Wilted Yellow Rose (creative translation)

Note: Original in Korean

Hibiscus has bloomed *
Expectation, a silent, crunching step,
slides down my spine
As I shudder at its moist fingertips,
with a whisper it enters my mind

Flowers droop, whirling, squashed shadow
A crumpled piece of paper left behind in the ribcage
A hole in the Hanji ** by the wet tongue
bruise, slithering through, paralysing the whole body

Softly licking the frozen lumps of blood
and placing a kiss on the subsiding wound
I pour another cup of flower alcohol
and seek sleep in the eye of the vortex

 

Annotations:
* Hibiscus syriacus is the precise translation of the Korean national flower, 무궁화. “Hibiscus has bloomed” is the name of a game for children in which one person turns their back on the other players, and while covering the eyes, that person chants out loud “Hibiscus has bloomed”. During that time, the other players can advance from the starting line. Once the chanter finishes the sing-song sentence and turns their head, everyone must freeze. The goal is to get near to the chanter and to tap that person’s back while it is turned.

** Hanji is a traditional type of paper from Korea, which has been produced and used for close to 2000 years. Among other things, it also used to be applied to the frames of doors and windows, because Hanji offered a good protection against the wind. However, because it was made of paper, a bit of wetness could easily tear through it.

시든 노란 장미

무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다
어느새 사각사각 다가와
척추를 타고 흘러내리는 기대
차가운 손끝에 움찔하는 순간
속삭이듯 내 마음 안으로 들어온다

꽃이 지고 팔랑팔랑 짓밟힌 그림자
흉곽안에 남은 구겨진 종이 한 장
축축한 혀가 뚫고 간 한지 사이로
남겨진 멍자국이 온 몸을 마비시켜

얼어붙은 핏덩어리를 할짝할짝 삼켜서
사그라드는 흉터에 입을 맞추고
꽃술을 한 잔 더 따라
소용돌이의 눈 안에서 잠을 청하네

돌아왔습니다 (I’m home)

Spread, spread your wings
Dancing along the wind
Sailing through the currents

Close, close your eyes
Listen to your heart’s string vibrate
A clear mirror of lake of pulse beats 

Pour, pour your life’s blood
With fervor and ice-cold determination
Into the flash point – your passion lights the flame of soul – intersects with life – a moment of pure beauty

Yes I’m home
And I’ll leave
And I’ll return
This is the only way I know how
Through the hearts

帰りたい

How convenient
it would be
if I could name my emotions
if there was one logical explanation for my actions

How easy
it could be
if I only needed to learn more, learn the correct things
for my life to make sense

하고 싶었지만 다 못한 말을
솔직하게 정직하게 진심으로
말할 수 있다면
고함칠 수 있다면
속삭여도 좋으니까

帰りたい

I was built to endure
but so fragile
oh my heart
encased in glass
in the name of: Education. Flexibility. Better chances. Better human.
When you get lost
listen to music
My heart shuddered
and the glass cracked

Tränen
Heiße Quellen des Lebens
Eine Reihe leerer Flaschen
Kein einziger Tropfen bleibt
für mein Herz

Dead petals gathering dust
That’s my heart
A useless thing
yielding to Reason, to Logic, to Ideal
Do my captors realize
a dead heart is soaked in poison
oozing toxic blood
in the name of love?

부러진 날개
아무리 날갯짓을 해도
돌아갈수 없어

帰れない

When we carry our wounds
do we become stronger?

non-choice and choice

Flower names, fruits, vegetables, colors.
Family members, buildings, holidays.
Computer keyboards, sweets, lullabies.
Clothing items, special dishes, TV stations.
Cartoon characters, children’s books, playground games.
Your childhood’s language.

Chemical formula, triangles, grammar rules.
Darwin’s theories, musical notes, basic economics.
Political parties, 20th century history, paintings.
Pop songs’ lyrics, texting, TV shows, bestsellers.
Your high school’s language.

Abstraktionsprinzip, conditio sine qua non, Subsidiarität.
Cranberry morpheme, tetrameter, typology, hartstikke goed.
Intersectionality,  vulnerability, interconnectedness, nonconcordance.
Your profession’s, your interests’ language.

Love. Friendship. Relationship.
Your emotion’s language.

Letters, poems, confessions, apologies.
Your heart’s language.

