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4 Poems || Hailji

A Thought on the Bag

The lame postman sleeps
In his postal bag,
The blind doctor sleeps
In his case,
And the deaf-mute fiddler sleeps
Under the cover of his violin.
Everyone has a bag
To sleep inside,
Because there is nobody who is really right-handed.
It’s true,
In certain monarchies
Like Japan,
They still sleep
In their shoes
Or in their pockets.
But, since the revolution,
In our village,
It’s prohibited.
Then, everyone prepares his bag.
But me,
I don’t have a bag,
Because I am not lame blind nor deaf-mute.
So, I decided to sleep
In a drawer with my swallows
As you decided to sleep
In a pot with your frogs
And your daughter decided to sleep
In a matchbox.
The Carnal Pleasures of the Ditches
The ditches in my drawer have no fatherland
As all of the daughters of cowherds
Do not wear pants.
Then, all of my ditches can enjoy their carnal pleasures.
They violate the night,
The night gives birth to fishes,
The fishes violate a piano,
The piano conceives an airplane.
The carnal pleasures of my ditches are ticklish
Like the song of the earthworms,
The earthworms on heat in May.
Then, all of my ditches twist their ashamed parts,
Exploding with laughter,
An innocent laughter,
A ticklish laughter.
The carnal pleasures of my ditches are floating
Like a hippodrome,
The hippodrome which flows in the sky.
Then, during the night, all of my ditches wander
Like merry vagrants
About the forest, the city, the port,
Even as far as the battlefield in the North.
The carnal pleasures of my ditches are wet
Like a certain white good-bye,
A good-bye which let thousands and thousands of birds
To fly into the red sky.
So, my dear ditches wet the night, the fishes, the piano, the airplanes,
And the feet of Julia,
Even my pillow.
The ditches in my drawer can enjoy their carnal pleasures.
Then, each night,
They are violated
By the forest, by the fishes, by the piano, by the airplanes
Like I was violated
By my snakes.
The Swallows of My Grandmother
The swallows of my grandmother are not similar
With my swallows
And with the swallows of my snakes.
They nest in the fireplace,
In the wall clock,
And in the piano,
Even in an old violin.
So, they are badly raised,
Like the earthworms in May
Like the drunk Russian shells.
Each time that the wall clock sounds,
All the swallows fly
From the fireplace,
From the wall clock,
From the piano,
Even from the old violin,
Chirping like the coppice which burns,
Like jealous ducks.
To live with so many swallows badly raised is not so good,
Like marrying a left-handed woman is not so good.
But, each one has his hippodrome
As each one holds his white cane in the hand.
So, one day,
I asked my grandmother,
Why you don’t open the drawers of your cupboard
So that your swallows nest inside.
But she only smiled
Without answering
On an old photograph, yellowed.
On the Hill in my Drawer
    To Kerry Shawn Keys
On the hill, in my drawer,
I put all that I possess to flight:
My collection of butterflies,
My accordion,
My colored pencils,
And my white cane too.
Because it is blowing
On the hill of my drawer.
It’s true,
Last year,
I could put more things to flight
On the windy hill:
My airplanes,
My piano,
My fish,
And my vermilion armchair too.
But, this year,
I cannot do so many things,
Because, this year,
I could not possess so much
In my small drawer.
So, I am sorry for the wind
Not to put
Enough things to flight.
On the hill, in my drawer,
I think over what my father let fly away
On his windy hill.
At that time,
They put to flight more than today.
Because, at that time,
They harvested more than today.
This year also,
After having left everything to fly away,
I return late
Taking away my own corpse on my shoulders.
When I arrived at the village,
The night fell until my knees,
And the black dogs barked
Toward me or to my corpse.
Hailji has written over 10 novels in Korean and has published books of poetry in both English and in French. In 1990 his novel On The Road To The Racetrack was adapted to the screen to much critical acclaim. His prose has been translated into many languages. One of his most recent titles, Uzupis Republik was a bestseller in Lithuanian in 2013. Many years ago he was made the Korean ambassador to the Uzupis Republik, a position he holds until death. Hailji’s novel Statement will be available in the U.S in 2014.