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  • Love, and: Like a Peng, and: No-Coverage Zone, and: To Poem That’s In No Way Quiet, and: By All Means, and: Grow Old Like Tree Roots! Self-portrait
  • Ko Hyŏng-ryŏl (bio)
    Translated by Seunghee Jeon (bio)


The sun rises; Naksan1 rotates on its own axis. In the morning, when the days we lived and quarreled together Have disappeared into the past, At the edge of this cliff, where the golden sunbeam road stops at a   river bend,

What I see, What the sea teaches me, Is a seagull touching fierce billows—

With yangmiri full of roe in its mouth, With its head bowed, a seagull soars, its two wings spread wide, Dripping roe onto the sea, Crack! Bang! Painfully beating the air. [End Page 75]

Like a Peng2

Like a peng, one day I might just kick the door open and fly away. Without putting up a dying struggle, I might soar up high from the   backyard. Spreading wide my two surprised wings,

Breaking everything—the teacup, dictionary, computer, windows,   and the ridge of the roof, Without even looking back, busily flapping my wings, I might break out, flapping, running, and flying.

I’m afraid of myself. I’m sometimes afraid of this uneasy   imagination of mine. But, in fact, don’t all living things suddenly leave one day? I needed nothing in my dreams— I want to display more things in my daydream.

My erased dreams, crumpled and stuffed into the lungs inside my   armpits— The sound of my breathing remembers my wings, and signs of   mutation are wriggling within. If not a peng, then a small bird, a Moloch, so light— It might become a bird weighing ten grams, and kick the branch   and whirr away And disappear from somewhere around there. This morning Wings might suddenly sprout, like a mirror turned delusion. These two short arms might suddenly become large wings. Dear dews! Dear wings of my oblivion that turned into a book! Dear wings of mine that turned into a bag! [End Page 76]

No-Coverage Zone

Suddenly, I am in the middle of a no-coverage zone. I am reading the patterns on the leaves, closed off from the noisy world. Staring around for a while, are you looking for your missing sensibility? The no-coverage zone of silent chloroplasts—it’s A territory where animal cries and movements leave no trace. This territory is an inviolable sanctuary, In which commotion from communication can disturb even the   smallest meditation. I took the keys out of my pocket and threw them away. Only when the ring is unhooked and wings begin fluttering, Do I lose the ability to call their names.

Therefore they disappear from distant memories in ribosomes. I look outside the zone from this unexpected under-layer That intensifies a mountain into a protected area for plant life. Shadows standing with contorted expressions Are eavesdropping, their faces buried in some object in their palms. I now have a unique no-coverage zone. From here all those confused communications are blocked off. In a corner where chaos is strolling after the light leaves, In this complete no-coverage zone, you and I are Quietly touching what we lost long ago. [End Page 77]

To Poem That’s In No Way Quiet

I don’t raise quietness anymore. Noise is my basic principle. Weak-sighted, I write poems With my ears wide open to noise. Although my ears look like ears, I am an empty shell if noise is erased. Like 2,500 golden pagodas in Bagan 3 I listen to noise in this city On the opposite side of the silent autumn track. Not today, but yesterday, I Write poems amidst noise. Therefore, Noise is the only proof of reality to me. Places where there is no noise are dead places. I call noise to write noise. Without noise, language becomes uneasy, And my poem doesn’t progress. I visit noise together with silence. In order to be close to noise, To live in noise with noise, I depend on the devil’s auricles. Unable to miss the light, I Want to return noise to language. Stillness...


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pp. 75-79
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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