No. 4 - From our Archives, Poetry: Jason Koo - "I'll Follow You"

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Photograph by Alexandra Bildsoe


July 28th, 2019

It's impossible to think of the genesis of Curlew Quarterly without thinking of Jason Koo's poem, "Morning, Motherfucker," which captures the plight of one of the last remaining poets in Brooklyn Heights, Koo, circa 2014, with a combination of humor, heart, and honesty that can't help but draw you in.

I first heard the poem at Berl's Poetry Shop in October of 2016; hence, to a great extent, it's impossible to think of the earliest days and stages of our journal without thinking of Berl's, in Dumbo, on Front Street, where we first launched Issue No. 1 - Summer 2017 almost two years ago; and where we'll celebrate our two year anniversary and read from Issue No. 7 - Autumn 2019 in a little over a month, on September 14th, 2019.

While "Morning, Motherfucker" is a poem I'll always enjoy and appreciate ––– how it shaped my work; provided a guiding light as I navigated through the shadows of my career; and brought the first breaths of life to these pages, our Daily today features the other poem from Koo that we published in Issue No. 1, "I'll Follow You."

There are day poems; and night and evening poems; food poems; love poems; snow, rain, sunshine, and nature poems; city poems; and break-up poems; and political poems; and funny poems; and prose poems; and poems that combine each of the above; as well as an infinite list of types of and categories for and subject matter that lends itself to poetry; yet, how rarely we come across the morning poem.

Koo must write early in the morning; or, as he writes in the afternoon, or evening, his mind must search through his day again, beginning with the first few beats of dawn, hence the title "Morning, Motherfucker," and hence the twenty-three lines stitched within and making up "I'll Follow You," which captures, oh so sweetly, what it's like to begin one's day with a lover ––– before work, and the responsibilities and tasks of the day send two people away from each other. Carrying over eleven couplets and one final line, Koo's poem highlights and celebrates the quiet, the stillness, and the sweetness. Enjoy.

- Isaac Myers III


I'll Follow You Jason Koo

I'll Follow You

It is sweet to kiss the ear of your kitty

as he sleeps. Sweet to pull the high-top sneakers

off your girlfriend's feet as she sleeps.

Sweet to discover she is not completely asleep

by the way she lifts her second foot a little

to make the untying easier. Sweet to wake up

to the sound of her silence in the bathroom

as she readies herself for work, touching up her face

as gently as your kitty laps water from his bowl.

At these times you don't question anything,

what is love, whether you're working hard

enough, whether you're not missing something

somewhere else. Life couldn't be elsewhere.

She comes to kiss you goodbye and rests her head

on your chest for a moment, so sweet to pretend

you're asleep through this, sweet to listen to her

walk out your door remembering to lock it,

sweet through the hall, sweet through the second

door, through the gate, the sweet of the latch,

sweet imagining the singular sounds she makes

as she moves through the rest of her day. So sweet you don't ask how to reconcile all this

with what sweetness you feel alone after she leaves.

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