Seoul Poetry

서울시[1. Seoul Si, meaning “Seoul Poetry” or Seoul-si, meaning “Seoul City”]

Sam Moser


the train doors opened, yielding


the train doors opened, yielding

the day, splitting it open

like an overripe fruit,

spilling it out

over the city’s skeleton

of concrete bone


as the mad winds blew

as the quickening clouds coagulated, stirring

to wash the vomit (not mine,

of course, but a homeless man’s,

he, who shielded his eyes in shame

with a hand

and a bottle) by my shoe


as the hawkers sang weary

mantras for the sake

of a pair of sunglasses

and other things


as the monks beat wooden fish

their hollow knocks and holy

phonemes wrestling with the

universe to promote a pigeon

or two


and i, above all this, thought:

did i leave my



the music began on the way


the music began on the way

with the scratchy overtures

of the grandmother magpies


the stale cigarette sacrifices

on the wet blossom altars

in front of the bank


intrigued (or bored) i stopped

and squinted my eyes to listen (i

had left my sunglasses at home)


before me

a single chord emerges:

a new apartment building



Sam Moser is a 2014-2016 ETA at Soeui Elementary School in Seoul.