Autumn Like a Dog by Choe Seung-ja

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Darcy L.Brandel

Photography by Lee Sang-youp

Autumn Like a Dog by Choe Seung-ja

Autumn invades like a dog.
An autumn like syphilis
and death visits on
twilight’s paralyzed leg.

Everything loses moisture
the borders of roads wear down
the old singer’s voice on a record warps
hello, is this Jooksun? Hey Jooksun? Jooksun?
a phone line loses a receiver in the empty air
and lovers who leave never return, not even in dreams.

And at time’s barroom where memory’s stagnated water
reeks endlessly of horse piss
I, disheveled, ask in the voice of a person waking from a coma
How far have we come? How far should we go
to see the river turning into the sea?

개 같은 가을이

개같은 가을이 쳐들어온다.
매독같은 가을.
그리고 죽음은, 황혼 그 마비된
한 쪽 다리에 찾아온다.

모든 사물이 습기를 잃고
모든 길들의 경계선이 문드러진다.
레코드에 담긴 옛 가수의 목소리가 시들고
여보세요 죽선이 아니니 죽선이지 죽선아
전화선이 허공에서 수신인을 잃고
한번 떠나간 애인들은 꿈에도 다시 돌아오지 않는다.

그리고 그리고 괴어있는 기억의 폐수가
한없이 말 오줌 냄새를 풍기는 세월의 봉놋방에서
나는 부시시 죽었다 깨어난 목소리로 묻는다.
어디 만큼 왔나 어디까지 가야
강물은 바다가 될 수 있을까?

(Originally published in The Gwangju News, March 2012)

Choe Seung-ja (1952- ) was born in Yongi, Chungcheongnam-do. She studied German literature at Korea University. Her poetry collections include Love in This Age, A Pleasant Diary, The House of Memory, My Grave—Green, Lovers, and Forlorn and Faraway. Often employing extreme, radical language and imagery, she writes to resist social discrimination, especially patriarchy.

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