by Kim Yi-Deum, translated by Ji Yoon Li
A Sealed Woman
The panties, soaked in menses, which started—earlier than the usual time of the month—while I was walking on the street. Wearing the panties that I took off from a Venus mannequin, I met up with him. Patterns of red tomatoes, the squishy seeds trickled down the crotch. The seaside motel, soaked in the smell of mudflats. The rooms’ salty moaning, curses rolling on the creaking beds, curses. Vomiting the spermbugs that I struggled to swallow, I need to be plugged, even during my period, like a mannequin that finally stops feeling depressed only when sealed with a cock.
A waterbed, the billowing sea. A black whale, panting, swallows a mannequin, no, in the black stomach the mannequin is mincing the whale’s heart with her plastic teeth.
In the casket of a white bathtub: through the red hole with a broken mesh strainer, jelly-like eyeballs, four of them, drain out before the bubbles. They go to the ocean, infiltrating a mammal’s body, now sleek from a thousand years of erosion. The Mother that clings like tangled hair in a drainpipe is the source of the wailing that appears whenever I want to live. I want to go to the Urticate coast to follow the whales. You can go after killing me. Inside the Mother, who is already sprayed into the sea, there are hundreds, thousands of mothers in the midst of their water burial; if she lets me go, the dinner table under the sea will become amicable. So as not to surface again, I must be sealed deep in the sea bottom, like a casket.
About the time when this especially appealing song is ending
I sluggishly emerge from the dark room and write its lyrics on the wall.
The lyrics I wrote last time are tangled up like vines on the wall.
I was suckling a woman’s scanty breasts, drunk with the song,
Don’t leave me, don’t abandon me.
The lovers are grilling fish in the hay-smelling wall,
And the woman who abandoned me won’t come looking for me.
The unknowable lyrics in the language of a foreign country are being written,
Smoothly untangled into my mother tongue,
As if they went through an automatic translator.
Every time I exhale, the tender young leaves and twigs of consonants and vowels fall.
I have to breathe in the blackish whirlwind and hold the breath.
In a confused dream I am transcribing the lyrics with my eyes closed, and suddenly
The sound of the song fades out into rain and snow and scatters.
I pull my ear.
I hurriedly push the wall open and take a step beyond the sound.
A woman, with deep-seated eyes that can barely see, wields her thin and bright arms.
The only hand that can cover your mouth is your hand, please stop, sweet baby.
This rotten foreign tongue, this song that calls for us, this depressing song is eating through you.
Listen to the chorus of the dead who sing along every night, drunk with the spices of your song.
Let me leave now.
If I knew the woman would be this sad, I would have started sooner.
I start off the song on a whim; my questionable remains will fill in the chorus.
Like sleet, which falls in the doubts of water,
When the wall smells like dried hay and a tender sound caresses my cheek,
I, asleep, rise, as if someone is leading me, and lick the wall
And slowly descend the old staircase in the wall.
I am a cargo, a shipping container dripping with fetid water. As soon as I am shipped over, hurriedly packed and transported, I take everything into my mouth, I am a food disposal, an astronaut suit, made in a hole-in-the-wall home-factory, with a tear in the corner, which would have been abandoned on a church doormat. The more meticulously they look into it, the vaguer my origin becomes. If it wasn’t for its infant seizure, this bothersome parcel would have been exported to Canada or the United States of America after getting off the slide. In a clogged up backroom, in which it is hard to tell where it’s going, I am tied up in a form that is easy to be thrown into the corner. Like this, going through the storage yard of a whorehouse in the night, finally arriving at the distribution center. What the hell was this thing before? This is nothing useful. There is no need for a processing fee, since it is to be thoroughly given away during unloading; this flotsam, which used to be some sort of organism, quite a bit political…
The night before opening a Barbie repair shop at the site of out-of-business mental hospital
He came into my studio dragging his slippers. Holding onto his shadow whose thick coat and boots were about to fall off, he made such a fuss, I thought my boredom the size of my muffler would be swept away. Taking my hat off, I greet him as uncaringly as possible. I don’t care about the impression I make, I just hope my costume won’t get crumpled. I had to go through this ruin of a city to find this place. Why are the store signs unnecessarily heaping up? He tries to throw his boot at me, but it doesn’t come off, so he grabs me by the throat and slaps me around a few times.
My mood is greatly improved, and I lay him down, stripping everything that might be valuable off his body. He is not letting go of his red spandex underpants, however. There used to be doctors who insisted on changing into their white gowns, no matter how urgent the situation was. Since all doctors--even the baby ones-- died out, all the medications are all mixed up. There were a few visitations by the scientists who were worried that the virus from the sterilizing facility was moving into the city, but I quickly eliminated those trash who were concerned with the end of the world but couldn’t see what was coming for them in a minute. Later, I am going to take down the store sign from this building, open the closet, and label the clothes by the name of people who wore them while they were alive. I’m always lethargic; even now I don’t even have energy to talk, and to get here I had to be piggybacked here by the shadow. Why are the staircase all twisted, and why is your mouth so reddish? I encourage him to continue whining and he is delighted at my vague responses.
