Poetry

Delights of Life by Hwang Tong-gyu
The Era of No Farewells My friend is moving to America for his old age. He says he will live on emails and telephone calls just like in Seoul and will die among his children but there will be no way to meet in Insadong 1 on a late autumn evening with chilly rain dampening the ground and have a slow drink together with a side dish of steamy odeng . 2 However, it is also good to part while our memories glitter rather than one leaving this world earlier than the other. Goodbye. If bacteria have no pleasure at...
"Charm" by Shin Dalja
Charm Dear Child, If you’re getting on the Internet take with you a sheet of paper, just like a charm. If you pass through fleshpots where temptations are rampant, or get snatched by the ankle by those genome genes, or lose sight in the web of radio waves flashing in torrents, or face monsters, bogs, fierce winds, then listen to the paper’s voice rising clear and crisp. If you tire out, all giddy flustered navigating from site to site, then take a sheet of blank paper and with all your mind write down each letter of your name stroke by...
"A Bell Ringing" by Shin Dalja
A Bell Ringing Do you hear the bell ringing inside a sheet of paper? The bell ringing at the very moment when you give up the heated cravings of greed in front of a sheet of paper with nothing visible, nothing audible. Before the sheet of paper that faces us sincerely, having come past noise flapping like rags around the ears, walking through the forest of buildings rising like rage where lights glimmer, more eye-stabbing still at sunset, heavy shoulders drooping, When the word ‘purity,’ wrapped in clear plastic and frozen, softens and melts, wit h the energy of someone...
"Blank Paper 2 " by Shin Dalja
Blank Paper 2 Cut the gullet deplume and gut it clean it in water, then place on a white plate there you have a whole raw chicken Oh no! For a spell I was looking for something to write with. Translated by Cho Young-Shil
"Autumn Field " by Shin Dalja
Autumn Field Look upon the autumn field after they sow and reap three thousand times, then sow and reap another three thousand The still of one leaf of paper grown more sensitive Even wind sails on modestly, attired neatly In truth, liberal mind and broad bosom with profound, patient endurance When a proud winged creature happens to pass droppings in its flight This paper sops it up, just as writing paper would ink water What a charitable paper The young moon who intended to pass over quietly finds it cannot even take one step — despite such welcome — and...
"An Oil Lamp" by Shin Dalja
An Oil Lamp A white porcelain oil lamp that I once picked up cheap in a store in Insa-dong lay for well over ten years pale and forgotten in a corner of my house. One day it caught my eye; I quietly lifted it and the way its still milky plump flesh was holding a dead black wick somehow made me feel sorry for it; I looked and looked again then poured in a little oil and lit it. At first it covered its eyes as though bewildered, but soon there was a magnificent flame tingling to its very toes...
"Offering a Flower" by Shin Dalja
Offering a Flower Do you love me? With those words I go clambering up the dizzying cliff. The higher I climb the higher the dim cliff rises and above it the flower where your answer blooms in secret and on finding that ecstasy I must give my life, the lofty sanctuary of hands touching, while I only strive to approach a sparkling concentration of extinction. Freed, freed of the body, rising as a whirlwind, that dark moment when even heaven closes its eyes, giddy, as by the meeting of eyes surviving deepest blue I pluck and offer that flower. Translated...
"Two Hands" by Shin Dalja
Two Hands Thus you came. Crossing deserts, then deserts again, crossing deserts again, then deserts again, sand storms demolishing my body, blazing sunlight demolishing my bones, my feet frayed to tatters, my pace a dragging of bare feet through flames, night falls then until morning comes again with a thirst ready to suck out my very life’s blood dragging on across desert and again desert my toes already melted away, my whole body held tight in the desert’s jaws yet telling myself: I must go on, with that one thought I reached here, thus I came. Through primeval forests, the...
"I Click Therefore I Am" by Yi Won
I Click Therefore I Am by Yi Won Rather than open the morning paper smelling of ink I lightly double-click at dawn onto the odorless Internet I click the complimentary PDF that shows me the exact image of a printed newspaper page The KOSDAQ has no wings now Total short-term foreign debt of 50,000,000,000 dollars With every click another page turns I continuously click the world With a click one world collapses and another one rises The sun floats up It’s had a chip installed too I look at a 12-page article: “The computer receives wireless signals from my body...
"The Galaxy Beauty Salon" by Kim San
The Galaxy Beauty Salon by Kim San There is a woman who could be an elf. Colliding with an unnamed planet, her home shattered. To recover the shambles of her household in the middle of the night with only a pair of shears in her hands she ran off to the planet called Earth. She wets my dry hair, and — shuck-shuck — expertly cuts my hair. The woman trims the worries that branched out over a month. She looks from left to right at the thoughts that grew out asymmetrically and evens them out, centering me. Occasionally flower-words blossom...

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