in Morgenland, Poems, Recommendations

Sunshine for Kim Dae-jung

on the day you died i heard helicopters
& jet planes flying over seoul's old head 
the sun was shining hot & burning down
teheran-ro & the steel streets of gangnam
were full of young girls holding umbrellas 
by the subway entrance a young man held
the hands of an older man who was writing
something on a small pad, both looking sad 
about something though I knew it wasn't 
you; & as I walked down the stairs into the 
subway station I watched girls coming up 
holding handbags over their behinds to
prevent the up-skirt glances & cameras
i'd recently read were on the increase ... 
i knew that you had just died & so how
could anybody here have that knowledge
but it made me sad in any case to think
about your long & amazing life & the life
of gwangju people that is so different from
that of the girl walking through gangnam 
wearing a face-mask not because of flu
but due to a recent visit to the face doctor
& it's not her fault & I don't know anything
about her life but i wonder what's the point
of all this though i don't expect an answer 
from her let alone anyone here i must find my 
own reasons for life & carrying on within me, 
i have to stop thinking about sad things like 
the photo of you and kim jong-il, hand in 
hand at last, while ko un looked on; i have
to believe in some sphere of freedom where
girls can walk around wearing short skirts
& holding umbrellas to protect their bleached
faces from the harmful old sun's gamma rays 
& boys do not have to do their twenty six 
months & old women don't have to live in 
basement apartments & crawl up the stairs
& no one tries to steal up-skirt glances at 
anyone & tawdry old mats covered with red
chillis spread out to dry can be left in the 
middle of the road; i have to believe in this
road & the reasons for walking alone at night
& so i write & think of you in the past tense 
& know that within hours of your death your
wikipedia entry had been changed to reflect 
the fact & then I knew you were really gone 
& it was all beyond dispute, & your life was no
longer an article that doesn't cite its sources
but rather a song free of kidnappers & enemies 
& crocodiles crying aloe vera tears yes forget
that it doesn't matter now, you'll join mr roh 
somewhere behind a waterfall & together you'll
wait for the rest of us to arrive (one by one like
days of summer filled with moving tears & hands

                        & sunshine 

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