Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
Even when I walk alone at night,
even when someone quietly follows me into the back alley,
I believe flowers will bloom.
I believe the stink and the pollen will trigger my allergies.
I believe in white blossoms because they wither.
I believe the girl who reveals her white nape under the flowering tree
will receive merciless love.
Drag out the furniture and memorabilia,
tear open the curtains
and look at my body.
It is steeped in sounds and colours that touch the heart.
My love, O love,
look at what it hides from you.
I believe in today’s news.
I believe in the travelling theatre.
I believe that the music and the circus won’t ever return.
I believe no music or reading will interrupt me.
No demolition or bombing raids will ruin my dinner.
O love, you’ll buzz in and out like a fly.
You’ll go on like this for a little while, then stop.
The flowers bloom even when I barely water them.
Some flowers sprout even though the soil is parched.
Those kinds of flowers are terrifying.
I put on a mask and flee.
the thief who escaped from the dark alley
might have been my lover waiting for me.
the killing won’t end, the raping won’t end,
and more wars will flare up.
we’ll divvy up our pointless flaws
and finally disappear without ever making things good.
Copyright 2017 Kim Yideum. Translated from the Korean by Jiyoon Lee.
Published in Modern Poetry in Translation. Reprinted in Vox Populi for educational use only.