EJ Koh Reads
I browsed CIA.gov
On the online application
I marked spots for
Intelligence Collection Analyst
The text said:
Be prepared to undergo a thorough investigation
examining your life’s history, soundness of judgment, freedom
from conflicting allegiances, protection of sensitive information,
potential to be coerced, and a Polygraph test.
[The CIA spied on me for twelve months]
I watched more porn than most women.
I wrestled and, upon demanding an opponent twice above my weight class,
was publicly humiliated.
I drank a cup of holy water at a wedding.
I cannot hold my bladder past two hours, making me uneasy
in places where a bathroom is not readily available: subways, banks,
bars, liquor stores, boats, elevators, parks, outdoor malls, small offices,
beaches, buses, waiting rooms, and funerals.
I lied about speaking French.
“How to disable a bomb” in my Google search history.
I pass international customs with suitcases full
of red meat, greens, and seeds into the country.
no drug use in the past two years.
my elementary teacher asked why I’d try for the spelling bee,
she asked what the biggest word I knew was
so I said “masturbation” and she sent me home with a red card.
I lie to people older than me
and tell the truth to younger people.
a Davis high school baseball team bullied me
by flipping my chair and making squinty eyes
I tried to choke one of them
and was removed from class.
I laugh at racist jokes.
I feel responsible for the death of my two parakeets
and my grandmother.
I never litter.
I was fifteen when a Korean hairstylist proposed to me
inside a McDonald’s in Tokyo, Japan.
I danced for a Hip Hop team for two years
by whom I felt largely betrayed.
my mother worked a shopping mall cart and fainted
when a customer stole an expensive makeup kit.
I believe in God.
I’m not particularly smart.
The CIA called
to say I passed
my security clearances.
Only the very best of the men and women comprise
the Agency’s workforce to safeguard some of the nation’s
most sensitive information and highest standards of integrity.