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  • A Ghost 3, and: Tambourine in the Shade, and: The Tree Is Going, and: Ch’ŏnan, and: Like an Ash Tree
  • Five Poems by Yi Yeong-gwang
    Translated by Brother Anthony (bio) and Chung Eun-Gwi (bio)

A Ghost 3

The newspaper’s like an obituary.People keep dying.

They must have been killedbecause they were not considered human.They must have died,unable to reveal, “I am human.”

Someone wanted to kill . … so he would have killed.Someone wanted to kill but . … so he would have killed.Someone just wanted to kill . … so he would have killed.

When someone is dead,we should mourn that death as those who will die.

The killer stilldoes not reveal his face,does not unpack his heart. [End Page 319]

He is still busy kidnappingstill busy assaultingstill busy repressing.

Deliberately,on impulse,legally,people are dying.

Militantly,derangedly,ultimately, people are dying.

Ah, desperately,wholly,fulgurantlydead things are not dying.

Dead people are still missing,are still staging sit-ins,still falling down.

Hallways where ghosts float,the newspaper’s like an obituary. [End Page 320]

Tambourine in the Shade

Now the shade has you.Therefore you are light.A light that cannot shine.a single person who endured but never loved himself,you are pretty, no, sad.Until the tambourine rings out, the tambourine never stops,a black-and-white televisionstill, with its black extinguished eyes open,a television.Shade is ultimately a human relationship.I tried to be trapped by that.You can never forget yourself.If we can love, shall we live together for a long time?You died carelesslyand I shed tears.What happy hours, what happy hours, what hippy whores.You make yourself miserable.As if about to stop at any moment,the tambourine jingles on eternally.The most fearful person in the worldis a person who seems about to vanish,a person who seems about to vanisheven after he has disappeared. [End Page 321]

The Tree Is Going

The tree is mad. It’s mad as the eye of a needle, the gum in your eye. It’s mad as a mite, as a baby octopus. The tree is going, tied to a tree, its tongue pouting. Dragging rags, it’s going. It has to go, calves like fried squid beaten by blizzards, piercing death that fills heaven and earth. The world is being overturned.

The tree is going, body tortured. The trees are going, twisted and surging. From bonds to bonds, from solitary cell to solitary cell, it is going as much as a slug. It is going as much as a pine cone. It has to go. Plowing through ice, cutting the ropes of the wind, marking exploding time, it has to go. The world is melting away.

The tree is mad. It is going and it’s mad. At the finishing line in the air, approaching, tangling, infiltrating, mingling, the tree suddenly stops speeding and faints. The mad tree is green. The completely mad forest is green. The tree has gone to the tree. The trees have gone to the trees. All of them, each to each, have vanished, deeper and deeper. [End Page 322]


— Ghost 5

If it had been a torpedo, or ratherif it had been a bubblejet by underwater explosion,if it had been lightning broken in two

if war with retaliation evoking retaliation had broken out or not,if it had been 6.9 minutes, not 69 hours,or 6.9 seconds

If there had not been the relay broadcasts,if the newsflashes of rescue without rescue had not been heard,if it had been an accident, shooting, cheating,or deep thought,

what are you revealing,what are you concealing, irrespectively, country?whether the West Sea dries up or wears out, the Korean peninsula    sinks,or the country goes bust

If it had been a breathlesssecond,

If it had been 0.69 seconds, no time to become pandemonium,if it had been 0.069 seconds,no way to become a ghostif it had been just lightningor the...


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pp. 319-325
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