Sijin’s Home

"Fearing the Gaze of Strangers We […] Each Other*" and "Southbound from Seoul for Eight Hours and Five Minutes" translated from the Korean by Soje

Sijin’s Home
— A house of dead stones*

We built a house
We built a house with blocks until our fingertips reddened
We built each other’s rooms even as we fought off sleep
fearing the blocks would disappear

Leaving my room for last Unni said
You’ll leave me

No sis
I even nailed the center stone in the living room for you
Now you just have to nail a no-good pimp with his erect column here
Don’t forget I love you Unni

As I
coaxed and soothed and touched my brother-in-law like Unni

she forgot about the center stone and suffered from herself and withered away in a corner of the room

Dirty desk chair hair bed and
30 years of weekends of Unni sleeping all day

So as I
coaxed and soothed and touched my brother-in-law like my Unni
in her place

he and I played a kind of hopscotch in the living room then
threw a punch at her

Dumbass don’t you know there’s barely a difference between the striker and the struck?
So we’re not the perps
Stop crying and get up Unni

Unni’s still inside the house

We shoved a steel wool pad down her windpipe and listened to her breathe as she chewchewed through the steel With the same red hands that built our house we devoured Unni whose blood was still flowing We left the bones and only ate the flesh We even ate our red fingers used to suck on

Our house made of squares Our square table where we’re squared into us

Like an old lost person with dementia Unni said she didn’t have a house

Stupid bitch

Can you really not remember anything
when we love you this much?

Nobody remembered us as the us we used to be

Unni’s still inside the house

This us set up two households in the living room and grabbed a white stone Unni cried as she stacked the leftover black stone
We knew even then
The black stone is always at a disadvantage
We knew for a fact that all the black stones go



* In the game of Go, players take turns placing stones on a wooden board, and the player who builds the most “houses” wins. By the end, there are often stones that cannot avoid capture but have not yet been completely surrounded. Usually the two players agree to remove these “dead stones” as captures.
** A player moves their stone to gongbae, the empty space where neither side benefits or loses, only when there are no other options.



Fearing the Gaze of Strangers We […] Each Other*


Hey big sis let’s live together just the two of us Don’t even bother calling Mom and Dad I think it’s really cool to play dead sometimes Cause you only look at me when I resort to this The doctor says violence is a good thing Violence is proof I’m not sick Look! Look at my body I’ve got athlete’s foot The doctor says I’m this red cause I’m letting out my anger I want you to be religious I want you to save all your moaning and groaning for that god you like So let’s never get married and live together just the two of us Let’s lean on each other until we die It’d be super great if we’re sisters again in our next life huh? Don’t forget I’m the only one who could ever love something like you We’re family When I hit your head with the frying pan the other day I did it cause I love you Now you know how much I love you Unni I think I have to hit you for you to understand what I’m saying If we can’t live together I think we should disappear together Let’s die on the same day at the same time Promise your god right now that you’ll live and die with me forever Is this something you have to think about? Really you’re so weird You have a knack for pissing me off It’s like you don’t even know how to have a conversation Don’t try and patch everything up with a sorry I don’t know how you went to college You’re so stupid I mean I have to hit you for you to understand what I’m saying Like a little bitch

* November 21, 2014: the day Sijin beat me with a frying pan. As a result of those strikes I had the strange experience of briefly seeing double.


Southbound from Seoul for Eight Hours and Five Minutes


Hey Sijin
When did we start playing with scars?

It’s only fair that we get em from fighting

Life is hell
Peace is surreal

Southern and northern hemispheres
We become each other’s patient

“A game of chicken enjoyed on the equator”

Unni you better watch your mouth.
Heard you’ve been talking shit about me

I heard that rumor too

 Little sister grabbed an axe and chopped off my scarlet military boots and dyed herself red and I
cried in an awkward squat

Now that you’ve lost a leg you
won’t be able to walk or crawl
You’re basically left to be attacked

    With an amputated leg I hopped around My fights became legendary and were passed around from mouth to mouth and grew dirty and jumped over the corpse of a fellow soldier Sijin buried a massive bomb in the ground and caused trouble and closed her eyes Three two one bang!

“Cocaine from Cairns $300 a gram”

Unni listen close We’ve grown addicted
I’m gonna blow off
our heads so we can never go back home


“There’s no revolution or comrade for a traitor”

 Above the firing squad
I’m dancing a hanghanging
dance and the dance is
dancing me

Tie me tighter I don’t want to wander anymore

I know
Mom and Dad must’ve abandoned us No surprise there
What’s the point in telling you Unni that you abandoned me too

Because we happen to be alive
Because we can’t stop taking aim

We were sad

made up justifications to aim and shoot
at each other’s ear holes ‘cause we were busy

“Eat breakfast eat lunch finally eat dinner then BANG!”

Now who wants to count and see who has more lines on her wrist?

I see you’re a sergeant about to retire I’m only a private

How many nights must we exchange
blows to see stars?

“Dear Heavenly Father
Just as we’ve forgiven those who’ve wronged us
 please forgive our sins”

We prayed for each other’s victories
Smiling hashishfully and
dancing twirlswirl

Unni do you finally understand
how many kinds of love there are in the world?
Saint Peter loved Jesus too

I’ll confess

I love you

    So let’s never come alive again Let’s never wake again Let’s never open our eyes again Let’s never even wave our panties Let’s never surrender or give up ever again Let’s not be mousy Let’s not cry Let’s neither catch nor get caught Let’s never ever see each other alive Whoever falls over and dies


A Letter and a Photograph

That night, L couldn’t fall asleep. The portrait he saw hanging in Hye-gyŏng’s room lingered before his eyes.

On Longing

Reflections on diaspora, longing, and love through the lens of Do Ho Suh's The Perfect Home II.

from the Koreana Cycle

“섹스 | sex | sex”; “Creation Stories II”; “Dangunsinhwa”; “Ajumma”; and “태주/Taeju”