Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making a Deal With the Ancestors

the ancestors are pressing too much on me
says the mudang
i am surrounded by ghosts 
she yells at them and chases them away

they are putting too much pressure on me
planting too much expectation
i cannot breathe under their weight
my shoulders ache and my guts are wrenched into knots
i come as an open and humble channel
and they exploit me in my eagerness

sepia visions of old korea
yangban father in a palanquin
white linen hanbok and persimmon dyed pants
one scene after another

my ancestors want me 
to finish up their old business
unsettled arguments 
ego attachments
the bad business deal
the spurned lover
the fight over money and land

enough i say
i will pay your karmic debt only
i will bring to completion cycles of suffering
so as not to perpetuate them
i will seal the doors on old business without reopening them

i will not settle petty disputes
i will not avenge those who have hurt you
i will not create more karma for your progeny

i will burn up the grievances of the ancestors
turn it all to dust and throw it into the ocean at jeju harbor
i will dissolve old knots and free up old souls
i will set myself and my children free

“hmmf, well then,” grunt the ancestors
as they lift off my back
and turn into feathers and house dust

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