Woke to the news this morning: “22 die in South Korea as Rains Trigger Mudslides”

In Chuncheon, students died in their beds as the mud overwhelmed them. “Engulfed” is the word the NYT used. 

In Seoul, when I was there more than a decade ago, the young people seemed to glow fluorescent. It was a young, pulsing city: violet-colored, orange, neon bright. 

In the mornings, there would be men lying across park benches or huddled on the steps of buildings. It was not uncommon to drink to intoxication, pass out right where you stood, remain there until daylight. 

I remember the tinny cacophony of game rooms. The long wooden tables worn smooth where we sat and drank soju from shot glasses. 

In Seoul, three people were “swept away in flash floods.” Standing there, and then they are gone.


From one moment to the next: Standing there, and then not standing there. Asleep, never to awaken.

The students were there to run a summer camp for children. No mention of the children. 

In the soju-nights, we stumbled around the city, loud and electric. We held each other up on park benches, shouted at people walking past. We had pockets full of game room tokens. 

“I heard this terrible rumble,” a witness says. 

“I heard university students yelling ‘Help me!’ and saw some of them crawling out, coated in mud.”