It's a rocky road
It's a long row to hoe
It's a lonely walk alone
It's looking for home
And it's always being in the dark
Oh yeh, you would think
I would have learned by now
It's a mountain to climb
but it's a slippery slope
And you are always dangling -
dangling at the end of a rope.
Someday you are going to break -
break in your neck
break in two
It's a short trip
It's a short trip
so you had better
so you had better
make it good
It's irreparable damage
Oh, such beautiful calamity
No silver lining
just 256 shades of gray.
all I can say
like captive tiny sardines
45-degree nail platforms
discomfort isn't ever really shared
Instead my eyes glued
fixated on smooth silky nylons
sliding over bony ankles
and over delicate calves
to bent knees
below hemline thighs
to the point of imagination
how can anything else be
Against the darkness of night
Can you hear the song of crickets?
Can you see the dance of fireflies in flight?
Its reflection in a black pond
Am I suddenly awakened by the splash of Basho's frog?
Back then Basho couldn't help but hear
Back then there were no competing sounds to steal one's attention
No cars navigating in the dark
No street lights to destroy the night
Back then -
Nothing to disturb
What would have been
A perfect night.
Rainbow on the pitch-dark horizon
Pool table with a certain sex appeal
Names on the blackboard
From Ahmed to Zachariah
Feel no time for negatives
Band next door belt out ear soothers
The movers and shakers come across as people
Schedule brimming with an optimistic brew
Large, cold and advertisement ready
Steady hand and down goes a red stripe
This is life
This is life
Saw a body burning, on the bank of a Nepalese river
Those guys know how they feel about death
Saw a dolls face in a coffin, "she looks like she's asleep"
Avoiding the issue in Chicago, that one is dead, deal with it.
Laughable tears in a pet cemetery, oh dear, Butch is dead
He should have learned that cars hurt, dumb dog.
Goldfish flushed to the eternal blue water beyond
Faeces and piss, the winged angel turds keep it company
My old tortoise speedy now helps my cancerous spin
He has been a much more faithful ashtray than he ever was a pet
Hamburgers ain't dead and bacon never oinked and squealed
It's all born sello-wrapped and half cooked, price tag on it's arse
"how are you Adam, with the loss of Uncle Arthur?"
"He's dead, not lost" was not the answer they were after
I am not desirous of death, not for me, mine or indeed most folks
But I'll not ignore it's reality, not for a second, life is nothing
Unless you recognize that it is without question going to stop.
We are all just sentences and each one has a fullstop
I hope mine has not too many commas, they're too much like heart attacks.
The smilers, you know them, glowing teeth, permanent muscle relaxant
Shades of reality never impinge upon their sugar coated pinkness
They'll all go to heaven, so they believe, vanishing smiles as only dark earth greets
Despair has a place in this smiley land, smiles lose value if not balanced against hurt
And the world is not round! It is a bumpy spheroid dear smilers! Bumps are needed
On roads, on women, in life! The way is not grinningly flat and uniform!
Uniformity of smileyness is a lie, a self lie, mirrors grinning back, laughing most probably
The behind the mirror dimension people weep with insane laughs at your smiley falseness
Those smiles are not happiness! They're cosmetic, "roll up, new smiles from Chanel"
Preach honesty, cry at the homeless, but keep that smile at the front of the queue!
"Meek beggars to inherit the earth" the daily smiler newspaper smirks
So smile at the poor, the crippled, the disenchanted and the weak outsider mass
Theres's nothing to worry about, the earth's got millions of years left and God will stop the sun eating us
Your picnic baskets could be full of maggots and pus, yet still you'd find something to split your lying lips upwards
No novels on your shelves, only bibles and encyclopedias on faith and self help
But don't buy that Deepak Chopra guy, heathen, infidel, I'm not racist I had a Bob Marley record at college
Smile on, smile on, I hope your teeth rot and resemble a bolivian graveyard
Maybe then you'd stop your useless fucking grins, stop your eternal niceness
Stop being a lighter shade of dullness and move between black, grey and red like the rest.
I've been down
Down this road before
The same scenery on all sides
And all the same warning signs
She said she would always be there
She said she would never go away. . .
