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One Video/Poem : Soeun Seo

Passion is feeding  / all your innards loop by loop / to ever-hungry spaces that can’t be filled, letting it take / all of you split to the last strand of hair, dropped / where it disappeared, / spending everything from skin to toe in minuscule embrace, / never warming whole, and being delivered fresh / out the other end, / sacred and profane.”

Soeun Seo is a poet/translator from South Korea. Her translations of Kim Yi-deum’s poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review and Circumference. Her original works can be found at Potluck Magazine, Witch Craft Magazine, and Fuck Art, Let’s Dance!

SAFE TRAVELS, DON’T DIE

on the last night I felt like my futon was a boat and we were spooning along the Lethe

toward our deaths and in our mouths instead of coins there were pieces of chocolate
hell was warm all around us like blankets

I wasn’t sure if we were dead but I didn’t want to be certain

I’ve returned and you are leaving

promises are addicting because we don’t believe them

I’ve started to take note of where the stars hide in this neighborhood

remember when we walked along the bushes and watched how the night fades
beginning with the shades of the forest

the lagoon sat perfectly still holding in the ghosts of buildings
like a breath underseas, under siege

how many times did you get lost in that forest to find the perfect shadow
to hide in and feed me berries
like a secret or a promise

we kept finding each other closer than we thought

and it scared me

if I hold out my hand you would take it—small yellow flowers sing cheerfully by the cliff
but we are not supposed to pluck them

Traveller, I know of the magic you are about to enter
beauty will boil over the roads you step and you will crouch to lap them up

but so much magic can make you feel so mortal

careful not to forget what you looked like in the mirror

traveling starts to feel a lot like being lost
you get so used to taking off you want to leave your own shadow behind

I feel the most homeless when I gaze at a new city and it stares back at me
because it knows I will walk out on it shortly

if on some evenings you find yourself lost I hope it will console you to think of me
thinking of you at a beach neither of us would call home

I am imagining you back into my studio so we can be naked together

we dance for Dionysus and forget where we put the condoms

you tell me I feel like home and I like your lies a lot but I should
be honest—I don’t know where home is either

a strip of opalescent night sky hangs over the eaves of student slums like streamers

today I sat on the tree over that cliff to watch the evening bruise the sky in professionally
perfect pink gradations
the moon stared down
a glittering boat for drunken dismimeanors

a wind took me by the neck and told me to keep my fucking eyes open

because the best wonders are the ones you can’t share

and a wonder is only wondrous if it scares you a bit

it feels like death, eternal peace in a casket with room for a few more bodies

someday I could lie on your back and feel your voice tremble your skin as you try to describe it
but that is another promise

go now, my rambler, the world is out there, and when you are roaming remember

beauty persists in estrangement

and you are most strange when you are lonely


“Safe Travels, Don’t Die” is previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #013

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