Some of the Japanese work

Enjo-Kosai children (Tokyo)

There are heavy sinful nights
     on Tokyo’s flashy streets
          what Gaijin call the true Bladerunner dark
               where wheezing suits of Yakuza
                    suck ramen noodles hotly
                         over gritty golden teeth

where a million black umbrellas
     hide a thousand white gloved cabs
          and seven story Telebis
               soothe masses with their love

where rain drives furtive couples
     into five star love hotels
          into stations black with rain,
               black with ashes from the side walk smokers puff

turning streets of grey to black again … Here teenage girls
     chase sex and style
          like miniskirted lemmings
               take their big thighs off
                    to rave in Shibuya, and off again,
                         getting older compensators off ……

what a wet and fish white lark
     but it pays on cold stoned nights
          for designer clothes, and toys
               and happiness on faces bright

and of course if it is happy here
     (happy for the outside press to see)
          there is no problem known aloud
               in Tokyo town near Tokyo Wan

the great ho-mo-ge-ne-ity
     has spawned de-nile everlasting
          sucking teeth cry out Yaa-Daaa,
               and oooohhh Banana Yoshimoto

strolls the crowd in rain and blackened pavement for the love of suicides.

Enjo-Kosai, 援助交際or 援交 means compensated dating. It refers to the practice of Japanese girls, usually 13 to 16, selling themselves for the price of designer accessories. Young girls at that age often have fat legs, made to look stylish and larger with loose socks, a teenage fashion accessory.
Gaijin [外人] means foreigner.
Yakuza [やくざ] are the Japanese Mafia and street criminals.
Yaa-Daa is just a noisy expression, like Huh, or Oh Wow.
Banana Yoshimoto is a Japanese writer. If you needed this footnote, you need to read her.
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Well, that last needs work.

Walking Past the Park at the VA Hospital

Bits of color flash in the palm, fingers tighten, loosen twist and twitch in nervous candor
Something in brown and tremulous hands held airily or softly or in fear of breakage
Hands sit, not quiet in the lap, the nails white, now moving over a silver chair arm
One to reach past the stumps and test the black wheels, gripping chrome and squeezing
Power in the tendons, but one to stay and squeeze the bits of color paper
Now, the wheels move in arcs the arms in piston pumps and here the paper falls

We run to catch it – pick it up, give it back –
the chair is circling and we see it as he speaks

Drab and wretched persons near a wall,
children in the dirt and soldiers tall, smiling, armed
A wartime thought that looks like every grey miserable abject sorry picture of a war

Two soldiers, proud, brown and khaki clothes that say
America, smiles proclaiming youth

Our acquaintance in the chair is tall, ignoring the people and the children, but happy.
The chair has found its power sliding graceful to our feet, and not reaching but speaking
It is a test, how can we learn to move but never walk, to ride the arms and scorn pity
It is a test to learn acceptance and every day I print a new copy of the old picture……..
The chair it spun agile and adroit – we gasped and then was gone in bright daylight
We continue walking shamefully, sunlit skies are not the color of awkward guilt
At home we find we lost the picture, oh well, no sepia war here. White wine, trout bleu.

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A rewrite of the Hemingway draft

////// There was a bit here for comparison, but FYI to those following this blog, and especially to Gracie, this is not it. The original will suffice until it is bettered, or proves itself sufficient.////////////

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Commentary poem on Eng. Lit. and Hemingway teachers

A Poem In The Modern Style

Hemingway’s passage about men drinking together
on the eve of battle during The Spanish Civil War
describes two men comparing pistols
the length of the barrels
the size of the bullets.

This is always taught in college as a discussion
of dick sizes. Oh, sorry, I meant a macho
discussion of phallic symbols
a display of penis envy
among real men.

This literary interpretation is glaringly wrong,
and I have always wanted
to write this wrong.

The Professors of English Lit who light
our precious children mostly don’t
know of war. I do
know of war.

Hemingway had experience, an ear for dialogue
an eye for the color of stress, for the things
men say when they go to kill other men.

It is good to drink and get blind before battle
but everyone must know who has which
weapon when the dying starts.

Larger bullets and longer barrels mean death
from greater ranges and better chances
of killing quick close up.

Those of us who are better killers will take
guns and bullets and will know
from the muzzle length
from the bullet size
the killing abilities
of your choices.

I know that you will die, and after
dirt paintings of your blood
harden with the sun,

I will take your bullets and use them,
killing others with your gift.

When Hemingway meant phallic, there were women in the picture.

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An Early Poem, 2 versions

First shot:

Hong Kong

How glitzy, and the rail is so modern, but Kai Tak is gone
You could always tell a first timer on the flight into Kai Tak,
747 at rooftop level, screaming over Harbor Junks and Business Towers
somewhere it is written man was not meant to see such sights
at 400 kilometers per hour into downtown Hong Kong City
deplaning into wet heat, the noise of millions and the sudden
(Oh, it used to hit hard) smells, HK was rich in olfactory assault
and everyone hurried everywhere, and capitalism bled into all your senses
(I know some waterfront triad was looking to package and sell that smell)
Now it looks like SFO, or NRT, or even MSP, and HKI has Starbucks and KFC
Modern Trains and the bribery lines (sorry I meant customs and immigration)
Look at your passport not your wallet, and don't even mention fines
Well, the English have all gone, and the locals need to find another style

And…..Here's another shot

Hong Kong International Airport

How glitzy, and the rail is so modern,
Shinier than Tokyo or Singapore
but Kai Tak is gone

You could always tell a first timer flying into Kai Tak,
747 at rooftop level, screaming over Junks and Business Towers

500 miles per hour into downtown Hong Kong
into the city itself, threading the alleys,
landing below hanging laundry
deplaning into wet heat

no one had hiccups

the noise of millions
and the sudden (Oh, it used to hit hard) smells;
HK was rich in olfactory assault
everyone hurried everywhere
capitalism bled into all your senses

(I know some triad looked to sell that smell)

Now it looks like SFO, or NRT, or even MSP
and HKI has Starbucks and KFC
Modern Trains and the bribery lines (sorry I meant customs and immigration)
Look at your passport not your wallet, and don’t even mention fines

Well, the English have all gone, and the locals need to find another style

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Poetry has its uses, and polishing does, too.

We try this blog to put poetry out for comment and rebuilding.

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