Yeh, I've been down I've been down this road before
And I've got to say, I've had my fill of yesterdays
Fuzzy memories to cloud my today
And excuses to trip up my brain
I've got nothing against history
Because it is useful to know
To know where you've been
So the same heartbreak
It's your choice in a fancy restaurant
that looks just great on the menu
but you realize after the first bite
the taste is entirely flat
It's spending a long time waiting in line
and finally when you get to the front
believing it's your turn
the window closes
right when you get there.
It's just a "missed appointment"--
by someone or
that hasn't been kept.
It's when you are expecting
a kiss --
a kiss on the lips
but you get a friendly handshake
I've got my hoodie on--
It's cold and dark, and it's pissin' rain
Don't blame me for the weather
Don't blame me because it's night
I've got my hoodie on --
I've got my sneakers and sweatpants on too
The gray hood pulled over my head to keep me warm,
to protect me from the cold.
Don't blame me for the clothes I wear.
I've got my hoodie on--
You can't tell if I'm black or white
Why do I look like some kind of thief?
Don't blame me because when I was born,
I couldn't choose the color of my skin.
I've got my hoodie on--
And I belong here, just as much as you
My Right to resist.
Your "Right" to carry a gun.
Everyone is afraid. Why?
The shooting of Trayvon Martin took place on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was an unarmed, 17-year-old African American male who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic community watch coordinator.
I love Candy
Because she is so sweet
she dissolves in my mouth
Sometimes I call her Sugar
Sometimes I call her Bit- O-Honey
When we are alone
hold her like an M&M
Who says she doesn't melt in my hand?
Giving her many Hersey kisses
sucking on her shapes
licking her like a lolly pop
tasting her flavors
I love candy
White, milk or dark chocolate
You see, I don't discriminate based on color
it's all about the ingredients inside
She's my Sugar Baby
my Baby Ruth
my Mounds bar
my Almond Joy
Sometimes she feels like a nut inside
I don't mind
Sometimes I just love to find the surprise --
the surprise of what she is really like inside
Bring a friend
we can play 3 Musketeers
I love candy
sometimes she's a Whitman's sampler
when she's looking all dolled up
All neat in that pretty box
tied up in a red bow
wrapped like a present
about to give herself to me
And I'm in awe
drooling like a kid
I love candy
What sweetness will she have for me today?
Knowing I'm saving the covered cherry
And it's been said that after you die,
you go to the place where you where before you were born.
But this is not a particular soothing thought to me.
As I can't remember that long ago - the time before I was born
I can hardly remember --
Heck, I can hardly remember what I did last week.
Because then again, there is the story of heaven and hell
Neither provides a logical answer to the mystery of death to me
I mean how hot--
how hot can hell be?
Heaven on the other hand...
On the surface, heaven does sound like a pretty dreamy place
looking down at you all.
But what happens if I want to look up an old friend?
What address would I give with everyone living on Paradise Street
What activities are there to do at night?
Suppose there is only one kind of beer on tap?
And are we all supposed to sit around and sing hymns about Him?
After a while, if we didn't question it
heaven would just be a nightmare...
but one for all eternity
Reincarnation is yet another theory
It sounds spiritual and all
that we all come back again.
My luck I'll back as a dodo bird, or something worse.
perhaps starting out as some tiny one cell organism
and having work my way up the food chain
living, suffering, dying
living, suffering, dying
living, suffering, dying
over and over again--
over and over again for a thousand years.
Finally becoming a boy again
only to get killed in one of those silly-ass wars of yours.
What will sex be like in the year 3000?
Will we continue to fuck and multiply or do it some other way
to keep our species going
or will we becoming extinct?
We don't know the future--
what science has in store for the living at the time.
Time will tell
because I can't.
Dear Friends & Colleagues,
The Book Launch Party for River Road, the sequel to Border Town will be a Sunday Brunch at the Pink Cow ("http://www.thepinkcow.com" www.thepinkcow.com) in Shibuya, Tokyo on Sunday, April 8 from 12 Noon to 4:00 PM. The admission is 3500Yen and includes the full Brunch Buffet + a signed (if desired) copy of River Road.
