Three Poems by David Hong


The History Channel Presents: Nostradamus

I was once convinced that
If I took the large plastic bowl
From the kitchen table (the one
That holds the fruit) and let the tap
Run as I gently rocked it in the sink,
I could take my new accomplishment into
My room on a dark Sunday and onto
my laminated desk and see!
Another news report in the towers between Tarawa and Staten
Island and (in?) the fall

Of another time, head, shoulder, Marat left with holes in
His salty red bathwater reflected in the tap; Spirits with
Unseen entries in Britannica marveling at our generation’s Pompeii
And Rising Sun, left to the justice of the Kublai and
Printing press, mess halls of immigrants that I would no longer
Recognize as brethren with bowls of bone marrow broth and mercury gas
Left lazy in the blue air. I was certain
But never dared.

Michelin Man

I heard they
Stuck a needle in your
Eardrum the other day
And I was wondering
How it must have
Felt when the nurse’s clementine
Colored hands clamped your neck
And head in place so you couldn’t
Squirm anymore. Could you
Feel the stretched deerskin straining
Against the steps of sterilized steel until everything
Just shattered? Did you squeeze your leg and pinch
Your eyes when the serum flooded your
Canals to drown out the whistles? I remember
How my tears wriggled out when they drilled
Into a nerve in my mouth. Anyway,
I was just wondering.


They killed a man today;
They wouldn’t let him talk.
We got to watch from the right
Side near the big speakers that
Reverberate like splashes. I had
Been excited all day to hear what he had to
Say to the crowd.

A prepared speech
Of sorts, filled to the brim with Pride, Molly,
Doubt; newish recipes for Spam (steam for 15 minutes, deep-fry); his
Favorite brand of aftershave; the secret
To cheaper airline travel;
Percy, the Bermese
Mountain dog; his favorite racy podcast for evening commutes;
Alternative sources of protein; how to throw
A sinker, curveball, and
Splitter; the worst book he
Remembers reading;
Shortcuts to Cornell Elementary School,
Morse Preschool, Hidden Oak Middle
School (not in that order);
Why Tony is still
A piece of shit; objectively the best
Multivitamin on the market;
Three alternatives
To a French press;
The way Molly looks on Thursday
Or the gentle plop he would
Excrete as the blade came down.

But his pebble dropped! and out
Came no sound.

David Hong is currently a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in the heart of South Korea with his loyal dog, Maxwell.