Let’s Say, We’re Sorry

  • onSeptember 25, 2017
  • Vol.37 Autumn 2017
  • byKim Seung Il
The literary journal Munye Joongang vol.148

I said I wished the boy wouldn’t come back but did you hear me laying a curse on him? I said I wished the boy bouncing that ball as he passed would just die and I wish today the rapist boy would fucking die just fucking die . . .
I closely observed where the boy went There are kids who seem normal then do weird things Look closely This one’s not like that but that one always takes a girl to a dark place That one takes weaker ones to a dark place Look at that boy If you see a dead locust you’re disgusted Well, I am, aren’t you But there’s always some boy among us who thinks that’s fun One in four, always, has seen the rhythm We all got together and we all played together but we never knew the boy would pierce a girl’s eye with a pin Scary to think we were with the boy since before the girl’s eye was pierced and she lost her eyesight
If I hate him, you’d have hated him too? How could a boy be so torn up Did our hate shred him so? Did we believe talking about who we hate to ourselves would lead to something happening? Who first discovered that if you knock a boy over, there would come an evening where everyone’s ears screamed? I think it would hurt but why do I think it’ll be savory The thought of that taste keeps recurring so our hands that keep going in that direction seem to be sure of something Look at our yearbook It’s revealed in our expressions
So nobody remembers whom the boy arrived at first? All we testified to was that our ears opened at the same time No matter how we closed our mouths and have teeth behind our lips, there comes a day when our mouths open at the same time and the boy decided to accept the fun At the time, my dad called me so I couldn’t go there but why didn’t you go? My ear was itching so I went right up to the entrance of the evening but I turned back The fact that the boy could be so easily made up to look pretty was a pro and a con If only a teacher at least would’ve come and put something dirty into the boy’s ear then something less sorry would’ve happened

Oddly the boy didn’t last the year Once, I saw the face of a boy who was putting a bug into a girl’s ear completely open and was watching the horizon coming out of it until the bottle cap shut You’ve seen it too, right? Oddly the boy didn’t last that year How could a person die from being ripped up like that Isn’t it odd You and I are very compassionate but why is that so sweet The fact that people like that keep disappearing is so sweet and refreshing The eye that lost its eyesight has begun to see again

I know what’s behind this miracle, do you want to know what it is?

I wanted to whisper in the ear of the boy who couldn’t come to the funeral with his shoes They say remorse is a human invention It’s all an invention by rich people, even the very numbers etched on that calculator that calculates whether one can really be forgiven You ever seen a girl who shoved some value in the eye and right away jumped off the third floor? The girl lived and the boy died but even if it takes borrowed time I want only the girl to live Even if I go into debt I only want to keep killing one boy as long as I can borrow time Should’ve died then and not later God, time is so cruel Ending it with the words, You fucking asshole (the boy once spat a huge wad in my ear but he’s dead now)

The boy would’ve wanted to waste all the life given to him Oh no He would’ve wanted to take pictures of his delicious food from a more delicious angle and mainstream more delicious things Oh no

The boy has no body

Only a sentiment like a strong follow-up measure is in the air The reality where a boy was torn to death is mixing bodies with a certain past that’s all engraved But because the boy disappeared there’s another wrinkle in the brain There’s one more miniscule controlling device that we have to remember Make the screen brighter The name of the criminal we all know makes us nod in unison Don’t the criminals closer to us begin to clash between our facial expressions? You borrowed a book from him once Yes, you had him do your homework once Yes, you’ve had noodles with him Yes, with the boy

He once muttered that fear makes gods

There were four who smiled with their black lips but why did it have to be one of four The boy was special and there was something special about him, he talked about how to murder someone before feeling sorry He said his father taught him It was the teacher who taught him It’s uncanny No adult wanted to be on the scene I’ll tell you once more about the murder method where a whole day can go by without letting a single leaf tremble I saw something Oddly I kept seeing the boy It’s chilling Because it’s creepy to say your face is odd and I keep thinking oddly enough that I’m sorry to say that I’ve seen you before

The boy said, Let’s go to a dark place That he was sorry

Darker than a funeral parlor

The boy is still prettily made up and look at all the things his fingertips touching fingertips have done Kept always saying sorry like when a flower is done blooming there’s always a stamen in the middle The funeral was over ages ago but he’s still saying he’s sorry You can take off everything there is to take off You can peel back the boy but even the boy knows that’s not all there is to take off Keeps saying sorry Before the end of all the funerals connected to this, keeps saying sorry
Why did the word sorry come to be Was it because some sorry incident happened Was it because of an empty space that had sorry’s meaning There was an empty seat next to the girl It all began when he sat next to the girl Between us there are countless unspeakable sorrys but
The boy is still prettily made up and the boy’s family prettily makes up and makes up the boy and
There shouldn’t be a need to prettily make up Shouldn’t sell ourselves like idiots When yesterday’s head, which realized that the selling was going on, was decapitated When such seasons come Today’s head would be decapitated and so at the thought of everything ending Sorry I’m sorry is I am sorry Not a single thing has ended so I am sorry I am sorry I’m sorry I am sorry The ringing that starts pointlessly circles the ears and observes how the ear of forgiveness is made Takes time to observe

Turning off the power makes it stink and sticking out your head outside the truth generates plates of boiled beef They’ve begun to do it underneath the bridge Things that one thinks only happens to girls can happen to boys and horrible events that one thinks only boys can endure can end in the hands of girls
Can’t believe sorry was said Have you ever been sorried by someone? You, too? Is that what it feels like to be torn up? The time and place is different and the person who touched you may be different but in the end the ones who insulted you seem to have all died together Why were the kids crying their eyes out and why were there bruises We enter an era of screaming in unison as if simultaneously hit on the head with hammers
But do you know the name of that creepy boy? You can’t immediately forget the boy who whispered how sweet the reality was that one put together for fun and couldn’t lick with the end of the tongue Like someone who keeps researching Hitler when Hitler is dead

History fondles one person until they cry

Are we the hope that springs from being tied together by such a curse? I remember the boy’s name He did those things but look here, his eyes are open wide I keep looking for him Whenever I get the feeling for something I remember the boy’s name The way he dangled from being hanged in common You and I keep imagining him staring at the sky with his scary eyes We imagine it and pass it to the next person and the next To keep knowing it To keep airing it to clean the air


Translated by Anton Hur

Author's Profile

Kim Seung Il’s poetry first appeared in the journal Lyric Poetry and Poetics in 2007. He published his first poetry collection, Prometheus, in 2016.