Koon Woon, 10/14/2019

Current Occupation: Koon's current occupation is mathematics and logic tutor, freelance writer, editor, literary consultant and publisher.

Previous Occupation: Koon's previous occupations include running a restaurant and as an employee of the US Postal Service.

Contact Information: Koon started working in the family restaurant at age 12. Then he worked for the US post office. He earned his BA degree in creative writing from Antioch University and his MLS in literary arts from Fort Hays State University. He currently works as editor and publisher of Goldfish Press. Here is a link to Poetry Foundation website about Koon  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/koon-woon

Koon is editing the 2020 Chrysanthemum Poetry Anthology forthcoming from Goldfish Press in spring, 2020. Submissions can be emailed to koonwoon@gmail.com before closing date of December 31, 2019.



     Honest, I wear the same yellow waiter’s jacket that’s been worn for three generations. The jasmine tea is tepid and yellow too. I bring egg drop soup and that’s yellow with bits of green onions floating in it. And the white sauce, all day on the steam table, turns into various shades of yellow.
     But I am really dark and brooding like soy sauce, especially during the slow hours when I sit in a back booth reading Nietzsche. Maybe we have to re-evaluate this. Maybe we have to re-evaluate Nietzsche. Maybe we have to re-evaluate the whole thing. I mean, what is this liberal arts education getting me into? Now I can quote Schopenhauer and Freud, Locke and Hume, and a bit of Kant. He is always difficult. Daily, I still fill the napkin holders, the black pepper shakes and the salt, and I make the hot mustard for barbecue pork, and that is yellow and hot.
     Customers come in and want to see the Chinese menu. In English translation of course. And they always ask me what the Chinese scroll painting on the wall says with its calligraphy. It is really deep stuff I say, but I am not a Chinese scholar. In fact, I doubt if I am Chinese anymore. My dad calls me “bamboo.” And he says the more I am educated, the less he knows me. Why couldn’t we have started a chain of fast food Chinese restaurants in the Midwest? He lamented often.
     He is old now. He retired from standing in front of the wok for forty years, stirring chop suey. He looks sallow now. A salad doesn’t taste green to him and a steak doesn’t tastes red. His yellow pajamas hang around his neck like a noose. He tastes the bitterness of ginseng, and that is yellow too, and that is supposed to be good for his health.
     Yellow is the river where Mao used to swim to reassure the Chinese people, all six hundred million of them, that he was still healthy and able. Yellow was the river where Li Bai drop poems written on bamboo slits, and thereby naming all the children of China. But the poems were drowned in the swift downward water, washed out to the Yellow Sea…

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