Somewhere Else Everything Is Significant

A series of poems by A. Moriah Jones

The weight of water

If there was a sound like the violent rending of a marble floor
I’d liken it to that – the sky has cracked in Gwangju
a bowl tipped over              its contents poured through

and it seems appropriate
to mention that at this juncture I am ill prepared
to hold the weight of water – and so I find
more often than not – I have spilled over

meanwhile drops have condensed on the surface of clay vessels
– as if to suggest the water within is cold
but really there are cracks in the cisterns – they cannot hold water

Sunset in Mui Ne. Alessandra Hodulik. Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Portrait of a room

crowded with plants – the family is letting the vines crawl
across the wood floor paneling and all along the walls –
there is a stain like thrown coffee above the TV

and since she gets on her knees every day to wipe around
the low hanging leaves – the stain must be left as a reminder
or warning:
shrunken skulls wind tossed and jangling against each other:
a music as broken as the ecstatic screams of children at play
and all of it carried
past teal neon crosses that are gaudy against the night sky

she pulls the towels from the rack where they dried –
they’ve all been stolen from hotels – and presently the intimations
of halting piano scales drift into the room through ceiling vents
ridiculous at this hour – but why not?


Dinner on the stove at Café the Big Banana

pots coppered and brown with use hang like decorations
hand dripped coffee gathers in a spiraled glass
there’s English on the signs and bananas with bruised skin
the place is eclectic in a way that seems like home –
which is unexpected

piquant waves from someone’s cooking dinner
clash against my saccharine honey lemon tea
its tepidity informed by my leisure and the trafficked entrance
I’ve been here for hours – and finally evening has come

perhaps to say understand more fully
the fragments of silences broken
by a flippantly earnest bless you
the space between
the entitlement of naivety                  the assorted ways of being


Somewhere else – everything is significant

there is just enough blood to make you curious
to make you draw closer to the heavy bellied bird
hunched in the ditch – the breast is concave where the wing was pushed
bluntly into the hollow boned chest – proven as fragile as you imagine
you will hurt appropriately – long enough for you to note
where the feathers have been stained               where the life has spilled over
you will get close enough to be too close – so the bird will stutter away
but you will see its eyes and know enough to name your face in its fear

Watch Out for the Monkeys. Kevin Duong. Bali, Indonesia.

It is wet in Korea again

The window frames in Caffe Pascucci are all painted red
their panes wink with the most recent rain’s sputter – it is wet in Korea again
and the bottom panels glisten where the light makes glitter of the dust
and crumbs – gnats crawl along gathering what they can
bouncing from one sill to the next –
at times I can do little more than consider –
the man on the corner sorting trash and how he handles it all in a way that seems
informed – and I want to look at him until he is beautiful – until
he gleams – and I want to tell the woman working her store front
touting the benefits of emulsion and essence to use her language precisely –
but I don’t understand a word anyway
because here to call a women glamorous
is to call her buxom – which is to realize the unstated excess in the folds of your body
– we’ve been consumed here – we’ve been resisted – but look
the streets tidy even though he wore no gloves
the sounds at once diffuse and discrete – everything dazzles

Moriah Jones is a 2014-2015 ETA at Jeonggwang Middle School in Gwangju.