Poetry Spring 2018

“Sad Gay” and Four Poems – Che Ho-ki

“Sad Gay” and Four Poems

By Che Ho-ki
Translated by Jae Hyung Woo

Your Death Was I

Scooping out my two eyes
I bury you there.

My remaining life,
blinded,
flies crookedly
Where does it fall?

If there still
are days to
cast a glance here
It would be for
nobody’s eyelashes but
for you
behind the bars made of thorns.

For your death was I
what my blinded body can do is
that which nobody can ever see—
Your body beyond death

In my tear glands I soak
your two weary feet.

 

Fish 2

A long time ago
soaked in my eyes was
the fresh
dazzling wrist of yours
that waved goodbye while turning halfway

Now entering my big eyes
boiling from the sorrow of farewell
you swim in the lake of the iris
like a fish, my love,

Please stop flopping
My iris is sloshing The billows
overflow endlessly at the rim of my eyes
If the billows roll, my sight will become mottled
and I would see you no more

Like the writhing regret of that night,
Oh! The tide is growing fierce,
striking and shattering
at the shore of my head and the cliff of my chest

My dear, please sleep!
Do not agitate your love-ridden head
Close your eyes inside my body
so I can keep you forever,
my sweetheart in my eyes.

 

Sad Gay

1.
Your two eyes on my palm
I pull out my eyes and put them in my sockets.
Erasing my nose and my mouth and my ears
I cover them with your nose and your mouth and your ears.
Pulling my hair out
I cover my head
with yours.

My face disappears
and your face reflects on the mirror
I smile, like you.
Your vivid smile of the past,
I mimic it.
Until my thought is your thought
I repeat and repeat.

I am not an actor performing you.
I become you, living your life.

2.
On swollen
breasts smooth like a glass
sprout nipples that have the scent of coffee.
I shave away my fuzzy hair
and spread the milky cream
on finely toasted bread
and cover it thinly with chocolate.
Just like your tasty skin.

I branch off my male
and nest your female.
For the warm eggs that have just been laid
to hatch safely
away from idling birds and snakes
I nest female
amidst a thick pile of leaves.

3.
You who are revived in the mirror
, on your face I press
my—your finger.
Putting cherry lipstick on my lips
I compare the colors of my tongue and lips.
White sheep, my cloud-like teeth,
hide quickly between the red apples, and
like a window, I flip open
my closed eyelashes—window frames
—as I tighten my loose eyebrows.
There,
in your tears
and in your eyes that are locked up,
I cry. Shaking my shoulders,
biting my lips,
I bite back my tears
like you have done before.

It’s shaking The world
where you are contained
is shaking.

4.
I pull up the dove gray stockings
and cover the thigh
That resembles silvery fish.
Like caressing the bedroom curtain,
my fingers painted in pink nail polish
buoyantly brush against my rose-patterned underpants.
As if your hand is covering it,
a brassiere wraps my ripened breast
on top of which is an ivory sweater.
A dark gray skirt.

When a wind like a whisper
blows into my ears,
weeping willows slosh rhythmically,
The sagging heads of their leaves.
From your head
doves fly up,
a flock of doves flap their wings

I am not performing you.
I am living your life.

5.
Opening the tomb
you come out.
Where your tomb was——there is no tomb
water droplets roll away, glittering
under the sunlight full and overflowing.
Stones giggle underneath.
Your corpse
rises and comes——there is no corpse
The sound of your high heels, bustling,
gushes toward a high note like a bird’s song.
Brushing off the morning that dewed grass and leaves, it
walks. To me.
I who am absent see you.
So vividly
I am absent,
and you, not from recollection but
right now! You,
with the freshness of life,
come alive.

 

Gay 1

Though I rummage through
my whole body
I have nowhere to reside
I’ve thought, standing
at the brink of my body
If I were born
to the body of that flower
that rock that wave
that bird
which way would have I trodden
so far?
Following your scent dissipating in the air
I throw myself, would I be born into a body of that water foam?
At the dark crevice of the cliff a barely
bloomed flower snatches me away
you were my old self inside me

Inside a flower all women reside
and inside a woman all flowers hide
I escape the boundary of my body
and crawl up the rugged cliff to the body of yours

 

Gay 2

Who are you, standing in front of me?
You who disappear at a breath and come back.
I love you, who would have
known that you were me before, who would have
known that you were a man before.
A lipstick and long hair, long skirt and high heels, who would imagine
that a man is hiding inside, If somebody had
revealed my body a little deeper, already,
they would have found a woman who had been there long ago.

Would you understand my sorrow?
You who I loved and who I would dim away at a breath.
You who buoyantly walk
into the slim body of a trumpet,
you who are wearing me like a piece of clothes,
leaving yourself and coming into me, Finally
when I get out to the red and humble street of the evening, there,
like the yellow surveillance light of an asylum, my past lonesomely
lonesomely soaks into my life
that is now blinking precariously like an urgent ambulance siren.

 

END
Originally published in Sad Gay. December 1994.
〈너의 죽음은 나였으니〉, 〈물고기 2〉, 〈슬픈 게이〉, 〈게이 1〉, 〈게이 2〉
–《슬픈 게이》 中


P1050592

Che Ho-ki [채호기] debuted in 1988, when his poems appeared in the summer issue of Changjakgwa Bipyeong. He has published poetry anthologies Tenacious Love, Sad Gay, Telephone Booth of the Night, A Water Lily, A Finger is Hot, and Westling That You Can Only Lose. He has won the Kim Soo-young literary award and the Hyundae Si Jakpum [works of contemporary poetry] award.

 

 

Featured image is licensed under CC BY 0

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