When did you choose?

wordless

Words swimming

Disjointed, broken, sharp, always too sharp

All the wrong things
I wanted to say
All the right things

Words
I study them
My fingers move to produce them
Air hisses from my throat to pronounce them

I write and write and write
Useless and irrelevant
Moving the pieces across to make them new
I can’t write what I mean

Words
They fail me
I coax them, they won’t come
Wrong, they are all wrong

I swing my ax
Hack them to pieces
Stumps of alphabets
Black-and-white fragments

They are not real
We made them up
A construct in our head, mind, soul
Why do we care so much?
How would we live without them?

Speakers of my heart
Painful song of my soul
A mirror, a lake reflection
Distorted, jagged, blown away

I can’t speak
Words
They fail me

off the cliff

Finally finding myself
Looking the way I want to
Behaving the way I feel like
Saying the way I think

No longer trying to break out of my skin
Ambiguity, uncertainty, contradictory
Fluidity, identities, changes –
Welcome! Be a part of me!

So there I am, all parts assembled together
The world embraces me the way I am
Finally being who I want to be
Surrounded by encouragements and smiles
All I ever wanted – so why am I not running to the center?
Why am I afraid to touch me, to embrace me?

Look, a mirage, I might disappear when I get too close
What if this is all a dream, too sweet to wake up from?

The trained response to duck my head
Blend in, don’t cause a scene
Hiding in my own shadows
Afraid of the full light showcasing all of me

I don’t I don’t I don’t

I don’t wanna live that way anymore
I’m not running away anymore
The only person I can be is me
There’s no wrong or no right way

Throw up your arms, let that laugh burst out
Rejoice in the self-discovery
Your delight has been buried for so long
Hug me tight, lift me up, toss me in the air
I’m not going anywhere; you’ll always be there

Numbers don’t brand you
Words don’t define you
They are there, but what are you going to do with them?

It’s as hard to face the light as it is to face the dark
It’s as scary to see every corner as it is to see none

You’re more than the sum of your faults, your virtues
Don’t be afraid of yourself; it’s okay to look
Your life is more than what you’re good at
Leave a piece of yourself in everything you do
I promise, there’s an unimagined hugeness of you

You’ve already got the key
Lift it up, close it in your fist
Push it in, gently
Turn it, deliberately
A step back, then leap off

A whole of You is waiting for you

fate

Do you believe in fate?
Meant to be. Soul mate. Forever love.
Pretty words – hiding desperate loneliness

Pick any person from your acquaintance
Convince yourself you are meant-to-bes
Evidence will tumble down
Interpretation becomes colored glasses
Repeat and rinse until you’re surrounded by soul mates
What now?

Don’t turn away from love
Love everyone and yourself
Love as a state of being
Not as a goal to be achieved

Free fall
They say love is exhilarating
Yes let yourself fall
Only it’s not your forever love’s arms waiting to catch you
We are all one, I’m you, we are us
Our arms wait to catch you
When warmth envelopes you from behind
You won’t know its face but trust anyway
Trust yourself to fall
Trust yourself to be caught

Do you believe in fate?

remains

Flames, be it big or small
Fascinating
Their dangers are their beauty
Their lethality is our survival

I once laid my hand in the flame
And it welcomed me
So I let myself be embraced in its love and care

The next time I wanted to plunge in
It rejected me with blisters that burst, bled and scabbed over
What’s wrong, my love?
It did not answer

After that I was wary
The wounds wouldn’t heal
Sligthest chill made them bleedAnd flow like my tears

Knowledge gained, fruit consumed;
Once I saw its moodiness and unpredictability
I couldn’t unsee
Every time I approach heavy dread slows me down
Will it welcome me? Will it burn me alive?
Or: Will it extinguish itself, choosing non-existence over me?

So many bright sparks around me
But I’m afraid to step forward
Every burn has a pulse in my veins
Every extinction another blow to my heart
A bloody, beaten, dripping mess

I tried closing my eyes but the flames danced upon my lids
I tried turning my back until loneliness cut through to my core
I tried, countless times, imagining a beautiful spark coming to life in my palms
Each time it died without a trace and left an ever-lasting coldness behind

Make no mistake,
I’ve plenty fires surrounding me
They give me light, lend me their warmth
They comfort me wordlessly over every hurt
I’ve gotten so used to them I forget they exist
I take their hugs for granted
But their presence is no forever-guarantee
They forget, they die, they leave, but they also remain

I forget I am a flame too
I burn brightly to hide my scars
I am the barely visible embers to stay undetected
You might be afraid of me
Will I caress you? Or will I annihilate you without a backward glance?

Everything eventually withers
We all go back to ashes
Dust becomes nothingness
But we all carry each other as scars
We keep each other alive