Daniel East is an Australian writer currently working in South Korea. His work has been published in Voiceworks, Cordite and the 2007 Max Harris Poetry Award, “Poems in Perspex”. He was a member of
Australia’s only poetry boyband, The Bracket Creeps and co-wrote “Sexy Tales of Paleontology” which won the 2010 Sydney Fringe Comedy Award.
How Korea is Old
Three months in a city of red night
waking in a colourless cold dawn
where stumbling children stop as buses crush past
& with half-formed fingers linked, blink & move on.
Schools of tailor belly-up in tanks, bleached scallops,
octopus like phlegm writhing on the glass;
this scaffolded street an aquarium
shopping-bagged in smog.
Chillies & bedsheets set to dry by the road,
beggars hiding their stumps beneath black rubber mats,
plucked melodies of a geomungo blasting from a Buy-The-Way.
11 p.m. on Sunday Gwangmyeong market begins to shutter.
Cider-apple women peel garlic cross-legged on newspapers,
pre-teens return from night school
playing baseball on their touch-screens.
A plaque reads:
this market is three hundred years old.
Yesterday I watched cuttlefish butchered
in pools of scarlet & cream – tonight I drink beer on my roof
as neon crosses strike out across the valley
& the city starts to scream.
Writing After The Goldrush
On a yellow day in August you’ll find yourself alone
a coverlet twisting in your toes
& no more see his smile
but by an exact shadow.
There’ll be one green apple in a clay bowl
& to your thin fingers it will be
the smoothest thing you ever held –
but by a park on Parrish avenue
when your bare feet were cold,
he pressed a lily pad into your palm
the pink-white lotus beyond reach in clear
black water. It will be August,
& a nameless thing will go.