Write Out Loud’s Poem of the Week is 'Random note 1' by Alex J.J.

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This week, we offer our congratulations to Alex J.J for his beautiful piece Random Note 1. On his profile Alex says of himself:
Born in Middletown, NY. Korean American. Aspiring poet and writer. 19yr old boy who just wants to run off somewhere far away and grow bored for a long time.

Here are his answers to our Q&A.


How long have you been writing and what initially got you into writing poetry?
Not that long, as in I've always been writing but I've just gotten more into it as the years have gone by.  My mom got me into writing in a way.


Have you ever performed your poetry at open-mic nights? If not would you like to?
I've performed before at open mics. It's a lot of fun!


Who is your favourite poet or poem?
I think I might have answered this before, but Ocean Vuong has been a major source of inspiration to me.


Who or what is your biggest influence when writing?
Questions. When I'm alone, one question leads to another and that greatly influences my writing.


Which four persons, living or dead, would you like to share your last meal with?
My brother, mother, father and maybe my dog (honestly more of a person than some). On one condition though, that they don't know it's my last meal.


Random Note1
by Alex J.J

Why are all my words dressed like immigrants?
I ask the twelve year old girl trapped in a photograph.
Plaid red pants. Two sizes too small for her.
Seagulls fleeing from a burnt sienna sky.
Grandpa’s hat drooped over her slanted eyes.
Where are you?
I ask the older woman missing from all the other photographs.
The question takes refuge and
I stand in my mother’s bathroom doorway.
She smiles in the mirror at me, brushing her teeth.
soft morning chirp
from the open window,
white curtains
sway like a sundress and
faucet water rushes - spitting sound.
what is it? She asks.



◄ Poetry in Stratford-upon-Avon: a festival and a competition!

We Are All Lucky: Ben Banyard, Indigo Dreams ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 26th May 2018 16:12

I missed this piece also, first posted. It wholly deserves the honour. Your insights and the ability to share them are striking. Intimacy is hard to capture, but you have cut straight to the core with the scene between you and your mother. Depth of thought and an eye for the particular that defines a moment are the gifts of a real poet - the killing details that score deep into the mind and heart. It takes both 'targets' to make a really impactive poem.

Add to that - innate skill with words, a mind full of searching questions and the sincerity of related wisdom - and you are a young man who is going to love writing all your life.

And be well-known and beloved, if that is your goal. If not, write simply for your own happiness.

Sorry, you'll never be bored. You might as well accept that now, and get on with stuff.

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Martin Elder

Thu 24th May 2018 16:13

You caught me from the opening lines. A wonderful piece of poetry Alex. I look forward to more
Congratulations on POTW

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carol falaki

Thu 24th May 2018 07:43

A very special poem with layers that carry the reader into the lives of both the narrator and the people in the photograph.

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Alexander Mindo Joh-Jung

Wed 23rd May 2018 08:51

Thank you all for the commentary and praise. It gives me a little extra motivation 😃.

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Tue 22nd May 2018 22:49

I'm with Stu on the book--what a great talent and refreshing style.


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Wolfgar Miere

Tue 22nd May 2018 15:39

I didn't see this piece when it was posted in the week, I am so pleased to have seen it now.

It is dreamlike, the questioning of origins is something we should all be able to relate to. I could never have imagined approaching that subject in this way. That is what makes this such a unique poem on WoL, in my opinion.

Definitely a worthy PoTW well done Alex,


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Stu Buck

Tue 22nd May 2018 13:45

an excellent piece. i love ocean vuong, his first book is the finest debut since andrew mcmillan in my opinion, and while i see his shadow in your work, the quality of the piece stands alone. i would happily read a books worth of this quality. congratulations, a great new talent i believe

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 21st May 2018 16:40

If anyone is a Murakami reader, they'll get this in an instant. Clever writing indeed.

Well done on POTW

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Brian Maryon

Mon 21st May 2018 15:36

Congratulations Alex!

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