for Choi Sung Hee

i remember Jeju-do: that living eye,
a candy-coloured sky that was remote-
controlled by Halla-san, our Lord Muck,
or else a lady mountain gathering skirts
around her as th’ cloud sucks up rain.

i remember 4·3 ??, although we
were not there, bullets like a maze,
weeping in secluded lanes, wounds as
big as tangerines & the green moulds
all over the dead (the reds, the red

i remember Gangjeong Peace Zone,
cute as a postcard, its anti-nuke murals
(a white wall with the painted-on tree
whose outline mirrored that of a real
tree (its leaves greener than my hopes

i remember Mayor Kang Dong-kyun
was arrested for protesting too much –
& also for eating too little in his cell,
his hunger strike embarrassing some,
while electrifying the people’s media

i remember touch not one flower, not
one stone!, a great mantra for daily
living, just like mayor Kang’s letters,
each beginning with the line: Dear Mr.
Noam Chomsky! Or just: Mr. Chomsky!

i remember Seogwipo, quiet 6 PM city
on the island’s south side, the flowers
in boxes lining the steep path down to
the marina, & the harbour, & the wooden
restaurant where the mosquitoes ate us

i remember U-do, tiny postage stamp
of an island, where Haenyo plied their
trade, sleek seals in black diving suits,
surfacing with buckets full of the sea,
anemones & seaons’ salt-water tears

but i forgot all about you, funny old
dol hareubang, you characters, playing
dead in the stones on the mountainside.
hold some memorial service for me if
you can’t remember, let alone regret.

Author: David Prater

David Prater’s first poetry collection, "We Will Disappear", was published in 2007. In 2005 and 2009 he undertook Asialink residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea. From 2001 to 2012 he was the managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review (http://www.cordite.org.au). He currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as a research editor at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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