It’s the hour when the sisters get up
and put on their black outfits
on top of their white blouses
Today I heard the bicycles tied up in front of the subway station
fall down all at once
Having to greet each other in the morning is an unstated law
Hello Dear Shadow who licked me all night long
Hello Dear Daddy inside my flesh who woke up when I did
Hello Dear Daddy who burned my guitar
Hello Dear Furnace who conducted my flaming guitar
Hello My Little Siblings who cried next to it
Hello Dear Father who told me that time will come to a stop
The same as above
but if I keep going for a bit more
Hello Dear Critic who folded my poems into paper boats and let them float in dirty water
Hello Dear You—your ear holes become a hose as we talk
Hello Dear God the plumber—all of our hoses, yours and mine, are his
Hello Tattoo Needle that etches alone
The sky is throwing down clear bottles, Hello Dear Breaking Bottles, Hello Dear Sprinkling Light
Shit, hurl like the shiny pride inside your head! Ball, throw! Water, spray!
The morning when I feel like saying goodbye to everything
I’m a soldier of goodbye
I’m a body that produced a dead infant
I’m a minus producing machine
If you get too close to me anyone turns into Minussoandso
I don’t know why my music only subtracts and doesn’t know how to add
I get carried away by music and disappear into the supersonic
In this country no one can choose the fall
Here people swarm all over to cure you
but I’ll live together with the fallen angel for the time being
The place where I can’t name myself, hello!
The place where I can’t name my disease, hello!
Next morning I’ll be born as a new illness
I’ll pin myself onto the new illness
So hello everyone!
Dear You who have become Minus You, hello!
It’s the hour when the ghosts that have stayed up all night
drape a black cape over my poor shadow
I heard the subway station weeping in sorrow, its first train not yet arrived
Kim Hyesoon is a prominent South Korean poet who has received numerous prestigious literary awards. She teaches creative writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts. Her work translated into English includes three titles from Action Books, Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (2014), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (2011) and Mommy Must be a Mountain of Feathers (2008), the chapbook When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish Press, 2005), and poems in the anthology Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women (Zephyr Press, 2006).
Don Mee Choi was born and grew up in Seoul and Hong Kong and now lives in Seattle. She is the author of The Morning News is Exciting (Action Books, 2010) and a recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize.