from the Koreana Cycle

섹스 | sex | sex


sex (2)

Early morning she stands in front of the stone animal.
Three strands of colored strings around her pinky three yellow baby birds by the
The mason’s third daughter. The new bride’s going to the in-laws.
For good luck she came to wash her face in holy water.
Nobody knew.
This girl who was lustful who was cunning in particular who had a yellow attitude
              who received the seed that has been come she nearly died of too much sex.


Creation Stories II


A golden egg.


An egg, unclear whether golden or gilded golden,
clearly just born out of a human woman’s womb,
slowly descends from the sky.


A boy with beaks like a chicken.


A crate wrapped in silk and adorned with jewels
floats onto a riverbed to the humble abode
of a deaf and very old woman who opens the crate
to discover a very handsome boy, whom the old woman
adored and took in as his son until he grew up
to marry the daughter of the king, and to become
the next king and the king of kings.


A boy with chicken beaks bursts out of an egg
shining with the brightest light in the world
until he is bathed which is when the beaks fall off.


When the whole kingdom is climbing the mountain
to pray to find a good king amongst the Southern fogs,
suddenly a strange lightning strikes the ground
and a white horse appears to kneel and bow to them.
Once the horse meets eyes with the crowd, she
lets out a long cry and ascends into heaven,
revealing a purple egg. When the people crack
the egg, they discover a very handsome boy who shines
as brightly and clearly as the sun, who vibrates the earth,
who makes the birds and the animals dance,
who becomes the king of the people.


A white egg like the moon.


The king hears a chicken cry before daybreak
in the dark forests to the west of his kingdom,
and when he sends warriors they most strangely find
a crate wrapped in silk and adorned with jewels
hanging from a branch of a tree under which
a white chicken is singing the most beautiful song.
They open the crate to discover a very handsome boy,
whom the king adored and took as his son
to become the next king and the king of kings.


The wife of the heavenly king becomes pregnant by the sun
that shined through her window and gives birth to a boy
that cried very loudly through her left armpit. The king
rules the birth unnatural and has his people rid of the egg
in the stables, but the horses did not step on it, then
in the deep mountains, but the spirits protected it,
and even on the clouded days a ray of sun would
always shine upon it so the king sends the egg to its mother.


A white horse is guarding a purple egg
by a well blessed by the mother of the Earth
and when the king’s people approached her
she ascended to heaven.


The king’s wife prayed seven years to bear a child
but when she bears an egg, the king rules the birth
unnatural and orders the egg to be thrown away.
The queen disobeys and instead puts her egg in
a crate and wraps it in in silk and adorns it with jewels.
The crate floats onto a riverbed to the humble abode
of a deaf and very old woman who opens the crate
to discover a very handsome boy, whom the old woman
adored and took in as her son, and named after the crow
that cried when she opened the crate, until he grew up
to marry the daughter of the king, and to become
the next king and the king of kings.


The king hears a chicken cry before daybreak
in the dark forests to the west of his kingdom,
and when he seeks out the cry himself, he is swept by
overwhelming red clouds reaching down from above,
and in the clouds a golden crate hung from branches
of a very tall tree, under which a white chicken
is singing the most beautiful song. When the king
opens the crate he discovers a very handsome boy
who was lying in the crate but quickly stood up
to meet the king and become the next king.


The wife of the king becomes pregnant by the moon
and gives birth to the child of the moon through her
armpits when the moon is full.


A golden egg wrapped in red cloth.


In the beginning, the universe was like an egg,
and so the egg was like the universe. It was only
chaos and chaos itself, nothing, not even
the sky and the land, the dark and the bright.
In the chaos was born a giant who became the king,
and he lacked seven holes in his body, including
his eyes, nostrils, and mouth.


An egg, unclear whether golden or gilded golden,
slowly descends from the sky, and,
once it reaches the ground it cracks open
with grace and poise and insidious intent,
and we realize that we have been hearing all along
that it has been singing the song of


Dangunsinhwa 1:1                                                       Dangunsinhwa 3:7



A song of the son and the son of the son.


Dangunsinhwa 1

Birth of a Son.

