Papyrus and Precious Ink

Papyrus and precious ink
Papyrus and prepared reed

Paper and pen,
.          it’s like “milk and honey,” or
         “soup & sandwich.”

Without paper,
.          to write a Tolstoyan novel,
         by carving the words on stone with chisel,
         or using a finger on the sand

would be
         meditation on
         curves and crevices
.          of time and words.



Onions sliced
potatoes diced
into the caldron of my mind.

Bitter resentment knowing
my time is your time:
Cooking time.
cleaning time.

Who are the great artists, writers?

Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Shakespeare, Lao Zu.
Then there were the Eliots: T.S. and George,
and the Emilys: Dickinson and Bronte.

Did they cook, clean for others?
Slowly simmering woman’s anger, boiled madness released into the air.
Onions bring tears to the eyes, a reaction to the acid of reality,
softened to sweetness with the warmth of a child’s hug.

Potatoes with covered eyes peeled, raw and crunchy, become hearty
morsels with heat of writing;

slowly cooking, mixing the flavors into a palatable stew.


Portia Choi devotes her time promoting poetry by hosting the monthly First Friday Open Mic and publicizing events during National Poetry Month in April. She administers Kern Poetry with stories and pictures of poets and poetry events. She published a chapbook of her poems Sungsook, Korean War Poems. She is published in in Orpheus, The Asian Pacific American Journal, KoreAm Journal, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, Primary Point, Writers of Kern Anthology, Emeritus Voices, Levan Humanities Review, and Invisible Memoirs. She can be reached at