Vincent Ponka

from The Korean War
a general’s announcement, 1952
‘I will go to Korea’
said Ike.

my jealousy!

Then again, sk
would be unlikely

to have interest
in a Dwight.

As for me I will go
to you, Korea

again & again & again
until you no longer know

whether I am
going or coming.

Thinking of Korea in Hot Spot
Sitting in a pad thai restaurant
outside is rain
at my feet my apple
holds hundreds of new
stolen tunes

I am high & a little
deaf from K’s trip
through his musical cosmos
Psychedelic Furs, Adrian Belew
King Crimson in all its various

anything by anyone
remotely connected with Pink Floyd.
An album by Roger Water’s gardener?
Why not.

Cold Canadian night
despite this ginger
tea in hand.

People run past glass walls
plastic bags above heads,
couples share umbrellas,
tabletop ad: virgin martini!
(what, distilled water?)
grey-haired moustachio said
Thunder Bay
3 times in 2 minutes,
eating alone
5 hours til birthday,
fortune cookie:
the best teacher is
also a student.

All this baby
and next week

Art Matters in 1953
Korea, you
are sitting next
to me on a bench between
the W & the M (where
I once wrote
a poem
about Jack
son Pollock)
& I say
I love your stomach
and want to write
a poem upon it.
I might, for (why
are you
there is little
time left.

I am Vibemaster 2000
Keeping the vibe alive
in the city
of Toronto

got the T-shirt
to prove it.

Look how Thunder
Bay fell
apart without me.

I know I am an average
looking man

sunglasses, not
the best or worst

but grounded

     [‘grounded’ — makes sense considering the fact
       the ‘the vibe’ is electrical in nature hence
       the ease of flow through me from my den of books
       and Persian carpets and cat
       tree to the city beyond
       my sun room. ]

and responsible
for keeping
the vibe

Put on

and watch me go.

The Korean War Continues
birds in the feeder
wind in the trees


moving west as hostilities

savagery enough

to make me scream.

I think
I felt myself die last night

then come back to life

then die again

your fingernails piercing
my hips.

Moose is chasing chipmunks
who escape upwards
as I move
south across the 49th parallel

(or is it you

the world’s foremost capitalist
who is the communists?)


way, we are locked
in battle beyond no-man’s land

beyond the Chosin Reservoir
an ocean between us yet


locked like two tigers
gripping the other’s throat

daring the other
to bite down.

Do You Listen, Korea?
After my generals
advisors subjects
and concubines have left me
bored exhausted & discontent
I curl up
with my shortwave radio
you are listening to my secret

I speak to the night:
I understand we live
in a moral universe
& should
condemn endless war
as I look back at the battles
of Island Lake
of Regent Park
& the Cascades Massacre
is it so surprising that I long
for a war to rival
those grand old European conflicts?
The slaughters of Napoleon
of the Somme
of Coventry
of Dresden? (200,000 roasted
by your side in a matter
of minutes!)

Am I an animal for thinking
life is not so precious,
that it is something
we all lose?
Am I a tyrant to believe
the secret of life
is to not fear
so much that you miss
the sweet carnage of life?

Do you know what the Japanese
call The Little Death?
Would you like me
to show you?
unafraid to my isolated
cabin beyond no
man’s land & I will
teach you. Wave
cocktail onions instead
of white flag.

The battery runs low
so I will sign off
invisible foe.

Vincent Ponka's poetry has been published in the books The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, Common Sky: Canadian Writers Against the War, and in numerous print and on-line journals. He is a book reviewer for Broken Pencil Magazine. He is working to sell a feature script Hamilton '77, a novel Bastards of Destruction and is nearing completion of a mystery novel Vicious Dogs. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

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