Featured Poem

A Stuffy Poet and a Precocious Lover

The moment the poet says that the museum’s narrative is chronological, his lover says that the museum can be read backwards and even starting from the middle as she pushes her shoes between his ribs. As soon as the poet says: Reading in that way is impossible because you have no historical knowledge, his lover replies, I’ll take a look at Rooms 11a to 25a then go to Room 7b and sinks her teeth into his gums and walks away. The poet scribbles down: You won’t be able to keep from returning. You’ll get lost for sure. Suddenly his lover turns on the light in Room 19c and enters the room in which the portrait of his mother singing is hung: Dear Withered Child, you who have faded even before you could bloom, go far away to a world unimaginable to me and never ever return. The poet’s lover says, I can even read upside down, and comes in through an entrance without a door carrying the poet’s umbilical cord and points and giggles at the marble sculpture on the wooden stand, the poet’s death-mask-forest. The moment the poet moves about in his sleep and predictably says that the museum’s narrative is chronological, the lover thrusts into his wound her lips as hot as a lamp. His lover re-enters Room 23c through an ear then leaves through the mouth, then stops and re-enters the room and knocks on the door of the poet’s death, which he kneads day and night. In the basement, an exhibition: self-portraits of the poet stretch out like the faces stuck on hemp towels. In here when the poet puts a candle on top of his hat and looks into the mirror, he becomes absorbed in drawing himself. The poet quickly adds to his self-portrait the faint silhouette of his lover who has returned to Room 33a. He mumbles, You merely pass through the rooms, but I can go outside only if I walk past each room sequentially. And yet his lover tears off the room numbers and throws them down in front of the poet. The candle flame flickers, maybe the wind is blowing in the dark mountain. Inside the dark room, the poet’s father stops gnawing on the poet and peeks out between the black clouds. In the room of entangled time the poet stands aimlessly, unable to find the exit.

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About the translation:
Kim Hyesoon
Don Mee Choi
Original language:
2014 Number 2 - SOLD OUT - Twisted Angels

About the author

Kim Hyesoon

Original poet

Kim Hyesoon

Poet Kim Hyesoon was born in Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do in 1955 and received Ph.D. in Korean Literature from Konkuk University. S...

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Don Mee Choi

DON MEE CHOI is the author of Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), a chapbook Pet...

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