenience.


I lobbied for the dignity to shit unsupervised, and
rain is romantic when you’re rich and redeeming
your reputation as a domesticated wreck. Later I took
turns playing martyr with one who claimed to hate

birthdays rather than risk disappointment by another’s
hand. What had happened was I left her. I think (See: plot
as Western) I don’t believe in any thing, not even
the idea of California, no, I know, not even its sequoias.