blogIssue 20Jake LevineKim Kyung JupoetryProse

Kim Kyung Ju, A City of Sadness

Translated by Jake Levine

A CITY OF SADNESS

since I can’t be buried with everyone aspect by aspect, right here I report the rule of my demise

Have you ever ever whistled at a woman on a rainy road?

Regardless of how good you whistle, a human is a kind of sheep that gained’t come. Speaking from expertise, you shouldn’t whistle at your mom. Don’t whistle at the battalion commander. Never whistle on the nurse to cease. These are the small print of how I arrived here. The feeling of slowly turning into music is something no one else can know. It’s a lonely thing. Lonely individuals whistle tons. If the sun rises and the ebook shuts, I’m going to the nook of the backyard crammed with timber and, like a milk cow, I slowly munch the grass of thought.

I am in exile. Whether in a reminiscence or the distant future, I’m in exile.

In case you are exiled from humanity, you possibly can easily turn into diseased. I do know my dying will probably be accompanied by extreme agony. I will die right here writhing in ache. Huns, Scythians, Magyars, Gokturks, Uyghurs, or Mongols like Turkmen are all nomadic individuals. All their lives they stay in exile. The primary precept of their life is to go the place they please. Part of the order of their life is to remember the light that fades within the eyes of the beasts they increase. At dawn many have been born. At daybreak many died.

In my beforehand life I was not human. I was music. My favourite music consists of the man who composed me. In his previous life he was a man, but he was reborn as music. Every time I take heed to the sound of that music, I repeat my previous life like I am dwelling this life prior to now. So once more I slowly turn into music. This is my story.

Music can also be a premonition. The alchemy that composes the self is made of a music you haven’t but heard. Nevertheless, that music can also be the thing that is closest to your being. Simply now I had a premonition of a time that flew past my aspect. Every time I feel these type of ideas my mind turns into music, and whereas I drink the music that known as water in a cup, in a far Spanish subject my thought grazes on the hair of a herd of sheep.

Will the moment ever arrive once I can acknowledge my whole being? I stated I’m thirsty. Whereas dwelling with you I spoke simply 8 occasions.

The sandfly born on a wet day solely is aware of a world crammed with rain. Then it dies. On a wet day, as quickly as the fetus is born, it’s thrown in the sewer considering to itself that the world is a sewer of dying. That’s solely human. On the aspect of a hill the mother of the fetus seems into the sky whereas she washes the blood out her womb within the rain. The solar rises. Ants take the umbilical twine that stretched between the mother and the fetus and haul it into the ground. I pull out my binoculars and intently observe. After the rain, when you put your ear to the moist floor you possibly can hear the Gospel of Luke. I take heed to the night worship of the ants. I skip dinner.

The thing that allowed me to endure this long is a factor I can not endure. To not perceive this stuff, an announcement: there isn’t a intimacy between the time I lived and me.

The time I lived was a secret alcohol no one has ever tasted. Easily, I obtained wasted on that milieu’s identify.

Childhood is the renaissance of life. If I have been a muslim, I might bow to the Mecca referred to as childhood six occasions a day. Once I was a toddler I virtually drowned in the reservoir. In that second of virtually demise I skilled many feelings at the similar time. Drowning within the center of the water, I noticed the sunshine distancing itself from me. Can you imagine? Afterward, I ended going to high school. As an alternative I went to the center of the water and unfold out my palms and picked up lifeless birds and recollected that moment of pleasure, feeling close to demise. Once I entered center faculty I couldn’t keep in mind the taste of my mom’s milk. At dawn, to recollect, I bit my mom’s tits.

My pain doesn’t have subtitles. Unreadable.

In all footage there stays a bit of the air leftover from the time every individual lived. Like in any heat greeting a cheerful mould blooms, the facial expression flowing into the photograph used in your obituary is identical air you’re respiration now. While taking a look at someone’s obituary photograph, in the event you feel remote, it isn’t because you feel the individual in the image, but that the pictured individual is feeling you, making an attempt to remember this place. And so this is the place where his effort is delivered, however I’m wondering, what variety of air will move in the photograph of my obit? With this thought, my two eyes grow to be purple air.

From inside the picture I get dizzy taking a look at myself on the surface.
Time difference. Time lag.

The second I feel I am lifeless, it’s like I can’t even keep in mind my face.
Because we’d like so much of demise, I’m walking into an order that even you can’t see.

The candle in my room burns up all the air in my eyes.
A candle mild can’t stand in another mild. That is why candle mild burns only at night time.

I consider there is a planet that shares my start and dying, a planet that shares the identical lifeforce as me. 1976—? That is my ether.

Whereas I masturbate, I age hundreds of years.
Whereas I masturbate, I am a tragic civilization referred to as myself.

