I am a Korean-American adoptee who was adopted to Boston, MA as an infant. This is similar for my two adopted siblings. I grew up in the Boston suburbs in a predominantly Caucasian society. This has really shaped the person I am inside, the person I think I am when not reminded of who I am on the outside. Both my middle and high schools boasted high numbers for diversity in the student body (high in the private school circuit), although there were few people like me. I became a thinker as I grew up and always took adoption very seriously.
I had the opportunity to travel to Seoul through Global Overseas Adoptee Link (G.O.A.L.) in the summer of 2009, which provided me with a glimpse as to what it's really like in South Korea. It also gave me a chance to meet other Korean-American adoptees, which in turn exposed me to the vast difference of situations and perspectives that exist within the Korean-American adoptee community, something I had previously never thought on.
Overall, I consider myself always one face of Korean-American adoption, which means I represent a community. That gives me a lot of pride. I spent some years when I was young thinking that being an adoptee made me less than, however as I grew older I realize that being an adoptee was the thing that made me a lot more interesting than everybody else; it was something that I could claim as my own.
HOW HAS THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR POETRY?
The nature of adoption leaves a lot of room to dream, a lot of brain-space. I've been told my poetry deals a lot with the cerebral ongoings on the mind, is very feeling heavy, and normally has some sort of outward turn into something tangible. But because there is so much left to wonder about, so much left to want, there is also that hope in my poems. I've made very strong efforts to maintain a sense of contentment in the subtext of my poetry, although at times it is lost in the back-burner. That, though, is really essential for anybody who tries to understand an adoptee poetry perspective; it has multiple layers that constantly battle to be heard. I've found that stylistically, I go between using a tight poetic format that is both language and sound heavy, but I also love the freedom in a prose format, and often times those poems feel more natural and represent a stream of consciousness.
Adoption also plays a role in how I relate to characters within poems. I like the facelessness and ambiguity of using, "you" and "I," rather than name the specific people. Accepting that sometimes there are no specific people that drive a poem is similar to the acceptance that being an adoptee means not knowing, "who." And I mix that theme with other human-centric ones such as physical touches, hands, and the intricacy of relationships.
PLEASE SHARE A POEM(S) ADDRESSING (IN PART) ADOPTION:
Mai Engrlish ees no goot,
I imagine people think I sound this way,
not realizing that when I do speak,
Bostonian-undertones swell and mix sweetly
with the speech of a southern boy I loved.
He was white.
My yellow fingers laced with
perpetual white ones--
I will marry a white man;
to my mother’s unspoken pleasure.
I am always the son my parents wanted,
so I’ve been told;
they tell my brother this too.
Perhaps we are two halves
of a mirror-child my parents could never make.
I don’t have my mother’s blonde hair
or my father’s blue eyes.
Mine are of another people,
strangers I may never know.
I think my sister’s strangers are far from her heart,
while mine feel so close,
leaving ghost handprints on the fogged door,
like when we make it halfway down the driveway
and my mother forgets if the stove is on or off;
I am the one to run inside to check,
passing that fading handprint
that looks almost like mine.
There are 50,062,000 people in South Korea.
Should be 50,062,003, or more,
for the other exports like my sister and brother,
Going on 30 Hours
Words are an easy remedy to un-worded thoughts that billow through my mind, whirlwinds and tempests of touch-and-go logic. When my hands see cramps in their future, like the oncoming and ongoing sunrise and set; I wonder if I will sleep tonight, and wake on the other side of tomorrow a spot more complete than yesterday. Perhaps I may actually smile when I rise... The routine of rest and laying my head on the same pillowcase I used as a child, the echoes and parallels of immature tribulations now in an older rendition; still I am without a take-home message, other than I am just not getting something. Some secret to sleep, to closing my eyes, to pretending I am sleeping until I find myself rising with the sun hours later; the secret written in words, spoken in language un-synced with my vernacular, my speech. An utter disconnect with the reality I reach out to touch and hold like mockingbird, singing softly archaic melodies, haunted by constant migration.
They rest, don’t they?
ABOUT THE POET:
Peter Boskey is a university student studying design in Upstate New York. He has been described as, "creative," "thoughtful," goofy," "an enigma," and "a typical Taurus." Adjectives aside, he enjoys spending time pondering, observing the world's on-goings, writing, and watching copious amounts of television. Favorite shows are Glee, Grey's Anatomy, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, and Ghost Adventures. In his free time, Peter makes earrings from sterling silver and precious metal gemstones.