By the Trikāya Translation Committee.

Japan Poems 1

Composed in Iga-Ueno Shi and Kyoto, 2005.

it’s not as if
the scattered brick-chips
mind if they
trepass on the
stepping-stones

***

the moth
flies into the side of the bread bag and
turns back around, trying another way.

he hides
behind a box of Japanese hot cocoa mix
and veers once more toward the light.

the totality of moonlight
why must it be
beaming from her face?

***

a squeal of unclassified birds
alerts the rain frogs
rain is over

through one window
two
i look through three windows.

without eye glasses
the mountains could be
demons.

***

the place where i was born
has orchids
blooming with various impressions

the place where i was born
has an outstretched hand
tenderly pinching
bursting with exasperated sweat
crackling from voyages
to long destroyed forest
buildings
rough with the rubbing
of things that look like bones
veiny with death
realization
fresh with
hair of the past present
future.

the place where i was born
was demolished
by government land officials
in search of a better modality
of trans hyper national apple
transplantation

the place where i was born
was wild, swampy, stood still
amongst reptiles, boulders, 10,000 years
of land disagreements, family disputes
and moonlight interpersonal communications

the place where i was born is a prism
reflecting all the other
places i was born

the place where i was born
is truly not
the place where i was born

the place where i was born
was drenched with blood
was soaked with blood
was downright bloody
and the rivers, they say,
were like veins

the place where i was born defies all categories
the place where i was born might have
been called a hospital
the place where i was born was excellent,
reknowned, and intimidating

fierce and grassy, mildly entertaining:
worth visiting once every few years:
subtle and mysterious, humid with
childhood anxiety;
somehow present —

a brick house on a small town road.

***

raindrops keep falling on the roof
and there is a man who can’t go to sleep.

“what makes a person good or not
is how
he can
deal
with adversity.”

thousands of insects died in his room
some trampled by his feet
others just puttered out
from exhaustion. Some of them
had a lust for light
(too strong).

“thousands of mothers
are crying for their sons. Everyone

wants to get real close to the sun, steal some of its light,
bring it home
hide it under
some dry blankets, say it is
theirs.”

dewdrops keep sticking to
his bones, the rain
was going for seven hours or more, the

train was absent until
daybreak, but now it is
always sending out signals of
danger, a perverse alarm
in the rice paddies, letting the

rain frogs

know that it is
time to hide.

***

Oh travelers! oh wanderers
when you stop upon that road
remember where you came from:
no thunder in the valley.

Babies of this amusement park planet
please don’t forget the ticket
has a price:
the rain seeps through bricks.

When you look up, and if,
what do you pay attention to
and is it hard
or soft? a picnic with clouds:
no cows in the streets.

having seen the sky
you won’t have to see it again:
he walks away
stumbling
towards heaven.

%d bloggers like this: