Joseph Han

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.