but we kept dancing anyways


This will always last for us,
Nokyoung Xayasane

So much
was happening.
Did we even know?
We did.
But we kept dancing
We just kept
dancing anyways.

And I thought,
we will never be
this young
and this beautiful
and this free

So we just kept
We just kept

This will
always last for us,
I said
I didn’t believe it.

Nothing lasts.

So I just kept
I just kept

The music,
it stopped.
I ran
to catch
the 1:30 train,
and I thought,
This will
always last for us,
I didn’t believe it.

Nothing lasts.

So I just kept
I just kept

And I remembered
you were dancing
you were dancing, too.

You too

And we kept
We just kept
dancing anyways.

one day, I was in love


one day
Nokyoung Xayasane

One day, I was in love.
And then I was not.
One day, I was living a life
that was at once familiar
and peaceful.
I remember
we made gnocchi
one early evening
while the music played
our one-bedroom apartment.
We stood in our tiny kitchen.
I remember the blue tiles,
the yellow paint, owl
teacups stared out at us.
Outside, the sky was slowly
turning pink.
The music played,
heart beats, slow and
filled with aching
and the pain of joy.
I knew the music
would stop eventually,
but I still looked at you,
and spoke words that would
vanish into thin air, into
the music’s heartbeat,
into the evening sky,
staining the concrete
with a blameless pink.
I’m glad you have good
taste in music, I said.
You have a nice smile, you said.
I laughed and the music played,
pure and tender.
One day, I was in love.
And then one day, I was not.
But the music
I can still hear it.
And it is still filled
with such sheer

(April 2016)

for a life that is real

Hello, dear friends. I know it’s been a while since my last post — almost a year. Sometimes we have to wander a little bit before we come back to what we know and love. In my case, my truest loves are poetry and music.


Bluffer’s Beach in August, 2014

Since we last spoke, I moved to Toronto and I’ve been living here for nine months now, but I feel like I’ve always been here; this place has been a part of me before I even looked out my apartment window on St. Clair Ave.

The people, the voices of friends calling to each other, the cacophony of blaring horns, screeching tires, music playing in the streets, the way the afternoon sun punches through the clouds, the hush of a September morning, and the smell of fresh rain; these things I will always remember.

I was walking down St. Clair Ave West and Dufferin St, when I realized there’s only one thing I want now. It isn’t happiness, wealth, fame, or even peace of mind. What I really want is this: I want a life that is real.

Susan Griffin

Happiness. I am not used
to this. (There is always
something wrong.)
Look at it
the bright early tree.
(I am trying to find out
how you fell.)
The leaves have already turned.
(I want you to see
this, how they
glow outside the glass.)
Morning light strikes
differently. For so
many years I hardly
had time to know such
moments. They struck me
with such intensity
I would have said
battered me open.
I never understood
they were mine.
I was panicked.
Unhappiness caught up with me
all the time.
Did you know
the speed of light never alters
even when you go faster
it will be
still that much faster
than you?
(I am thinking that in your fall
something momentous occurred.)
What I see as beautiful
I want you to see too.
Next door, the workmen are hammering.
Very soon we’ll go to lunch.
For some reason this moves me to tears.
How life is.
(One does not have to explain
what occurs. One only need say
it has meaning.)
Years ago, when I was young
I traveled to Italy, took in
the great sights. I was in awe, yet
I did not understand
seeing Masaccio’s frescoes
fading like shadows into the walls,
this would be the only time
nor that
I would never forget.
Those muted shades are
still with me, as possession
and longing, and the view too
of the square before that church
the air, newly spring,
that day, all of it.
Life, I have finally begun to realize,
is real.
(All this time you recover
from falling
will sink indelibly into mind.)
The leaves
may fall before you are able
to see them. Science
has recently learned
the line
of existence is soft
and stretches out like a field
wind and light shaping the grass
of sight giving consciousness
force. In the meantime
we live out our lives.
(This morning we talked for so long
everything became lucid.
How can I say what I see?)
At each turning
perfection eludes me.
One moment is not like another.
Last spring
the house next door caught fire.
There was the smell of gas.
We thought
both houses would go.
I vanished up the hill,
went to the house of a friend
where we listened for flames
and to that aria from Italian
opera, was it the one of love,
or jealousy, or grief?
My house was untouched.
Now the one next door is painted,
fixed. In place of
perfection, the empty hands
I turned out to the world
are filled.
With what? A letter
half written, the notes
I make on this page,
this new feeling about my shoulders
of age, that sad child’s story
you told me this morning,
the workmen’s tools sounding
and stopping. What? As time
moves through me, does it also
move through you?
I keep remembering what you said,
ways you have of seeing (and that
light must have curved with
you fall.) This
is the paradox of vision:
Sharp perception softens
our existence in the world.


Susan Griffin, “Happiness” from Bending Home: Selected and New Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Susan Griffin. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townshend, WA 98368-0271, coppercanyonpress.org.

Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website: http://bit.ly/16iQxIs

Howdy Friends!

Good morrow! I heard it’s best to keep blog posts short and succinct, so… poetry and music. I love them both. If I had to choose between the two, I couldn’t.

I imagine the three of us holding hands and prancing off into the sunset.

I also do a lot of random things, so I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated on The Life of Nok (capitalized for emphasis and pronounced “nook”.) Maybe I should call it Nok in a Nutshell. Too much? Maybe.