December 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
“I don’t like ducks” says the Sun God’s favourite daughter, shying away from one of our feathered friends. I’m not sure the Mallard is overly concerned. It’s eating mulberries in the sun, fat and glossy under an autumn sky. “What are these?” I wonder, reaching up to a cluster of nuts clunking knobbily from the branches of a twisted tree. “They’re for squirrels” the Sun God’s favourite daughter says, tugging my hand along. But the fish in the fish pond? They dance like small golden flecks of the Sun God’s design. She watches them turn beneath the lily pads, embers of the undersea song; while he lingers above burning like he never wants to leave.
December 4, 2010 § 3 Comments
In the movies a worldly man
returns to his hometown church and leads
the congregation in a hymn, something
about nearness, with plenty of Christ
in the chorus. The second he stands up,
his whole body clicks to a glow, his
eyes lifted to the ceiling like tiny
escalators linking earthliness to
God. Prodigal or not, he’s rapt
in the spirit, a blush of sin
ebbing into pale emptiness.
Rehearsal for rapture -
the waxed gleam of the pews rising
like hosts of newly awakened dead.
Is it really that easy to
start over? If God were an old girlfriend,
she’d take you back in an instant,
familiar fingers gripping your face,
that three word stare. You’d fumble your
overpacked bags of guilt, lust and rage,
dropping them on her toes, but she’d
forgive you, now that you were finally
broken too. She’d quickly take you
to her bed and darling you dreamy,
give you the strength to cry until
you were drained enough not to stray
again. God wants you with a God-sized
ache, to which nothing else compares.
And so you take your emptiness
to the movies and end up lonely
for some former self, the one who
was faithful because it felt better
than all those doubts. Take yourself home,
a balloon cut from its string. This would be
the perfect time for church, a levitation.
You wonder whether suicide
is simply the inability
to remain in one safe place. Of course
you think too much, that’s major, even
down on your knees with pieces of
Christ in your mouth. You’re a worse mumbler
than Brando, completely indecipherable.
In real life men like you go to church
looking for versions of themselves: someone
hiding behind a hymnal, a shadow
spreading from the pulpit like a bloodstain,
a madman manufacturing false notes
in the choir. This other is who you
most need to believe in, a doppelganger,
a cracked mirror image of your greatest
all-time fears. When you lift your eyes
towards heaven, you’re really checking out
the chandelier, yet another concealment.
I’m here, you whisper into your Bible
in case you’re the lost one in this
game of eternal hide-and-seek.
December 3, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Guest post by Young June Kim
“Maybe there is no longer any such thing as strategy; only crisis management”. Robert McNamara’s words would have found a sympathetic ear with the South Korean military after Tuesday 23rd’s abrupt attack on the island of Yeonpyung-do by the North Korean People’s Army.
The casualties were numerous; both military and civilian. And unlike the attack on the ROK’s navy warship in March, the evidence was so undisputed that for once South Korean society was unanimous in its fury at and condemnation of North Korea’s actions.
Yet when it comes to the geostrategic implications, the crisis only served to magnify some long-standing positions with regard to the Korean peninsula. The situation, subsequently, has unfolded along lines we wouldn’t have been hard-pressed to imagine.
The ROK-U.S. alliance has carried out a joint war game along with a U.S. aircraft carrier, a move which both China and the DPRK in some sense see as a challenge to regional security. The latter two countries’ responses have differed though; China suggesting re-opening the Six Party Talks and Pyongyang growing ever more pugnacious in its public announcements.
With China’s dispatch President Hu Jintao’s special envoy to the North, the decisions of these two quasi-communist regimes are firmly in centre-stage; a place rendered more brightly lit by the recent revelations courtesy of Wikileaks that Seoul sees Beijing as being increasingly open to the idea of a unified Korean peninsula under Southern control.* That perennial question thus arises anew: will a second Korean War break out?
Before considering the question, it bears remembering that the possibility of war has existed continuously on the Korean peninsula since its division. More strikingly, according to a recent report by the Council on Foreign Relations, significantly more than a thousand military incidents between the two Koreas have occurred since the end of the war; with 1,436 clashes on the Korean peninsula killing 1,554 Korean and American soldiers since 1961.
Meanwhile the drumbeat of conflict continues to sound, to a rhythm dictated by Korea’s geostrategic importance. For as Zbigniew Brzezinski noted, the Korean peninsula is pivotal to the balance of power in Northeast Asia, representing either a “hammer” aimed at continental giants China and Russia or a “dagger” pointed at Japan.