Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 3



Jiwon Choi


Eugene Was Color Blind

What ever happened
to that that light-skinned girl
your brother was dating?
The one your father used to call
the mulatto and we were too dumb to be
embarrassed for him, for us
because that was the eighties and we
were in high school and doped up
on wine coolers. Your mom liked to
comment on her good manners, not like
your Canarsie floozies who hogged the chairs
in the kitchen and mooched all her Shasta.

You liked to say Eugene was color blind
like you were bragging about it
like he was the only one in the clan who
could be that way

but didn’t he break up with her
after all that
when it was clear it was going to be
a hassle every time
to get through checkpoint Charlie
down by Breezy?

He wasn’t better than us
you know
just opposite: a hypocrite.




Pomegranate

We are surprised by the white flesh
of the blood fruit
that someone has tossed
into the alley behind our building.
We find out it’s not a ball when we
throw it against the wall and watch
its secret life of glassy seeds
hatch at our feet.




I Write a List

Tell the priest about the dream where Lucifer braids my hair.
Burn the picture of my old boyfriend where he’s a dead ringer for James Dean.
Pick up all the dead birds I find on the way to the subway.
Explain to the phone company that calls to God aren’t long distance.
Let the pigeons get real close to you on the park bench.
Invoke Neruda on the corner: “el viento es un caballo…”
Count how many déjà vus there are in one day.
Dream of the time when you lived inside your mother.
Drink a glass of whisky everyday until you are satisfied.
Turn out the light and just listen.
Imagine your life with short hair.
Swear on a stack of bibles as long as Mississippi.
Keep your money and cigarettes in the same pocket.
Never mind Live Oak, Florida.
Multiply by seven, pack a bag, and flap your wings.


Jiwon Choi: "I am a poet, teacher and urban gardener. I teach preschool at the Educational Alliance, a multi-generation non-profit located on the Lower East Side of NYC. I am also a long-time urban gardener and membership coordinator for the Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden located near Downtown Brooklyn.

"One Daughter is Worth Ten Sons, published by Hanging Loose Press in 2017, is my first book of poetry. I live in Brooklyn, NY."




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