Memories of the dead while hiking (4:04 p.m.)

Memories of the dead while hiking (4:04 p.m.)

…As her friend was dying | grasping desperately
to a silly belief | she put a status on her Kakao Talk

asking everyone she knew to “picture armies
of cancer killing antibiotics in rank & file

at the crenellation of her cancer’s fortress
—each antibiotic soldier | with a magical sword

& shield created with the unalloyed power of
qi gong +energy: a pervasive wobbly field.”

Her doctors said she had 6 months | maybe a year
to live if she kept “to a proper diet & treatment went well.”

She was dead in two weeks—I can’t help but think
what her friends were thinking after the Kakao-call-to-arms?

I always said she was a drama queen: Shakespeare
& Milton in Korean can switch you peculiar.

In a nut shell | her hocus pocus was hope |
a supposition of meaningful action

—as if all she had learned from her BA in Lit
could be filtered through her blood as a cure.

Some Lit-lovers are so full of shit.
“Need to go to the source”—To! The! Source…!

7 thoughts on “Memories of the dead while hiking (4:04 p.m.)

  1. Your girl was onto something. Her friends maybe, not so much. I used to apprentice with an acupuncturist and I would go to certain poems before working with patients and then summon their essence while doing the needlework. I do believe literature is a force we have not begun to fully tap into.

    1. I think you have this the wrong way around, Yoon Yong doesn’t believe in the healing properties of literature, but her friend who died did. Yoon Yong is very grounded.
      I personally don’t rule anything out when it comes to literature. After all, we can be heavily influenced by fictional influences (characters, happenings etc) even if we have a leaning towards truth in our life, which is a beautiful irony.

  2. A fascinating piece, Daniel, that raises a lot of questions, I’m sure, for many of us, as you summarised in the “supposition of meaningful action.” What do you do if your friend wants you to sacrifice a goat for them? What do you say if your friend tells you they have sacrificed a goat for you? Perhaps I have made it sound funny, but it isn’t.

    For me a tragic case was the friend of a nurse I knew who had treatable cancer and chose alternative therapy, despite my nurse friend advising her strongly against it. Up until she died, her therapist kept telling her how successful the treatment course was, and the therapist continues no doubt, to kill people.

    1. If someone sacrificed a goat for me…I dunno what I’d do, maybe make sure they had it butchered well so I can make soup.

      Your story about you nurse friend is pretty telling about our right to decide what is best for us, how we design an identity based on what we think is best for us. At the end of the day your nurse friend’s friend had a choice, she chose wrong & the therapist gets away with any wrongdoing because the world is saturated in choices & having a right to those choices, even though they direct us to death, is part of what a functioning democracy enables. Is it right? I suppose I’d have to say (arm twisted) that it sort of is, if only because it is something some people want, but then of course, if it wasn’t available would people still want it? I am sure that therapist actually believes in what they do, for whatever reason & because of even a handful of successes which may be coincidences, they can continue.
      We can see this in many things: fast food, alcoholism, drug abuse, even veganism (yes, what is to say that it is a solution? Many right thinking folk argue against it as a viable solution.)
      So because of the duality of effects from cause, I suppose, things continue. The world is a funny place.

      1. Leaving the Rolling Stones and goat’s head soup aside, ha ha, yes I agree, it’s complicated: truth, blatant clies, and self-delusion; the right to make an informed choice, and the “informed” hiding a multitude of sins. One might imagine that in our wonderful privacy-invading Internet society, information would be available about life-and-death choices, but in many cases, it isn’t. Even with registered medical professionals, criminal activity can go on for years before it’s detected, if it is at all.

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