Pay the Word

2pm 1-20-08

Two young girl-women of about fourteen
on the balcony next door,
feet up on the badly-worn wooden rails—
they holler down as two very small boys
circle below in the street on little bicycles,
their thin legs turn the wheels
pedaling to nowhere.

The girls throw their voices down—
“better watch out niggaz there’s cars cumin”
the boys look up to the girls,
look down the street in one direction only
keep pedaling in small circles
as a car comes from behind
“tode youz niggaz get outa the way…wha-choo
wanna do? Get runnedova? Dumb Niggaz!”

The girls up top on the balcony giggle mischievously
and continue to watch the boys—
who just moments earlier
had stood amongst them in a pile of thirty or so others
of varying heights
all nondescript, bundled up in the frigid 57 degree
high desert cold of early January.

I had watched them as they chased others
in another bunch down the street
two piles of voices echoing off each other—
the crowd mentality making them act as one
(one with no brain)
moving forward on auto pilot,
the littlest ones seeming to weave in & out
of the bigger one’s legs as they moved together en mass—
and as I watched, it called to mind a herd of elephants
with the young wandering amongst the tree trunk legs
which shield and protect them as they learn about the world
around them, and life, and how things work…
these little ones, absorbing all, like sponges as they too
weave amongst the teens, perhaps brothers & sisters
who have been given the task to “watch them”
and so they tag along as the others pick fights
and challenge comers from down the street,
who come up from the other end of the block—
hoodies pulled up to keep out the cold air
which whizzes and whips their words and threats
and loud voices into one huge roar
which comes to assault me as I watch, and worry
(on the line with the sheriff, wondering if THIS
time they will bother to show).

The “down the street-ers” go away…chased furiously
the crowd whipping around like bait worms in a fishing can—
all ends, looking for a place to grab hold
snagged on the line —ready to bite the catch before it bites them
and then the wails of laughter in triumph—
as they realize they have won this skirmish
they look towards the end of the street
hungry for round two…
nervous laughter piercing the cold air
as young feet stomp the cold sidewalk to try to stimulate some warmth
(and I think to myself…
why don’t they just GO INSIDE?
At the same time coming to the realization they have probably
been chased outside by whatever parent remains inside).

And so, I watch and listen to this, my neighborhood—
as it assaults me yet again…
as the girls sit on the balcony hurling “niggaz” down
to the impressionable brains of the very young boys who strut below,
already learning the ways of the jungle…
I think to myself, (outside now,) and bundled up against the cold
as I sweep the driveway clean again
from the remains of a large glass beer container
that someone has chosen to shatter into a thousand glittering fragments
in the cobbles and creases of old asphalt that make up my drive.
I sweep, and hear (without intent)
the “Niggaz” fly and boomerang off every conceivable
atom of the neighborhood, (and my brain)
and feel the assault as tho stabbed by a spear
as my brain defies me—
and conjures stiff men swinging from heavy branches
necks at odd unlivable angles
eyes defeated
bare feet pointing towards the very earth
they tried so hard to find a place of peace in.

I hear some of the last words they heard
slapping my cheeks in the cold wind—
haunting me
through the uneducated mouths of these unthinking girls
playfully calling the young lads “niggaz”
as tho it were so innocent and harmless a word—
and I instantly want to go to them
those girls—
I want to drag them by their synthetic woven hair
and pull the small boys by the ear—
I want to lasso the rest of their multitudinous group
(which acts as one, in unison)
with not one whole brain to split between them
and drag the whole lot of them off
to a Black History Museum
where the pictures on the wall will tell the story
where the ancestors still dangle —barefoot
and the rope is taut
and the eyes bulge unblinking watching them
watching them,
seeing, yes,
what they have done with what they have been given.
I want those young people to stand in front of the ancestors
the pictures
the ropes
the bulging eyes
the heavy branches —always ready, hungry…
I want them to take all that in,
and then
I want them to call each other
I want them to see how the word tastes upon their tongue
when it is flavored with the blood of their fathers
I want then to feel it wrap around each taste bud like that rope
that wrapped around that ancestor did
and feel that word
as it tightens
and strangles
and sucks the very life right out of their mouth
and then I want them to look up to their people
and apologize
and mean it—
I want them to never say that word again
or allow anyone else to say it in their presence.
I want them to pay the word
as their fathers paid the word
I want them to HEAR the cries of their mothers getting raped
because “niggers” had no voice in the world
I want those young people to stand there
and FEEL their history, OUR history and pay the word
and every time “the word” leaks like cancerous rot somewhere,
I want the people to Pay the Word
I want it paid for with honor
and reverence and respect for the dead
who paid for the word with their blood and lives.

