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Hydrangea Agenda

By
June 17, 2013

Beauty=Nation
Ugly=Nation
Ladies Garden in Progress
The American Visitors
The New American Word
The Beauty of Publicity
Mother’s Mop Head
Ringspots
Sway Me
Yes, Ma’am
Gossamer=Blouse
Yankee=Blouse
Yes, Ma’am
Sway Me
Father, Nice to see you
Major, It’s been a hell of a ride
General M & General H
Mother’s Mop Head
I see ringspots
That’s a good sight for my old eyes
Yes, Ma’am
Ray-Ban Sunglasses
So Sway Me
Sway Me
Oh sway Me
1. Parade of the Japanese Colonial Government’s Monitors
2. Parade of the First Republic’s ROK Monitors
3. Parade of the DPRK Communist Monitors
4. Parade of the Joint ROK-UN Forces Monitors
Yes, Ma’am
Did I tell you I saw corpses piled up inside the well in Pyongyang?
Did I tell you I helped the Communist Monitor who was also a Colonial Monitor, ROK Monitor, then later a ROK-UN Monitor drag the corpse of his brother?
Monitor=For Life!
General=For Life!
President=For Life!
However, I see buttons and ringspots
Father, Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Major, Snap out of it. It’s August 15, 1948
He’s smiling at me
Fun Hydrangeas
Gossamer=Blouse and Yankee=Blouse
Warmly greeted one another
I see Ugly=Translators
Yes, Ma’am
Me=Gook

G

Author Image

Don Mee Choi is the author of The Morning News is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and the recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award. She is also a translator of contemporary Korean writing including, most recently Kim Hyesoon’s Princess Abandoned (Tinfish, 2012) and All the Garbage of the World Unite! (Action Books, 2011), winner of the 2012 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize.

Author’s note: This poem is based on a photograph my father took on August 15, 1948, the first day of the First Republic of Korea: General MacArthur, General Hodge, and President Syngman Rhee seated in the front row. “That’s a good sight for my old eyes” was spoken by General MacArthur as he looked down on the dead bodies of young communist Korean soldiers. “Me=Gook” is a pun on a Korean word for America—Miguk.

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