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Manoa 14.2 (2002-2003) 106-107



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Isan Kajok Spora

Walter K. Lew

[Figures]
[Faye]

            Father,
Under a thin moon
They'll spit out your only son's names:
Disobedient, Failure, No Wife

And even that will not hurt you:
All you wanted for him was
    Safe,
        Plenty of Cash,
            No Death

But it's your past too
I am searching for. Its summer, its
Winter. Father, I'm going

Out to talk with the crewcut boy
Who sat at the sunny south window and read
Boy's Life and Goethe, Segye Munhak

In characters that shaded like paulownia leaves
Thoughts of striped melons cooling in the well
While the rice blew in the east fields.

I'm sneaking round to the front porch
And placing my hands on the father
You would lose in '50
In Seoul
Just like that
Though you bicycled for days north and south and
Back again, calling his name
While the tank volley and mortar came down.
Yes! He is [End Page 106]
Back from the job in Manchuria he took
To pay your tuition at proud KS:

He kneels in the doorway
Lights a long pipe, smiles as he watches you
Trim a fresh kite—almost
Breathing the real world

I am putting my hand on his shoulder,
    Father
And I am dragging him back,
I am dragging every strand and wisp of his
Unmarkered, unworshiped soul back

And Father,
Most wondrous thing

Kuronde, Appa!

He is asking me to do this.



 

Walter K. Lew has recently published Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts; Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Fiction, coedited with Heinz Insu Fenkl; and Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple: The Poems of Frances Chung, which he compiled. He is the author of a "critical collage" on the work of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Excerpts from: DIKTH DIKTE, for DICTEE (1982). Lew is currently translating the works of Yi Sang (1910-1937) and writing a biography of Younghill Kang, about whom he has published several essays.

"Isan Kajok Spora," from Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts, ©2002 by Walter K. Lew, reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-943x
Print ISSN
1045-7909
Pages
pp. 106-107
Launched on MUSE
2003-03-13
Open Access
No
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