Jason Koo

Jason Koo is the author of two collections of poetry, America’s Favorite Poem and Man on Extremely Small Island, and editor of Poems for Kobe, a private limited edition of poems for Kobe Bryant presented as a retirement gift by the Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn Poets. He is also the co-editor of the forthcoming Bettering American Poetry anthology and Brooklyn Poets Anthology. An assistant teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University, Koo is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets and creator of the Bridge. He lives in Brooklyn.



There is so much that could be nice in this world
And so much that for no good reason is not.
Take this day, this freshest full day, so much sunlight
Feeling the living room floor, the flowers,
The contours of the chairs, and you, and you, and you,

So lame, not wanting to do anything with it, or
In it, or through it, or because of it, or even in spite
Of it, I don’t know what you think you’re doing instead,
Heading into the office on a Sunday morning, recovering
From a clubbing hangover, some Russian mobster party,

That sounds awesome, we could be having brunch
On a perfect patio, we could be having eggs & Bloody Mary’s
Out in the light, God, if there is a God, created this day
For eggs & Bloody Mary’s, on the eighth day he woke
And saw the light and something missing and said, Shit,

And created eggs & Bloody Mary’s, first he had to resolve
The Which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg
Conundrum, then he had to invent Worcestershire sauce,
That took a few hours, he had to create a place
Called Worcestershire, then he had to figure out how

To pronounce that without sounding too pretentious,
Then he had to experiment with the drink, inserting celery,
Tinkering with what was, what is, and what must be
Worcestershire, hungover from the creation of the world
But unlike you, and you, and you, he was not lame,

He felt a creative responsibility to be magnificent
And munificent, in spite of sins yet to come he took size
To the sunlight, uncrippling the lame, so for Godsake
Do something with this day! See how you’ve made me
Myself lame because I’m not doing what I could be

Doing with you, I am seeing all these possibilities
And scorning other possibilities because of them,
I could be out in the day like a regular creature, one
Who goes to parks and walks around and makes
Cute faces at dogs and sits on benches and kisses

And takes in a matinee on a lark, and laughs, kisses
More in the dark, then reemerges into softer light
On the sidewalk and kisses more then goes
For cocktails and wine and a cozy candlelit dinner
At a favorite Italian restaurant, mostly I hate parks

And making cute faces at dogs but I can see myself
Doing those things with you and basically enjoying them,
Especially if I felt they were building to the matinee
And the kisses and the cocktails and the candlelit dinner,
Those are wonderful things for a human being to do,

Especially with another, but instead you, and you, and you
Are doing something lame instead, you can’t call it
Doing at all, can you, can’t even call it undoing,
Just nondoing, with an emphasis on the non, so it sounds
Like a bad Thai noodle dish, you’re getting that

Bad Thai noodle dish all over this day, just creaming
The congealed noodles all over the light, sliming
The swiftness of what could be happening, I’m staring
At that smearing and thinking I have to microwave
The leftovers, what else am I going to do for lunch.




Pleased to see Jeff Koo complain
about the mainly white room

of the poetry reading and urging,
“If you call yourself a curator, well,

curate something—you know,
think about what you’re doing.”

Pleased to see Jeff Koo so synonymous
with Jason Koo, just a few letters

difference, if he likes the f-word
so much why not just eff out his name?

Effing Koo, after all, is the name
of his Cleveland sports Twitter.

Pleased to see Jeff Koo so riled up
about our typo, that’s all it was,

a typo, some letters mistyped, woops,
no biggie, dude, we already corrected it.

Pleased to see nobody knows
Jason Koo well enough to make

a big fuss, he got a few retweets
from bitching about this on Twitter

and a decent amount of likes on FB
but no one’s calling for our jobs,

no one thinks lil’ Jeffie’s suffering
much, after all we got his last name

right, shouldn’t he be thrilled
for a little exposure? Who reads this

Koo? No Jason or Jeff showed up
in Poetry magazine or its blog

before this fuss over “literary activism,”
no bio in the Foundation’s archives

online for us to check our spelling
against, how could anybody blame us?

No Koo on the Foundation’s list
of Asian American Voices in Poetry,

which consists of over 130 poets.
If he existed enough for us to care

about the spelling of his name, surely
he would’ve been one of the first

130 Asian American poets to come
to mind for the editors who put together

this list? Especially as prominent
Asian American poets were consulted?

Pleased to see Jeff Koo make his way
into the consciousness of Americans

in whatever small way he can, even
if just for a moment, we were proud

to pat him on the head in print
before deleting him into white space

forever, we liked him a lot more
than this Jason Koo fella, who demands

to be taken so seriously as an identity,
which, as everyone knows, is so

passé, if he knew any literary theory
he’d have taken pleasure in the erasure

of his name, but no, he’s just like
the rest of them, they can never get

past their identity politics, sagas
of the first person, My name is my name,

blah blah blah, yeah we saw that
Marlo meme you posted on Twitter,

Koo, that was cute. Let’s call it
Koote. Jason Jeff is so Jeffing Koote.


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