blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



One Knowledge

The Russian fleet has been dumping old reactors
& spent fuel into the seas for decades
& sometimes I stand before the recycling bin
with a piece of waxed cardboard in my hands for minutes,
trying to decide whether to drop it in or not.
You must do something.

And I still find the Russian language ugly, gruff,
a twisted mumbled crunching thing
that lurches through the underbrush
& pokes its cracked tusks into moldy carcasses.
Beauty is a sapphire I savor in my mouth
that slides out, slick with spittle.

Today I helped a girl correct her grammar in an essay.
It said I have angry that US culture is force on me.
Even people tell me to throw away Korean ideas
and become Asian-American.

Her hair was the gold-orange of Asian black bleached.
A lazy eye drifted away slowly as I told her to read the words aloud,
feel the errors in her mouth. And she read in a soft
voice, melding Korean sparks

into short English words. There are not many knowledges
in my head.
I told her that in English knowledge is a single idea,
supported by much, not many.
That if she had thousands of dead reactors,
decades worth of barrels of ship fuel,
these would be many reactors, many barrels.

But knowledge is overarching, it reaches us all & frees us.
It's the shifting body in the Escher drawings
that morphs from boar to fish to bird to jewel,
slides through every mind that speaks it.

So in America, she asked,
there is only one Knowledge?

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