dress young

you dress young but then you doubt it 
take a look at the band & think
who are these idiots? you remember 
dressing young & feel slightly allergic
to music while all around you (idiots!
fawning over you & new order yes now
i remember the way you dressed when
	you were younger (although not
as young as your sister was the night 
	you accompanied her to bikini
kill at the wollongong youth centre (would
	'chaperoned' be a better word? 
you remember kathleen hanna shoving
	an old-school telephone down 
the front of her undies you remember what
it felt like to feel old as cool blasts
of chill-wave air smacked your face head-
on ... you were too old to remember
the proton energy pills but nevermind
	i mean forget it i saw the future in
a room full of moshing girls & the minor 
	threat of sk8rs hanging outside
(bored boys who told stories about sk8tn
	& shit (did they also dress young -
you betcha (of all people! you grow old, you 
grow old you shall trade in that dud 
album by bob mould for a second-hand copy 
of theatre of gnomes who knows 
shakedown’s finale like me (i’ve seen spew 
coming out of a port kembla sky 
it’s just steam some idiot once claimed (yeah
there’s nothing polluting about it ... you 
grow old but continue to dress young like some
fifty-year-old drunk wearing okanuis
extra bitter still got it still yearning for that 
	clayton’s moment (whatever it was -
nevermind redux dress young grow old & die 

smiling

days roaring

days roaring by like the 1980s / train days weddings parties
     anything days to pass the time / a gear stuck on saturdays
bumbling & roaring / sticky-signalled roadwork delay rays 
     on long doomstruck slow-mo haul days playing on the radio 
western country tune spiked with cigarette ash / prolapsed 
     economy death march / funeral parades of days past & still
passing slowly boom times made of booming days released
     of their tabloid burdens / set to replay every subterranean 
bowel-shuddering day courses through the vein but slowly 
     as if it's here to stay or boom slowly in space-like stations
selling food or fuel but never both eyes whining like elastic
     bands but the smoke screens sight with its curling fancies
& the gig's up (ended or over / in the same way as animal
     days fade / & our dusks collapse in a roar or a motorcade

Sunshine for Kim Dae-jung

‘He was the embodiment of suffering
at a time when suffering was needed.’
—KO UN, ‘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, although 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 medical 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, although 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
peppers 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 
knowing 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 roh moo-hyun 
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 

Come with me, through

the gate, we'll find the way 
but hurry, do. The path is 
hidden but there all the same—
the leaves will disguise it again
when we've passed. Follow the 
children, they'll know the way;
their feet will always find the 
smoothest stones. Run with me.
This way is safer & farther away
from the noise, from what chases us.
It's always there, so start running.

Your belly is not yet a bomb. 
Your belly does not hide a bomb. 

You fly up & over the gate.
You brush the last leaves on the 
bough & they fall off, disguising 
our path. There is a child running
ahead of us. She seems to know 
the way but hesitates & turns
to look at me. Do you know the
way? she asks, & you bundle 
her up in your skirts & we run. 

Your belly is not a bomb. 
Your belly does not hide a bomb.  

Anti-kraak

in the new anti-kraak universe you play squatter
upside-down in your brain at parties you proffer

slim handshakes, some modest attempts at dutch
& a determination to stand there all day like a boer

in a landscape where he is indigenous - the white
light shining from his invisibly big head; yet you

fall under the dim star of sleep (where eerie canals
watch you breathe & you stagger from one station

to another - drugged by sundown, watching the big
orange heat ball swinging royally low over the meer

a cardboard world where settlers merrily invade each
other after dinner ... you lose a continent over coffee

or else blood-red wijn, a casualty of summer time
where the day & the air & the land are belong to us