Liking in Silence: Seven poems
- onOctober 17, 2016
- Vol.33 Autumn 2016
- byKim Sa-in
- Liking in Silence
A Spring Night
“When I die, you’ll donate at least fifty thou’, won’t you, old brother? Nowadays a lot of people only pay thirty thou’, but for me, you’ve got to give at least fifty; you will, won’t you? Sure?” A phone call from roughneck Yi Something (age 47), sloshing about in pungent waves of drink, one spring night.
“Here, red-bean buns, you’ve got to eat them while they’re hot.” Screaming like he’s swallowed a train, poet Park Something (age 47) barges into the middle of the solemn gathering and hands over a plastic bag. “Give me a kiss, one kiss!” He thrusts out a face black from drinking, one spring night.
“At any rate, we have to be clear about marking our beginning and end, fellas!” Jang (age 51), the owner of a chicken-and-carpsoup restaurant fusses. “To start, let’s sing the national anthem.” “Aigo, it’s the first time such a fine song has ever been heard at our place!” The halfwit bar woman (age 50) remarks, pouring on and on, even the leftovers she’d grabbed from a table no longer occupied, one spring night.
“It’s a hundred twenty thousand won, but I’ll just take a hundred thousand.” So with an “Are you sure?” they fumble through wallets, finally putting fifty thousand on the slate; then, with a “Still, let’s have just one more,” they wave an index finger, pulling one another by the sleeve to a streetside cart-bar, one spring night.
Death, too, blooms in crimson spots.
Kang Something, Kim Something, O Something, they’ve all gone on ahead.
I, too, would rather drift off to some southern streamside
and fall without a care like a clumsy magnolia,
needing another fifty thousand won
for reasons this and that, one night.
Near a Firing Range
A pheasant squawks. A turtle dove coos.
Pine trees stand idle, heads laden with blossom.
The forest still looks tender green, innocent.
Like a twelve-year-old Iraqi girl. Amidst the ruins
there is green in thick brows and large eyes, too.
Is that an ancient weariness or a death-like despair?
The pheasant squawks again. Wretched thing.
With neither hatred nor pity, just speechlessly,
those American fellows Bush and Rumsfeld come to my mind.
Are their pine trees tender green too? Signifying what?
The pheasant calls, speechless, not a real call, just a squawk.
Are there pheasants in the land of the 12-year-old girl and her young father?
The air is full of flies having fun.
They’re like third-grade school kids let loose in a playground.
We have to put up with children.
But there is no hope in blatant ignorance.
I un willingly recall the department store custom where things must be expensive
in order to sell, a former president claiming 290,000 won was all he owned,
television, professional sports, and the like.
Breaking the silence, a bird bursts forth.
Whatever, it’s all good. (No, it’s not good).
I have no intention of blaming anyone after all this time.
We are beginning to resemble the thing
we have long been dreaming of together in harmony (pigs or hyenas, for example)
and, as ever, the plants wear innocent, languid expressions,
the ants run about this way and that, but
they don’t look very greedy.
A cigarette butt discarded long ago,
lies amongst them, soiled, as though one family.
A pheasant squawks.
Gunha-ri in Winter