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.



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