I want it paid for until it’s spent and gone.
Pay the Word, pass it along.

And every time you see the word I want you to see
Your Grandpapa’s eyes staring back at you from that hangin tree

And every time you hear the word I want you to hear
Your Grandmama praying for her honor that she held so dear

See them there upon that wall
See them rot in the place they fall

See their bones that glow so bright
Finally, now, so wrongly white.

Tree Destiny

6pm 1-8-08

I used to stand so tall
and sway in the passing breezes—
I used to hold my limbs towards the heavens
and offer a quiet and safe place for birds
just passing through.

I stood on the little hilltop for several short years
comforted by my nearby cousins
and aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters who
waved daily, happily, at me in the sunshine
as we basked in the warmth of the day,
or enjoyed a lovely wonderful shower
which rinsed all the dust and grime away.

Our lives were simple,
and we needed nothing more.

And then this winter, some humans came along
and they played in the snow around us
they laughed in loud voices
and chased each other around me
and a little red-haired girl grabbed my branches
and said “This one daddy, I want this one!”

Her daddy, and mommy, and two brothers
came bouncing around to see how fat I was
and the mother admired me greatly
as she looked at all the wonderful spots that
I had been growing for years—
the special places
that would fit her shiny glass ornaments just so
and hold the garlands of popcorn and lights
and streams of twinkling tinsel
which would flutter ever so with just the slightest
change in air from someone passing by
as they’d come to gaze upon me
all dressed in my special finery
for “Christmas”
and on my very tippy-tippy-top
they’d place a star
that would twinkle with tiny lights
for baby Jesus’ birthday—
just like that star so long long ago
which I heard all about
as they took me from my spot on the hill
away from all my nearby cousins
and aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters—
and took me to their home
they placed me upright in a pan of water
and bumped into me over & over
they talked and told the story
and as they filled me up
and dressed me til I sparkled like jewels
from every angle
and I held all that up in my strong branches
proudly, as I listened,
and they talked about how I was the best tree
the fattest tree
the perfect tree for Christmas
and it was my destiny.

And then, after I was all dressed up
shiny, bright, and twinkling happily
they all went away.

I heard them saying they were going to “watch TV.”
I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t just watch ME
because I was all dressed up, and they spent so long
getting me like that, but I blinked and twinkled
alone, in front of the big window
well into the evening,
until the little red-haired girl came by
making all my tinsel dance
as she bent to unplug me.

Days went by and slowly, beneath me
bright boxes with even brighter bows
were placed beneath my branches.
When I was plugged in,
I would sparkle against the packages—
and the reflections
would glitter back up at me
all over again.

One night, very late, the mommy & daddy
came and plugged me in, and started whispering
while they brought more bright boxes to put beneath me.
And then, next to me, close enough to peek inside,
they put a baby buggy with a lovely red-haired dolly,
and two matching blue bicycles for the slightly bigger brothers.

I twinkled proudly while the mommy & daddy
tucked the presents all around me
and then stood back to admire their handy-work.
My tinsel fluttered as they stepped up
to pull my plug, but didn’t—
the daddy gave my branch a stiff shake
and pronounced me “still fresh enough.”
He kissed his wife, poured some water into my bowl
and left me to twinkle against the dark of the night window
as midnight came & went.

I was still standing there twinkling and holding up
all those bright ornaments and lights, garlands, & jewels
when first thing early in the morn,
as the birds began to sing
and the sun began to rise over the edge of the earth
the little red-haired girl and her brothers
came running to me
screaming joyously!

The mommy & daddy came too, looking very sleepy
and took the presents from beneath me
and passed them out to be opened—
of course, the bicycles and the buggy with the doll
were the very first things they saw
and had big cards tied to them that said:

When they were all finished unwrapping
there was a big pile of litter around me in a circle
of papers & strings & ribbons & stuffings & jumbles
as deep as the bottom of my branches!!
I twinkled merrily, proud to bounce my lights
off all that clutter and mess of Merry Christmas!

Soon enough, mommy came along,
with the little red-haired girl,
pulling along her new dolly in its buggy,
and they pulled & pushed and crammed all the used up fun
into large ugly black plastic bags
that got closed up tightly at the top—
so tight, in fact
that my twinkling lights could not shine at all
on the pretty paper or ribbon or twisted strings.
And the bags went away
and that night from my place in front of the window
as I twinkled—
with the spot beneath me naked and bare
I stood and stared
out into the darkness
at the two dark bags alone at the curb
so full of Christmas cheer.

