The trees were lethargic and dry. A certain reluctance in the budding. The mechanism of biology cranked forward in time. The earth spun on its axis. People stuffed their ears full of filthy rags to become deaf to the age-old screams. The screams, along with the prayers, floated up, pierced the atmosphere and went up to God on his tarnished throne.
The backstreets heading toward the sea were combing out hairstrands of moonlight. No, the moon itself was a fat wooden comb. Passing through Heung-bu’s wattle gate, along the backstreets, our breathing full of dreams escapes to the sea. Know that much.
When a person dies, does he not become water, fog, rain and go to the sea? In the work of living in our backstreets, surely the work of shedding tears is much and right. The night that has forgotten, like afterlife, that work of shedding tears; really and truly the sound of our poor breathing is combed out in the moon’s combing and is the sparkling of the sea where our tears have pooled.
*Heung-bu is a well-known character from a Korean folktale. In the story, he is swindled out of his inheritance by his brother Nor-bu and lives in poverty. One day he saves a swallow that is being attacked by a snake and helps the injured bird recover. In repayment for his kindness, the swallow brings him a gourd seed, which he sows. The plant grows and bears a large gourd. When Heung-bu splits open the gourd, precious jewels spill out and he becomes a rich man.
When the light of the street lamp roundly pushing up the darkness is a ten-won coin when the rising moon is a spoon that’s lost its handle when the customer turns his back cursing because there’s no embossed toilet paper when you watch a person buy gum just to get change when saliva someone has spit while talking on the phone, slides down the store window like a shooting star when a child comes to buy ice cream and upon opening the freezer door, enters nirvana when the display case and Mom’s economy totters every time the store door opens and closes when the guys are sitting on the store bench drinking and talking noisily and then when their voices become two bottles of soju when a miss, with hip and lips pouting after looking for something, goes out and seeing them, takes fright for free when I shout at Mom to sell the damned store when she whacks me on the back of the head without a word
What will you fill up with a spoonful of rice, a teardrop even if you were to make rice soup from the tears?
No matter how much you love me no matter how much I may love you I’ll have to chew today’s chicken I’ll have to swallow today’s tears. Therefore let’s stop speaking in metaphors everything is definite like concrete everything is a concrete wall. It’s not a metaphor but a fist, and there’s only the fist’s pulverizing.
Let’s stop trying to achieve what can’t be achieved Let’s not say we have achieved the vanity of vanities
Go — be it love or lover, to love is not to die for you. To love is to live for you, and to wait.
Only, to be mercilessly broken.
In that way, one day, love, tear my body to pieces. Break off my arms and legs and place them in your vase.
"Cardiac slaves of the stars,
We conquered the whole world before getting out of bed,
But we woke up and it's hazy,
We got up and it's alien,
We went outside and it's the entire earth
Plus the solar system and the Milky Way and the Indefinite."
("Tobacco Shop" Álvaro de Campos)