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Bang! Echoes loudly on the horizon! “You should have been a boy!” A great uncle said across the marine Baduk board. What a bloody blanket of a curse crowned my girlhood. Well, they were too bloody late; I didn’t have a penis for sure! Do you think I have a penis envy syndrome? (Send me an email on your opinion!) I have never doubted that I was a girl for sure – a bit of a primitive one of course!

Definitely they taught me more than just games. A delicious pulp of taboo stories was served with crisp queries. I guzzled all these stories along with the clank-crank sessions. My imagination lit on the running track to the vast horizon. I couldn’t wait to grow up and become part of the spectacle!

I was born into an ancient extended Confucian-Buddhist and Christian family.

In the paternal family tree book, I am an ancient generation descendent in an old primitive surreal village. Swaddled with a Confucian-Buddhist code of conduct; branded and encoded with my role in the family spectacle. First you had to learn what generation you were in the family and the root of your family- it was recited as a lullaby. And they made me recite it in front of visitors! Although this no longer applies to our daily life it was deeply ingrained in our clan. Monks, land owners, brewers, military officers and entrepreneurs (deep sea fishing) etc... No wanton errors and a swagger with an air of haughtiness. Their emotion stifled with almanac virtue.

The maternal side of the family was proud of being old Christians with roots from the first western missionary to come to Korea during the old hermit kingdom, when Christianity was a forbidden religion. They were church builders; man and women - a breeding ground for weird mad scholars of the Tower of Babel. Mumbled jumbled jack of all trades. They could run in bare feet if something caught their interest!

I was raised in my ancestral home in my formative years - cushioned by four generations under one roof. There was a daily ritual of a meditating grandmamma. Her warranted, fortified virtue was coiffured and bounded in seashell socks. A steamroller of a code of conduct rolling up your every breath. On the maternal side of the family, they prayed with thankfulness for every meal - I was amazed to see that all my sin was washed right away– wow, sin free! What a bargain! On Sundays, I went to the church in another town, where an uncle was the preacher. Every visit I got a gift - they bribed me to join their posterity bandwagon!

Naturally, I was influenced by my paternal family (clan) –half of the villagers were my relatives. The village’s prudent life was rooted in the Cosmo - sea, soil and sky. We all knew how many spoons were in other households! All stuck together for their dropping blocks of soybean. Raised virtues were cherished and glorified as the clan’s collective vanity. Sinners were never forgiven and were made outcastes to achieve a collective sadistic sardine of vengeance in the name of doggery tattered stinking molten pride!

The badge of the cycle of covenant; a ritual of death and birth, budding and wailing. Newness and ripeness, the eclipsed pair binding side by side. Lotus bier imbued with the simple death of a life. Rami clothed people were wailing through a narrow stoned road, and a stream of a rice field where the humble lives owed a gracious sentiment to the soil. Wild flowers and birds with kowtowing mourners. A heavenly road for our clan’s burial ground, sunflowers and a chrysanthemum mess thawing the hills, a contralto-field of the sky.

At the Moon Festival, all relatives from aboard or other cities came to the villages for the family ritual. As a ritual, all the family went around to bow at ancestral graves for the prosperity of the clan. It would be nice buried in such a beautiful spot with open sea and sky. I had to bow to the many dumbfounded tombstones for thankfulness, asking them to fulfil my wishes - like beating the other town boy who continually pestered me. These relatives gave me lots of pocket money! By the end of the festival, I mustered a full pocket of money which I could spend on cartoon and story books and dissecting kits.

It was a wicked and strange seashore; dreams with legends, tainted stories volubly ingrained with deep superstitions. Passionate hate and love. Love affairs were huge scandals. Men were taking up mistresses. Some wives were hair splitting fighting (who wouldn’t?) with mistresses and this made a juicy spectacle. I participated in the front row at the fighting, and asked them what was going on. They looked at me with full blown volcanic eyes and told me off. I was in awe of their bloody rampage, and vivid colorful rage! The shamanic and Buddhist rituals. Legends of the cursed sea; traitors buried alive with stone filled sacks, mothers and wives going mad because of the sea. A man buried his sons alive because his wife ran away from his beating. All blamed on the restless sea or pilloried clan. The sea never changes! Still the same after all these years, for sure!

Pawed over full old things in our old houses; ceramics, furniture with bold hinges, webbing crustacean bookshelves. Handmade wall paper painted with symbols of life (I painted with crayons), old silk screen erect with strokes of celestial breath, embroidered motif silk pillows and cushions, red silk charm bags with all the family death and birth dates. My tattered silk-cotton blanket stitched talisman tales. Most of these items came from generations of bridal dowries.

The moon sits on the vast soy pot terrace grovelling a bamboo flute with a knightly wagering silvery lily. Cracking season getting ready to sunder from each arm, adoring prize of crops in the rice field -everything such an intoxicating suspense of a cyanic dream!

Went to a thumb sized primary school, where my ancestors had laid the foundation stone and were the main benefactors. At the first day of school I was nicknamed “Moon”. Wake up with perfumed dew licks from the Sun, greeting with flesh shaven sky and engrossed with moon, thawing stars with a slimy lullaby wind! Glided with winged sea to the school, with tagged burdensome white socks and collar and wondered why time was not flying!

Dead uncle’s hut, a defiled story hung with his ghostly school uniform, lines of cobwebs inked his grand passion and indolent bamboo flutes laid a nest of imperceptible threads in my girlhood. Yes, he became my imagery mate. Suddenly, I wasn’t a little girl anymore! A little girl body with his head perhaps!

