today we are thrilled to feature this stunning, urgent work shared with us by poet Sophia Terezawa, entitled Why Resurrect It All Now: A Golden Shovel after Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée. read it here and watch the gorgeous, just-released poetry video for the piece, created by Dylan Lowry and the poet herself. Why Resurrect It All Now originally appeared in The Blueshift Journal's Winter 2017 volume of The Speakeasy Project, which features an awe-inspiring collection of carefully crafted work by the voices of our generation.
it is our luck that Sophia will be joining us in reading some of her astounding work at the Poetry Party next weekend in Denton, TX, and we hope that you can join us. she has also graced us with this writing prompt to carry with us today: Close your eyes. Imagine that you are a puppet held up by strings attached to the top of your head, your shoulders, arms, hands, knees, feet, and every one of your toes. Imagine that each string is tied to a burden that pulls you around. What would it mean to cut those strings? Is it possible to free yourself from all of them? Now write about it.
Why Resurrect It All Now: A Golden Shovel after Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée
You leave you come back to the shell left empty all this time. To claim to reclaim, the space.
You must atone.
Leave the marks for what
You stole, a dried chrysanthemum.
Come to shrine.
Back step like apologies
To sisters long forgotten. Count
The strikes upon brass bells.
Shell the meat, honor whatever’s
Left behind, a wishing bone inside
All that talk of nations
This time healing as though
Time is all that’s needed for a man
To say, “I’m sorry.”
Claim this mine.
To heat the water.
Reclaim how it scalds the tongue,
The absence of my sisters scratching
Space beneath a throat.
Into the mouth the wound the entry is reverse and back each organ artery gland pace element, implanted, housed skin upon skin, membrane, vessel, waters, dams, ducts, canals, bridges.
We had crawled toward the wreckage and into
its belly where once pelicans nested among the
vertebrae before bones lost nutrition. Its mouth
was missing all its fangs. We wondered if the
mythic snake could talk before it died. A wound
about the size of a cherry tomato dotted the
ground before it, where something forcing entry
must have shot a warning. My memory is
sure of this, the tsuchinoko, a child in reverse
pounding on gravel, growing hooves, antlers and
a wind pipe. We were warned not to look back
especially when it called our names, and each
time it did, our hearts grew weak. The organ
sunk inside us like a sword falling upon an artery
before the gates of heaven. One by one each gland
opened in our bodies red poppies at a pace
unfathomable to history, to feel that human element
of air as torture, mother, language. We implanted
garlic on our tongues, became that empire housed
within some sacred text. We bound it, too, with skin
from eel to fawn, declared these sins passed upon
our daughters, nectarine, ginger root and skin
of lizards from an army camp, whose membrane
long abandoned catches shoreline breeze, a vessel
for the occupation between Nippon and its waters
never were we quiet to the quiet building dams
we buckled under. Resurrect it all, these ducts
and lullabies, the arrogance of stone, canals
along Busan, from wine to men, blood bridges.
Sophia Terazawa is a Vietnamese-Japanese poet, performer and author of the digital chapbook I AM NOT A WAR (Essay Press, 2016). Her poems also appear online and in journals like Big Lucks, TAYO, The Boiler Journal, and elsewhere. When the mood strikes, she creates poetry films with the love of her life, Dylan Lowry. Please dive into her work here: sophiaterazawa.com.