city under cloudy sky

염기도: Basicity

A rewrite of 'imaginary cities: basi—', originally written in a PC Bang in Seoul during my Asialink residency in 2005.
Go back to Basi: get
   silly fresh.

Tidy your hair: check  
   that every memory you recall 
   is actually         yours. 

You may not get another chance 
   to protest at the passing of time 
   with such rigour. 

In Basi, all men wear shoulder pads. 

Hoaxes are committed on a daily basis. 

Don't be worried, 
   over-confident or fooled - 
   you have already been defrauded. 

Smell the long wisps of a lie, 
   coiled in the air 
   just above       your identification badge. 

Walk the streets and cross yourself 
   off wanted lists. 

Graffiti is encouraged here. 

Custom dictates that women be served first, 
   whether in a restaurant 
   or a bureaucratic exam. 

Water pipes dispense a strange liquor. 

Bathing in this yellowish gooze 
   is said to ward off many ailments. 

Those who make these claims 
   are also said to be 
   in the employ of one company 
   or another. 

Did you forget your satchel? 

How, then, do you expect 
   to gain entrance to our gentleman's club? 

You will spend the next four hours 
   in a cheap and dilapidated hof, 
   throwing peanuts at the walls and 
   lining up to urinate 
   in a closet half your size. 

Don't even think of initiating a bowel movement. 

Poetry evenings, while abounding, 
   suffer from syrupy background music during the recitals. 

You will one day experience 
   the sad fate of mis-recognising 
   your own words, pumped out of a loudspeaker, 
   their meaning changed by 
   the simple juxtaposition of violins 
   or piano with your original intent. 

In this city, no one is allowed to clap hands. 

To do so would be to violate an unwritten law. 

You may sleep, but only under the neon moon. 

The weather is surprisingly mild 
   at this time of year. 

The mopeds barely disturb the people's sleep 
   but their dreams - ah! 

If only you could see them!

When morning comes, 
   be sure to keep a map beside you.

Reassure your nocturnal half that 
   Basi is real. 

Just like the obscure system of 
   pressure points said to lead 
   to that oh-so-ordinary city, that

         of the smile.

Express yourself