If we warmly embrace and all of the sudden die, hundreds of years will cross and we’ll be fossilized. Our descendants will contact us and feel strange. In its tough and onerous texture the unhappiness of the fossil cannot be expressed. This is my wrath. After hundreds of years, when individuals touch us, I can be a stone flowing with tears. That’s the savage customized that exists between us.

The velocity of reminiscence is faster than the velocity of mild.

Breaking apart with a lover is like suicide. Like being ripped aside from every thing you have been accustomed to. The rationale you worry the afterlife is that it’s absent from every little thing I really like. In a wierd place, sleep gained’t come. Sleeping in a wierd place is like one night time in hell. As a result of an individual just isn’t totally different than the life he lived, breaking up is like an act of suicide. My good friend Kahn stated it like this, typically that moment arrives quicker than the velocity of mild.

Wind passes the face of a web page and leaves. The japanese wind is reticent. Nervousness is an easy expression for the self. Day by day I obtain an injection like eastbound wind.

Final night time I got here out the base to exhume a grave with my army associates. When the shovel touched the cranium, it reminded me of a camel—a camel that collapsed like sand throughout the desert. After about 4 kilometers it began to odor human. We grilled a bone we discovered in the grave and informed fortunes. The physique belonged to the age of the empire of Un. The body wrote poems. The body was a painter who wandered the world painting cliffs. Nowhere could be discovered a map that expresses the exile of a dream.

If grave robbing our inside self is what we call a dream, then it is potential that everyone is sentenced to a jail referred to as their goals. Despite the fact that they know it is dangerous, everytime individuals go to their goals they erect a tombstone. They carry with them an epitaph referred to as reminiscence, place it in the ground, and it becomes history.

Reminiscence is the second life of humans. Because all reminiscence is handicapped, we should wait. Memory is a thing we can’t possess.

Right now the sky is a pink stream. Like Sunday worship, every evening individuals in the hospital open their home windows and dump a sundown of their heart. Written whereas gazing sunsets by way of the bars of the penitentiary window, no poetry is more lovely than the dying row inmate’s memoir. That’s because it is the music of human demise. I once confessed that Beethoven is the sound of music that performs out of the lifeless. Beethoven didn’t compose music. Beethoven was music. What he recorded was solely his desperation.

People are both born and grow to be ghosts or are born as ghosts who don’t know they’re lifeless already. This I consider. The ghost that doesn’t realize it’s a ghost disappears with out understanding that it disappeared.

I dedicate my primitivism to music. I need to write a poem that begins like that.

Before their demise, a vampire couple whose fate was that they couldn’t see the sunshine of day crawled and embraced underneath the solar, shattering to items. To see just one fragment of mild, all that blood was crucial.

It doesn’t matter what they are saying, I’ve lived hundreds of nights.

I was born at night time (True) and I used to be raised at night time (True) and I wrote poetry at night time (True) so from simply this reality, from the earth I have to be distant (False) A=A-

You possibly can’t see the poet’s star from earth. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to watch the earth from the poet’s star.

My mom’s brother stuck a handful of earthworms in his Sprite and chugged it down and stated “I’m from Jupiter.” Even as we speak, if we go to Baek Hospital in Naju my uncle continues to be throwing the individually wrapped packets of Asian drugs my nice aunt gave him in the sewer saying “These are going to kill me.” As quickly as my uncle turned 40 he scarily turned the type of person who solely devours meals. He informed me the one factor he discovered after he came to earth is whistling. My uncle, who entered Chonnam University’s astronomy division ranked #1, was a person that whistled nicely. Once I was a kid, after we watched Robocop 2, I have a memory of us in the toilet side-by-side peeing collectively like Robocop.

Every morning once I open my eyes I grab my dry crotch in pain. If I get rid of the suspicion referred to as my goals, then, in a common sense, I am innocent. There’s no cause why I have to be here. While I am having this thought, I walk across the hall and it’s like the top of my life. “Sonuvabitch, did you call your mom?” In my army unit, my lovely junior # 99-71002665 acquired his ear exploded after he referred to as his mother to request a visitation. Ever since that day, regardless of who he’s talking to, he lies.

On a moonlit night time while I was sitting on the sill of the dormitory window, an unfathomably lovely woman who nibbled and ate soap was delivered to the room beside me. That woman turns right into a rat each night time. When she was found within the sewer like a rat no one gave her mouth-to-mouth. Between the white of her revealed waist and the white ankle, a jungle of black hair. Her pants, now soaked, might not conceal that atrocity. Her face was egg white and she or he was shi-shi-shivering. Like a rumor, even the facility of her beauty could not overshadow the colour and texture of the thick hair on her thighs.

My room is just too small to call for extra flocks of lamb. My drawers and wardrobe are full of sheep. All my sheep have webbed ft.