Nature was always my bosom buddy! I had my own small dissection kit. Collected butterflies, lizards, wild plants and flowers and seashells- I knew where the most bewitching wild orchids and rainbow snakes were courting! Dissected lots of frogs in the summer sun, the flicking beautiful guts, heads and limbs. Wailing chorale of the flock of frogs, ripening summer in the rice field. Had a nightmare of a million frogs in my flowered garden shade staring at me - barking frogggg… saying like “where is my mamma and papa!”

With boy friends. Hiking mountains, laid down on a huge rock, looking at the vast sky and horizon, and promised each other we would come back to the spot when we live else where in the future. Ate lots of wild berries, our mouths blotched with purple. Playing shuttlecock, climbed trees, they encouraged me to climb up first and looked up at me. I was wearing a skirt of course! Pretended not to notice their peeping, swung a few times and thundered into them with full force while they were watching my monkey swing with terror! Pretty rough stuff it was! This was where my sparing matches began!

Sometimes we were given a task of herding cows - their huge eyes were an altar of the sky, and also goats (very temperamental stupid stinking animals)! These animals were killed on the same shore we collected seashell tales- we watched the sea becoming scarlet. The moment of death was bathed in a shivering splendour!

In summer, the seashore was adorned with massive tiger-lilies. We were swimming with a flock of rainbow fishes. We lived at the violet pedalling sea - we had competitions to see who could dive more deeply! I could somersault (back dive too) like a bird, very deep and could open my eyes at the bottom of the sea and catch seashells without any goggles!

We played war games in moonlit fields. A thrilling experience of playing the other side of town kids, we took it very seriously! The town’s name was at stake! Running down dark streets, we were scared of our own shadows. Painted our face with charcoal. Tactics and strategy were taken from old martial-art cartoon books! Once we burnt down a haystack accidentally and alerted the whole town. We had to stop playing the game then.

I began attending martial-art training with my brother. We hustled vigorously. He followed me everywhere and challenged my bullying. I yelled at him with my foghorn voice and he stared at me with dark devil eyes. He some times acted like he was older then me so I had to dress him down and remind him I was the boss!! My loudness must be bigger then his silence of course. He once asked “why are you so savage?” I told him chiefly savagery was normal and placidness was not normal! Like the wind. Then he said very calmly “what a absurdity!” We circled each other with animal steps. I lay flat on the field and pretended to faint which was one of my best tactics to get him! I think he is my real half.

Armed with feverish energy and a mission, another dimension of my life was in Seoul... won a poetry competition. After school, I carried a few lunch boxes as a delighted grief with the parody of a march for private lessons.. A pampered investment on a primitive for cultivation. A bit out of joint with the exorbitant expectation.

At university, a transitional period of time, we were deeply wired into student politics. We taught at night schools –all the kids were working odd jobs in daytime; sweatshops, newspaper and shoeshine boys. Dark flounced nights, sheer passion in their impearled eyes. We ganged up, taught women from farming villages during the seasonal holidays. Dark-frost defrosted wit of cheap soju, surreal and dark hunting our ardent possession. And the ultimate dreams we encrusted in our vein. Saw death.

Then, shaved my hair and buckled down into a silenced echo in a mountain for a while, supposedly to repent my deadly sins – Anger is the preventive maintenance for insanity, I think. Fished an idea of an arranged marriage as an unknown bogus compromise. I knew that I was an infidel of the old classic chapter; my so primitive soul could not assimilate highly-strung roles.

Schemed of a great escape; digging holes and making an under ground tunnel for the great escape every night!

Fancied an idea of becoming a professional painter for the great escape! Through exhibitions I knew that the brushes could not plough the sadistic eunuch’s heart to get adoration. Honestly I was deadly hungry except for food! So I slotted my brushes and trotted around the world for a few years. What a bucket of an exulting wanton world! Ask me what I didn’t learn! I met my match!

Between coming and going at a hospital, stitched and bruised as a insignia of a torrent of love, the strange thing was that I thought I was dead but I wasn’t dead at all, a bit bizarre really! So now I know exactly what is like to be actually dead! I assure you it was not bad as you might think, money back guarantee, so don’t worry about your end! You can try it if you like! Ha Ha!

Also learnt what a wailing, gnashing dark simmering monster was within me and I am my own best loving mate and also my withering foe!

Tagged with the love and dream I die for, sunset and sea, wine, meditation, yoga, work, Ogling night sky-try from Uluru-the unquestionable horror and beauty, you have to take a few buckets(make sure not plastic!!) for your dropping tears. Actually, I’ve been thinking it is the most perfect place for your ashes if you are planning for a cremation!! Think about it - you are part of a cosmic vantage - tears of dew, riling flowers, shamelessly making love with stars, trackless times of season after season ...and no sorrow... And, bunched up palettes of colours-like a serial killer, girdled by the devil’s monopoly rune and journeying into darkness, bowing the strings of a madman’s violent muteness. Hopping into the dark nest; wrestling with lamenting creatures and a bucketful of tears. And I just let the demon splurge bacchanalia into my vein! Then I watch -how far it goes, that is all.

In realty, an imbuement of my pivotal formative years, study philosophy, fine arts, information technology and MBA(high distinction with all the strategies: i.e.finance, corporate and investment etc... ) and working in different countries and cultures. This concoction renders me to see many sides of the coin. So my approach in business is the essence of life; the maze and complex map, and indestructible dynamics of the diversity. Yeah a melting pot! The abiding paradoxical emotion of our nature. I am learning every day!

Here I am today. I am wrapped by my sky and lay in my earth, air to breathe, ever the sycophantic love-broker moon in my paddle… I am crossing the milky way bridge to the eastern seashore, to see whether the seashell tales still dream...




This is one of my painting
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