The Corner Place

The called me Gil Mok ddahl. Gil Mok daughter.
My family owned Gil Mok,a restaurant in Los Angeles.
That’s Korean for The Corner Place.

People come there for the house specialty: dong chi mi gook su.
It’s been called “a party in your mouth.”

Did my parents create that dish?
Do you like to cook?
People always ask.

No,a big woman named Yang Soon Chi is the creator.
I heard she came to Los Angeles from Korea
with a wok
a killer recipe
and a dream for a better life.

And no,I don’t like to cook.
I want to be a forest ecologist.

Why you want to do that? my relatives demand.
Get accounting degree,get good job,buy house.
Marry nice Korean boy,have beautiful children.
Make parent happy,have good life.

No,I say.
No. No way.
No how.

Natasha Beck
August 2009,revised May 2010

3 Responses to “The Corner Place”
  1. Wonderful. I love the use of dialogue in this poem. Very well crafted. A whole story in a small space.

  2. The voice is spot on. Your depiction of two worlds and two generations colliding is very interesting, I want to keep reading about this strong character.

  3. Alida says:

    I really like this, Natasha. I love the Korean immigrant point of view. Love that the daughter wants to be a forest ecologist, going against her parents and the readers' stereotypes. Love the food, the killer recipe. Love that it's a poem, so much condensed in so short a space.

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