Don Mee Choi

posted in: 2019, Participants | 0
Photo credit: Jay Weaver

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Don Mee Choi is the author of Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016) and The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and chapbooks Petite Manifesto (Vagabond Press, 2014), Ahn Hak-sôp #4 (The Green Violin, 2018), Sky Translation (Goodmorning Menagerie, 2019), and a pamphlet of essays Freely Frayed (Wave Pamphlet #9, 2014). She has received a Whiting Award, Lannan Literary Fellowship, and Lucien Stryk Translation Prize, and is currently a 2019 DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program Fellow. She has translated several collections of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry, including I’m OK, I’m Pig! (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), Poor Love Machine (Action Books, 2016) and Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018).



Suicide Parade 


Let’s take a closer look at the most feared weapon used by the US in the

Korean War, a gelling powder composed of naphthalene and palmitate

(hence napalm)

65% oleic acid + 30% coconut fatty acid + 5% naphthenic acid

necessitates most arguably necessary clinging burning

necessitates gasoline and stirring (hence gasstir)

which is to say South Korean laborers funnel napalm powder into gasoline tanks

Moisture is the greatest problem in mixing napalm

Reds dead without a mark on them (hence hardly)

Wooden warehouses and thatched-hut villages, common in Korea, were made

to order for firebombs, as were Japan’s wooden cities

(hence napalm) and (hence gasstir) and the respectable distance of the planes

maintains a gusto of ringspots

maintains Bombenbrandschrumpfleichen

which is to say incendiary-bomb-shrunken bodies

so the story of napalm is still being written in Korea

(hence napalm) + (hence gasstir)

double hence


“Suicide Parade” from Hardly War. Copyright 2016 by Don Mee Choi. Used with permission of the author and Wave Books.