Issue 14 · Fall 2014
I. Chosong – intial consonant
My friend called me older brother: 형: hyeong
I made it a point to speak only Korean with him
while he only used English. When I gave up trying
to process thoughts into noise, my mind’s translation –
marquee flashing with spurts of charged memory –
the English emerged.
II. Junsong – peak vowel
He told me my Korean has an American accent,
heavy with apples to zebras stuck in my throat
gutters – consonants pulled rather than flowing
from vocal organs/origins. King Sejong intended
for everyone to form strokes of hangul for tongue,
mouth, and throat ¬– oral identity, faces to recognize.
III. Jonsong – final consonant
He told me that my phrasings often come out the way
children speak. My memory of hangul is hardened,
a hot breath attempting to forge words,
molten with calligraphy ink
I hope to play in a volcanic
song written on the earth.