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  • Long Fingers’ Poem, A Dictionary Made of Seven Words, Gogh, Melancholia, Disorderly Stories
  • Jin Eun-young (bio)
    Translated by Chung Eun-Gwi (bio) and Brother Anthony of Taizé (bio)

Long Fingers’ Poem

I’m writing a poem
because working with my fingers is more important than working with my head. My fingers stretch the farthest from my body. Look at the tree, like a branch farthest from the trunk, I touch night’s quiet breathing, sounds of flowing water, heat of other burning trees.

Everything points at other things. A thing that makes a turn and touches its own body is not a branch. The farthest branch is the most tender. It’s easily broken. The branch can’t absorb water, doesn’t bear up a tree. Raindrops start to fall. Still I write. I’m getting out of myself, farthest away. At the end of my fingertips, time’s leaves come out of buds. [End Page 277]

A Dictionary Made of Seven Words

Spring,Startled, I step back.With my bare foot, I step on a green snake’s head.

Sadness,Swollen pieces of wood, on which the rain falls again.

Capitalism,Darkness of all kinds of colors, ora dark, undersea tunnel a million kilometers long,—How do you walk through this place alone?

Literature,Frogs’ cries that twinkle far-off like electric lampswhen you get lost and fall asleep at a deserted house.

Poet’s monologue,“Even if without this sound in darkness?”Striking the wall with a broken pipe.

Revolution,The whirlwind of stars seen just when you close your eyes,a leaf vein’s road looking transparent under the streetlight

Poetry,A lovely dead letter deliberately opened.You are not living there. [End Page 278]


Since all the dogs in the world were barking in my left ear,since my brother Theo was screaming, bitten,I cut off my ear.

From the edge of the knife that I hold in my hand,a red cherryfalls onto the empty canvas.

Once I had just one ear left,I could hearhow bright the stars in the night sky are,how the colors echo above cypress trees.

Because, hearing the world screaming in my left ear,I couldn’t hear the blood’s whistle ringing inside my right ear.

So I cut off my big earand threw it into the wheat field loud with wind.Crows flew into the field to pick at the flesh.

People with both ears cut off come rushing inand gaze at my self-portrait with stupid expressions. [End Page 279]


He drew me in a very sweet way.Ice cream fallen on hot asphalt.I began to melt butcouldn’t reach the soft tip of anyone’s tongue.

He is always sad because of me.After drawing me in the sandy deserthe remembers that what he drew was a fish.He calls the wind passing over the desertand erases me.

He is a real optimist.He believes that I have gone back to the sea. [End Page 280]

Disorderly Stories

“Sleep as you like, smoke, shut your mouth and keep on being depressed.”I like quotations that have lost their origin.I like gray bricks fallen from solid castle walls.I like spicy gingerbreads,sores in my mouth and big feet,

the sweetish, warm wind blowingunder the red-rusting anklesof a broken down, swaying railroad bridgeor over rotting manure roofs,through the wet hair of bisonfar awayon the plains.

I like doing it with a finger,the difficulty of saying “No,”I like every kind of study,clumsy gestures,moving days,the stillness of a dead person’s feet laid carelessly,soaring up above them the green breastsgathered in a park cemetery,living persons’ coughing and the nipple of despair they suck,I like all those,as well as the way time blends honey and snow. [End Page 281] I like the way time flows blue like icefrom your face, your neck,your waist,the burnt taste of the last herringwe roast togetherin dying embers.

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pp. 277-282
Launched on MUSE
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