Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Girl without a country (poem)



i will return to the country of which I was born—
i will greet the people from which I came—

as. a. Foreigner.

i am alien to them.

i need not speak a single word:

my clothes
my cosmetics
my hair
my walk

will tell these citizens that

i. do Not.


i am far away—
no matter how near I draw.

(i take a look at my passport: lost in my pocket—

that is. not me. either)

i am. a little. bastard child.

i am foreign to every face i see. in every country i travel.

always, someone else’s child.


neither country wants to make claim to me.

but in the name of reluctance to be politically correct and appropriately modern and progressively tolerant,

they practice saying, “Korean-American” or “American-Korean” (and for the generalists, “Asian-American” and for the relativists “Human-American”)

and to the Korean-Koreans:

i am Korean enough to incur shame
but not Korean enough to incur honor. Funny.

How. that does not. work.

(it is not a double standard)
(it is the Korean standard) (now: i’m just being snide. and rude. and bitter.)

tell me one more time, how it is the greed and money of other nations that have stolen your children.
and I will tell you—as you plug your ears and avert your eyes—

that it is the arrogance and stiffness of your nation that freely gave away your children: (greed and money thrive only when provided with a substrate)


your face is more important than your offspring.

when you gaze into the mirror, you are nothing but beauty and perfection.

you point your folly at those demons. that have found rest
beneath your bed.

it is more complicated than black and white. than good and evil.

than right and wrong.

than preserving your pristine and porcelain face.
than scapegoating the other man.

this illness. Is. almost genetic. almost

the nucleotides.
of your identity.

i have hired a scientist.
he knows the art of extraction.


i will punish you.
by forgetting you.

This is. What. I tell myself.

you punish. me. by remembering me.
the way you choose. to remember me.

you do not hear.

i hear your every word—

like microbes. as they pierce and. burrow. tiny schisms within
my heart.

until the stabbing becomes:

a way of living.

and this is no way.
this is not the way.

to live.


i will be un-

the way. to


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