I consider that someday if I pop my retina like a cork, hundreds of canisters of film will roll out my eyes. Because no mild enters the inside of my eyes, that is where the movie is alive. As a result of they’re a deep, darkish fort, mild pains the eyes. In the morning I don’t open the curtains. My room is all the time darkish.

I’ve never played with those that don’t fly kites in a sky frozen stiff.
I don’t sing with folks that know more than 100 spiritual hymns.
I don’t do enterprise with those that have memorized their mum or dad’s nationwide registration number.
They are the type of people who gained’t fulfill their filial piety.
A one that has masturbated to the fiery prologue of Rilke is aware of this
love is getting into the citadel of your lover and writing there in your whole life. It’s true—I’ve never tried to reside that method.

As far as I know, my good friend Kahn stated that in his novel he would use sorcery with a view to save his lover. Day by day Kahn lived his life like a scream. Poetry is what we referred to as the errors we made in our lives spoiled with desperation. It’s been a long time since I visited Kahn’s yurt. There have been a number of occasions after waking in the same room as Kahn that I’ve needed to strangle him. Proof of our lives was that we might feel ache, nevertheless, ache was not something that would exonerate us. After we admitted this reality, we felt fantastic. Kahn and I have a habit of sleeping crouched like hermaphrodites. If we get up underneath the blanket like the leaf of a cabbage, then together we turn out to be SAM. Without crime, reality is a police report we stay by writing everyday. Caught together, aspect by aspect, we crouch our heads and file the report. If I say it like this I feel guilty.

Maktoob! Memory of the pyramid, stand firm!! No matter I am, if I dig wrecklessly I’m positive to be buried. For those who decipher the whole thing of your memory, instantly, it’s a must to escape. Instantly after, the stone will crack. The wall will fall. As a result of the whole lot will collapse, my religious station scares me.

The individuals exiled inside a time I can’t know ship me a floating letter made of wind. On nights when sleep gained’t come I open the window and underneath the bed I learn the letter that arrives. In the lobby the woman want to see the calendar. The wind that is the letter that flies inside and inflates the woman’s robe, from the place does it originate?

Whenthemoonwasfull,alone,thegirldeliveredababyattheentranceofthestairs.WhenIquietlyapproachedthe woman,shewassoexhaustedshecouldn’tmove.Becauseitwassodark,shecouldn’trecognizemyface.Limplyinherhandhungafruitknifethatshecutherumbilicalcordwith.Iwasashadowthatapproached,andsheliedholdingashadowIhaveneverseen.Thebabydidn’tcry.Embracingthebabyinmyarms,Islowlywalkedtowardmyroom.ForaminuteshestretchedherhandouttowardsomethingIcouldn’tsee,andmumbledsomethingintheAltaic language,thenshequietlybegantotouchmyshadowhanginginthereflectiononthewall.Insteadofhermother’smilk,Ifedthebabyitsmother’sblood.Atdawn,thecow’steet.Andfromthebaby’sbodyradiatedthescentof lilac.Toavoidtheeyesofothers,inthemorningIswallowthebabybyitshead,atnightIvomitthebabyup.Atnight Ifeedthebabywiththeteetofarat.Inthedaytimethebabysleepsinsidethecaveofmybodyhangingupsidedownlikeabat.AtnightIrecitemypoetrytothebaby.Mybaby’seyesgoblind.WhenmybabygrewupIgivemybabythesoulofaseagullandmybabyborrowsthebodyofahorseandrunstothegreenpastureinsidethecalendar.Beforemybabyleftme,itsaidmypoetrywasbelowfreezing.IwassadsoItriedtolearnMongolaftermybabyleft,butsoongaveupaftersnowthatfelloutthecalendarfrozetheroom.

Like a sword that leaves a flash while discovering the direct path to the bone, tears are what melt from the glacier of the self. If you wish to be chilly, first you need to study to be heat if you swim. Because the sword is each cold and hot, it may well glide to a far place. Though the tears that move out from my physique are warm sufficient to the minimize the thoughts of a stranger, as a result of the tears that movement inside my self reduce within me, they’re cold. Tears are a species of fish rotting inside the self.

The sky flows like Scholasticism. All clouds are the third wave. The wind is as robust as Bacardi 151. Timber are as quiet as a Romanian legend. The forest is as silent as an out-of-date gynecologist. The fog is illogical, the solar is praxis and the lake is cynical. The capsule I’ve to swallow is Francis Baconish And the existence I haven’t experienced continues to be equal to my future And I pray better better than Hegel And my prayer is more metaphysical than Hegel’s prayer And the stone staircase is colder than sergeant Lee who was electrocuted to demise in Jinhae harbor in June 1999. God is just not allowed to embrace ideas And although I wasn’t born in Copenhagen Whereas listening to music referred to as Copenhagen I am Copenhagen And because I’m irrational I can’t clarify something I consider in And since I can’t clarify I write And in order to not clarify I cry And what I can’t explain can be my inheritance. I am a overseas tongue no one knows, so those that say they will correctly say my identify and communicate with me are solely deceiving themselves. I was wounded by sorrow and I was tortured by poverty and I used to be assassinated by religion and I survived by touching sergeant Rim’s penis each night time. As an alternative of persevering with my life like that, everday I dedicated suicide by poetry, and I seduced magnificence with poetry.

