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standing at the intersection
of the earth and the sky
bowing down to the gatekeepers
standing among the mile high project
skyscrapers in this ghetto landscape
all coalescing to that
vanishing point
in the far horizon
the train tracks
outlined by the orange fluorescent street lights
where are you going?
metal mesh fence
between me and the disappearing train tracks below
I scream
as if
the train will penetrate my hollow mouth
as I constantly
chug, chug


we sat in a circle
on the wood-worn floor of the old elementary school
converted into korean drum practicing rooms during the day
and mosquito speckled, body packed rooms at night
graffitti marks sprawled across the wall
characters of love overlapped repeated rhetoric
of our country's reunification
evidence of college students
searching for a return to what korea once was.
clanging hand held cymbals reverberated the thunder of hourglass drums
harmonizing the rhythms of the earth and mountains
awaking our ancestral spirits
to evoke the harvest festivals of the farmers of Namwon

and in that thick cloud of history
I stepped in
and created a new blood line.
we exchanged songs,
poured and received drinks for each other,
using two hands of respect.
and when we didn't understand
we just smiled,
let the fragrance drifting from the acasia trees outside
and the twisted shadows of five thousand year old pine trees
and let the drunken happiness
of the moment
seep in deeper.

While Driving with Mas

Julie Hyun Jung Hwang is a Korean American spoken word poetess and activist. She is the coordinator for the New York branch Korea Exposure and Education Program (KEEP). KEEP has organized community forums on MaehYanri bombing range in Korea and militarized sex slaves. Currently, Julie is working on a creative workshop for Korean American youth in Flushing and is a medical student at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


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