Orient by Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries is a singular experience. While the musical component adds a layer of intricacy, Orient is simple visually. The text is black on a white background, with no flashy elements added. Indeed, the flashiest aspect of Orient is the music and the speed of the text, while the visuals remain clean and simple. Orient’s form and theme are well matched, together depicting the lack of control businessmen and bar hostesses have over their lives by moving the text along at a frenzied pace.
Orient depicts, as the title suggests, Oriental business culture. In this culture, notably Japanese business culture, it is expected for a worker to go out when invited by their boss after business hours. This social aspect of work is required, and most often drinking and female entertainment are involved. It is important to note that the situation depicted in Orient could conceivably happen in any urban setting, which universalizes the poem. Orient takes place in a brothel-bar in the evening and throughout the course of a night. The featured characters are a group of businessmen and the beautiful bar hostesses whose job is to entertain them. Individual characters emerge from the mass of text. There is a confident and flirtatious hostess, a singer who inspires lust in the businessmen, the host of the party, and the businessman who flirts outrageously with the hostesses while praising his faithful wife.
Orient switches between first person and third person omniscient point of view. The first person point of view itself changes between the hostess, the host, and the businessman mentioned above. Orient smoothly flows between first and third person, switching without warning from hostess to host to businessman and back to third person. This tactic effectively adds multiple dimensions to the poem by including the thoughts and musings of the women and businessmen alike.
An important aspect of Orient is the music. Orient is set to the tune “B. Quick” by Sonny Rollins, and the text runs in time to the wild strains of his saxophone melody. “B. Quick’s" breakneck tempo pushes the reader to frantically seize the words as they flash across the page. The piano and the percussion take over the melody when the saxophone periodically drops out, constantly pulling the text along at Rollins’ wild tempo, with the text shifting from word to word and phrase to phrase which each note of the song. The free form jazz music transitions back and forth from loud and brash to quiet and smooth (yet still speedy), giving the reader a sense of the push and pull of a city. The women and men, while isolated in the bar, still live lives dictated by the flow of the city outside of the building. Indeed, the tempo of the party is very much controlled by the time restrictions of the business world and the passing night. The unrestrained pulse of the music complements the wanton and unrestricted pleasures the party-goers enjoy, adding an extra element to the text that the words themselves cannot fully convey.
A Flash poem such as Orient truly is an event. There is no pause or rewind function, making it difficult to absorb the text as it flies by. Indeed, the reader feels almost exhausted when Orient tumbles into its conclusion, as “B. Quick” clocks in at around nine minutes and thirteen seconds, never once slowing its pace for the duration of the song. The sense of the unbridled passing of time and the uninhibited pleasures of the party is truly felt by the reader, who cannot manipulate the text. The hostesses and the businessmen are being swept along by the uncontrollable pace of the city and their lives.
Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ Orient is an event that takes all of the reader’s concentration to read, let alone comprehend. The rapid pace of the music and the text represents the fast and uncontrollable pace of the lives of the businessmen and hostesses. In the end, due to the intricacy of the work, the reader enjoys a thorough picture of a night of indulgence, feeling the exhaustion of the businessmen and hostesses as the poem concludes.