Category Archives: Choi Seung-ja

Early on I by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Early on I was nothing
Mold on dry bread
Stinking stain on a wall pissed on, again and again
a thousand year corpse covered in maggots still.

*

No parent raised me
Falling asleep in rat holes, leeching off the poor
dying ceaselessly in any old place
early on I was nothing.

*

When we brush past momentarily
like shooting stars, therefore,
don’t say you know me.
Idon’tknowyou Idon’tknowyou,
youanddearanddarling, happiness
you, dear, darling, love

*

That I am alive,
that’s no more than an eternal rumor.

 

poem in Korean

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Love in This Age by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Though you call, in March, no one’s home
at the foot of Dongdaemun* blades of grass are soaked in secrecy.

*

Always along the same path we
fall into the house familiarly
down into the sleep out of this world and
though you all call from the deep marsh of dreaming
my love, because the light of the four thousand year sky is heavy
(in this scape of petals falling on flowing water
irresistibly drawn one to the other)
we are clouds with fettered feet.

*

When the masked wind
calls us out because it’s night
this hour’s ardent code
this epoch’s terrifying love where
death follows death
we cannot decipher.

 

poem in Korean

 

* Dongdaemun – “Great East Gate”


Self-portrait by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

I am nobody’s disciple
nor can I be anyone’s friend.
Dreaming a wicked dream in the weeds or bog
Offspring of darkness, flesh spied in shadow.

*

Mother, I am darkness.
From the morning old Adam and Eve
got up from the grass
I am the sadness of a long body.

*

In the bright streets children
twitter like birds
bloom like flowers
those dazzling natural people in the sunlight
the docile liquor they drink
doesn’t suit the split end of this tongue.
Coiled up in the weeds or the bog
only waiting for the poison of my sadness to spread through this body

*

Just as the child in the womb seeks
the mother’s love
facing the sky crying furtively
I dream an evil dream from the sun.

 

poem in Korean


Hand that I love by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

 

There, an unknowable rain is coming down
pitiable repose coming down to moisten
when I hold your hand professing love
the melancholy of existence catching in the ten fingers
there, an unknowable rain is coming down
pitiable peace coming down to moisten

 

poem in Korean

 

 


Dance of Pain by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

World dominated by wind.
That savage wind fleet,
Man-eating blue-backed shiver of sharks.

My bladder ballooning up reflexively.
Tonight’s fight will be close.
I feel it.

Thus the dazzling
dance of pain begins,
O sorrow, look,
matching your rhythm
I dance
these pliant arms and legs,
all my life how well
my body’s been
disciplined to your rhythm.

original poem in Korean


The Shitty Autumn by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

The shitty autumn bursts in.
Autumn like syphilis.
And death comes upon twilight,
that one paralyzed leg.

*

Everything loses moisture
the boundaries of all the roads crumble.
The recorded voice of yesteryear’s singer wilts
Hello? Isn’t this Juk-seon? It’s Juk-seon, right? Juk-seon
The telephone line loses the receiving end in mid-air
and lovers that have left don’t ever return even in dreams.

*

And — and memory’s pooling sewage
in the cheap motel of time stinking eternally of horse piss
I ask in a groggy voice returned from the dead
How far have we come? How far still to go
before the river becomes the sea?

 

poem in original Korean

about the poet