Shinji moon The Anatomy of Being

Poetry Sunday: Shinji Moon

What’s better than a lazy Sunday reading, writing, or doing whatever creative outlet that keeps you inspired. For a lover of poetry, reading always ignites the desire to create your own words. Every Sunday I’ll choose a poem and invite you to weigh in on your thoughts or just enjoy the read!

I have been following poet Shinji Moon for almost two years now and always have that internal pangs of amazing work whenever I read one of her pieces. Her standalone publication “The Anatomy of Being” ignites visceral images and an unsettling sense of self both alone and in the company of others. Good poetry can often be measured by how unsettled it makes you feel. That’s how you know it hit something deep.

I almost miss the sound of your voice but know that the rain
outside my window will suffice for tonight.
I’m not drunk yet, but we haven’t spoken in months now
and I wanted to tell you that someone threw a bouquet of roses
in the trash bin on the corner of my street, and I wanted to cry
because, because —
you know exactly why.

And, I guess I’m calling because only you understand
how that would break my heart.

I’m running out of things to say. My gas is running on empty.
I’ve stopped stealing pages out of poetry books, but last week I pocketed a thesaurus
and looked for synonyms for you but could only find rain and more rain
and a thunderstorm that sounded like glass, like crystal, like an orchestra.

I wanted to tell you that I’m not afraid of being moved anymore;
Not afraid of this heart packing up its things and flying transcontinental
with only a wool coat and a pocket with a folded-up address inside.

I’ve saved up enough money to disappear.
I know you never thought the day would come.

Do you remember when we said goodbye and promised that
it was only for then? It’s been years since I last saw you, years
since we last have spoken.

Sometimes, it gets quiet enough that I can hear the cicadas rubbing their thighs
against each other’s.

I’ve forgotten almost everything about you already, except that
your skin was soft, like the belly of a peach, and
how you would laugh,
making fun of me for the way I pronounced almonds
like I was falling in love
with language.

—Shinji Moon, “If I Left You A Voicemail This Would Be It”

I chose this poem from the collection because it was one of the first full poems I read by Moon. The first line immediately caught my attention because of almost being thrown in line a wrench in what could have been a more sappy romantic piece. Moon mimics this sarcasm meets longing with yet in the third line. What I love about poetry is the ability to make a run on sentence functionally take the reader’s breath away. It’s a labor to read through the first stanza as it should be, there’s a hesitation, the reader wants to know why roses thrown away are important.

The third stanza reveals the speaker is becoming void of things that relate to the subject of the poem. A memory is becoming a synonym and the uncertainty in the tone of the speaker is mesmerizing. In the following stanza there is action, movement of the speaker to a planned destination with little belongings. The idea of disappearing without baggage. The time lapsed has been so long there is a jab in the seventh stanza evoking crickets in the sense there has been no communication, but also the familiar pitch of cicadas to fill any silent air. The speaker of the poem ends the sentiment by reminding us this person they are speaking to is very distant in their memory but viscerally present in their mind like the softness of a peach. A snippet of their relationship is revealed but quickly reconciled with the ultimate love of language.

The Anatomy of Being can be purchased here and more information on Moon’s tumblr with a list of her recent publications can be found here.


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