Danyal Kim, 8/12/2019
Current Occupation: Debt Specialist at a government agency
Former Occupation: college student
Contact Information: Danyal Kim lives in Chicago, where he works at an office job with a government agency by day and writes poetry by night. He will occasionally share his poetry at open mics.
Tattoo Artist of New Orleans
I really wish you’d let me ink
those fleshy apricot arms of yours
I could draw a goldfish or fancy laces
it’d look good, I promise. No?
Your religion doesn’t let you? Okay, well
If your God changes his mind, let me know
you have my number in your phone, okay hon?
I’m so glad I’m a tattoo artist now
I was aching for a fun job for so long.
I don’t want to live a life of toil.
My father, this frail Polish man,
skinny, brittle piece of stale bubble gum,
made eyelets at a factory – remember those
metal hooks on the holes of shoes?
He made those by hand and his fingers
puffed up, looking like popped popcorn.
All those years of boring work
made him go crazy. Before he died
he walked around Magrinity in flip flops
talking to palm fronds and alley cats.
I really miss my dad, and my grandma.
Feel my ponytail – it’s rough like her hair
only hers was orange since she was Irish.
She also had huge balloon tits
I didn’t inherit her tits, sadly – haha!
Her stupid husband liked fucking fat girls
ones with the jiggly jello tits and ass
and she ended up dying of a broken heart
had a heart attack on our living room couch.
But like I was saying,
I’m really going to become a successful tattoo artist
I’m going to skate around the neighborhood
the tattoos on my arms will be noticed by people
walking around Frenchman street.
They’ll ask about my tattoos. My business cards
will fly out of my purse, bees in service to their queen!
That will be my life now. Life is too precious
to spend it doing something you hate… wait,
they’re playing my song on the jukebox!
Won’t you come and dance with me, hon?
Ones who go away
As a poor child growing up
I watched my friends go on vacations
on massive cruises through foreign seas
while I was stuck in a small Illinois town
alone with geese and tortoises
on the muddy banks of tiny ponds.
Now, as a 27 year old with a federal job
I have some money to fly or drive away
staring at old grimacing faces, hanging down
hallways of the Louvre, the Smithsonian.
Or listening to a blaring trumpet give away
to the light strumming of an acoustic guitar
between bars down a street of New Orleans.
I broke my phone while traveling once.
Back in Chicago, at the phone shop, I asked
the man looking at my phone if he travels
he said, “no, don't have the time or money.”
His resigned tone reminded me of how
oppressive my bland childhood seemed
staring at baby geese that waddled across
the town I sometimes thought I'd never leave.