Several & several days went by—
I didn’t count them.
I sparkled though, still nicely, and full of joy
I bounced my lights against the glass
and out into the night.
I fluttered my tinsel every chance I got
and watched as the little red-haired girl
took my popcorn strands away and outside
and tossed popcorn out into the grass
for the birds to come & carry away.
I wondered if any of the birds remembered me
or recognized me as I stood there in the window
holding out my branches
showing off my fine mouth-blown imported ornaments
like the royalty of trees that they had said I was
so many days ago.

And soon, the mommy came again, with more boxes.
I could hear the family, they were watching TV again
in the other room—something called a PARADE.
It was New Years Day now, and I found out that
that was another special day, but not one for me.
As the bands played in the TV in the other room
and the horses pranced,
and the rose-covered floats
shaped like all sorts of fantasy creatures
delighted the family
and the little red-haired girl hugged her dolly
I lost my glitter and glamour
strand by strand and
mouth-blown imported glass ornament by
mouth-blown imported glass ornament.
The mommy unwound my lights
and wrapped them into the boxes, she placed my
ornaments, my strands & garlands in boxes too.
She stripped me, and took away everything she had given me
except the tinsel.

She took my water bowl!

My pine needles;
(now that I could see without all the sparkle blinding me)
had dropped all over the floor beneath me.
I must have looked the sad pathetic sight;
naked of jewels AND of needles.
My branches drooped with my resolve.

I stood in the window empty now, and watched,
as the children went past, playing with their new toys.

And by & by the daddy came home.
He carried me out to the curb
and placed me right down where those two
large ugly black plastic bags
full of used up fun
got plopped.

I had to lay there, because without my bowl of water
I could no longer stand up and hold my branches out.
I laid there alright, the backside of me rather squished
beneath me in the dirt, there at the curb.
My branches on the other side; that were now on top
grew heavier as they grew drier, and browner.

The children passed without so much as a smile my way.

And this is where I am now —discarded
by the side of the road
caked in mud from passing cars
my limbs are weakened and dry, useless—
hungry no more for rain
or birds to visit, singing their songs of cheer—
I lay here brown & stiff
straggling against the curb without notice
shedding crumpled tinsel tears.

BURST by Wallace Gagne

Theres mayhem in the markets. Carnage in the global village.
Africas starving. Mumbais burning. Britney cant get it together.
Heres Wolf. Theres Mohammed. Come back Jesus.

People no longer enjoy the mental discipline they once had,
opting instead for the quick coming home to roost. Blacks still
think OJ is innocent. Fascism has replaced Communism in
Russia. Everybody believed what they heard in church or read
in the newspaper.

Nothing is solid, but can we suddenly switch to divine certainty
after living a life of profound secular scepticism? Likewise the
conquest of human and nonhuman nature by unlimited
technological advance accelerated through the fuse of global free
market capitalism.

Dont get me wrong. Im not saying weve got to get back to forty
acres of bucolic Rousseauean primitivism. A Black part-timer was
trampled to death when a WAL-MART opened on Black Friday.
McDonalds answered by unveiling their new double quarter
pounder with cheese.

Plato believed we are happiest when doing what we do best.
The polar bear is going the way of the aardvark and duckbilled
platypus. Naturally technology cant solve the climate crisis but
to watch rising waters in high definition embodies a beauty of
its own.

More to the point, you cant have a robust global economy without
looking like youre on the verge of something far greater than the
present moment. Descartes paved the way for the middle-class
collective orderliness now held responsible for Vietnam and Iraq
and the grossly overweight, also disappearing rain forests, the
subprime crisis and the firebombing of Dresden, across the Rhine
and deep into Germany.

With the death of the author, we are free to kill Black part-timers
standing between us and happiness.

The profit motive tearing apart the weaker ones lurks behind Eliots
Wasteland like an empty tequila bottle hurled from a speeding
sports utility vehicle which is why the exaggerated hopes of the
Enlightenment never panned out leaving tons of smartly dressed
people to uncouple survival of the fittest economic growth from the
devastating destruction of our fragile unstable biosphere.

Have some more beans, Tex said, shorting energy futures. Poetry
isnt rocket science although in our fragmented raging world
Social Science roars through shrunken forests like Simone Weil
cross-hatching a new cosmology in the endless flying apart

Everything is connected. Butterflies beating in Brazil. Polar bears
skating on thin ice. London bus bombings. Forty thousand tons
of raw tuna. The absolute explanation of absolutely everything.

