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  • Five Poems
  • Hwang Byeong-Seung (bio)
    Translated by Chae-Pyong Song (bio) and Darcy L. Brandel (bio)

Coming Out

Perhaps the real me is the back of my head You become more honest behind me I, who want to know more about you Should perhaps walk backwards After grinding my face on the bare floor

Another real me is my anus But for you my anus is utterly disgusting I, who want to know more about you Should perhaps speak with my anus Tearing apart my lips, saying please love me

I am ashamed You carry many shameful animals like me Inside your pockets and deep in your drawers

Every time you are ashamed Of hating your shame You write and erase a postcard [End Page 173]

You cut off and attach your wrist You become a grandfather or a great aunt who died one hundred years ago

Are you ashamed? Let’s shake hands

Your hand is inside the first page you tore off [End Page 174]

Sikoku, the Man Dressed as Woman

Noon spews fire from the sky’s hot summit

The lizard writes He tears it up and writes again

(I want to shake hands, I want to touch you but my hands are in the forest)

To the old woman who throws away the parasol and collapses To the dog that runs away into the fire, dragging its chain

The lizard, whose tail is cut off, writes He tears it up and writes again If you bathe in the bathtub, it surely gleams with beauty If you are eating an apple I will be jealous of it I am the knife gripped in your hand; it will gladly ruin your heart

At twelve, I was already a great woman who broke out of a man Sending love letters every day to the boys my age Who had the habits of rats to foretell the future

(I will not promise until the tail grows back and I can touch your   hair. The more I try to tell the truth the stronger my lies become)

There was a time once when someone wrote shit in red on my pencil case

(I wonder why the rats cannot walk softly in the moonlight)

So I won’t forget the future I endure the stench of the back room [End Page 175]

While putting on make-up and taking it off, while putting on a   skirt and taking off a bra I feel my stomach rise falsely and suffer morning sickness

The lizard writes He tears it up and writes again

Your gaze that runs away toward my back whenever we embrace   each other!

My love, I too have a womb. Is that wrong? Why in the world do you still question my name?

Sikoku, Sikoku

The lizard with red lips runs

Holding a long letter in his mouth Following the dog that disappeared into the fire Climbing over the silence of the collapsed old woman

The lizard runs

At noon when the rose by the window Is eating fire with dark red teeth

The hands in the forest will receive it And the tail will read it

(My love, I will tell you once more a strong lie for the last time)

Wait for me, wait for me! [End Page 176]

Her Face Is a Battlefield

Like the moment the second hand takes the sixtieth step Pushing the back of the minute hand that attacks the hour hand

Her face is a battlefield

Like kids at a public cemetery where a festival parade passes by Who drink ten cups of jostlings and swallow twenty cups of wranglings Whose goal is to knock down

Her face is a battlefield

She is quickly loved and quickly forgotten

Amidst darkness, a woman cries, a second woman cries A third one rushes outside

Like endless coughs two women spit at each other’s face with a   mirror in between [End Page 177]

Two Stillborn Hearts

Like a clown driven into this earth upside down Twelve years old with too many sweets Two feet walk on the empty air continuously

Time, like a petty thief, dies in darkness Little by little, hiccupping Sparrows enjoy it...


Additional Information

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pp. 173-179
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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