1                    The Elders1 tell us that,
2                    after the Father2 bore his Second Son3,
3                    the Son often found his heart in the underworld4.
4                    The Father knew the Son’s great ambition and rose
                                        above the Mountain5,
5                    to declare that the Son must descend to the
6                    with three Heavenly Wives6 to rule and be
7                    The three Wives, now three thousand warriors upon
                                        their arrival to the underworld,
8                    began to live under the Holy Tree7 under the
                                        Mountain and called themselves the City of
9                    The Son was praised as the King of Kings9.
10                   The King of Kings ruled the wind, the rain, and the
11                   as well as crops, longevity, diseases, punishment,
                                        virtue and vice,
12                   and three-hundred-and-sixty other Matters10 related
                                        to mankind.


Dangunsinhwa 2

Blessing of the Bear Woman.

1                    Then a Bear11 and a Tiger12 lived in one cave,
                                        praying day and night to the King of Kings
                                        to become men.
2                    The King of Kings heard the Prayers13 and gave
                                        them a handful of mugwort and twenty
                                        cloves of garlic and said,
3                    “If you eat these and hide yourselves from the sun
                                        for a hundred days, you shall become
4                    The bear and the tiger praised the King of Kings, and
                                        took in his Words15.


Dangunsinhwa 3

Birth of Another Son.

1                    The tiger failed to keep his word, but the bear
2                    and on the twenty-first day the bear became the Bear
3                    The Bear Woman said another Prayer17 day and
                                        night under the Holy Tree, to bear children.
4                    The King of Kings took sympathy in her,
5                    and changed his shape to man to wed her.
6                    The Bear Woman grew pregnant and gave birth to
                                        the Son18.
7                    Thus the Son of the King of Kings19 was born.

[1] 고기(古記)에 이렇게 전한다.
[2] 옛날에 환인(桓因)―제석(帝釋)을 이름―의
[3] 서자(庶子)인 환웅(桓雄)이 계시어,
[4] 천하(天下)에 자주 뜻을 두고 인간 세상(人間世上)을 탐내어 구했다.
[5] 아버지는 아들의 뜻을 알고, 삼위 태백산(三危太伯山)을 내려다보니, 인간 세계를 널리 이롭게 할 만 했다.
[6] 이에 천부인(天符印) 세 개를 주어, 내려 가서 세상을 다스리게 했다.
[7] 환웅(桓雄)은 그 무리 삼천 명을 거느리고 태백산(太佰山) 꼭대기의 신단수(神壇樹) 밑에 내려와서
[8] 이 곳을 신시(神市)라 불렀다.
[9] 이 분을 환웅 천왕(桓雄天王)이라 한다.
[10] 그는 풍백(風伯), 우사(雨師), 운사(雲師)를 거느리고, 곡식, 수명, 질병, 형벌, 선악 등을 주관하고, 인간의 삼백예순 가지나 되는 일을 주관하여, 인간 세계를 다스려 교화하였다.
[11] 이 때, 곰 한 마리와
[12] 범 한 마리가 같은 굴에서 살았는데
[13] 늘 신웅(神雄, 환웅)에게 사람되기를 빌었다. 때마침 신(神, 환웅)이 신령한 쑥 한 심지[炷]와 마늘 스무 개를 주면서 말했다.
[14] 너희들이 이것을 먹고 백 날 동안 햇빛을 보지 않는다면, 곧 사람이 될 것이다.
[15] 곰과 범은 이것을 받아서 먹었다.
[16] 곰은 기(忌)한 지 삼칠일(三七日) 만에 여자의 몸이 되었으나, 범은 능히 기하지 못했으므로 사람이 되지 못했다.
[17] 여자가 된 곰은 그와 혼인할 상대가 없었으므로, 항상 단수(壇樹) 밑에서 아이 배기를 축원했다.
[18] 환웅(桓雄)은 이에 임시로 변하여 그와 결혼해 주었더니, 그는 임신하여 아들을 낳았다.
[19] 이름을 단군 왕검(檀君王儉)이라 하였다.



Making dinner for you,
a full-course affair with seconds and thirds,
made from scratch from a time-honored tradition,
or, out of no recipe at all;

as bitter as can be with too much mugwort
and braised with enough garlic to burn the whole of the tongue,

but as precisely measured — as meant to be
— as skyscrapers, as wedding dresses, as pearls, as the price of household

with which to recite the foremost principle of certainty regarding you,
you, the hapless, heroic sons and daughters of mine.