Echoing Gertrude Stein particle physics says theres no there there.
Is the mind a mirror? Was there only silence before the Big Bang?
Will free market capitalism solve world poverty, end global hunger?

The moving finger points to the moon. No. Thats not right. This poem
demands something deeper. Pithier. How about, Praise the molecules
of this page, passing away, one by one, back to the Eternal Void?
Too Buddhisty. Trite. Are we free to interpret the narrative any way
we want? A pyramid of doubt rises from the embers of the Twin
Towers as I hammer along Main Street glancing at your watch.
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/12/08

Kevin Gray's CD Launch Party Nov 9. (jz)


Photo: Kevin Gray's performing songs from his new CD "Shipwrecked" at What the Dickens Nov. 9 in Ebisu, Tokyo. Nov.9 jz/

Newton said (jz)

Newton Said

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
That's what Newton said.

Did you know that a dragon fly has five eyes?
I read that in a book the other day
then I read another book about the five most popular ways men and women fuck,
which wasn't all that much more interesting until--
until I got to the index of the book.

And did you ever see dragonflies fuck on the fly?
One time, I saw a couple screw on an airplane.
It was over Alaska, I think.
Not that it makes any difference
because I wasn't directly involved.

And all I want--
All I want is for you--
for you to love me.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
Newton said that
But I'm not sure--
I'm not sure if it's true.

Did you know that the lollipop was named after a race horse
And how sweet is that?
The other day I saw a video on the internet
of a woman sucking off a horse
I concluded two things:
That some people will do anything to be on TV.
And that the horse's name--
the horse's name was . . . "Lucky"

And I had a girlfriend once
who used to ride her horse bareback to get off.
But every night she's said that--
that she had a headache.
We split up after--
we stopped liking each other
which was about the same time the drugstore down the street closed down

And I want you
want you to show me
show me that you love me.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Newton said that.
But I'm not sure--
I'm not sure if it's true.

On the Road on Election Day (Sean Quinn)

"I got dog-tired beyond Macon and woke up Dean to resume. We got out of the car for air and suddenly both of us were stoned with joy to realize that in the darkness all around us was fragrant green grass and the smell of fresh manure and warm waters. "We're in the South!"

– Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

If there is one shocker on election night in the presidential race, cast your eyes to Georgia. 1,994,990 people voted early in Georgia. 3,301,875 total voted in Georgia's presidential race in 2004.


Thank God. At last. Americas long nightmare is finally over. Of course
not everybodys happy. Because its a big disappointment for soccer
moms, ditto heads, knuckle draggers, unibrows, flagwavers, gaybashers,
right-to-lifers, everyone who puts country first and hates liberals.
Unfortunately not a good day for gun nuts, gas guzzlers, racial profilers,
dollar averagers, Joe the Plumber, the Watergate Plumbers, all those who
still believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Yes. Its a brand new day in America. Unless youre a stock flogger,
derivatives junky, National Parks pipeliner, selling Freedom Fries, clear
cutting, making Revolving Door or Swiftboat ads or drilling for offshore
oil. Morning In America. Thousand Points of Light. Except for Jesus
freaks, Bible thumpers, The Base, granny dumpers, flat taxers, no taxers
and whale killers. Black Day In November for the Vegas Family, managed
health care mob, camouflage wearers, waterboarders, minutemen, surf
and turfers, global warming deniers, Fox News believers, war lovers,
Castro haters, the walk softly and carry a big hydrogen bomb set.

Tell me Im not dreaming. Is it really game over for cowboy boots, Stetsons,
Dallas Cowboys, leveraged bullbleep, Confederate flags, gun racks, the
tobacco lobby, attack helicopters, full metal jackets? Pinch me. Surely
salad days havent ended for depleted uranium, school vouchers, home
schooling, billionaire tax breaks, nude pig piles, Breaking News, the
Situation Room, CNBCs Closing Bell and High End Living?

Believe it. Its a whole new ball game. Earthshaking. Homeland Security
renamed Homeland Hilarious. No more sour airport greetings by surly,
identity checks, presumptuous luggage searches. Everybody warmly
welcomed with sexist racial kneeslappers pulled from secret background
profiles. John Wayne renamed I Love Lucy Airport. Ronald Reagan
Building now Iran Contra Complex. American Enterprise Institute
morphed into Dick Cheney Early Warning American Fascist Watchtower.

