Jongmin Jerome Baek 한국어
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Jongmin Jerome Baek

Welcome to my webpage. Send me an email at jeromebaek@berkeley.edu if you want to grab coffee. I usually reply in a couple days.

Things I Wrote That Aren't Poems


Philosophy of Computation
Machine Learning Columns

Things I Wrote That Are Poems


1.
하지만 어차피 그게 무슨 소용인가? 신경을 끄고 천장을 가만히 바라보다 보면 모기 한마리 날라와서 윙, 윙, 귓가에 웅웅댄다. 천장이 웅웅대고 엄마 잔소리가 귓볼에서 웅웅대고 엄마 잔소리를 한번만이라도 더 진중하게, 진중하게 들어볼 수 있다면, 아니 매일 아침 엄마 잔소리를 들을 수 있다면 얼마나 좋을까. 뉴욕에 있는 것 같다. 나를 생각하고 있을까? Not a day goes by where I do not think of you. Not a day goes by where I do not think of you. 나는 그대를 언제 잊을 수 있을까요. 그대의 모난 마음씨를 언제 둥글다고 입장을 바꿔 생각할 수 있을까요. 언제 악을 물리칠 수 있을까요.

2.
The right way to think about the world is that it is a three dimensional structure, a very intricate puzzle-like structure, like a square piece of ramen. There are little holes every where on this piece of ramen, approx. 3mm-gaps along every noodle, and we would want each and every one of these holes to be glowing with light. It seems like some people, though, are intent on plugging them with concrete so that we cannot even eat the ramen anymore.

1-1.
But so on, what is the use (or the sound)? Turn off attention and still, still, look at the still ceiling and as a result one unit of mosquito flies by and wings, wings, by the ear, oong-oong. The ceiling oong-oongs and mother's nontrivial and leftover comments oong-oong by the cheek of the ear and if only I could only one more time listen to my mother's nontrivial and leftover comments with seriousness, seriousness, no if each day I could hear mother's nontrivial and leftover comments how much good that would do. By an estimation, is in New York. , too, thinking of me, is they? 하루도 너를 생각하지 않는 법이 없다. 하루도 너를 생각하지 않는 법이 없다. Not a day goes by wherein the law is such that I do not think of you. Formally, when will I be able to lose you. Formally, when will I be able to shift perspective and see your square mind-seed as a spherical mind-seed. Formally, when will I be able to defeat evil. Formally, why is this world rolling slowly slowly into the pit of evil all day until the bell rings.

3.
Love as a delegate for violence, or, mosquito

roses are violet
violence is pink
in my chest
violence is she
her name is a pin
her voice resonates
like far mountains
chopped bare of shrubbery
sad as a let-me-down and deserving blame

i know little about the dissident pick-me-nots
kneeling yonder heads bowed in shame

the seedled remains
of you remain

everyone's bones
nourish the snow

at each interval
the dying mosquito

kneel in the snow
nestle in my remains
or what hard pains
you nailed in now

4.
Whispered to me
The sky's white whiskers melt
to hot snow, one dazzled morning.

I pick soft pomegranate seeds
to smear them in your whispers.

You brushed my lips. The shattered chair
stared gravely with its wooden eyes,

the gravity weighing in its sigh
gently splintering its thighs,

the cerulean sky leaking forth
freezing cloth, frosting teeth,

and your skin so red and round,
molten, sweet, so on, alive!

I shoot my batch of crimson shells,
pin them at the cotton morn.

They smear into the whiskers.
The sky melts, eventual cerulean.

5.
The Best of All Possible Worlds

There's nothing here but heads
and heads, rolling along like
cylindrical fish, some hairy heads
and some bald ones, but every one of them
in fact cabbages.

6.
,

, You fell a swooned
volcano on my chest. You surrounded
black olive trees and begged them for
forgiveness. I sat high and tall
and gray and my smiles were gray.

I love her from a deep portion
of significant peach-coreness that sits
square and strong. I look at her
and my answers disspiate.

I left a tumbleweed inside
my blankets, waiting for surprise.
I waited for surprise. I waited for surprise.

It's probably going to rain
this day and all other days.
She's checking the weather. She always is.

My sloppiness crinkled her hair.

I'll get ready to brush my teeth.

What do you want?
Excitement? Enlightenment? No, just an ability
to sit down an enjoy a meal.

When the old man came skimpering by
the stubbled general asked a mean question.

I stuffed the portabella with
spoonfuls I took from your life.

The remaining crumbs are eager to die.
When will I crush them like maggots, stars!

Don't you love her, though?
Don't you love her, though?
Don't you want to pick up a can
and bury your head in the sand
and deflower the beans off the can?
Do canned food last
longer than you can? There is absolutely
nothing to do. The square bell, and defeat.

7.
Margins of the bed

A field of wind gave license for defeat.
I can't explain. The rain bent. The field of grass
Looked dry and painted with cement.
I pressed your cheeks the other night
And laughed. You puffed like a fish.
Tonight, the wind throws wet paint.
I grumble and the only picture
On my wall of you flicker and I lick my finger
Nails. I can't explain. You seemed to bristle with shame,
Those eyes so sharpened they were dull
And gray. I couldn't explain.
We talked all night but I can't explain.
The wind can't explain the windowpane.

8.
Dear my mother in Korea

Beaming in slightly different directions is
The surrogate for my mother. My mother died
In a plane wreck several years
And mountains ago. The townsfolk
Covered her ears with snow thistle,
Stuffed her mouth with smoked salmon,
And tied her corpse to the back of a turtle
Wading across the Wailing River. I realize
Barren rocks hold the key to salvation.
The green slithering snake of life,
The rice sapling, the wind, and then
The electric fan, playing a game of poker

A sound in the bushes: the man with a dagger.
Give him a hug so he may drown himself
If he wants to, so he may carve a symphony
On sulking, unblossoming corpses, because

The drowned, wailing seamen long for home, home
Before division, that dreamy landscape where
Rice flowers bloomed and wild rabbits gave
Chase to the moon and damn saplings,
Roasting under heat of Sun, gave
Their all for one good gamble. I give myself
A pat on the back. I squeeze
My bottle of whiskey. Now only if
The sea would obey my every command.

I long for a nation undivided,
Starving, happy, principled, filled
With worms, where this imagery
Of squirming worms is a warm
imagery, signaling
Full moon and a harvest of golden proportions,
Where this imagery of gold is warm
Not because gold buys alcohol but because
Our mothers’ sweat, inevitable and charmingly
Beneficient below the jarring heat, is gold
And heat, jarring ones, can be jarred
And stored away for breakfast. Come morning
We’d feast on heat and jam. Come noon
We’d sit on the paddies drinking our
Own sweat. Come night we’d huddle
Around, tell stories of a bear
That became a woman, where the only distraction
s Are stars or hunger. And then we’d blow
Deep into the roots of the fire
Roasting the saplings and roaring alive.

Sleep with the barren rock as our pillow
Pillaged, the lives a method of peeling,
The wind a method of kneeling,
A man with a dagger a method of healing