(On the tomb of) Yun Hye-yong

Yun Hye-yong was a singer with the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, a North Korean orchestra. In May 2009, according to the Chosun Ilbo, author Chang Jin-song published a poem, “Kim Jong-il’s Last Woman”, in which it was alleged that Yun was a mistress of Kim Jong-il. The authenticity of this claim remains unclear. This poem was first published online in Ekleksographia, no. 2 (2010).

Everything you read here is a lie
propagated by diehard fans of
the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble;

they were a great band, we are told
in an epic poem which you cannot read
because you do not understand music—

I mean, Juche. The Chosun Ilbo
says so, and thus it is foretold; but
everything you read here is a lie. No

one you know has ever heard of
the Wangjaesan Light Music Band
but that's all right, we're here to help.

Kim Jong Il loved Yun Hye–yong
but she was dead keen on the guy
who tinkled the ivories for Pochonbo;

which was probably a big mistake
but again I'm just guessing here—
I couldn't say that I liked their music

for sure until I heard it on Youtube
accompanied by a video featuring
pixellated characters from the Sims;

well done, you—whoever you are!
but again, this is beside the point,
which is that Yun Hye–yong fell for

the completely wrong guy, obviously;
and it's tragic and it's true to say
that there's no worse way to die

than to throw yourself from the top
of a North Korean banquet hall,
hand in hand with your piano–playing

lover (who dies), only to be 'saved'
by someone acting on the big guy's
orders—yes, and then to be executed

for spurning the big guy's advances;
oh and then to be mythologised in
some other guy's epic poem about

the tragic lovers of Kim Jong Il;
it's not funny—rather, it's plain
to me that somebody had it in for

Yun Hye–yong from the start—
and I'm not talking about the big
guy, who surely has many options;

no, I'm talking about the Chosun's
nationalistic editors, who chose to
run with this tosh (for the sake of

truth? musical taste? or something
resembling sensationalism), quoting
the usual North Korean mouthpiece

spouting tosh across the sea in Japan,
the kind of junk you'd expect from
the makers of Team America, the kind

of stuff we can all laugh at forever;
I'm pretty sure that Yun Hye-yong
would have preferred to live a little

longer, maybe even to settle down,
start a solo career, sever all ties with
her former band (except the piano

guy, of course, who'd play a minor
role in her life story, and would be
satisfied with that; unlike Mr K, who

we can continue to laugh at, and talk
of orgies at the high command, his
agents sent to Europe to buy her stuff,

her music the soundtrack to Arirang;
but do we know how the story ends,
in a dismal display of mysogynistic

violence, with Yun Hye-yong still in
a coma, the radio playing 'Socialism
is Good', and the keyboards swelling

over a Boney M beat? and while it's
safe to say I still have no clue as to
the veracity of any of these details,

I can almost guarantee nobody will
remember Yun Hye-yong next year—
shot because she loved the wrong guy;

how pathetic is the world, how typical
and true! Yun Hye-yong! Come back!
Tell me everything I read here is a lie!

About the author

David Prater is an Australian-born writer, editor and parent. His interests include mince pies, ice hockey and Joy Division.

View his full biography.