CIA abolished. FBI reigned in. Everybody enjoying generous health care,
fat pensions, authentic education, 24 karat human rights. Bridges safe
to cross. Air okay to breathe. Americans welcomed everywhere. Because
its the dawning of the New Age. Bright happy well-adjusted America.
Pentagon in its proper place. Talkshows talking real freedom, spouting
genuine democracy. No fear. No cheap partisan exploitation of 911,
Armageddon, healthy family life, illegal immigration. Ralf Nader,
Secretary of Consumer Affairs. Allen Ginsberg, Secretary of Defence.
Lenny Bruce on the three dollar bill. Rational self-interest replaced by,
Hey Man, hows it goin?
Tokyo, Monday, 11/03/08

Book Launch Party Scene 1 (jz)

Photo: Dancers at Donald Richie's "Botandoro" book launch party Nov. 2, Tokyo jz

Book Launch Party Scene 2 (jz)

Photo: Dancers at Donald Richie's "Botandoro" book launch party Nov. 2, Tokyo jz

Motel of Lost Companions by Hillel Wright (Japan Times Oct. 26)

Motel of Lost Companions
Keep a grip on what passes for reality as you check into this strangely normal fiction story for fall by Hillel Wright

It was a foolish argument . . . the worst kind of argument too, over food. And not even food exactly, but over salad dressing.

She'd left his dinner on the table while she was out shopping for groceries. There was a bowl of yakisoba noodles and a plate of gyoza dumplings to heat up in the microwave. And there was a salad. Not a very fancy salad, just lettuce, tomato wedges, grated carrot, cucumber and slices of hard-boiled egg. The salad was in a medium-size bowl, an individual serving. Next to the salad was a small plastic pitcher of dressing. It looked and smelled like one of her homemade concoctions of olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, diced tofu and a dollop of Caspian yogurt. It looked like a lot of dressing for one salad, but then again it might not have just been for a single serving.

It presented a classic avoidance-avoidance conflict: avoid her displeasure if he didn't eat everything she so painstakingly prepared for him; avoid her anger if he didn't leave her half the dressing.

So it was a foolish decision that led to the foolish argument.

He'd gone out to the library after dinner and then over to the International Center to use the free 30 minutes of Internet service available there. He could just check his e-mail and leave their home computer free for her to use when she got back from shopping. She liked to search for punk-music performances on YouTube or play violent video games like "Postal" or "Grand Theft Auto." She said they helped her to relax. She was, after all, old enough — at 34 — to be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. He didn't suspect she'd ever actually go on a shooting rampage in Yokohama or Tokyo. For one thing, where would she get a gun?

Read the rest of Hillel Wright's story in the Japan Times

Let's dance (jz)


Photo: Dancers will kick up their heels and show their stuff at Donald Richie's book launch event at What the Dickens pub Sunday Nov 2 in Ebisu. jz

An electric flower (jz)


Photo: The Clockwork Flowers. Will be playing Nov 2, Donald Richie's book launch event at What the Dickens pub in Ebisu. jz

Kiss from a witch (jz)

And all I got that night
was just a kiss
A single--
A single fatal kiss that she planted--
planted on my lips

And it all happened so fast
it happened in just a flash in time
the poison kiss that she planted--
A single fatal kiss that she planted--
planted on my lips

I should have known better
I should have been on my guard
put up my defenses
and fortified my heart
against such a possibility
the possibliity of what--
of what even a simple innocent kiss--
a simple innocent kiss can bring

looking into her eyes
her eyes immediately lured me--
like a sirens song, lured me inside,
Awakening my desires
luring my lips
And . . .

And as soon as our lips met
I knew I was a hooked
I was like a helpless voodoo doll.
the kiss--
the kiss was like a needle
and the needle went straight --
straight, deep into my heart.
I was the voodoo doll--
I was the voodoo doll and the victim
at the same time

Immediately, I felt a tingling
Just before the fever took hold
and I shook on the inside
a strange chill that ran up and down--
up and down my spine
A love-spell is--
is a strange, uncurable disease

Now I --
I can't think-- think straight
I can't eat
I can't sleep
Now I can only contemplate
What has happened to me
That she must be some kind of witch
For what
for what-- she has done to me
Possessed as any man can be.

And all I can think about
is the poison kiss that she planted--
planted on my lips

And all I got that night
was a kiss--
A single fatal kiss that she planted--
planted on my lips

A single fatal kiss
the poison kiss that she planted--
she planted on my lips

"JOE JOB" by Hillel Wright (Contributor)


Joe Six-Pak
Joe the Plumber
Joe Average
G.I. Joe
Ordinary Joe
Shoeless Joe

Say it ain't so, Joe!

