My Brother’s Computer, by Maija Rhee Devine

Sam Hamill, Writing for Peace AdviserCommemorating Ten Years of Poetic Resistance, PAW Post No. 24

During the month of February, Writing for Peace  commemorates the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War with Daily PAW Posts from a host of contributors.

*Parental Guidance Warning –The poets featured during our February Daily PAW Posts write of war and its effect on the human heart. Writing for Peace has not censored these poems, and we encourage parents to review the content before sharing them with children.

To purchase a copy of POETS AGAINST THE WAR from Powell’s independent bookstore, click here.

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Writing for Peace Welcome guest poet, Maija Rhee Devine.
My Brother’s Computer was originally written in Korean and translated to English by the author.

My Brother’s Computer

 
My brother is 77 years old.

At fifteen, recruited by Korean Navy
To do a job like Radar’s in M*A*S*H
He rode in U.S. Patrol Craft 703
Ready to kill, in a wing of 260-battle-ship fleet
Commanded by General Douglas MacArthur.
One September night,1950, Korean Navy blooded
N. Korean communists on Youngheung Island
Planted Korean flag atop the hill
He sped away for his night shift in PC703
Only to learn at dawn
The fourteen war buddies he left behind
Were bullet-riddled to unidentifiable bodies
By enemy troops who sneaked
across the tide-drained strait.

I’ve sinned
I’ve sinned by staying alive
What can I do to cleanse this sin?
What can I do with my life
To make it worth fourteen lives?
Shriveled under that weight
He mourned each day for six decades

As shrunken is his computer
Out its phlegm-congested throat come mysterious groans
The battery has already given up its ghost
Why don’t I get you a new one? I offer during my visit to Seoul.
Oh, no, no.  My daughter-in-law’s getting
A new computer.  Her old one will be my new one,
He says.

Until the “new” one arrives, he goes through these steps.
He turns on the surge protector, which he turns off each night.
Presses the “on” button.
Then the “F 1”
“F 10”
“Enter”
“Esc”
The Windows screen blinks through its many phases
When it’s done, he presses “Begin,” “Program,” “Internet.”
If the “Internet” doesn’t surface
He enters the time, date, and year.

Then clicks “Apply” and “Confirm”

Ahhh!  The internet’s up!

At his age, I’m lucky he knows what a computer is.
And here comes his E-mail message
Limping, coughing, and wheezing across the Pacific Ocean
Lands on my morning tea in Missouri
Hot, heart-shaped.

Published in a Korean literary journal 윌더니스, 2011 겨울호

 

Maija Rhee Devine, Writing for Peace Guest PoetAbout Maija Rhee Devine

Maija Rhee Devine, a Korean-born writer whose fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, North American Review, and The Kenyon Review, and in anthologies, holds a B.A. in English from Sogang University in Seoul and an M.A. in English from St. Louis University.  Writing honors include an NEA grant and nominations to Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Awards. Her novel, The Voices of Heaven, is set during the Korean War, and flows from first-hand experience of growing up in Seoul during the war and its aftermath.  Long Walks on Short Days, her poetry chapbook about Korea, China, U.S. and other countries she traveled to, is available now through April 5, 2013, at http://finishinglinepress.com for preorders.

 February Writing for Peace News:

All during the month of February, Writing for Peace is commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War with a Daily PAW Post. If you are interested in arranging a reading this month in honor of Poets Against the War, please contact us with the details at editor@writingforpeace.org, and we will be happy to share your information on our site.

2013 Young Writers Contest

Contest Deadline is March 1st! The Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest is in full swing, with entries coming in from all over the globe.  The contest is open to writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, for ages 13 to 19. Spread the word to young writers everywhere! You’ll find contest guidelines here.

DoveTales,  An International Journal of the Arts

The first issue of DoveTales will be released this month, featuring poets, writers, artists and photographers from all over the world.  We are also looking forward to seeing the winners of our 2012 Young Writers Contest in print. Watch our posts for news of the journal’s release. The new submission guidelines will go up on March 1st. Thank you for your support!

 

 

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