your work place reeks of putrefying

by Feng

“As soon as I returned to Seoul, I went to observe a demonstration scene. One of the most memorable images of that night was not the sight of burning candles, but the smell of slightly scorched dried squid on the portable stove in the middle of the street at the time when the demonstration was at a stand still. Dried squid is one of the most detested food of foreigners. They hate the smell of dried squid on an open fire because it reminds them of cadavers being burned. In Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, the squid is a creature to be decimated. In a sense, the border of a community can be translated into boundaries of the senses. The reeking odor of grilled squid is the other as well as the abjection of the West. In spite of that, Seoul was welcoming me, the stranger of the West, with its odor. It felt as if the squid was the resilient ‘time’ muscle of Seoulites and represented the vibrancy of a soon-to-be-launched space vessel. I conjured up an entity fitted with both a space vessel and the muscle. The squid can be compared to a star with self-luminescent ability in the deep seas. Unfortunately, it has lost the ground for its existence in the deep seas by being drawn to lightings hanging from fishing vessels and being turned into either the object of aversion or preference. The squid talked to me. “Each luminescent cell in my body throbs at each heart beat. At that instance, huge orbs of light fall from the sky. Soon, I will be saved. I shall be saved from the oppressing, fearful and cold darkness. I expel every ounce of utmost darkness that remains in my body. At the same time, a sharp hook pierces my body. It is painful. The sharp pain draws me toward the light. Whatever ascends to heaven carries an odor.” I wanted to juxtapose the legs of the dried squid with those of the giant squid resembling a big space vessel to remind us of the forlorn deep seas that remained waiting outside my body (<Bell in the Water>). My mother was muttering while spraying the room with air freshener. “Your work space reeks of putrefying smell.”

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