Anchor what? (jz)


Photo: In Phuket, Thailand. Oct. 19 jz

Beach boys (jz)


Photo: Boys playing soccer at sunset on Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand. Oct. 19 jz

AUTUMN BLOWBACK by Wallace Gagne

Days are growing shorter. Trees change color. Deadbeat mortgages
are in the red. Investors got the blues. Australian Aborigines rub
sticks together, blow digereedoos. Afghans grow dope poppies, Detroit
junkies finance Kabul carbombs.

Sarah leads electoral charge from Fairbanks Moose Lodge into Cleveland
industrial gutter. Mrs. Mainstreet Rumproast says Os different,
dangerous, not like normal subprime Americans. Towel head, camel
jockey, terrorist, wagon burner.

Straight Talk Express now mired in muddy dungheaving quagmire.
Rookie. Punk. Greenhorn. Prez. Candidate McShortribs unveils magic
economic wand. Vows victory over Apaches. Make West safe for honest
hardworking landgrabbers. Raghead lover. Lawn jockey. That One.

Who got Nobel for inventing Reaganomics? Who harpooned Freddy the
Tuna? Who ordered No. 6 with duck sauce? President Flubbermouth
lipsynchs bailout aint another nookleer yellow cake. The next
forktongued WMD mission accomplished. Corpse. Antique. Deadman

Bankers want free government smackers. Chrysler wants GM merger
for future hard times. World Court wants Kissinger for old Latino
war crimes. Celebrity. Flubberclone. Quota stooge. Zombie. Sarah says
O wants to raise white flag of surrender. Joe Bicep says Sarahs a
Northwoods toilet seat. Dickwad. Wingnut. Comsymp. Makaka.

Is your laxative causing cancer? Is your house sliding into the ocean?
Iraqi women wrap themselves in insurgent dynamite. Rush wraps
golden beer belly in starstriped gasbag. Sarah sits around the kitchen
table wrapping angry sandwiches. McShortfuse proposes massive
bailout for honest hardworking chicken pluckers.

Cranes vector south. Bears eat squirrels. Sarah says Os a closet Muslim.
McManchurian Candidate demands, Whats That One trying to hide?
Theres morning frost. Frost and falling poll numbers. Flubbermouth
announces humongous bailout for honest hardworking porkbelly

Theres snow in the mountains. Sixty shopping days until Christmas.
Two weeks til Election Day. Im not George W. Flubbermouth shouts
McClone. Proposes massive deregulation, taxcuts for billionaires,
Monte Carlo health care for Joe the Plumber.

Theres salmon in the butcher shops. Half price bath towels in the malls.
Both parties talk economic change. Idiot, lunatic, stupid piece of crap.
Pumpkins turn tangerine orange. Both sides talk national security.
Moron, fool, Nazi, surrender monkey.

Gun nuts take out duck hunter artillery. Stock market takes dead cat
bounce. Ones talking reform. Others talking patriotism. Bastard, yard
ape, Bible thumper, pinko. Squ

irrels hide nuts. Canadians drag out
storm windows. Ones talking education. Others talking religious values.
Pervert, dopefiend, a-hole, sonofabitch.

And so it goes. Round and round. Up and down. Everybody dancing.
Everyone singing. As the World turns. As the Universe hums along.
Tokyo, Sunday, 10/19/08

Pole position (jz)


Photo: Pole dancer. Kabukicho, Tokyo. Oct.12 jz

Something to think about (jz)

Photo: Dancer taking a break, Tokyo. Oct 12 jz

RIGHT NOW by Wallace Gagne

Once again my Tokyo week kicks off with the world in crisis.
Its starting to rain. Earlier, somebody jumped in front of a train,
snarling traffic, delaying robosmerfs commuting to treadmill days
at Boredom Incorporated.

This morning Im watching the jolly crew of Panic International
bang-banging us though Planet Earths newest Stay Right There
five alarm mindblowing super shockers.

The economy is roaring ahead. Slowing down. Heading through
the roof. Grinding to a halt. Its a miracle. Its a crash. A correction.
A fantastic buying opportunity. Theres skyrocketing oil prices.
Theres massive unemployment. Record profits. Devastating
foreclosures. Huge golden parachutes. Heartbreaking poverty.

Truck bombs have obliterated half of South Asia. Chinas gogo
autocrats are stunned. Totally dumbfounded by the latest poisoned
egg fu yung toxic chicken scandal. Europes in a panic. Africas up
the rigging. Japans shuffling the cabinet.

