Tag Archives: youth

Memo to Myself by Kim Kyeong-mi

(translated from the Korean by geul)


About the time the sunflower, exhausted from the sun, leaned its thin neck on the wall to rest a while. I woke up and found that I was twenty-four years old.


God was a haughty hide-and-seek game, in which even though I hid, fretting up to my hair, He didn’t make an effort to find me, so it was always less enjoyable; and as other people seemed, as always, like pointless tears.


In the twenty-fourth year autumn arrived as sound of voices fumbling. Exterior to dreams, each day someone seemed to be standing outside so I ran out and opened the door to find the cosmos flower greeting me shaking the dew from its shoulders as if nothing were happening. I wanted to embrace its thin waist, come inside and have a child. A child with red gums like the inside of a pomegranate.


It might have been all right to have become a little bit happier at twenty-four, in which year nothing happened, after all. It might have been enjoyable to have engaged the young man with the thick lips, who seemed like an outlaw, in a battle of lies. Perhaps now only a child with teeth like snow could smile at this much happiness and deception remaining. Though it appears nothing is happening.


Could not a flower bloom on a cliff could you not walk on the river could you not continue a letter left unfinished if you suddenly wake to find yourself twenty-five? I am sorry you have not heard from me for a long time. It was because I wanted to live lightly like a piece of thread. Without being weighed down by anything at all.


poem in Korean




It was an age when the beauty of the world drove you mad
liquified in your veins
and fed the sadness of your future death

Only self-immolation could cool your heat



he had a dirty-blond goatee
the hem of his pants were frayed
and the threads dragged


he said he was a football player
in high school
then giggled


in the dark of his small room
we sat on the floor
drinking plum tea


listening to King Crimson
waiting for the sun on the mountain
out in the hall people laughed



This is how I’ll remember it:
An argument on the interstate
and coffee in Tucson.
Somebody came over to our table
and said, “See that guy, he’s very smart — but he’s given to drink.”
Thinking about luxuries
driving through the suburban landscape
saying to myself:
“The suburbs aren’t so bad — not bad at all.
I’m sick of the dinge and the fringe —
So, this is what there is.”
And my wild, fragile youth
***********************passed away
like that.






Paradise Lost


When the day came into view today
I mean I felt its soft warmth
I felt the world relent
or that’s how it felt.
I remembered that I was once young and happy.
Of course then I didn’t know I was young
because I didn’t know what old was.
And I didn’t know I was happy because
I didn’t know what the world was.
Now I just remember and call it happy.
I’m not happy, I can’t be happy anymore but
I can remember being happy.