Robert Perchan


My poems come back to me in the mail from the States with the same complaint every single time: "The guy says we don't fucking work for him." So I take them into the bathroom and scour their mouths with a censoring agent. Of course, it was the same way when I was young and rough-edged and raffish. You go to an interview half-stoned and William Randolph Hearst takes you aside and asks what you would do if Vietnam erupted right in the middle of your paper route. The one of my poems who is pure Amerasian should have had no problem with a challenge like this, so I sent him off to the Culture Wars, but the point he had to make came back urinated on and scraped off the page, an ugly matrix of cicatrices. Worse, I hadn't xeroxed him beforehand and can't recall what that part of him used to look like. Luckily he had signed an organ donor card and I am still able to use pieces of him I find lying around here. But the rest of him is gone: I can sit here and stare at that stained and shredded trooper till I'm blue in the face and hear nothing but the whimpering of words failing me, like a mother unzipping a body bag to sort out her son. This is grief until I remind myself that I'm alive in Pusan, South Korea. Look at your map—the very tip of the coccyx of Asia! One more step backwards and you're in the drink! I'm here—a cornered dog—and writing! To those of you who are listening.