My sons and daughters, but especially my first-born son,
whom I will have always sent away with one less boiled quail egg than my mother
               would have advised, and surely with an elusive back pocket somewhere
               stuffed with Playboy and old gum and tattering in strips,
as well as my blameless, troubled, horrible, balding husband, his mother’s first-
               born son of course,
with whom the last time I made love was in 1991 when we turned in our wedding
               rings to the International Monetary Fund for memory’s sake,
for you and your dinner I now scuttle back and forth at a high velocity and a low
               center of gravity on the subway that charges me 200 won more than war
               veterans which I am vocal about whenever I come across a public
               transportation authority.
For you my daughters I want you to be Marie Antoinette’s best friend or else,
               Martha Stewart’s apprentice.

Lips’ dyed Chanel adjectives —
clandestine, silhouette, libertine or exquise —
but chapped like the aluminum foil on the underside of our Dial bar of soap
as valiantly stained as orange as any a household necessity.

I have been a lackluster Presbyterian for decades now, but that is not what I think,
               or, at least, being one of 830,000, I forgo the worship and go straight to the
               3,000 won lunch, where the soup reeks of too much mugwort & no less garlic,
               but altogether more acceptable than,

In 1961 for breakfast when we fanned out azalea petals on broken pieces of china,
        from which we used as thrifty sources for making ornaments to gift our
        dozen siblings of which half of them didn’t make it through the 1964 student
        riots and the other half in 1972 in celebration of the Fourth Republic
        altogether sniffled tear gas until we looked like we were tragic heroes but I
        realized I had no idea what tragic heroes looked like until we saw those
        buxom tears on color television in 1980 at which point I got an eyebrow
        tattoo to look like a TV star, permanent easy beauty, or at least I would save
        the bucks, but in the 1988 during Olympics when you, my daughter, the
        week before your college entrance exam, flipped over the dinner table just to
        make a point, I thought, I am fat, and that is when I began to bind my
        throbbing stomach only to unbind it twice since, once in 1992 when we shot
        a satellite into space, and in 1996 when the national income skyrocketed a
        million dollars, to eat heaps of pork, a tradition, and sing karaoke, dragging
        plastic slippers, but since then, until now I eat three meals a day, I cook
        three meals a day, I handwash my husband’s socks, I buy a crate of egg a
        week, I have two telephones, seventeen handsome Louis Vuittons, I sleep
        two hours, and we never talked about the Viagra in his pocket.

My body is a war ship, telling you winged thoughts:
The day is short, then long, then short—
these winter days I worry your hair will break away like glass.



Mother perished me through a funnel of embers
Funnel of frost on Thanksgiving eve

I am a prehistoric thing of feather a handful
of amber callus that was once the outside of a juicebox with
souls of my feet confined within a pair of canvas shoes and before
the age of pimples my forehead soared sour

A prince with infected peacock plumes as hair scuffled like her
torch bouquet of baby pewter bells she
tiptoes on the blade of the straw cutter her
halting knees rotten jade like the harvest Jupiter kneaded with hay her
waist as breathtaking as the stomach of a double-headed drum she
clapped her hands until her palms melted mercury and turned into

Copper wires that thread my eyes I am a kindergarten art project I am
a decalcomania I am a butterfly of four winters and suddenly my backbone
is a light switch in a corridor of insomniacs and

On the clothesline I hang like frozen pollocks next
to mother’s bloodstained panties but of course
I was a virgin conception no fishmonger bore me only
parched persimmon nipples
boar’s head her ginger tongue
scrupulously mutilating bodies of candles
the waning season’s flesh candied bitter with cinnamon

My fingers curl they are triangles in a scorching band
of the marching Earth herself much like after
a playground tragedy or a funeral procession finally I whistle
I finally whistle tomorrow’s weathers

When I look up into the sky I get a scary feeling

A drenched-shouldered General MacArthur is pointing at my temples
Knocked-kneed politicians stroke their formless faces
Vulgar nuns of the church of unironed sheets are at gunpoint with
nuclear families with anachronistic wedding rings

Anyone else here afraid of the sky?

Through scissored lips that is
my folding fan dyed midnight with bruised azalea
merely yielding tassels of barbed sedation echoes
the foul howl of lie-low crows whose
toes although blighted with frost claw at tomorrow
tomorrow my voice is a scissorhand in the barbershop of tomorrow

Unhollow me into holiness monster
my nothings monster my insides and drape it tablecloth for
tomorrow save the date for tomorrow off
the table of brass basins ripe with innocence where you
hopscotch with your ladybug pupils

[a foreign woman]

“in school a suburban blonde / searches my complexion for life ”

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