Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A long poem written in Asagaya:

Cai tells me her grandmother
Is an egret.
We see one land on a tall tree
At dusk.
Pearl white in a quickly changing blue sky.
I tell her about Jan
And the dove that visited us
And we agree
The dead become birds.
Of course!
Finally free to fly,
To watch from above.
The following morning
We walk home after a night of
Tequila and shochu.
The sound of birds fill the air.
To be so festive in the morning like,
Hey, you did it,
You made it to a new day!
They cheer for us.
But if we’ve stayed awake
Through the night
Is it a new day?

Stumbling upon a cemetery in Asagaya
We hear a rustle in the graves.
Perhaps a cat,
Like the ones in Buenos Aires.
Or a stone fox, the spirits’ protector.
Why do birds and cats stay
Slaves to the food chain in life,
When in death they become
Protected and protector?

Walking along the river
A group of nine to eleven year old boys approach us.
Some of them wear bicycle helmets.
The obvious leader holds a soccer ball.
They ask Cai to dance
And we soon realize
They are watching her breasts bounce
Under her pink mesh top.
Further down the river we sit at the bench
Where all the cats congregate.
Cai says she met a small old woman
Who comes every Saturday at five
With cans of cat food.
But she’s not there
And the cats are disinterested.
Most of them are white
Like the egrets,
With orange or brown markings.
They are so white in the dark soil.
So clean, like this city.
They each sit in front of their own tree
Coiled atop the roots
Like flowers.
A walking man stands and waves
At the cats
And all the passing dogs
Wear LED collars

Like little ravers.

Tropical Beach, Okinawa

There are street speakers
Everywhere in Japan.
A soundtrack for your walk to work,
Even here at the beach
At the edge of this island.
I try to identify the difference
Between the beach here
And back at home.
It somehow feels more
The sand more noticeable
Under my feet.
Dead coral that still
Looks beautiful
When it’s dead,
Unlike most things.
A taxi driver smiles at me
Above his newspaper.
A woman gives me a tissue
Through the bathroom stall.
There aren’t any toilet paper dispensers.
Just used pads in the trash can.

It’s hard to describe the exact flavor
Of orange reflecting
On the water at dusk
And the sun dips
So fast it’s a race
Between the persimmon
Glazed water and
The light that binds us.
This is the only point in the day
Where I’m reminded
Just how fast the earth turns.
The sun falls
From Okinawa, Japan
Into the New York skyline.
The ferris wheel is in the distance now
Getting brighter
As the sun sets.
It doesn’t even turn, just lights up
Like a firework
And I never thought
I’d feel so relieved being away
From carnival lights.
This carnival was
Tequila sunrise
Pink cushioned VIP.
Young men
With 1 AM curfews,
Six years of
Ghosts in their rooms,
And wanting girls

Even more desperately than before.