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  • Hug, and: The Location of a Neck, and: A Bed Speaks, and: Kiss in a Forest, and: This Book
  • Five Poems by Kim Haeng-suk
    Translated by Brother Anthony (bio) and Chung Eun-Gwi (bio)


Close until invisible. Am I black? You are very close to black.

Close until we can’t see each other. At a place where we break like    waves covering waves. In a close place, what is our relationship?

Until we become lovers who can never see each other again.

We crossed. Like two lips creating silence in that place. Like the    mouth of time that will very soon gape open. [End Page 313]

The Location of a Neck

Isn’t it weird? The location of the head, too.

I greet by bending my neck. Bending back my neck as far as I can, I look up at the night sky. If I looked up at the night sky or the ceiling after greeting you, that merely showed the movements of my neck, and means that once again my mind, cajoling my mind, pursued the neck’s tracks. Like pulling on clothes rapidly, ashamed.

If I do not want to catch your eye, I wonder what direction my neck should avoid, then stop again? Isn’t the night sky complex? The neck’s shape, too.

I am being vague, am I not? About you?

A cough erupted from my neck. I suddenly recalled how an epicure wrote that he wanted to have the longest gullet in the world. I wonder whether, if the gullet is long, the ecstasy provided by food subsides more slowly, whether a slowly departing landscape prolongs pain thinly, whether I am cautiously carving the white bone of pleasure till it breaks. Suddenly, all these things vanish.

It’s no use. I tried adjusting the length of my neck. I tried hiding my neck in an overcoat. Still I feel cold; still I can’t hide my huge body, can I?

Still, there is something I hope to accomplish by moving my neck, isn’t there? Just as I leave you by moving my legs, just as I seek you once more by moving my legs. [End Page 314]

A Bed Speaks

I have not lost my appearance as a bed. Even the little squeaks all stem from my nature. But if you feel you are lying on a cutting board, that’s just your problem. If you cry out that your feet have been cut off like scallion roots, isn’t that because you do not want to leave me? Truly, truly, as much as at this moment, do you feel for the pain of a scallion?

Why do you bring all your problems and lay them on me? Today you are lying like a kitchen knife. A bed can welcome a kitchen knife just as it welcomes your lover, as it welcomes your little child. What things do you carve, chop, finally lift your arms high and smash down on me? Your bed always hopes to link everything softly. I remember a night when your arms were linked to a pen, linked to a notepad, linked endlessly to a long story. You fell asleep in the morning and I hope to link you to a dream linked to brightest noon.

But if you feel you are lying on a mirror, that’s just your problem. You think you are monopolizing the bed. You ignore the bed’s memories. You cannot imagine all the things that have happened on me. You think everything is completely erased if you change one sheet. I remember the meaningless syllable left behind by a dying person at the very moment of death. Was it one word that he couldn’t finish? The syllable that had inherited possibility from the lips of death and the syllable that would have come next split apart like light and left for some distant place. It has become an endless sentence, a letter as endless as the universe. I remember his feces and urine and remember the love of his later years. I remember that pair of loving bodies, right down to their downy...


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pp. 313-318
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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