He will be fed the drugs from other hospital, and moved to the middle of wasteland called the Dream. He will look forward to stop dreaming in the Dream. Fitting to his title, the Genius Actor, his lips has a machinegun attached to it. Every time he breathes the assemblage-esque bullets would flow out of every hole on his body like frozen sherbet. Are these what you call neuropsychiatry? I’m always melancholy. There is no battlefield, but only bullets, and that’s no fun at all. About where should I shoot myself? This disgusting life of mine, I will end it about here-ish. In Mime Development Project, there are some people who wants to continue working for the yet-to-be-milked profit, and some people who is trying to fulfill their responsibility, and some people who shake a can at others for spare change, while being nitpicky about right and wrong, and among those people I make a crazy havoc, trying to run away, but I never dreamed of something called wing, so I just float around once in a while. Heeheehee. It’d be too lame and banal if I disappear every single day for no good reason. My body is of the fairest of the fair. My thoughts are clever and foul, not entirely wholesome. Unless I make a mistake, there is no sincerity in my confession, no heart in my acts, and I’m just trying to figure out how to feed myself without having to work. How desperate do you have to be to write this on raggedy pieces of clothes.
Now now, shall we start? I suggest, rubbing my palms together. Boring depositions are not worth listening to, it’s for the best to leave them alone. For the man who battles his own shadow, even this amount of vaginal fluid or menstrual fluid won’t work; there is no reason to stiffen his testicle, like the time I was getting married to Grampa Jolia. I plan to stop this uninteresting attempt at analyzing them, but to exhibit the clothes from deathbeds. I have flying leather belts and bulletproof vest, which murders the wearer. I will be putting on hundreds of dresses, putting gloves on thousands of shoes, and sinking my head all the way into the deep hat at the same time. Now then slowly pucker your asshole, ohno ohno ohno, without fluttering your ear, bite down your tongue and think of the unhappiest moment of your life. What are you doing, giggling?
Giggle Giggle Kierkegaard’s diary has a sentence like this. It’s a story written by some religious author; according to the parable, Mother Mary made a pair of clothes for Christ when he was a child, and when he grew up the clothes grew up with him! If he was a fan of Mary, his drawers must have been full of corpses, come over here.
Thanks to him cutting and eating my tongue, spreading my asshole excessively, I am brought to reminisce about my childhood gratifyingly. I have been stripped naked and been dead for a while, and looking for a white t-shirt in the big closet, Where am I? I loudly exchange words from pantomime stuttering. Even when several episodes of seizure occur, crumpling the hat must be avoided. He tries persuading me to hold off all the acting. He cries that he is trying his best not to be banished from his clothes. Finally, O God, my prim goddess, kneeling down, he is sinking into me. To prevent him from going crazy and ripping up the expensive shoes and hat, I let myself be.
Your song sways me, stirs me, even now after all that
Looking down upon me, smiling at me, working hard for me, you sing. Wrapped in white lace swaddling clothes
I am very Benny good man swing swing I sway
Your song is curried sausage, half burnt piece of bread
I am a fish, following the falling bread crumbs, moving from one surface of water to another
Your song is a dead bird on my bedside
You left a black chorus on top of me, being worried that I would be woken up
I do not interrupt, I do not cause any more scenes, your song is a dead rat by my bedside
Inside the dead rat’s gut is an endlessly beautiful thing
You climb up to my mattress with a face like wet cherry cake
You lean your body in and row the boat
when I can’t breathe, drowning in the water surface
Do you like this?
Do you wanna touch this?
Can I cum?
Like a fish with an opened mouth in a display stand I cannot get my eyes to open. After going through my heart and gut, pressing your ears on them, you smell them. If I pretend to be asleep you will leave. If I fall asleep all the way you will leave.
Yet again your song sways me, stirs me. Even now after all that. On the soaking wet mattress you kneel and caress my forehead. Your song is a dead rat by my bedside. Inside its gut are swarming sugarball-like things. The song tides into my ears. Going through my heart and gut, grabbing my waist, it crawls up into my brain. O my love, now please rest. I’m a mattress that flickers in and out, drifting from one water surface to another all the time. Your choruses press their ears on me. Try again all of you, sing your song as one pair of lips. Everything will be okay. Pat, pat. As if to caress me from the bottom of my feet to the tip of my head, this zipper is being pulled up, your chorus.