it’s always personal
running through the airport
it’s never just business
it’s going to be a bad breakup
consolidations, constrictions, contractions
ginkgo and fig leaves
this circle is really a square
no reason to forgive
Christmas 2019

it was a double-blind experiment
rejection, ejection
center of symmetry, center of gravity
leaving and never returning
when the continents were in different places
for now, not forever
nobody wants me
who has the winner’s edit
“you think you can do these things, but you can’t”

left up there, at the top of the world
your brain running on a sine wave
you’re a black belt
a Soviet space dog
Fortress Pillow
rebuild our Edge, rebuild the New Kingdom
one light to stave away the cold
a nation that stretched across the top of Eurasia
failed messiah; advent never arrives

dark forest, frozen lake, midnight sun
the gifts of the air
why should I celebrate failure
to feel and to live alone
platitudes that say nothing
a thing that sounds like some self-help nonsense
beautiful but incomprehensible
we live on a diamond
you only get one life

alluvial fans and alluvial plains
a moment on the Other Side
analyze it into the ground
we live in a circle, mirroring each other

Please do not repost without my permission, but you can support my poetry here! Originally written 2/24/21. Copyright, All Rights Reserved. All art, not from the author, belongs to the original artists. This particular illustration is called “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” by Salvador Dali.

The Legend of “The Genius” – Season 4, Episode 5

Kyeonghun (경훈) got a crack in the case, but the bandits were determined not to be found out, and no one believed Kyeonghun; they just dismissed his hunch. Even when Dongmin (동민) Oppa (오빠) correctly guessed Jeongmun (정문) was a bandit queen, the bandits were determined to survive, and win, while the villagers were just content with not losing.

Jeongmun was just fighting to survive. Kyeongran (경란) Eonni (언니) wasn’t innocent. She was also a bandit. Jeongmun didn’t sell her mentor out. She won legitimately – bandit queen vs. bandit queen. I empathized with Jeongmun so much, at that moment. You have to survive. Hyunmin’s (현민) reaction was mine: big time relief.

Jeongmun’s face, when she found out Kyeongran Eonni was a bandit, was just the best. I was blown away. Jeongmun could at least hide it better. Kyeongran Eonni had zero poker face. That’s how Eonni ended up on Exile Island. Kyeongran Eonni couldn’t stop smiling, for the entire episode. There was no hiding it: she was a bandit through and through. Obvious bandit is obvious. I was Jeongmun, in this video game.

Episode 5 is definitely the best episode, of Season 4 – if not, the entire series. You know a show is a winner, when every time you re-watch it, it gets better and better. I love The Genius. The stage was set for there to be so much drama over whether one bandit would escape, while one innocent person would be sent to the Death Match. Thankfully Kyeongran Eonni was indeed guilty. But that was such a good Main Match and hence, such a good episode. It was true catharsis – like medieval Korean dance, with folk masks, or ancient Greek theater.

Nobody got it right, so the viewer wasn’t the only one fooled. Literally no one, in the house, knew for sure, 100%, that Kyeongran Eonni was a bandit, until the reveal. It’s so ironic that Dongmin Oppa was legitimately the villagers’ king, but by the end of this tumultuous Main Match, half the village put him down as the main suspect, for the bandit king. Dongmin Oppa and Jeongmun got the evil edit and Kyeongran Eonni got the crystal clear, innocent person edit.

Thankfully, like in real life, it was a bit of both: Dongmin Oppa and the villagers weren’t so smart to figure out who all the bandits were – but they weren’t so diabolically self-interested to sacrifice innocent people, just to get ahead in the game. Kyeongran Eonni actually being a bandit queen saved everyone from being forced to go over a pretty steep moral event horizon. The group could have voted out an innocent villager, and maybe justified it or rationalized it – but what would that say about them? What would that say about society?