North Korea, Poetry
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Parallel 38/Part I

This is part one of three in a series I wrote while watching the Inter-Korea Summit broadcast on JTBC.

Parallel 38/Part I

It is only natural for me to be split
Two ways

It started when foreigners split the country of my mother and my father
Two ways
Took a yardstick and swung it across
Arbitrary lines of their own science
And called it

Told us we were free
To run around in our little divided up cage
Asked us to play nice and to obey
In return we would get
For what they did to us, raping our souls and pitting us against one another

Threw money and milk and honey our way
Put their feet up
Told us
This is freedom
You have newspapers
You have shipyards the size of mountains
You have free elections and banks and delegations in The Hague

Leaving out the part where they
Split up mother and daughter, brother and sister, grandfather and grandson
Dug up trenches along the heart of our motherland with barbed wire and explosives
Told us to shoot at our mirror image and to call them Commies and Fascists and Murderers
Made us think all twenty-five million of our brethren across the border had steel for souls

Forgetting the part where they
Drooled over the piece of pie that was our unified peninsula since they discovered us on their seafare
Forced our borders open and made us sign papers with guns to our heads
Too convenient for its location and its acreage
Too good to not be taken hostage
To embody their ideological stage

I’m not saying
They did not invade us first
I’m not saying
The French, the Aussies, the Kiwis, the Canadians, the Dutch, the Filipinos, the Turks, the Colombians, the Belgians, the Thai, the Greeks, the Ethiopians, the South Africans, the Luxembourgish, the Norwegians, the Italians, the Swedes, the Danes, and the Indians who fought for us died in vain
I’m not saying
The fat man and his dancing men and his progeny after did not do what they did and let millions of whom they called their people die from starvation

I’m saying
Did they really need to do all this
Bring in a Harvard-educated puppet who made our national flower the hibiscus
Nothing wrong with hibiscus, just, it doesn’t naturally grow on our peninsula
Brainwash us into thinking our aunts and uncles were the devil incarnate
Make us report our neighbours as spies because they sound funny
Support our bloody dictatorships and call it development
Development for what
Development for whom

All the while as we
Hid our family trees so we wouldn’t be reported for our northern lineage
Lied about our grandfather who was an Independence Fighter because he was also a Communist
Cut off the parts of our souls that ached for our mother and grandmother and even our wife, long lost

And our young were
Raised competing to draw the best Kill the Northern Commies poster at school
Made to recite an A4 length declaration which stated It is our way to eradicate the Commies from age nine
Tortured for reading Marx and fighting for democracy because they decided to label them Communists

I have seen
Young women
Collared to statelessness and absolute poverty and not knowing they had the right to say no
Sold and beaten and raped and filmed and distribute and sold again and rendered mute
Young men
Broken to the bone and fed tree bark and spat on and laughed at
Torn apart
By barbed wire, by gunshots, by starvation, by deaths without funerals

Full-grown women the size of thirteen-year-old girls
Adult men as tall as my pre-teen cousin
Whose bodies hold more anger and sorrow and trauma than you and I could ever imagine

So when you ask me with your innocent eyes
Why do you hate North Koreans
Why don’t your countries become one again
Why is it that you won’t bomb them, start a war, you know they will lose anyway

I say
Why is it that you want us to rape and slash and shoot at our own kind and our own land
Wasn’t the last time enough
Why do you assume a randomly assigned line divides our heritage
What is seventy years in the scheme of five thousand years
Why do you assume that I hate anyone
Unless they tore my heart open

Like those people did to my people

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