Kim Hyesoon


Mr. Scream, my life’s guide
Thanks to you I still stand upright
When you burn fiercely I grow brighter
When you burn fiercely a passerby turns around to look at me
My body is midday, leaked from night
or it may be insomnia worse than a dream
Tonight I send my regards to you, an electrical current
Hello Mr. Scream!
I’ll feed you my daily anguish every day

I never know how to leave you
I don’t know the way

A frog charged with your electricity croaks all night
The charged stems of silver grass
flare up in white-gold
The grasshoppers that spatter flames with their mouths
gnaw away at the crop in the rice paddy

As if I am riding on a whale that is gasping for air
the lightening sky trembles
and my skirt charged with electricity
opens like a parachute
Everyone will be able to see me
even if I fly far away

I wouldn’t be able to look outside my body
if it weren’t for the bundle of screams inside me
I wouldn’t be able to say what I’ve just said
While you pull up the water column from my insides like a water fountain
and make it stand like this and drag me around
I would most likely stay alive with my eyes gleaming

My beloved Mr. Scream, a hundred-watt bulb lights up inside my mouth
then I swallow the anguish-filled scream ahahah till the night explodes
ahahah I still don’t know how to let you out
so I convulse like a winter tree charged by electricity in a pitch dark night

Kim, Hyesoon is one of the most prominent poets of South Korea. She lives in Seoul and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Kim’s poetry in translation can be found in When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish, 2005), Anxiety of Words (Zephyr, 2006), and Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (Action Books, 2008), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (Action Books, 2011), and Princess Abandoned (Tinfish, 2012).