Danyal Kim


Someday, you might be able to write poems full time, my friend Lidiya says to me. 
Escape the realm of Capitalism, a force capricious as an Abrahamic God
who limits the number of those who receive salvation. If I just write enough 
inane poetry on Instagram, a horse with a human face could carry me away 
from my office computer desk, my cold ham sandwich and programing book discarded. 
I’ll be carried alongside a party of Instagram models, twitch streamers, and beauty vloggers.
We will be Prophets who spread our word by mobile phones. Tales recounted through Twitter. 
Heaven will be a condo in downtown Chicago. I’ll be on the highest floor. Commuters will look 
small, insignificant, pitiful from out my window. Sparrows digging for seeds in fields of ice.
I’ll own 72 distinct bottles of liquors and wine, drinking away days of boredom, not stress.

But, as I said, salvation is limited. For now, I’m stuck
in my office chair. Paper work is completed 
then refilled again, my hands a collection of tiny, stinging cuts. 
During my break hours, I stumbled upon a Facebook post by 
Staceyann Chin, the renowned spoken word poet.
She writes, I fantasize about more money 
less anxiety about my retirement years. 
A permanent home for my daughter.  Her eyes 
look like stars that fell and hit pavement.


My shitty, soul killing office job
gave me a good adulthood
after a disappointing childhood.

My youth consisted of 
charred microwaved burritos
for dinner  used, oversized white t-shirts with
mysterious pink splotches. Countless days
spent reading classic literature 
because a library card was free
cable tv and video games were frivolous 
expenses by my mom’s purse.
Didn’t have much in common with
the other boys. A stranger to their 
cable cartoon world of muscular, martial artists
blasting energy beams from their palms.
No girl wanted a boy with oversized jeans
gaping holes on the ankles, egg yolked teeth
from lack of dentist visits.

Now that my bank account 
is replenished every other week,
my meals now consist of fresh vegetables
alongside pan-fried fish. Or fancy food
from an Indian or Ethiopian restaurant. 
I have subscriptions to Spotify 
and Netflix and Hulu. I’m all caught up
on popular culture. Well versed in the lore
of serial killers and superheroes.
No longer trapped between brittle paper
stuck in the imaginary world 
of a generation from a prior century. 

I can take women out on splendid dates
dressed in colorful name brand clothing
wine red pants bought in Paris, serrated 
white overshirt bought in New York City. 
Over pints of beer, I tell them they look pretty.
They laugh bashfully. They appreciate my persona
one of a working man who has his life together.
The poor grimacing boy with oversized clothing
is locked away in a dusted photo album. 
The one I can never let back out, the one 
I knew no one could ever love. 

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. His poems have shown up in a few publications such as Collective Unrest, Apricity, and Hungry Chimera. IG: danyal.kim