- Five Poems
a mason's life is breaking stone, and a grocer's life isstanding all day my friend who looked like Montgomery Clift used tohang around a third-class double-feature movie house I don't know what's become of himtime has passed and will continue to pass on the morning of the first dayof the year two thousand I'll have a grandson well, I've got to gothe cars to paradise flash past,the roadside trees stand in straight rows over there, a child grins, twirlinga mouse by its tail
time, frozen dayssisters who after working all night at the factory slept through sun-bright days
as I followed the river of weariness, from time to time on myforehead [End Page 63] a wild strawberry bloomed, most of that isfantasy, in reality, from time to time my elder brother sireda son laughter burbled from my father again some fruit fellfrom a naked tree from time to timea red horse crossed the iced-over sky pulling a cartloadof yŏnt'an briquettes most of that is fantasy in reality,some children, bent double, were rooted on a hilllike red-pepper plants left uncollected during harvest in reality, my emasculatedfriends disappeared singing current pop songsbut time did not fly away it was sometimes found deeply asleepinside a worn abandoned shoe,and from time to time it plummeted upside down like a shotgunned birdlaughter burbled from my father as I followed the riverof weariness, from time to time I restedupon a bird's nest high up most of that is fantasy too
time passed and nobody was able to come backfrom the deep dark stinking holea letter was returned several times answers were always to be found in the debris of questions, and friends would give outlike toy airplanes with spent rubber bands when I was too tiredto even masturbate, the white roots of grass in a frozen swampswam before my eyes time passed,the prostitutes sang songs every day, and by the time they were twenty-three,twenty-four, cigarettes had stained them yellowand every night by eleven I caught the bus for homeand time passed during the half hour the girls at the sewing factory ate lunchthe clothes irons stood cooling, and every half hour, in every wedding hall, [End Page 64] there was another bride and groom time passed in an infant's fadedhundredth-day photo, in a public graveyard for Chinese immigrants, in a cheap restaurant,on a road where rainwater puddled, on leaves time passed on a street busywith traffic a child pedaled along on a tricyclesome people were to be pitied, some who saw themwept nothing could come backfrom the asphyxiating malodorous dizzying hole
my heart aches whenever I hear the word "time"I was brought up as a treasured child, and nothing significant happenedto me other than my encountering in my path a few stones that I got easily past-middle school,high school, the difficult period of learning, and then lust, and a desire to be heroic,and feelings of shame though there's nothing I need to forget,time rises like a fog, like drunkennesshow is it that the field grows so wideandhowisitthattherearesomanyredflowerswaveringonthehorizon?
that year snow fell often and the road turned quickly muddy I was night I was on a train with you, passing a bare mountain
the train from time to time stopped, something white flickered, and the train moved on again . . . time passed
this also might have happened [End Page 65] when I turned round and sank into the rolling darknessstamping the ground you began to break apart not a sound was heard
(I loved you I was the two-p'yŏng room you were sleeping in several dolls with the same face sat next to each other and a bell tolled in the church inside a framed picture...