home lives in my memory – A Poem by Joyce Chung

joyces-poem

home lives in my memory
the aromas of grilled pork belly and kimchi
the table set before me with elegant china and earthen mugs
the coupling of American and Korean culture in both food and table design
the echoes of chatter, altercation and argumentation around the dinner table –
storge love, built in and innate, here there without coercion,
grounded in a deep well that never seems to depreciate

home lives in my memory
the crisp air that greets me as I step onto the rink
the smell of wintry cold and cool
the squeals of children skating towards their fathers for the first time
the criticism of coaches for the seasoned ones
the sounds of sharpened blades cutting through and imprinting ice
as I float through and dance along frozen water
with you

home lives in my memory
the eruption of my grandfather’s distinct laughter
the joy that trailed him and bubbled up from within him
his specialty dish – rice mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil splattered with the love he bottled up and dispensed generously
the rock he was even in the midst of fragility
the legacy he leaves behind
who he was and how he was and what he’s done
forever treasured in my heart

home lives in my memory
the dry sun of picturesque New Mexico
Canyon Road colored with paintings, sculptures and more art
the mole, the tequila, the long long wait at Cafe Pasqual’s
the acoustics of country music reverberating throughout the halls of Crosby Theatre
hitchhiking with the most adventurous friend along the expansive roads of Santa Fe
meeting and forging friendships with strangers who opened up their homes and their cars
allowing us to be privy to their private lives and private thoughts
a taxi driver weeping as he drives us home because the body of his druggie friend was just found in an exploded trailer
the emotions he felt, the tears he shed, the comfort we tried to show

home lives in my memory
close my eyes and I can feel it exactly
the places the smells the sounds
the tastes of fermented shark fin and briny salty sea
the sights that take your breath away
and all you’re left with are feelings

but it was the people, the people,
oh the people…
that was home.

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