Duk Koo Kim

Duk Koo Kim is a song by Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters). I'll put the lyrics at the end of this post. I wrote about this elsewhere some time ago, but since I'm on a music tangent, I'll repost it.

In the lyrics, the chronological order of events in the first three stanzas is reversed. First (in the third stanza), he describes having watched a movie where a boxer named Duk Koo Kim died; an angel observed but didn't save him. The narrator switches from past tense to present tense, and he says, you could die any day. In the second stanza he says that night he'd had a nightmare about dying in a war, but an angel saved him. Back in present tense again, he thinks, *I* could die any day--and I'd rather die than not improve my life. In the first stanza, he describes the final events: after waking up from the dream, he'd looked out the window and seen the storm that prevented him from leaving his lover. He thinks, I still don't want to leave yet.

Then the sound of the song changes, the distorted guitars go away and the feel becomes very open and airy. Some of the lyrics are happy and some sad, but it's all more abstract than the beginning.

For a while this song would play itself in my head even when other music was playing on the radio. It's incredibly powerful. Lyrically I think it's as interesting a construction as many short stories I've read, but I'll let you be the judge.


Duk Koo Kim
Looking out on my roof last night
woken up from a dream
I saw a typhoon coming in close
bringing the clouds down to the sea
Making the world look gray and alone
taking all light from my view
keeping everyone in
and keeping me here with you

Around you now, i can't sleep no more baby
Around you still, don't want to leave yet

Woken up from a dream last night
somewhere lost in war
I couldn't feel my feet or hands
I didn't feel right anymore
I knew there I'd die alone
with no one to reach to
But an angel came down
and brought me back to you

I'd rather leave this world forever baby
than let life go the way it's going

Watching an old fight film last night
Ray Mancini vs. Duk Koo Kim
The boy from Seoul was hanging in good
but the pounding took to him
And there in the square he lay alone
without face without crown
And the angel who looked upon
never came down

You never know what day could pick you baby
out of the air, out of nowhere

Come to me once more my love
Show me love I've never known
Sing to me once more my love
Words from your younger years
Sing to me once more my love
Songs that i love to hear

Birds gather 'round my window
Fly with everything i love about the day
Flowers, blue and gold and orange
Rise with everything i love about the day

Walk with me down these strange streets
How have we come to be here
So kind are all these people
How have we come to know them