Border Town (2006) told the story of fictional manga artist Fumie Akahoshi who becomes rich & famous in Japan. In an act of hubris she creates a manga which implicates the Emperor in the WWII “comfort women” scandal. As a result, the Right Wingers hire the Yakuza to assassinate her. At the end of the novel she has disappeared.
River Road tells the story of Fumie’s abandoned daughter Angelica Akahoshi who becomes a famous graphic novelist at a remarkably young age. In her 20s she begins a world-wide search for her lost mother who she strongly believes is still alive. A short, cryptic telepathic message from Fumie spurs her on, following story clues along the “river road”.
Readings will begin at 1:00 PM. Guest readers include Alan Botsford, Frank Spignese, Hans Brinckmann, Jeremiah Dutch, John Gribble, Wally Gagne, Wayne Pounds and Yuri Kageyama. Taylor Mignon will MC. An open mike will begin at 3:00 PM as time allows.
Please RSVP / ASAP so the Pink Cow staff will know how much food to prepare. Feel free to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and to invite your friends and colleagues. Looking forward to seeing you on April 8
I get it, be what you say, say what you mean
write what you feel think see
Do not spout from the mouth of the history of others
Singing songs unowned, overgrown, words thrown, wanton
I am the words, fight me, bite me excite me
Or fuck off, impolitely, to a space you never fucking own
And breathe words not your own and hope someone turns the sun on
Because you do nothing valuable, nor invaluable
Priceless in your pointlessness
Pricking the conscience instead of consigning the pricks
To a hell they deserve, full of their own voices
Jabbering, selfish, stupid fucking shellfish of an existence.
Everything happened in one week.
nothing happened in one week.
Even more cried.
People ran their lives.
One week flew by so fast,
I hardly recall what I did,
but watch the tv in disbelief.
Life goes on
One year later,
Selfishly, my anxiety has all but vanished
But when the earth shakes, I recall Mar. 11
and for a second or two
reflect on my own mortality
One year later,
two minutes of silence is all they get.
Life goes on.
It's a cold, cold world
You don't think so?
I tell you, it's a cold world
especially -- especially when it snows.
I could write about how each flake falls silently into its rightful place.
O me, O Life, what a white peaceful blanket thou make
But does it keep me warm?
Each of us are in the middle of a storm
what philosophers and poets call "Life."
And this storm rages from morning to night
The human predicament that gives assholes like me something to write
Oh, the pain
This cold cruel world invades my brain
a razor's edge
Cliché sharp, and shit like that.
Why be optimistic?
After all, we're all gonna die someday.
blah, blah blah
It's far easier to write a pessimistic poem anyway.
So, I should change my tune
and write about this wondrous blue Earth of ours?
Birds and bees
but I always forget to add mankind in natural landscapes like these
(I wonder why.)
How about if I write a love poem?
I'll be cupid playing the harp
words tugging at the heartstrings
making the girls weak in the knees
How can I fuck thee?
Let me count the ways
Well here's a start: the original Kama Sutra illustrates 64
though I can watch porn on the internet and discover a whole lot more
So, I just want to say that words--
words don't mean shit
It's how you feel inside.
Either be the poem or
you are just sounding off
that noisy piehole of yours.
I'm an anachronism, out of time, out of place
Out of mind, out of the game and out of space
and yet the old hunger is still there, in the gut
in the soul, in the sinews and down in the mud
being in the gutter, blasted, dirty is good enough for me
you can keep your gutter seen stars Oscar, I like dirty
The clouds keeping pace with the wind, no control there
Still bet their cloudy egos let them believe all's fair
and that they are choosing there own directions cleverly
and that as they fly by a distant cumulus pal it's not serendipity
But their home made, rainless, blue sky destiny.
Well, sorry to say you cloudy freaks
You filled with self belief, formless geeks
That it's all out of control
wake up and fly agianst the wind.
My old flame
how it used to burn bright
at least that's how
I remember it.
My old flame
doesn't burn as bright.
and that's what they call
Now in the morning mirror
I can hardly recognize
I don't want to count--
count the wrinkles
on my face
And I don't want to count
I took along the way
I recall when my old flame used to...
she used to...
well, you know.
