Friday, October 2, 2009

The Invasion Continues

It has been a very busy day at your humble author's day job, so today's contribution to his poem "Takaaki" is rather modest. It consists mainly of a re-writing of yesterday's bits with a little additional characterization and local color. Still, upstairs, in my head, where the thing is being conceived, there are ideas bubbling. Hopefully, this weekend will see some real focus and progress.

We shall see.


Slowly shut the faucet off. He dried
His swollen fingertips on a dishtowel
With “Thanksgiving” printed on one side,
A turkey, goose—some kind of cooked, brown fowl—
Emblazoned on the other. He withdrew
Another cigarette. (There were just two,
I noticed, left inside Doraemon.)
“Are we still playing games or are we done?”
I left when he invited me to go—
Which is not to say that I objected:
I understood. I should have expected
This. Nagasaki went too far. To show
How bad I felt, I called him to surrender,
Unconditionally, the 7th of December.

Part III

Since our worlds already were at war,
There wasn’t much which I could do, really.
I buzzed Takaaki gently—prepared for
Another argument—contingency
Chrysanthemums and Dunkin’ Donuts
My auxiliaries. Although he was
Bound to be annoyed that I was late,
I hoped the Martians might consent to wait
Two hours and obliterate New York
Again, at ten-fifteen, since eight-fifteen—
Our time—had passed. Martians can be keen
On sticking to their schedules. They work
Very hard on planning their invasions,
Sleepless, indefatigable. With patience,

I pressed his buzzer harder, wondering
What on Earth was taking him so long
To answer the door, mind wandering
Back toward the cinema: what’s wrong
With him? Mysterious music swelled somewhere;
A whiff of singed meat hanging in the air
Compelled reflection. Not quite panicking,
I gave the buzzer a one minute ring,
The tip of my thumb glowing bony white.
Frustrated by my absence, had he gone
Off to face the Martians all alone—
Half-crazy—seeking a heat-ray to light
A final Marlboro? No. As it hap-
Pend, I aroused Takaaki from a nap.

He blinked at me and my chrysanthemums
As if presented with preserved bullfrogs
Retrieved from one those great pickle drums
For sale in scientific catalogs:
Every specimen in our collection
Formaldehyde free for your protection.

The ads will grin with grisly emphasis.
Takaaki offered me a ghostly kiss
Which missed my lips entirely. “Mars sends
These flowers—and regrets they look so sick.
They did seem brighter in that black plastic
Bucket at the bodega. Cut the stems
And water them, they should perk up,” I said.
“Chrysanthemums are given to the dead

By people in Japan,” Takaaki’s
Jaw yawned, unromantically, I thought.
“Maybe these Martians are not Japanese.
From me. Strawberry frosted donuts ought
To be acceptable, more auspicious.”
He made a fuss about how delicious
These tasted when I brought a couple home
One day. His favorites. Twelve Styrofoam
Rings, of no variety, or beauty,
Now glistened in his contact lenses. “Same?”
He blinked again, “Who buys all of same
Donuts? Who does that?” “It’s my duty
To disappoint you every way I can,
Takaaki. I am an American,”

I added, wearily removing
Saturated sneakers, lead pea-coat,
Wet socks, wet pants, wet everything, including
A pair of foggy glasses. As remote
As peaceful coexistence between us
Seemed, I confess the cold and clammy penis
Shyly shivering in my underwear
Was pleased a towel appeared from nowhere—
Materializing on top of the tansu
Directly opposite the front door,
When I was peeling off my t-shirt, or
Jeans. People constantly surprise you.
From the tatami room, came a fantastic
Robe inside a wicker laundry basket.

“Please put this on. It's warm. I will wash clothes
Tonight.” For once, I did what I was told.
Resistance is futile, I suppose,
Confronted by goose pimples and warm gold
Kimonos. I pulled down my briefs
Shedding any lingering beliefs
In Christian modesty in his front hall.
I rolled my doubts into a blushing ball—
A sort of maraschino cherry—
Carefully adorning the dark pile
Of soggy garments I abandoned while
He was so busy. I was grateful. Very.
He held up that kimono, like a cross,
His face invisible, his body lost

Behind the fabric…

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