The way of writing. My grass hand
floats over washi skin. Auspicious animals, flowers,
the floating bridge of heaven.
These marks - mulitcoloured umbrellas
opening across your back. Roof tiles glistening, from temple to temple a simple truth unwinds.
Twilight falls like ashes over
the city. The most you can do, hold your heart immovable. Lean against its vertical blinds. The fuji-colour ghosts shining
lurid promise, dance about
the office-block glass,
the multi-storey kanji boards
Shinjuku line...Sunday morning overhang, newspaper bulk and unironed shorts. Mr Hirohito snoring across the aisle. Peach Kimono waves a heart- shaped Kitty fan, carries goldfish delicately on her wrist, swimming in a clear plastic sea.
All the air is full of spirits. Amaterasu, root of imperial sky. You ghost through red doors of Shinto. Hours, seconds pass at the same speed. Listen, the chanting of monks, wooden blocks and gongs. Black on red, the characters read themselves ; earthly meaning unnecessary.
The electric sun hanging high- light, the devil in the detail. Hot rain 2am gaijin bar, Roppongi cloud
presses palms from the eaves.
The bartender pouring guava juice for the unwary. We eat with our eyes, my pachinko love criss- crossing her chopstick legs.
Evening wind, the poplars
ease and settle. We cross
the wooden floor; nightingales follow our footsteps.Body guards waiting silently behind the tassled panel. Candle shadow flickers on painted eagles. The sound
of wooden box offerings.
You turn over the wooden washtub.
Standing on top, clothed in nothing
but leaves and flowers. Begin a sensual dance, drumming out a rhythm with painted feet. Your audience shouting with delight and clapping along till my white hands ache.
Love, what spirit are you?
The dream - a rabbit messenger
from your God. Kiyomizu temple floating in trees. We are not a good match. The stone dogs wear bibs, stand guard over forest altars. It begins to rain, dusk. Go Go call the crows.I turn down the path, don't look back.
God has faded from my heart. This old craving - to walk straight ahead day and night without ever turning my head. A ginger tom laps from the stone basin. We are wound on the same spool, obsessed by a liquid passion. Two winged animals of Zipangu.
Celebrating Gion Matsuri
with squid on a stick, every
coloured kimono and slap-slap clogs. You nail a straw doll to the cedar outside, invoking Okage - Myojin - guardian diety especially for ladies. Place a heartfelt curse on my receeding head.
Copyright Brian Flaherty 2003
first published issue 6
The fecund people - Andy Leleisi'uao 2014