I peer down
Smiling at the sight of your open jar
All wet and sticky inside
Waiting to be eaten
golden brown delight
You look to good to be true
My mouth waters
I smack my lips
I'm so hungry for you
Now that I have you in my palm
To eat you. I don't need a knife
or a spoon
no jams and jellies
but I just want to stick my tongue in there
and scoop out some of you.
I have to have you
I will grind you - slowly
You see, common everyday fakes like Jif just ain't my style
Whether you are creamy or chunky,
And indeed Skippy spreads easy
But I read the label carefully
full of fructose and sodium
And stuff I don't understand
I want the real deal
I want the 100 percent organic nuts
I say, if you got it, then spread it, baby
I want you-- I want you like
I want an open peanut butter sandwich
on whole wheat bread and a glass of cold milk
You taste like heaven.
You feed me schezuan chicken.
Your chopsticks resting on my tongue.
It’s going to be a good year.
Chinese new year, beckoning the other side of a heavy weekend
I hear a man, talking of his mistress..."like an axe wound in a poodle"
He obviously loves her and her somewhat canine nether regions
The joys of alcohol with the tatste of ether, chinese white spirit breath
And the bells rang in some temple, the neighbours complain, deaf gods
Sweet pork, signs reading "this is pork" so non-pork eaters don't err and scoff heretically
I'll happily head to hell, bacon sandwich in one hand, inverted cross in the other
And the guys in the bar next door try and convince locals to blow them
The locals try and convince the lads they are real and human
The huge scaly dragon image stares down, uncaring, spitting water not fire
The lamps glow, cheaply, make-up shines and erections die as the booze drowns eros completely
Brand new shiny chariot cars roll on, drunken drivers looking for dead kids
The hookers stare everyone down with "go on, fuck me then" eyes, mascara blurred
The bells ring some more, like an old headmasters voice, deep, hollow and annoying
"I'll have the same again" someone says to a hooker, no gins, no grins, just business
My guinness is flat, my legs ache and it's a no smoking bar, so I head outside to watch the dragon dance.
She always cried at the moon, it looked so lonely
She was caring like that, she hated to see even a single lost shoe
Everything should be in pairs, but the moon stood tearful, alone
She loved the moon dearly, she knew it loved her too
Silvered beams would caress her through her cracked leaded window
She'd turn her pillow over, cold side up, a pretend moon to rest on
To talk to, to cuddle the absolute loneliness away
She loved the moon being lonely, she hoped nobody would live there
It was her lonely moon, she wanted it lonely, then she'd not be lonely alone
She'd sleep in the daytime, moon loving vampire like
Though she hated the sight of blood, moons don't bleed
She does, she hates her blood, yet it's so pretty, arms carved, like the moon's face
Cigarrette burned craters pitting porcelain white skin
Just like her moon, cratered, hanging alone waiting on nothing
And as everyone waits for the inevitable end, the white marble quietness of death
She smiles, the moon endures, cold and distant, but resolute and so here she'll stay
Until the moon lets her leave, she's brave like that, beautiful bravery, insane.
Crying at the icy window, nobody outside
Her warm fingers trace patterns of hearts
That soon melt away with the softest of breath
Just like her own, she is so tired
Vacant, oh so vacant, the stare that unlocks the bathroom
Cold, tired fingers turning old tired taps, begging for tepid water
To warm her chilled heart streams and Bering sea blood
She uses no cheap poundshop bubble bath today, hard soap cleans
A valve in her mind shattered, like an old guitar amp feedback burn
Too many old albums, she never really liked cds, tapes she could stand
Her feet warmed slightly by the water, her love still frozen in minds ice
She laughs at the pubic nastiness of her razor and awaits the last winter
She was a lovely lady.
