Our seduction is complete

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Pedestrians share the roads
in Yeonsinnae
tea houses have given way
to every sort of latte
gutters run with rain
in the monsoon
Sundays are an avalanche
of cigarette butts
trash collectors come at dusk
to separate the plastic
in the alleys, chopsticks sing
at night, the neon lights
bedazzle, ragged roads
transform to enchant
every doorway beckons while
our phones translate the menu
our seduction is complete
 
Sundays are for bing-su
Saturdays for steamed mandu
on any day a scooter will
turn up at your door with food
depending on your mood
fried chicken's pretty good
but mostly we love spicy broths
meats falling from their bones
and every sort of banchan
the complimentary kimchi
 
our Kiwi kitchen's far
from here, we wonder
how we'll cope, back home
to cook each night
a knife and fork, a spoon
perhaps
starting from scratch
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ride like a local

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I walk my granddaughter
up the hill to Daycare
over grates, cigarette butts
past plastic trash bags
 
she finds the asphalt
mesmerising, examines
every glinting thing
with perfect purpose
 
We wave to the lady with
the dog wearing boots
on all four paws and she
stops and waves back
 
people respond to a one
year old who cares that much
about them and they break
into wide happy smiles
 
Later on, I board the bus and
become angry at the teenager
head down on his phone
in the seat for the elderly
 
 
I shame this young man
when someone even older
than I am, boards, but all
I do is shame myself
 
the old woman doesn’t
want this young man’s seat
she’d rather stand than
lose her dignity to rage
 
At the pedestrian crossing
I am the only one fuming
as a man in a white sedan
edges over the painted lines
 
I swear at him, actually
out loud but no one hears
or cares least of all him
as he roars to the next lights
 
As a visitor in this city
I am the elderly anomaly
carrying the luggage of
my own petty prejudice
 
I’m learning to contain my
expectations of others, to
tilt my parasol to the sun
ride the bus like a local
an eye out for the glinting