A little voice says I should wake up and get a life. But here I sit.
Glued to the Worlds fastest-breaking tragic trainwreck. Boggled
by the Globes finest in-depth up-to-the-minute completely unbiased
homogenized whizbang commentary. Sweating blood anticipating
more gutwrenching broadsides of This Just In pantscrapping

Madonnas getting divorced. Ebolas broken out in Bermuda. Housing
starts are up. The Arctics ice-free. The Amazons on fire. NBCs
unveiling their fall line-up. Theres chicken flu in Malibu. The Feds
slashing interest rates. Heres Ralf Laurens spring collection. Franks
brother died. Britneys on Oprah. Whitneys on heroin. Was Christ
crazy? Does the President have all his marbles?

What happened yesterday? Last week. A year ago. Who knows? Who
cares? Space ships land in Great Falls. Corn ripens. Snow drifts
below my window. Women are selling their bodies. Men are weeping.
Theres cursing. Swearing. Finger-pointing. Families are living on
Kraft Dinner. Larry Kings got Motley Cru. Its the Jews. Its the Blacks.
The poor. The rich.

Its not like it used to be. The good old days. Wheres the hope? Wheres
the way out? A workable solution. A viable alternative.I want to know.
Right here. Right now.
Tokyo, Friday, 10/10/08

Slow train is a comin' (jz)

Photo: Ginza Line train, Tokyo. Oct 9 jz

Just another full moon (jz)

On this clear cool night
I can see the face of the man in the moon
and the darkside--
the darkside behind
like the reflecion --
the reflection in the mirror.
I can see both--
Both at the same time.

Men have been to the moon more than once
but each time upon returning
they each said how glad--
how happy they were to be back home

And the earth may be blue
with all its troubles and evils
But it's where--
it's the only place in this vast universe
where we search--
where we search for and find love.

Girl from Ipanema (jz)

Photo: Girl from Uzbekistan singing at What the Dickens poetry night. Oct 5 jz

In your dreams (jz)

Photo: Japanese girl on a Tokyo train. Oct 5 jz

No Sarah No!

For times when "It doesn't get 'worse' than this" (jz)

The weather forecast called for clear sunny skies
And there was not a problem--
not a worry on my mind,
And looking up at the morning blue
there wasn't a cloud
not a single cloud in the sky
And it looked as if--
as if the words, "It's a beautiful day,"
"It's a beautiful day,"
were actually true.

But then, out of the blue
like a car accident
a sudden illness
or a drive-by shooting
black clouds raced in
and suddenly the sky grew dark
and a strong wind blew
just before the rain--
a cold rain came pouring down.
And I found myself caught--
caught in the rain again.

There was no place to take shelter
couldn't find any refuge
no structure, no arms of another.
All I could do
was to stand there
and take it --
take it like a man
or, as best--
as best as I can.

And my clothes stuck
stuck to my skin.
Standing there,
my shoes in a puddle.
My mind--
my mind confused and
And all the puddles
made a stream
and the stream turned into a river
an the river turn into a sea
a turbulent ocean of panic.
My eyes--
my eyes couldn't see--
couldn't see even two feet in front of me
And there was no explanation
for this current situation.
Only that--
only that I was caught
caught in the pouring rain

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you
---Steely Dan

'Soliloquy' by Genevieve Barr (Contributor - Nagoya)


Sweetness breathes lightly beside me tonight,
Honored lips, color red with kissed delight,
Forgotten songs stir, and play with desire's intentions,
And smiles take on new meaning.
Embellished words in silence, almost spoken.

Such moments were gone before we even got started.

Smiles cruelly broken,
crimson fell dark.
Sweet songs lied
and we were left to die,
in suffocating times.
Love banished and tenderness a crime.

Gentle lives.


SARAH by Wallace Gagne

Like the Catholic priest who thought he had mastered
sexual intercourse by studying the Vatican Manual,
everything you know about economics you learned
by counting frozen mackerel on your husbands fishing
Likewise skills acquired driving the kids to subzero
hockey games and reheating Tupperware containers
of leftover meatloaf, will stand you in good stead when
it comes to shepherding ten trillion dollar budgets through
Congress or advising the President how to reorganize
the military.
Experience is no laughing matter.
Next comes metaphysical certainty.
God made the world in six days and doesnt want men
using rubbers.
Your whiny hog caller voice sounds like poetry, at least
to the Puritanical base who love your manly fortitude.
Then theres the school teacher glasses topped by the
librarian beehive which go along nicely with your plan
to solve Americas energy shortage by pipeling the National
Parks and obliterating the polar bear.
In the same vein, blasting moose in the back forty qualifies
you to negotiate a political settlement between Shia and
Sunni as well as head the Six Party Talks to denuke North
True youve never met the head of a foreign power, but
the Russian coast is visible from Alaska and you read about
Jack Shellac in the funny papers.
And just like the notorious Bridge to Nowhere which you
opposed then favoured then came out for and against,
we know you will apply the same sensible decisiveness to
health care, mass transportation and illegal immigration.
So God speed, Sarah.
Dont let the liberals and media deflect you from your divine
mission to save the nation and spread creationism.
Tokyo, Saturday, 09/20/08