It's all connected, the paranoid know a little of what is going on
Hair do Kim snuffs it while the throngs weep invalid
Europe gets fucked off by the dead empire
I dreamt of Richard Nixon, mate of Mao, enemy of cancer
Vinyl makes another comeback as the record stores close
The spacemen land and demand to see the manager
Mails go unanswered, I've done something wrong
ex-wives find love and despair, measures equal
Wives of the now laugh and a bell rings, perfumed mornings
Crisp packet like bed sheets betray the wanker who slept before
Talent shows on magic lanterns make me violent
Drugs keep the calm anger ripe and ready to fall from the brain tree
Whisky still burns my throat, single malt indigestion
The nerves of the new year and the spatter of hopeless hope
The waking tendril arms of deja vu slap listlessly upon cheeks red
New watches, family entertainment system for the single man
The dead christmas tree turns all lord of the ringy in my nightmare
bauble covered skeletal despair filling the post christmas night
And still Kim Jong's hair looks like one bong too many
Family traits, follicle, insane.
I wonder why,why I am writing
to whom I am writing and then it dawns
the crack in the sky the opening mind eye
to you obviously, it's the why defeats me
alongside the meaning.
The pseuds are out, in every bar, never brawling
From over educated slimy lips clever words are falling
Ears search for plugs, the sensible among us for drugs
To block out the drivel dribbled out by the pseud mugs
"Have you read the..by the...", "my view is...cleverly"
Ignorance is the politeness in this hated reverie
A memory clouded by the pub clever men, studenty dour
Long coats, berets float on to top of heads dull and sour
Smelling of eastern oils, the philosophy of hypocrisy
The "we know best" sewage pours all over me
And I start to boil, I start to foam, I am working
And 38 year old students are still blurting
About the fact that they are still learning
As if my life has no educational meaning
The pseuds annoy, the pseuds destroy
With words spitting faster than the babies toys
flying from a million prams, as you say "hey pseud"
"I do mean to be incredibly rude"
When I say "fuck off"
3. Recourse (March 11, 2011)
March 11, 2011 and three fishermen
are out at sea
off the northeast coast of Japan.
Let's call them Kikuchi, Sasaki
& Suzuki— common family names
of the region.
At 1440 hours
they hear the earthquake warning
and 15 minutes later
the tsunami warning.
They hear the jisshin was 9.2
on the Japanese scale
but how can that be?
The scale goes only
up to 7.
Kikuchi, the leader, tells
Sasaki & Suzuki
to head out to sea
"We must meet the wave head-on,"
he tells them.
"It's our only recourse —
there's nowhere else to go."
Half an hour later
they see the wave
a rolling mountain
on the far horizon
or rather, obliterating
the horizon altogether.
All together they head for the wave.
"90 degrees," Kikuchi warns them.
"Make sure to take it head-on —
The boats and the wave move
inexorably toward each other
steadily, no hurry
like two old lovers
meeting by chance
on a lonely city sidewalk
"Keep your eyes on the wave"
Kikuchi tells them
"Head-on, head-on, 90 degrees —
don't be afraid."
Head-on, head-on, Kikuchi meets the wave
and climbs, the boat
bends over backward
rises like a rocket
to the celestial crest
then - over the top —
and the long slide down
the back of this brontosaurus
of the sea.
Out the starboard window
he spots Sasaki
"Good job, Sasaki-san," he spouts
in the radio mike
Out the port side window
he sees the roiling sea.
"Can you see Suzuki?" he calls.
Sasaki doesn't answer.
"Sasaki," he calls again
"Sasaki—can you hear me?
"Sasaki!" he cries
"Can you hear me?"
"I hear you."
2. Fear & Rumor (June11, 2011)
We’ve been waiting for three days
here on Tokashiki Island
in the Ryukyus
Finally, a tuna boat comes in -
the Mayu Maru, Captain Fujiwara
He’s got three yellowfin tuna –
two juveniles – Okinawans
call them shibi -
and one adult
It’s 35 kilos, sashimi grade
a beautiful fish if truth be told
it gleams in the sun
lifts it from the hold.
Captain Tamaki, of the Fishing Co-op
on the cell-phone
looking for a buyer.
They used to sell to Taipei & Shanghai
but no more – Taiwan & China
refuse all seafood from Japan.
