Overheard at Walled Churchyard


Desmond Kon





“It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth

that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind.”


                                        — Saint Josemaría Escrivá



“They finally made the film on St. Andrew Kim.”

“Stay with me, Lord, in my stillness; show me Your will.”

“Mother Mary’s fiat. Learn from that.”

“A lesson in every single thing, don’t we realize by now?”

“—darker the days, more difficult the discernment.”

“Taegon, you forgot Taegon. Too many Kims in Korea.”

“He’s a Saint. How far wrong can you go, looking for him?”

Let it be done. Now that’s what I call obedience.”

“Not to self, in these unreal times. Me Generation, and all.”

“You mean Me Me Me Generation, that’s where we’re at.

“That’s where the world is at—”

“I don’t recognize the world anymore; do you?”

“It does get tough.”

“Am I in it?”

“You don’t count. You’re not on social media.”

“I don’t?”

“You don’t.”




“Et Cetera—”

“Et Cetera.”

“Read Hegel. He has a theory of recognition.”

“Works for intersubjectivity, which you like to talk about.”

“What do we have in common?”

“What is shared between both of us, just us?”

“What is perceived in this sharing, you mean?”

“I guess—I wanted to say whatever, but…” 

“That would have been impolite.”

“—but not disingenuous.”

“Indeed, the way this world seems these days.”

“Dark days.”

“Dark, postmodern days.”



“It’s happening right now. Recognition theory.”


“Yes, we do agree on some things.”

“The world—that too.”

“What about that? What about the world?”

“The world is happening right now, that too.”


“Don’t recognize it—”


“We don’t recognize it.”

“That changed everything.”

“What did?”

“The inclusion of one word—we.

“I can see the italics of your speech act.”



“Korea has a long list of Saints.”

“Yes, the Korean Martyrs.”

“I think I might buy that statue of St. Kim.”

“You have a whole bunch of statues already.”



“I’m drawn to the beauty.”

“In concert with the True and the Good.”



“The only way Beauty should speak.”

“The only kind I recognize these days.”

“I might go for the St. Kateri Tekakwitha too.”

“Go for it.”

“You think?”

“Go for it, yup.”

“You approve, for real?”

“Sanctify the ordinary, right?”


“Yup—et cetera.”

“Et cetera.” 

“Let it be done.”









DESMOND Francis Xavier KON Zhicheng-Mingdé (b. 1971) is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, nine poetry collections, and a creative guided journal.  The former journalist has edited over twenty-five books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations.  Among other accolades, he is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Singapore Literature Prize, two Independent Publisher Book Awards, two Illumination Christian Book Awards, and four Living Now Book Awards.  Desmond teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  Desmond Kon is online at desmondkon.com



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