Koon Woon, 3/2/2015

Current Occupation: Koon's current occupation is 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 Woon has done many odd jobs and full-time work includes being a US Postman, factory worker, and manager of a restaurant. He has written poetry for a long time and has two full length collections from Kaya Press at the University of Southern California. He won an American Book Award in 2014. He enjoys occasional forays into mathematics and philosophy. Presently he edits an online journal Five Willows Literary Review and runs a literary press Goldfish Press in Seattle.



Notes from Zembla

     I am writing you from a far country where the water travels many miles of convoluted pipes and up many floors to the spigot in my room where it comes out in two temperatures. The televise box in which the great leader’s head appears, though I must say, more often than I like, is usually my only distraction as I inhale and exhale fumes from a certain short burning stick and imbibe a liquid that either makes me silly or aggressive. These native Zemblians have observers who study people such as me and they are called “sociologists,” who do comparable work that I do, except, their work is called “social science,” whereas my work is called “fiction.”

    The fellow in the next hotel room is a lawyer down on his luck. He has a penchant to defend vile criminals who spend their money on drugs rather than pay his legal fees. We have been meeting for lunch every Sunday for the past 30 years. We live in the “skid road” section of the great metropolis known as Seattle. He was formerly a prosecuting attorney and to practice his old skills, he frequently attacks my logic and other possible-world scenarios. He sees any threat to the Constitution as a terrorist subversive act. Poor me, in more than one sense of the word, was powerless and impotent, also in more than one sense of the word, I make retreat after retreat into the solipsistic realm of my poetry, and because my poetry is opaque to him, we settle for talks about Microsoft the software giant. I told him that all China needs is an abacus.


Gooks Who Become Geeks

My assemblage of bones and pain

Brittleness and age

That higher cognition had forced me to

Books that had to be read,

Must be read

Even as the tongues diverge

And rivers fork, never knowing

When meaning will creep from the deep.

Take that other path, some joke,

Do sociology or psychology

Instead of forestry and study diverged woods.

And if the grass wants wear,

Make a hula-hoop.

The road will inevitably get you there,

Even as the geometry twists and shouts,

So look before you leap,

For crying out loud.

If you feel betrayed, for heaven sakes,

Write another essay! Explain all the roots that toot,

The sleep you missed while lost in the tome,

While your more astute classmates,

Contemplate the erection of a missile shield.

They are not Anglo nor Saxon;

They are Asiatic. Yes, they were hidden,

As Ann Frank was hidden – up in the attic.

They are rattling their abacuses,

Positioning their slide rules.

Indoors they stayed because of the New England frost.

They studied math and actually found all the odds

That one is likely to face the moment one is born.

For this reason they did not venture far,

They waited for the roofer come to fix the leaks.

By then, they’ve lost their angst. They were geeks.


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