Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Pocket Full of Rye

Today's contribution to "Takaaki."

Two new stanzas.

I seem to be on a roll.

[Back to work.]

Part IV

The crude compartment I created when
I focused on the concrete, glass and steel
Elements of Takaaki place, I meant
Merely as a skeleton. I feel
We ought to decorate: add tatami mats
Surrounded by delicate shoji—that’s
The wooden screen (with paper windows) which
Separates our rooms; we’ll open rich
Closets, where futons are found folded, while
Not needed for sleeping, or some other use.
Before you enter, though, remove your shoes.
Shoes ruin the tatami. On the tile,
Out front, a pair of Muji slippers rest
Quietly for comfort of the guest.

The kitchen lies left of his bolted door.
It’s small, but servicable, black and bright;
It’s the best room in the apartment for
Stage managing a brief, premptive strike,
Or eating egg salad at night—egg
And bread crumbs are more visible. Pegged
To a corkboard above the phone, two keys
Will jingle if you pin a note. These
Keys may unlock a mailbox, or padlock,
A fair or frightening future. All I know
Is that I have an aunt Pandora, so
I don’t touch them. Taka-chan will talk
And turn them round, when he is on the phone.
But he’s entitled to. It is his home.

I do not pry or criticize. I lack
Those scholarly insticts, you might say.
I study coffee tables. Here’s a snack:
A bowl of crackers on a bamboo tray
Beside The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Does Azkaban share crackers with the man
Gyrating on the cover of HX
Or dangle them in front of him for sex?
It’s not clear. Maybe Agatha Christie—
This book—a Japanese translation of
The Body in the Library—would prove
Helpful in solving this—our mystery.
If only I could read it. But I can’t.
These Japanese are hard to understand.

Takaaki must provide the weirdest clues:
A leather sofa, color of burnt butter,
A TV tuned to Will & Grace, not news,
Chilly cha, a coaster, and another
Agatha Christie, A Pocket Full of Rye.
These are the blackbirds baked into the pye
We set before the reader. You are king.
Don’t let these details fly away, but sing,
Caw, croak, somehow illuminate
The mystery of love in ways that men
With tight abdominals, tight asses, ten
Inches don’t: let that sideways figure eight
I kiss, his double vaccination mark,
Slowly begin glowing in the dark.

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