War Within

by Hyunsung Kim


I was tinted yellow at birth
and was tinted with desires of freedom as I grew
but I was neither of the names they called me;
I was neither
Gook,
nor Yankee 

I was divided among myself between both ends of the spectrum
I was taught what to learn
but I did not learn what I was taught
I learned to be my own color
but was taught to blend in
with the colors of the crowd;
to smear myself onto the palette

As a growing child
I was free, wild
and daring, but
I was constrained by chains
of condescending eyes
as I growed
What others would see me as
was sometimes what mattered most

and I was divided among myself
when I was ill I did not know whether to
nibble on juk
or scoop up fragments of
chicken noodle soup

and when I ate, I warred within
on whether I was supposed to use the pair of wooden sticks
or the bar of steel that would branch and split at
its tip

I was taught to kneel
before my elders
and respect them, too
but I also learned to question authority
and so I was deemed to be
both brave and rude

Embroiled in the midst of the angst that was my mind
I struggled to find my kin, someone of my kind

But I learned that I was
alone


that I myself had to fight for what I wanted

but I was taught that I was
part of the group
whatever group that might’ve been

I was in a melee of thoughts
but regardless of how many battles I had fought
I knew
that I would still be the same person within

or would I?

and I wondered whether
I was in need of an armistice;
some kind of
peace treaty
or if the havoc and brawl was what
defined me

 

Author Biography: Hyunsung Kim is currently a senior at Hankuk
Academy of Foreign Studies. He enjoys crafting spoken word and
playing video games, and secretly craves for an opportunity to rebel
against Korean customs of academic elitism. He gains his
inspirations from hazy recollections of his lucid dreams.

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