from Crow’s Eye View

I Sang

Poem 9 Muzzle
Every day was a spate of gusts and now a largish hand touches my waist. Just when the smell of my sweat seeps through the ecstatic vales of my fingerprints: fire. I shall fire. In my digestive tract I feel the stout gun barrel its slick muzzle kissing the back of my clenched teeth. Then at the moment I close my eyes for the blast just what have I spit in lieu of a bullet.

Poem 10 Butterfly

In the tattered wallpaper I see a dying butterfly. It’s a secretive mouthpiece a hotline to the other world. One day in my glassed beard I see a dying butterfly withered and feeding on the poor dew that respiration makes. If I die with my palm over the mouthpiece the butterfly too shall spring away. Words like these are never to be let out.

Poem 11

The porcelain cup resembles my skull. When I clutch that cup my arm shoots out a graft of an arm whose hand raises high the porcelain cup to slam it down on the floor. Since my arm defends the porcelain cup with its life shattered to a thousand shivers is my skull which resembles the porcelain cup. If my arm had moved before the branched arm could slither back into my arm the blank sheet dam will have been torn. Still my arm’s defense of the porcelain cup is as ever unrelenting.

Poem 12

Down swoops a loose bundle of dirty laundry. It’s a flight of white pigeons. Campaigning the end of the war from the other side of that palm-sized piece of the sky. The pigeons pile around mucking out their plumes. Here on this side of the palm-sized sky a foul war commences and the filth clubbed to death. Once the air is rendered sooty the flock again takes wing to the other side of the palm-sized sky.

Poem 13

My arms and the razor blade, clenched by them fell. Upon inspection they are as though, menaced by something and sickly pale. These two limbs which I had thus lost I, hoisted to embellish my room with candlelight. Even dead they, seem all the more fearful of me. Such a nuance I find lovelier even than the potted flower.

Poem 14

In front of that old castle is a field of grass and on the grass I have laid my hat. From the battlement I tied a weighty stone to all that I remembered and cast it off with all my might. The sad cry of history’s trajectory against its own parabola. Suddenly I see down below a beggar standing like a totem pole next to my hat. In truth that mendicant is at a higher place than me. Or is it the specter of a synthesized history. The depth of my hat which is open to the air cries out for an imminent sky. In a wink the mendicant shaking like a leaf stoops and tosses a rock into my hat. Already I passed out. A map is visible where the heart is routed to the skull. A cold cold hand chills my forehead to the bone. Branding in my forehead a handprint to stay.

Poem 15

I find myself in an interior with no mirror. Me-in-the-mirror has surely gone out. For fear of him I tremble. From where and how does this sinister figure machinate against me.

In a cooled bed I slept cradling a crime. I was absent in my certain dream and my military boots which held prosthetics soiled my dream’s blank sheets.

I steal into an interior with a mirror. To release me from the mirror. But crestfallen and without fail he too and in sync enters. Bestows his regret upon me. Imprisoned by me as I am by him me-in-the-mirror too trembles.

My dream where I am absent. My mirror where my counterfeit does not appear. Yearner for my solitude to whom even incompetence is OK. Finally I have decided to prescribe suicide to him. I indicate the awning window which does not even have a view. The sole purpose of that window is suicide. But he cannot go before I kill myself he instructs me. Me-in-the-mirror is almost a deathless bird.

I occulted my heart with metal held the pistol up to the mirror and aiming leftward the chest pulled the trigger. The bullet dug into where his heart should be but his heart is to the right.

Crimson ink spilled out from the carbon heart. In my dream to which I am late I’ve been sentenced to capital punishment. It is not I who rules my dreams. I am guilty of a grave crime for holding captive the very two who cannot even shake hands.

translated from the Korean by Dan Kwon