Poems from Japan


'I'm thinking positive thoughts,'
says the voice from an orange tent
in Suicide Forest.

Since he hanged his alter ego in effigy,
Mr T. Hashimoto has canceled
all his psychiatric appointments.

He lies on his back
and mentally calculates
his cortisol level.

His crooked smile
duels inconclusively
with a crack in a coffee cup.

He has learned that life
is as long as a roll of pink ribbon
from Mitsukoshi Department Store,

stretching from trunk to trunk
and ending in the arbitrary place
where death waits.

But here, under an old pine,
the wind has cast
a litter of new needles.

And as the mist creeps closer,
the whitecoats are dancing,
delirious in the drugged air.

First published in Takahe.

Old pine