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Read translator Jake Levine's interview with Kim Kyung Ju.
Below freezing my beautiful sugar is melting. Ugh. Like bacteria, floating snowflakes. People come out on the streets and are hit by snow like “D”. They say if lots of snow falls on the body, the body melts. With soft feet we climb to the roof and text. I miss you. Below freezing tonight, they say they will give us a blanket because it is cold. My beautiful sugar is melting. I have to buy new bird feed. Tonight, below freezing, will the snow fall “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La” and sleep fly through the window? At dawn while watching falling snow through the dormitory window “Do Rae Mi Fa So La” like a charcoal brick, I took one shit. Ugh. My beautiful sugar is melting, but if the bird freezes to death I must sit on the chair with my eyes open all night. My brother who wrote beautiful poems put me up a barren tree. He told me they say if you are holding the bird that died with its eyes open, you must fly following the floating snow in the eyes of the dead bird. You must fly all night and that’s life. Brother, where are those sentences now? Dig a dog hole in the wall. Got to buy bird feed, but the plastic earrings I bought keep falling on the floor. My beautiful sugar is melting and the bugs that melted to death in the sugar bite their nests and fly away. Every time I carry down the off-white panties I hung on the roof, piece by piece against my chest, where does our sugar fly off to? My calves break like sugar cubes. My beautiful sugar is melting and red snow inside my head flies wildly. Gathering next to the wall, we pass around the frozen gum from our pockets. My beautiful sugar is melting and snowflake fins waft in the city. Below freezing, I want to live whispering at night and curl my eyelashes like a mannequin. Ugh. Dreams where I wear pajamas and am packing boxes are awful. My sugar is melting, but I am Spearmint. I am Juicy Fruit. Underneath my skirt, gym clothes. Underneath my skirt, gym clothes. Like lowering panties in a cramped bathroom, goodbyes are not as embarrassing as ideas. Ugh. My beautiful sugar is melting, but I am inside the snowman I made. Will you come and play at my grave? I will give you all the deer I carved from soap.
Does the existence of time have anything to do with God?—Levinas, “Le temps et l’autre”
South Korean poet Kim Kyung Ju has written and translated over 10 books of poetry, essays, and plays. Widely considered the progenitor of the Korean new-wave movement “Miraepa” (“Future Movement”), his first collection of poems, I Am A Season That Does Not Exist, is already in its 30th edition.
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