SEOUL INSOMNIA (EN)

The last subway has gone like a broken star

Seoul Incheon, the airport leaves me staggering outside in the rain

I loved a face in the mist more than my own life

I dreamed that this ghost could take human form

The sidewalk welcomes a fine rain, I walk breathless

The night welcomes me like a lost soul, it’s raining embers isn’t it?
Or is it my heart that flames like a torch extinguished by an angel?

A bus passed quickly, I didn’t have the courage to hail it
I’m going to walk like those who have no hope in the moon
But the bus brakes and an old woman pushes her cart

How sad Seoul is at night! That the illuminated signs look pale in this rancid district!
The loudspeakers don’t play pop music anymore, the city is silent like a spurned lover,
And I walk my liquid heart like a stream on which a woman has ricocheted

I loved her for a hundred days like history loves blood and crime
My office behind me, I walk through the cobblestone streets, panting,
An ajeossi (a man in the prime of life, a bit macho) has just squinted at a disemboweled garbage can
My legs hurt but I’ll keep going until I’m shaking with exhaustion;

The casino must be closed. Tomorrow I’ll listen to Arirang (classic Korean song symbolizing lost love) while looking for it with my eyes on the ice of the local skating rink
I’ve never been crazy, I’ve never lost my mind as much as for this dancer

A white van stops. Do I want to get in?
No, I want to walk! I want to melt into the fog!
This night is the last one that I dedicate to reflection. I will destroy all light in me
I will become subject to the tornadoes, I will devote myself to the hurricane of death like a glacier to the sun
Religion no longer has a hold on me. Do I want a coffee? Are you still open?

There are some teenagers listening to I don’t know what music. I am cold, the trees seem to be waving
Is it really raining? I can’t hear the music anymore. I don’t feel anything anymore.
A pretty skater stole my sleep and the moon stares at me in the storm

That stray dog, there, what does he want? Is he laughing at me?
Am I going crazy?
I must not hope to see her seduce the ice with her swan-like movements
Chuseok (harvest festival) will come, spring will return I know it!

But the whole city closes on me tonight like a steel clamp
And I die for having loved an angel, and the darkness melts on me like a fantastic-looking hornet
The trees brush against me, the clouds lick me, and the moon slaps me.

Leave me alone!
Love has made me crazy!
And this city sucks every second of my soul away
Is it raining?
Are my tears burning my cheeks? Or the sun coming up?

Yes, there is already a light on the horizon – God, the dawn is beautiful in this country…
And yet I am the slave of the night, since it rejected me. The darkness of the unseasoned hours softens the darkness of my heart

The electric wires on the road – where are the birds? – God, this city is beautiful anyway,
And how nice it is to have loved all the same…
A merchant, a smell of red beans fills my nostrils
Is it possible, the life that is reborn when the light has fled the orifice of my eyes? It is still dark!
But already one distinguishes the doors of the buildings.
A window lights up. A door is opened

A young girl stares at me, her mouth laughs, she has the brightness of a hibiscus.
If I can forget the night tomorrow?
If I can love the morning again?
Give me a beer. I will walk to Hongdae (subway station)

The bus is full to bursting. A newspaper scratches my shoulder. A woman sniffs in my ear.
The love hotel is getting rid of its dull colors. The ochre of the day fades. It rained a lot last night
I rub my eyes as I sit down. I did not sleep all night.

Do I still have makgeolli (alcohol made from fermented rice) at home? I’ll drink it and think of the love I had for her.
Then I’ll sleep – No, I’ll go to Achasan Mountain in the east of Seoul instead. I’ll go and ask the birds…

I’ll go… But now my eyes shut me up. I arrived in my neighborhood. The bus stops.
I loved a skater, you know, and I… Why does the night also reject me with its golden tongue?

A pojangmacha (street restaurant) prepares dishes of the day. I pass in front, here is my door
The air is moist and hot. We hear the siren of a police car. I put the key in the lock.
The face of my skater already seems to become blurred. It mixes with the morning mist, right?

And yet how beautiful her mouth was. And that I loved her… May God forgive me…
I will leave to do my military service (at least two years and reserved for men under 31) to escape the ice that still burns my chest
It’s decided, I’ll leave.
Tomorrow.

The fan makes a hell of a noise. I’ll have to close the blinds.
It’s dark again. The skater’s face is there in the darkness. It stares at me.
Leave me alone!
I’m going crazy. I lie on the floor in my flat. What has happened to me? I fell from exhaustion.

I’ll leave tomorrow, once this new day is over. I will listen to Arirang in the mountains. I will sleep now.

Love has made me the servant of the nights in Seoul city.

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