On my pillow, in my sleepless body
I walk in
the mazes of my mind &
DOOR # ?
[ sometimes i rift through embarrassing carcasses of memories like stones i wish i could turn over and redo / like when i was playing charades in 6th grade but momentarily forgot that you’re not allowed to make sounds and so i was acting out a ‘nightmare’ and screamed and my classmates looked at me like i was out of my mind / or when i forgot to use honorifics when talking to my older cousin while having lunch with my extended family in south korea when he was on his break from military conscription and my mom chastised me for being rude / or when i kissed multiple strange men in one night wondering why i wanted their attention and satisfaction so much when the feeling of their lips on mine brought me no pleasure ]
DOOR # ? DOOR # ?
[ over 4,000 people dead in one day because of covid / disproportionately black & indigenous & latinx / we keep repeating the same disproportionate numbers the same words the same phrases and yet / when it comes to black & brown people we treat bodies like objects and do nothing to tear out the roots of pain / by we i mean the government who claims to stand for we the people / when we the people are the we who organize we who collectivize we who make mutual aid / but when will it end how will it end will we ever see the end / how did we let it become like this how is it that if you’re in LA and have a heart attack or a stroke or some other medical emergency and you call an ambulance but you don’t have a high chance of survival the ambulance will just not take you to the hospital because the hospital is packed tight with ICU beds all full to capacity / is our capacity to consume the death rates the case rates one more person yet another / yet another / yet another / to spiral out of control ]
DOOR # ? DOOR #? DOOR #?
[ what if umma gets covid while on the plane to south korea to take care of my hareobeoji whose cancer came back over the summer who had to get placed into an adult care home who’s having side effects from the cancer treatment that makes it hard for him to speak to talk to walk to move to eat / to remember if i graduated from college or if i’m working or where i am or what i’m doing / what if umma stays for months and months and i don’t see her and something happens to me and appa over here what if we both get covid what if one of us gets into an accident while driving to hmart or when appa drove into the other lane the other day and had to swerve before getting hit / what if my hareobeoji gets so sick from the medicine or the cancer that he–– ]
MAZES // OF // MY // MIND
DOOR # ∞ ?
[ has my aesthetic attraction always been sexual attraction did i pay enough attention to know / now when i say i’m demisexual is it because i actually believe that i am or is it because i’ve been stuck inside for so long with no new human interaction no desire for sex / but other friends want sex so that means i can’t be entirely allo right or / does my aversion to my sexual experiences clouded by alcohol and weed count or do i need more experience to be one hundred percent certain / but what counts as experience don’t they count as experiences isn’t the fact that i couldn’t be sober a sign or do i need more / and what about this, do i consume enough queer content to be considered queer do i have enough queer friends to be considered queer do i dress a certain way enough to be considered queer / since i am straight passing as such i do not seem queer to other people but / what is queerness and how do we define it if it is unique to each person / if queerness is the antithesis to straightness cisness allosexualness all the things we call normative in our society / if queerness is the antithesis to capitalism to neoliberalism do i meet the criteria / if i don’t consume any queer content and am not in a queer romantic or sexual relationship with someone while i am at home with my parents where i suppress my queer identity to the extent that sometimes i forget about it / am i still queer am i still queer am i ]
Caught up in the tangled web
[ which ] [ door ] [ leads ] [ to ] [ the ] [ way ]
[ out ] [ ? ]
Monica Kim is a social justice advocate and writer. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she has lived in New Jersey for most of her life and graduated from The University of Michigan. Her writing has been published in The Mantle, Okay Donkey, Thimble Magazine, Stirring, and Michigan Quarterly Review Online.
Image: “screaming in my car” by Sasha Van Cott