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So the news has blown up all over the internet since yesterday that Kim Jong Il (KJI) has passed away.

As many of you know, I have a longstanding fascination with KJI. As a public figure shrouded in such propaganda he was, and will remain, beyond any stable understanding. So, I’ve spent the day thinking of how best to respond to the news of his death. I’m not a policy pundit, and I can’t claim to have any insight into the man or what can/should happen in Korea now. I’m a spectator from a different shore, but I’m pained and concerned.

The only thing I could think to do was share this poem I wrote about 4 years ago about him. It’s from my first book, That Gorgeous Feeling. Unfortunately, I’m not able to get the formatting quite right. I’m just not savvy enough. So, this piece appears mostly left justified.

For all those who have been cut apart, split, cast away, and somehow survived the same forces that pushed even this man into being.

_________________________________________

Kim Jong Il: A Reader

He is the great teacher who teaches them what the true life is, a father who teaches them with the greatest political integrity and a tender-hearted benefactor who brings their worthwhile life into full bloom.

—from an official North Korean release

We don’t want our own native dogs to die out.
We must make sure that Pungsan and Jindo dogs prosper and propagate. 

if it dies then bring it over
bring it over before it dies

this is my piano
I have studied it for years

*

“perfectly rational”

“isolated but not uninformed”

heralded by a bright star and double rainbows
a crown prince of sorts in the world’s most isolated state

*

“we have not been able to give them the kind of reassurance”

a crippling famine.
fruit; a nut.
a young radish.
come to fruition.

*

You may have received letters from your relatives living here about the food shortage.
The situation is not as bad as it may appear. 

this and that. between you and me; between both sides.
make a fire ((in the stove))
smoke. lifelong. one’s lifework.

necessary articles; necessaries. necessities.
daily necessaries; the necessities of life.
naturally.
driven by. a requirement.
be indescribable. be [beyond] description.
be [unspeakable].

avert people’s eyes. avoid [keep away] from bad company.
do not touch me. dodge [duck]. from disaster.
avoid. flee from ((a war))

                                                                                suck on our fingers to kill the hunger pains

*

Supreme Commander
generalissimo
Taewonsu
Dear Leader

a member of the Central Committee
reported to have concentrated a great
deal of effort on the performing arts

good fortune in love; a lady’s man.

Madeline Albright
she allegedly held his hand

*

have ((something)) snatched away.
become. be [exhausted] impoverished. stained.

a. a limit. limits; bounds. “Human desire knows no limits.” as [so] far as. as far
[much, soon]. as much as one can. as much as possible.

b. one. a single. a [one] man. some; nearly. in the same house. the same.

c. big; large; great. a (main) street. the most. the very; in the middle of the night.

d. a bitter grudge. rancour; hatred. bear malice ((toward)). vent one’s grudge. an
unsatisfied desire.

regrettable. deplorable. a lasting regret; a matter of great regret.
a life full of regrets.

                                                                      no barriers in heart

one place. the same place. one mind. one accord.

our wisdom. our will. our strength.

*

Iran, Iraq and North Korea
a new bond of brotherhood
in the mouth of the American president

ardent(ly)
passionate(ly)
a passionate love
be eager [anxious] for
(after, to do); long for

“we long [are eager] for peace”

*

“his brinksmanship does work”

former years.
the years gone by.
a large eyed person.
of what was said and done.

(be) thin
(be) light; pale
light colored; faint

                                                             I am an object of criticism in the world


The buzz buzz around Michael Jackson’s death isn’t going to stop any time soon. I’ve been fascinated for a long while with how celebrity works to transform simple mortals into these global gods of the public sphere. It’s easy to forget the psychological toll for those folks, even as we wait to see when they’ll a) drop a baby, b) shave their head, c) be arrested for something else, d) etc. The isolation these people must feel in their delusional bubbles is probably stifling. I’m no celebrity, and I have a hard enough time sleeping in the dark by myself sometimes! So sad.

My thoughts mostly circulate around Kim Jong-Il in this regard, and what will happen when he finally passes on. I can’t help but think of his political maneuverings as these distraught love letters, these efforts to reach out to us for some human contact. It probably sounds crazy, but not much crazier perhaps than what’s really at work behind these missile tests and posturing.

Who can withstand that sort of judgement?