“We’re in the East China Sea, for God’s sake”
says Captain Tamaki, “Over a thousand miles
from Fukushima – and still
they won’t buy our fish”
An hour passes
finally, a buyer in Manila
In Shanghai this fish is worth
a thousand dollars
Manila offers seven-fifty
Captain Fujiwara accepts
“Shipping costs will be higher too”
1. Recovery (September11, 2011)
The harbor is clean
There is no damage to be seen
except some cracks
in the concrete
of the breakwater
across the bay
But that could have come
from anywhere –
a coastal freighter
dragging its mooring
in a summer typhoon.
Where is the debris –
the garbage & wreckage
of the earthquake
the flotsam & jetsam
of the killer wave?
I know the answer –
I’ve seen the trash mountain
rising out of a rice field
from the railway platform
the last stop before the end of the line
here in Oarai.
The huge Kubota traxcavators
climbing the refuse mountain
look like Tonka Toys
in a little boy’s backyard.
This mountain is the harbor
and the waterfront
of Oarai – forty fishing boats
bent & twisted car doors
houses deconstructed into muddy junk.
But the harbor now is clean
The work of hundreds -
volunteers, patriots of Oarai
fishermen, City Hall clerks
heavy equipment operators
high school athletes
teachers, parents, visitors
from Tokyo & Kobe & Katmandu
And now the harbor is clean
Then the silence cracks
breaks like a wooden house
in the jaws of the jisshin
as the Japanese call “earthquake”
as two fishing boats round the point
and enter the clean silent harbor
from the Pacific
and the muffled rumble of their engines
brings the silent immaculate harbor to life.
They are not big boats –
4.9 ton registry
to avoid paying the higher fees
of the 5 to 10 ton fleet
They’ve been dragging for whitebait
which the Japanese call shirasu
They eat them raw or steamed
as topping for bowls of rice
garnished with thin yellow strips
with pickled daikon radish
and miso shiru on the side.
Do I dare eat a serving for lunch?
I’m served a bowl of rice with topping
the Japanese call this donburi
the topping is steamed shirasu
the Japanese call this dish
The Japanese say “Umai!”
After lunch I visit the Fisheries Office
with the Town Clerk.
They apologize – they can’t give me
any data – all their records
their computers – washed away
They tell me there were 105 boats
in the fishery
29 were damaged or destroyed
or washed away
Most were fishing, out to sea
but most of those in the harbor
were damaged or destroyed
or washed away.
Today, six months on
80 boats are able to fish
but most are not fishing
they sit in the immaculate harbor
The weather outside has become cold
and inside the television's glow
the forecast of the season's first winter storm
sleet and snow
My priority is heat
various means of body warmth:
electric or gas
heating fans and fireplaces
vents and baseboards
But no matter the season--
no matter the temperature outside
my baby, she blows hot and cold.
It's the unpredictability
I don't care for:
this woman thing
Where nonchalantly she says:
"It's my character, that's all."
I make it a point to press her buttons with my remote
dinner and wine
candles and compliments
dessert of course
But, I'm lucky if the light goes on.
I say, "What the heck?"
I swear something--
something must be broke.
when I've almost given up
thinking: well, I don't have the right stuff
she will unexpectedly be turned on
I'll tell ya this game--
this game with her:
Man, it is getting old
You see, I just--
I just never know
My baby, she blows hot and cold.
The faces stare back, grim and unfocused
Looking for inspiration, frogs buried in the desert
Dry and waiting for the deluge
Ideas bereft, no imagination, nothing left
And the clouds contain nothing but old sand
This boredom, this living death sentence
Arrived at on trains and buses world over
Offices, factories, sweat shops and cafes
Broken hearts cling to each other
For the goodness of paper fiat dreams
The currency of our lives no longer emotional
No longer communal
There is no dog eat dog, who cares?
Hunting and gathering coins and notes
Hearts and minds just dust motes
In this incomprehensible mish mash
Love? It lies where? Or is it a lie, lying deathly pale
Under moneyed eyelids
And the children cry for another game
And the tinsel glints like bloodied entrails
A new toy, a new this and that
And the parents drink another school uniform
In the pub of our darkest day
And the milkman has gone
And the postman wants his Christmas tip
And I am tired of all of it
Whoever invented Christmas should be fucking nailed up.