Homo Erectus (jz)

Photo: Man on a Rhode Island beach, September 2008 jz

SALE by Wallace Gagne

A slick pullout from the local paper. Ads on tv.
Its July. Its August. Summer sales time. Back to school time. Time
to buy a new backpack. Get organized. Get connected. Be successful.

Look. Its the Big Bang. Its a Black Hole. Its our 37th Annual Summer
Liquidation Sale. Here come Adam and Eve. Here comes the Scientific
Revolution. Here comes Happy Hour. The Hydrogen Bomb. Our
Fireball End of Days Summer Blowout Extravaganza.

Its September. Its October. Fall Sales Time. Political campaign season.
Time for Super Buys on Luxurious Leather Sofas. Time for electoral
buffoonery. For Swiftboating. Instant Rebates. Red-baiting. Time for
flagwaving. No monthly payments. Fag-bashing. Lazy-boy recliners.
Time for wedge issues and code words. Dressers and Queen-size

Days are getting shorter. Dead leaves cover the ground. Are you
unhappy? Dissatisfied? Well cheer up. Because its Harvest Sales Time.
Record Breaking Savings. Heres an aluminum patio set. Theres a
Revolving Door Ad. Try our Cocomo bamboo place mats. How about a
sex scandal? Nothing down. Some toxic tabloid rumours. No interest.
A totally dishonest distortion. No payments for fifteen months.

Its November. Its December. Election Time. Christmas Sales Time.
Theres lies, untruth, half-truths, false accusations. Theres colored lights
in the malls. Theres questioned loyalty and kneejerk patriotism. A Jesus
manger scene at City Hall. Hate-speech and McCarthyism. Check out our
rock bottom prices. Dont miss out on reverse victimization. See our Back
Page for Special Power Buys. Try our money politics, collapsible laundry
sorters, fear mongering, fully loaded Subaru.

Media fills my mind. I drink websites. I breathe emails. I stand in line for
the latest ipod. Everythings moving. In play. Everybody wants everything.
More and more. Right now. Anybody can do anything. Everythings really
important. Nothings real. Nothing matters.

Its January. Its February. Theres white nights. Tremendous savings.
Im trying to understand. Time for our Everything Must Go After-
Christmas Final Clearance Sale. I read McLuhan. Do I need 70 percent
off prehung French doors? I study Mao Tse Tung. Test drive a fuel-
efficient SUV. I listen to Newt Gingrich. Arrange for a No-Obligation
In-Home Free Demonstration.

Whats happened to organized religion? Is your hair-dye causing cancer?
Whats gone wrong with music, medicine, responsible journalism? Come
on over. Paris was partying hard at a Vegas club. Pick a payment. Think
outside the box. No sales person will call.

Its March. Its April. March Madness. Easter. The Final Four. Hanukkah.
Time to hit the Winter Clearance Sales. Time to defend freedom. Buy a
snow blower. Bring light to the darkness. Buy storm windows. The white
mans burden.

Time for our Incredible April Fools Mix & Match Spring Spectacular. Buy
a gas barbecue. Receive absolutely free, a guaranteed money-back
targeted assassination. Get a Home Theatre Full HD Plasma TV. Choose
either domestic democracy or a hard-line in-your-face foreign policy.

Its May. Its June. Time for vox populi. Time for our Pre-Summer One-
Time-Only Spectacular Blowout Sale. Time to level with the masses.
For hand-trimmed sirloins. For honesty and openness. Delicious center-
cut pork chops. Headbagging and offshore rendition. Time for healthy
outdoor living. For fake compassion and phony glad-handing.

Who wants to see how sausage is made? The blemish on Miss Universe?
Dont worry. Go shopping. Dont miss our Fabulous Giant Out-the-Door
June Inventory Sale. Take advantage of our intolerant religious ranting.
A 24-Pack of Coors Lite. The disappearing rule of law. Fifty percent off
kiddies backpacks.
Tokyo, Friday, 09/12/08

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