I reduce the throat of one other mosquito that spispispit in my room. There is a Chinese legend of attaining longevity by eating the brain of a mosquito that I consider in, so I collected the heads of mosquitos inside a bottle and placed it in front of the woman’s door. By means of the keyhole, I had the feeling that the woman watched my back.

If I die, ensure you dissect my physique. As is hearsay, for those who reduce open my chest, there are tens of millions of individuals floating in blood.

There are several poems I need to kill.
As a result of I wrote a very lovely poem, I need to kill a poem and since all poetry is so lovely, there’s a poem I need to kill. The life of a poet who is sympathetic to shame should develop into a e-book and the guide, a hospital made of the self.
That is my poem.

All poets are prisoners of conflict misplaced by God. Nevertheless, all prisoners of warfare are skilled prisoners.
The one potential I have is the power to be totally different than you. The rationale I write “I lost!” isn’t only because I can’t win. The rationale I reside right here is because I am totally different than you. This can be a thing that appears essential to you.

I know that while I sleep, from outdoors the window hundreds of purple eyeballs look down at me.
Within the night time I slept after I exhausted my fingers I understood that the self that utterly escaped my body mounted my belly and plucked out my eyes. So as not to be robbed, I developed a habit of not opening my eyes till late in the morning. When the self that utterly escaped the physique goes back inside, once I feel a river of blue blood movement between the ground and my again, at that actual moment, I open my eyes simply barely.

I am a soldier preventing in a struggle with out nations. I know the climax is in July.
Because I was born in July, while I take heed to the music of July I’ll die. My will consists of a single line of poetry referred to as “myself” that I wrote on the surface of July. If I die, all the Julys of the world might be buried at sea.

This is how I really feel.
Lots of of miles away, tears movement from the statue of Maria.
Tons of of miles away, a man hit by a automotive on the ground slowly closes his eyes.
Tons of of miles away, air shoots out the tires of a hearse.
In a swamp lots of of miles away, a zebra slowly enters the alligator’s mouth.
On an influence line tons of of miles away, in between the birds, one individual sits, burying his head into his wings.
Inside a window tons of of miles away, in the mean time the writer finished writing his guide, he let loose his remaining breath.
Lots of of miles away, the angel of dying rides here on the subway and a whole lot of miles away, nervously pacing forwards and backwards in the lounge, a mother needs to get rid of a visiting son who found out the truth of his delivery.
In front of the gate of an alley lots of of miles away somebody like myself hangs about
and at this time, music is like a play.

One night time I dreamt a dream.

Within the dream, from a distance, a gaggle carrying a coffin got here toward me whereas I sat next to some lake. Nevertheless, strange sufficient, the individuals carrying the coffin started to enter the chilly, blue water of the lake. For positive, in the event that they entered the lake, they might all die. I, whereas feeling inexplicable horror, shouted “Don’t do it!” Nevertheless, they couldn’t hear me. Regardless of how exhausting I screamed, my voice couldn’t pierce by way of the music that unfold out from them like a odor. One by one whereas they have been buried in the water, I all of a sudden had a realization: the individuals getting into the water that have been carrying the coffin all had similar face as my own. Nicely, virtually the identical. That they had my face, however all of the eyes have been lacking pupils. However then, I questioned, within the coffin whose physique was laid? I ran and ripped away the flowers overlaying the coffin. I pulled up the lid. There, laid to relaxation, was my mother. Like the basis of a single tree she lay stiff with out voice. As an alternative of her head, my head rest in the arms of my decapitated mother’s corpse. My face had my mother’s smile. Outdoors the lake, a gaggle of individuals have been crying. For the first time in my life I heard myself cry out of a stranger’s mouth.


Kim Kyung Ju is one of probably the most adorned and widespread youthful writers in South Korea. He writes poetry, poetic dramas, performs, essays, and translates poetry and fiction from English into Korean. He opened up an unbiased faculty for aspiring word artists. It is referred to as Penguin Rhyme. His first e-book of poems I AM A SEASON THAT DOES NOT EXIST IN THE WORLD was translated into English and just came out with Black Ocean.

Jake-LevineJake Levine is working on his PhD in comparative literature at Seoul Nationwide College (however will he ever end?). He is the overseas correspondent for Spork Press. He dabbles in translation concept.