Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Half-Day Tour, from Seoul, 2019 By John Paul Calavitta-Dos Santos

Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Half-Day Tour, from Seoul, 2019

Pomegranate grandeur of death –Sitwell

Take the special train from Seoul
to DMZ painted cartoon animals, winged dragons
beyond the light; hundreds of buses, soldiers,
spirits arriving each day to meet your guide,

N. Korean defector whichmeans a helmet of
Stamp your passports with pretend N Korean stamps
to the underworld, won’t be recognized
immediately but fun to have.

Stand in line to pay Charon—
ur in a war zone now.
See people farming through high powered binocs;
See a model N. Korean city / propaganda village.

To the east electrified fences, landmines
hid in the forest—defuse them.
the sirens are silenced, sometimes they tell the people
they are poor because of the US.

Here. Put this helmet on. We are in
deeper than good will will allow;
cross the rubble / go down a tunnel built by
the N. to invade Seoul.

Take the third tunnel on the left. Nothing
to see down here really. Look around,
(dynamite marks). Stop.
strangers. lovers. gods.

Arms of stone press your body against rough walls

I’m glued to Pluto’s cave;

whichmeans there’s an allegory here.
When you reach the bottom, a door, flowers

outside. Don’t enter. When you leave
the tunnel train stations link South to North
for unification, waiting for people waiting in the future.

Coming out of Hades ascend through
a dark tunnel. He kissed me/them.
Sirens weeping…
its no myth.

By John Paul Calavitta-Dos Santos


John Paul Calavitta-Dos Santos earned his MFA in creative writing and his PhD in Literature from the University of Washington. His current work draws upon Yelp and Trip Advisor Reviews to critique histories of tourism, orientalism and colonialism, racism and heterosexism. His work has appeared in the LA Review, Found Poetry Review, AGNI, Fjords, among others.

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