Thursday, September 3, 2009


For those of you who have been following the tedious little developments in my Pushkin Project, the poem I now call "Takaaki," the fact that I have made some more changes to the text will not come as a welcome surprise.

In fact, I have been having second thoughts about publishing any more about the poem until it is actually complete. My mind is divided on the topic.

On the one hand, I like to have a contemporaneous record of all the changes I have made in the poem easily accessible to me (for reflection and research purposes) when I am at work, on the subway, or at the gym, which I can access on my iPhone, and think about during my idle moments.

On the other hand, from the point of view of the reader who is looking for a good time and not some kind of vatic voyeur--those metrical fetishists (like me) looking for a salacious clinical study in schizophrenia written in iambic pentameter--these changes in structure, vocabulary, story line, tone, etc. might be a bit difficult to tolerate. Without appearing to be a lunatic, I hope you can appreciate my pickle.

As my blog readership is relatively small, relatively intimate (Hi, Thomas! Hi, June! Hi, Bill!) and already relatively familiar with my wild, wind-blown ways, I think I might be able to get away with a little more than other, more popular poets.

Still, I do have these second thoughts sometimes. And I thought I would clear my conscience.


The alterations I have made to my magnum opus today are the following. We take up the story of Takaaki and me at the juncture where the leopard belt disappears around Takaaki's waist at the Y and we move into part II, the vicious, Hellfire and brimstone part of the poem...

*Zip* that leopard softly disappears
Around the tan-line of Takaaki’s hips.
My eyes could spend the next ten thousand years
Just bouncing on his hips. But then my lips,
Neglected and forlorn, might turn to dust
Before I could express my love. Or lust.
I must not allow a naughty rhyme
To interrupt my story. It is time
To address Takaaki—the sweet face
I sit across from in a steaming bath
Below Mt. Fuji—the small lines that laugh
Around his almond eyes, when I place
My feet in the hot water and I ask,
“Do you prefer my poems, or pale ass?”

Part II

That onsen near Mt. Fuji lies, today,
Some distance from my bathtub, like the views
Engraved in Edo era ukiyo-e
The old volcano capped with snow, the blues,
The grays, the tiny boat,
the tall tsunami,
The tight red lips of geishas,
tan tatami,
Black boughs imprinted with such tragic pink
It makes the falling cherry blossom think:
"The law of gravity does not exist;
This floating world is Heaven, our islands
Bear no relation to the inky hands
Of human artisans." We may dismiss
The final thoughts of flowers as they flutter
Down. But they’re so beautiful. Why bother?


::: TN ::: said...

Black boughs imprinted with such tragic pink
It makes the falling cherry blossom think:

Chweebians like this bit for it...
“Izz da zum of de poh-yium”

Shropshirelad said...

We thank the Chweebians for their kindness. But we cannot claim entire authorship for this conceit. We must assign credit where it is due: in this case, we assign it to that crazy old coot, Ezra Pound, who wrote about those he saw in the Paris Metro, thus:

THE apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.