Chon-Ji and Kwang-Gae

Chon-Ji and Kwang-Gae

by Joel Allegretti

Chon-Ji*

Facing
imaginary foes –
walking stance, block,
walking stance, punch. Remember,
the ascent to mastership begins on a flat surface.

* Chon-Ji is the first of two taekwon-do patterns – sequences of defensive and offensive techniques – learned by the white belt under International Taekwon-Do Federation guidelines. The name means “Heaven, Earth.”

Chon-Ji contains 19 movements. The poem contains 19 words.

Kwang-Gae*

                                                                    In
                                                              the     ready
                                                     posture          the
                                                  masters               call
                                              “parallel                     stance
                                                 with                           a
                                          heaven                                 hand,”
                                      looking                                       toward
                                           the                                            sky
                                 through                                                 the
                         equilateral                                                        triangle
                            formed                                                            by
                     forefinger                                                                  touching                                  
                 forefinger,                                                                       thumb
                 touching                                                                            thumb,
                                    I stand where I stood when I first set out.

* Kwang-Gae is the first of three taekwon-do patterns – sequences of defensive and offensive techniques – learned by the first-degree black belt under International Taekwon-Do Federation guidelines. The pattern gets its name from Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, a Korean king of the late fourth and early fifth centuries A.D.

Kwang-Gae contains 39 movements. The poem contains 39 words.

Joel Allegretti is the author of, most recently, Platypus (NYQ Books, 2017), a collection of poems, prose, and performance texts, and Our Dolphin (Thrice Publishing, 2016), a novella. His second book of poems, Father Silicon (The Poet’s Press, 2006), was selected by The Kansas City Star as one of 100 Noteworthy Books of 2006.

He is the editor of Rabbit Ears: TV Poems (NYQ Books, 2015). The Boston Globe called Rabbit Ears “cleverly edited” and “a smart exploration of the many, many meanings of TV.” Rain Taxi said, “With its diversity of content and poetic form, Rabbit Ears feels more rich and eclectic than any other poetry anthology on the market.”

Allegretti has published his poems in The New York Quarterly, Barrow Street, Smartish Pace, PANK, and many other national journals, as well as in journals published in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and India.