Koo contemplates survival in many facets in this poem. He reveals his own living situation, revealing 'My first nights here I slept on the couch in one room unable to make enough space to build my bed n the other.' His seemingly trivial narrations contrast with his description of himself as a cadaver, in the simile 'like a gorgeous corpse.' The juxtaposing emotional reactions to the adjective 'gorgeous,' and the gruesome noun 'corpse,' link survival with perception, as he contemplates, 'maybe these flies think I am dead.' These two aspects of the poem connect the need to survive and the reality of living each day and how that can be perceived.
Koo continues his contemplation of survival as a theme by rhetorically questioning the flies' ability to survive, 'Without food out, what do the flies eat? How do they stay alive?' He also trivializes the art of surviving tastefully, when possessions are useless, such as 'the books feeling more and more Material, and arbitrary stacking of weights surrounding,' him.
A Natural History: Jason Koo
Koo presents a humorous take on his name, revealing that '50% of the letters in [his] name are vowels,' which is rare. He shows off his high-vowel contents and says he 'goes outside strutting the bulge in [his] name.' The poem takes a slightly more sinister turn as Koo reflects on the nicknames he had at school, such as 'haiku,' and 'coup d'état,' and links them to 'colonial culture and upheaval.' The mockery of these names is placed 'on the oppressors,' by Koo at the end of the poem, revealing a critique of their 'poetic tradition.'