Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 15 - Fallout

I don't have much to say about this posting, except to note, for the benefit that perverse band of grammar fetishists out there (and you know who you are) that
I did not leave out the article 'a' in the ultimate line of today's stanza: Takaaki did. It is something he often did, always with certain phrases "have bath" being chief among them in my memory.

I am glad I cannot convey how much I miss hearing that missing article on a daily basis: it would break your heart.

As usual, today's damage comes at the end.

Around a core of elevators set
Twelve tall windows in a concrete sheet
As crumbly as the Parthenon; let
Your panorama start in Brooklyn, greet
The Empire State behind a candle (where
I sit sweating, in a sticky chair),
While your eye continues travelling
Along the glass, skyscrapers unraveling,
Until the pointy tip of the Chrysler Build-
-ing rises from Lexington Avenue,
Piercing a silver nitrate mist. Now you
Must let this scintillating picture fill
The space before your eyes: that is New York.
Here, I transfix a carrot with a fork.

“Introibo ad altare,” I will say,
While blowing on the steaming vegetable,
Adding, “Totemo oishikatta ne,”
Hoping, after five months, I am able
To tell Takaaki I enjoy his curry
Without entangling my tongue in worry.
“It’s okay,” he shrugs, quietly deferring
My compliments—as always—much preferring
A tilted head, a seated bow, the leaner
Show of manners honored in Japan,
Which can seem strange to an American.
I sat there feeling silly, like a wiener,
Looking past my carrot, at the sun-
Set over Chelsea. Takaaki was done—

Just like those thirty-minute Japanese
Cartoons I used to watch in Buffalo:
Star Blazers was my favorite of these,
(Nihon-go, Uchu Senkan Yamato.)
On rusty orange carpet I would sip
Iced-tea as an Imperial Navy ship,
Resurrected and retooled for space,
Left planet Earth to save the Human Race.
And, later, on Eye-Witness News, I’d see
Toyota windshields being battered
By men from Chevrolet, lives shattered
By something known as, “The Economy.”
One person wore a black t-shirt. Above
Japan it read, “Two bombs were not enough.”

Now, the two malignant mushrooms which
Sprouted from the belly of that guy
Drifted back as steam, over my dish
Of curried chicken and vegetables. Why?
A cigarette tapped on a candy tin
Featuring the robot cat, Doraemon.
Takaaki pushed aside his empty plate,
Laconically smoking, while I ate.
“What do you want to do,” I inquired,
“Go bowling? I’ll do anything you like:
Get drunk? Get naked?” [Silence] “Steal a bike?”
“I swam forty laps tonight. I’m wired.”
“Well,” he said, letting out a little laugh,
“Shall we play Scrabble then and have bath?”

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