Tender Ban Chan
Alexander Lee

SHIK TAK  table

An occasion and a rigmarole. Suppose community, networked and nodal, insisting on the safety of syntax. Certainly, a gravity that responds to distress and a surety that counteracts trauma. Marginality is a false supposition. There are those who resist, who push into silence, but even silence must partake of air.

BAN CHAN  side dishes

Site pockmarked by a dozen bowls, never quite the plate. Whorled pond matter and clay attribute. Turquoise birds asleep and anodyne. Each unsustainable without its kin, harmonious flock and not the master’s arrogant melody. A terraced shimmer that I don’t register except as the horror of a complex, a spider. Lave my disquiet against its rim and it endures, homely and monolithic.

GO DUNG UH  mackerel

Bronze lozenge, inked by equalizing fire. Locket that discloses flesh and a modest mausoleum. Stripped formation that by inversion defines the sea and its Occidental infinities, the islands that either withstand or lie in private obsecration. I support the latter, the helpless diaspora.

KIM CHI  fermented cabbage

Freckled and inflected, verging on information. Hint of oyster and adjacent to the sea, inseparable from the peninsula and its crooked wrist. Civilizing variations, incorporating unto itself until it stinks of everything. Red block and green glass and so on.

MUK UH  eat

Skate beside the meal. Not looking but remembering, remembrance without referent and only a sparsest assemblage of adjacents. Memory of distrust that petrifies into disknowing. Incapable of syncretism or refinement, I spar against simple continuity. A vision is an indulgence.

MOOK  jelly block

Tyranny of the knife. Carceral geometry and I am drained by the dimensions of engagement. Words to partition the subject. I nail our circles onto Europe’s crystal fabric that illumes the without but they wriggle away into transparency like a dozen unlit moons.

BUH SUT  mushroom

Slither down the death-current and the death-scalps. Life as rabid excretion. Death-epistle and doleful codex; our national flower, yes? Our supposed curse is not failure, exactly, nor destitution, but the eternal wreckage.

MYUL CHI  anchovy

Denuded and collectivized. Misinterpreted as scars, the broken bramble that is salt picked and pickled and reprinted ad nauseum on the tray, infected by objecthood. A mouthful, and their eyes are marbles that cannot somaticize their reproach, glazed over by anthropocentrism. Bite and sheaf of plaster that shatters from disuse.

YUN GUN  lotus root

Bacterium that refuses its completion. Concentrism as self-justifying cosmology. The unrelenting applause of the pattern and the incorporation of event into its cant reception. As preliminary ash, I cannot submit to a jury. The emerging depressive claims no nation.

SOO JUH  spoon and chopsticks

Meager pamphlets. Grasping at identity and its inherent visitations. The reiteration and rhythm of identity accessible to those who cede their sovereignty. A dozen clay eyes refuse my offers of self-portraiture. And yet no repetition, only a note that falls against another in a rickety fractal that is a culture stabilizing itself in the wake of my tender translation.

Alexander Lee is a young artist and writer living in Washington state.

More by Alexander Lee:
The Dictionary of the Fire