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Days of love in Flushing: Anticipation

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Days of love in Flushing: Anticipation

(for those in Kwangju: May 18, 1980)*
after Dante

Taking this peach within the mouth, the tongue 
hovers around its sunset skin like a lover
and its Sappho sweet bite is heaven. A song

of honeysuckled rivers is like your
kiss… The night is in July. At once
Platonic love is redemption or

when the world is beyond our Kwangju…Please
let the streets be freed from anticipation
of the bayonet and gun… Let litter seize

this street or any avenue… Plan
my kiss and we will be happy and free.
The night is the peach---the dead sun…

Recall the dress you wore as a weapon, me
wearing---I forgot… Your raven hair, soft
yet sharp by its embroidery

of strands being held by one silver pin. The left
hand of God and right hands of angels
must have done it… It was my dry throat

drinking from Styx River which made the chills
even more pronounced at the sight of you.
The dress’ print was you. It was petals

of prints within splotches of orange, gold, red, too…
and white--- bandages… Horrible bandages.
I’m wearing black/white. Suddenly we choose

to hug underneath those flickering pages
of streetlights… we an arrow’s color shot through bodies---Rage…


*Excerpted from Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback : The Costs and Consequences of the 
American Empire: “General Chun did not wait long after talking with Gleysteen (US 
Ambassador to South Korea) to complete the coup d’etat he had begun the previous 
December…On May 18, 1980, a few hundred demonstrators in Kwangju took to the streets to 
protest the imposition of martial law. They were met by the paratroopers of the 7th Brigade 
of the Korean special forces, known as the “black berets,” who had a well known reputation 
for brutality going back to their service on the American side in the Vietnam War…Gleysteen 
wrote, “Rumors reaching Seoul of Kwangju rioting say special forces used fixed bayonets and 
inflicted many casualties on students… Some in Kwangju are reported to have said that 
troops are being more ruthless than North Koreans ever were.” [When asked of the decision] 
Gleysteen replied, “I grant it was the controversial decision, but it was the correct one. Do I 
regret? I don’t think so.” (112-113)

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