Home > New Classics > When asked your place or my place, meaning host or guest,

When asked your place or my place, meaning host or guest,

July 31, 2010

by Jee Leong Koh

When asked your place or my place, meaning host or guest,
I always choose to travel and become a guest.

The good hosts in The Odyssey throw a great feast
while fantasies are grateful answers from the guest.

The prof is buying his first house in New Hope.
He has invited me to be his weekend guest.

A beautiful book about ugly people, you wrote.
I see the beauty first because I am Nick Guest.

You are so right to fear my suitors for your love.
I will consume your house. I am the constant guest.

There are house rules for a vacation orgasm.
After I play the host, I want to play the guest.

Sometimes Jee is Odysseus, sometimes Penelope.
The Indo-European root makes us host and guest.


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Jee Leong Koh is the author of two books of poems, Payday Loans and Equal to the Earth (Bench Press). His poems have appeared in Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press) and Best Gay Poetry (A Midsummer’s Night Press), and in LA Review, Drunken Boat and PN Review, among other journals. Born in Singapore, he lives in New York City, and blogs at Song of a Reformed Headhunter.

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  1. Peg
    August 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I enjoy ghazals, and seeing “Nick Guest” at the end of a couplet made me cackle. The most moving pair, for me, is “You are so right to fear my suitors for your love. /
    I will consume your house. I am the constant guest,” and “Sometimes Jee is Odysseus, sometimes Penelope” is a very appropriate knotting together of name and theme.

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