December 28, 2014

Emily Yoon

HELLO MISS PRETTY BITCH

the street drummer
calls out in Korean
no doubt thinking it
a compliment
a pleasant surprise
cinched with red ribbons
for Christmas the day
select theatres will gift us
with The Interview
a comedy in which
two American journalists
ignite Kim Jong-un’s face
freedom has prevailed
the film’s star Seth Rogen
says about the release
the same was thought
at the time of Korea’s release
from the Japanese Empire
though then the Korean War
began and compared to war
what’s so bad about a movie
anyway even war can be funny
and now a drummer
in New York says
you got a smile
that could light up
the whole town
though I’m not smiling
thinking about villages
and cities of what became
North Korea set on fire
sending puddles of twilight
into sunless skies
as if flames could stab
but his freedom
of speech prevails
freedom always prevails
which is why we get to see
two Americans
incinerate a Korean face
on Christmas
hold our popcorn
and chocolate bars
and laugh as the dictator
explodes in tune
to a pop song
laugh as American
soldiers would laugh
at Korean children
chanting hello hello
gibu me choco-let
with wartime hunger
laugh as they choose
which face
to light up

Poets Respond
December 28, 2014

[download audio]

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Emily Yoon: “I found out that starting this Christmas day, The Interview will be shown at independent theatres, in spite of the cyber attack on Sony supposedly brought forth by North Korean hackers. I wrote this poem as a reaction to how friends and acquaintances responded to the news, and how Seth Rogen Tweeted, ‘The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! […]’ on the film’s release. As a Korean-born person, it was always curious to me how many people in the US feel entitled to dehumanize North Korea and condemn North Korea-South Korea relations under the name of humour and freedom of speech, without enough awareness on the role of the US in the Korean War and the subsequent demarcation.” (website)

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