Two Poems

  • onMarch 25, 2019
  • Vol.43 Spring 2019
  • byKim Hyun
When Your Lips Open
Tr. Chung Eun-gwi

Light is a Fact


Park Geun-hye was elected the President.


Today, too,

my beloved ones


sad poems.


The light asks

though I have no idea;


“Why is the government of your poem

dark forever

in spite of being with me?”


∂ After casting a vote, I went to a museum with an unnamed thing. The museum was wide because of time. We kissed in the history others didn’t look at. While waking out of the tomb, we linked our arms. Drank somac, mixture of soju and beer. Came back home. We were defeated. An unnamed thing was floating from night. It was a voice with its muscle disappeared. Never awakened. A historical event.


I see the wrist of a gay person.

I think love is a fragile bone.



cling to the light like a cub

“Pat my head.”


“Stop being flirty.”

The light gently pats my head around

And the night comes, and the birds, too,

already take off as it is certain,

telling a story about a thing with no name flying as an unnamed thing and building an unnamed nation.


A key for truth is in the darkness only the two know


“Let’s not close our eyes alone today.”

“Let’s make effort to preserve the president’s nation.”


The words of light

are open.


Even in our sleep

we can hold our hands

might be the power of history

can shout “The world with no hatred and discrimination”

“Overthrow dictatorship,” “Abolish the Park Chung-hee regime”

“National Liberation and Unification”

“Let the seeker seek”

“Keep the right of labor”

But we open our eyes widely.


From now on an equal night comes


Every lie

begins with a fact.


∂ I woke up. It was a winter morning. It was hot. I was in the middle of going to work. I wanted to beat the life others look at. I pressed down the faces of young people. I opened the faces of the old. We were defeated. Last night an unnamed thing asked while looking down an unnamed thing. Would you be a person saying, That’s OK? Yes. How does a person become a muscle? Love comes from the night’s government where nothing can be seen.


This is Müller

love, there are two chairs in that place, love, three people sitting on two chairs in that place, love, two hands in that place, love, there are two holding hands, two held hands, and two left hands in that place, love, there, two holding hands of three people on two chairs and their lips are apart saying “I am afraid of being loved by you.” love, incidents bumping to the walls are there, love, that place is gaze, love, that place is two men, love, that place, kisses the two men give each other, love, that place is lip-to-lip “Come here farther. Go away closer.” love, that place is wrong words, love, that place is one person, love, that place is pointed at, love, that place is a vow, love, that place is a declaration, love, that place is justice, love, that place is getting old so fast, love, that place is born, love, that place is a neck, love, that place is bare feet, love, that place gets bent, thins and moves treading on time, love, that place drops its head, love, that place is weather. It’ll be a blizzard soon, love, that place is lips parting again, love, that place is a person rolling his eyes again, love, let that place eat, drink and dance, love, that place does not get naked, love, that place does not insert itself, love, that place does not get deleted, love, that place calls itself, love, that place is three people, love, that place is a long slip towards the past, towards the bright and dark side, love, in that place only images survive, love, I turn my eyes to there, love, towards there the severed upper body and severed lower body lie down, love, a crocodile’s tail creeping towards there, love, towards there a man stands holding a hat, love, towards there a group of mourning people, one two three four five six ten, love, towards there black transparent water is, love, towards there the ice that has been painted, love, towards there “I want to be loved but I do not want to be loved.” love looks around all that time, love takes the chairs out and makes one hug the other, and when that person is falling down to the floor one person picks him up and makes him hugged by another, makes the person’s past watch all of it, and from that past love craves love and turns away from love, love is one person, love, towards that place, the time of the present with frizzy hair, the past wearing its hair down and the hairless future flows in, love, towards that place, here a giant hippo strides slowly. Strides away, falls down, and closes eyes, love, towards there a bony person shows his bones to another bony person and remains as bones, a bone of a cigarette, a bone of coffee, a bone of cafe, a bone of time, a bone of love, a collage for bones, a montage from bones, stage art of no bones, Winding, Ovid, Wedekind, Henry Purcell. “A bit of more wine, and another cigarette please. But I won’t go home yet.” love gets on the stage.

After 49 days, he became a woman and time’s genitals lost their functions, love, in that place there are one person alive and three goddamn dead people lying down like an aria.


∫ I’d like to have a cup of coffee. Do you like it strong? No. Weak, weak, please.


Act II











∫ Can I have a cigarette? Do you like it weak? No. Strong, strong, please.

Translated by Chung Eun-gwi


Author's Profile

Kim Hyun is a poet and women’s rights activist. He won the Kim Jun-sung Literature Award for his first poetry collection, Gloryhole. He has authored another poetry collection, When Your Lips Open, as well as the essay collections Don’t Worry and Come Over, I Have a Question, and Whatever Sweater.