- Five Poems by Lee Jangwook
Everything had already been delivered.Such was the elderly postmen's conclusion,
just as I had already heard all your wordsbefore you opened your mouth to speak.
Plants that had become the same season,clerks counting lonely banknotes,lovers poisoned by distant confessions,at that moment
someone rang a cloud's doorbell.He is delivering hot hands and feet.To just that seasonwherever it is if that is where we are.
Just one reply will arrive.In a slightly crueler way. [End Page 207]
A Consistent Life
After being born I gained consistency. I didn't know what it was,whether the location of eyes, nose, mouth, or somethinglike the direction of the back of my head,or my expression while waiting for you.
I ate regularly. I phoned using the same voice. I fell into the same sorrows. My voice broke, and yet
I am a murderer and at the same timeto my neighbors I am someone extremely polite and sincere. Such is social virtue,attending weddings courteously wearing a tie,then once drunk smashing the glasses.
I liked the way the roadside trees on my way to work were always standing there. I profoundly understood the night in the alleys cats frequented. Things appearing then disappearing became very consistent.
Today as everI come a bit closer to dead people.Ever since I was a child I disliked dictators and mystics.As for me, there was a person I liked madlybut now. …
One day I will stop taking your phone calls.After making a racket in a bar I'll grow gloomy.After livingthen I won't be living. [End Page 208]
Still, I was putting on yesterday's clothesand making today's outings.I kept recalling somethingabout deceitful life. [End Page 209]
I tried to love the world at a standstill.The world that does not suspect itself.I moved ever farther from waterand gained a very sturdy silence.
Until everything can be seen to the very endinside myself.Things gradually growing transparentout there.
Is it either a tightly clenched fist,or perhaps something like an empty palm?It's aimed at the ground like a long, pointed icicleor it could cover everything like a blizzardbut it's not rock-paper-scissors.It's not a vow, either.
It is like a tree that makes an unexpected season inside it.It is like the thought thatthis morning is possible, not being eternity,resembling the incomprehensibly changing surface of water.
Gradually melting, someonemurmured:Ah,it's winter.It is faint. [End Page 210]
Book of My Life
It was the book in which my life was inscribed. Perhaps I bought it somewhere,or someone gave it as a gift,or did I take it out of the postbox in my dreams?
Having seen my tomorrow was already written, I followedand livedAnd worked.And finally I grew lonely, so
every night I made an index. Having crossed gone over all the nouns, verbs, adverbs in order,one by one, I met you who had been already aged,and talked about ancient, obscure phrases for a long time.
The reason why we couldn't decipher themwas because it kept on snowing,because too many letters were piled up in the air.
I called it hell that things you signified kept expanding without limit. I called it YOU, a thing like a black book-cover having been overwritten by tens of thousands of people.Beyond your expressions,your jokes,strange dreams of you staring at me. [End Page 211]
Every time I opened a page something shut. There was something not emerging from any phrase. You became so complete that not one postposition could be added butwithout a snowy night in the contents,no title,the conclusion having vanished.
I was standing alone on the bookshelf. Perhaps someone had put me in an alley,or discarded me in a dream postbox,one single snowflake fell then stopped on...