Friday, February 12, 2010

Fathers and Sons

Today has been a mildly more successful day on the writing front than yesterday. I blame my good fortune on the delicious tempura I enjoyed last night with Jocelyn and Marie at Hatsuhana.

I add two and one half new sonnets to my poem today. Almost three, since we nearly arrive at the middle of the third. It is difficult to call the last one complete though, since it is not very poetical and I feel that many of the words there exist only as place holders.

I take up the poem where Part IV transitions to part V.

I hope you like it!

Promising materials do not exist
To build a world around. I don’t mind.
We poets have to work with what we find.

Part V

Building a new world began at the Moon-
Struck Diner, on 30th and 3rd—
With cheeseburgers as our foundation. Soon
We were walking home again. Absurd
As it may sound to you, the calories
Concern me less than barren ginko trees
Whispering to breezes, “Blow a chocolate
Hershey wrapper in their path.” (The thought
Of dieting has never crossed my mind
Or his, thank God!) I mentioned a Kit-Kat
Might aid in our digestion. We stopped at
The same bodega with the runny sign
Where I will purchase those chrysthanemums
Which will disgust Takaaki so. Green thumbs,

Jorge, was there, pruning thorns from roses,
Scraping pain away with a pocket knife.
I suspect that knife never closes.
My knife wouldn’t, if I led his life.
Takaaki interrupted, “—have two cents?”
A box of cigarettes, matches—events—
Lay next to a Kit-Kat on the counter.
While reconstucting my first enounter
With Jorge, Takaaki had been getting on
With our lives, on behalf of both of us.
This is why it’s easy to entrust
My future with him. Dialating on
Details, like discolored fingers, just leaves
No space for the important things—time bleeds

Away into infinity. Before
I know what’s happening to me, I will
Wake up an angry corpse one morning, sore
I missed so much. It is impossible
To do otherwise, I understand.
I placed two pennies in Takaaki’s hand.
Brushing his palm with my fingertip,
I felt a radiance I shan’t let slip
Away into oblivion no matter how
Much life it costs me to remember it.
The date was the fourth of November. It
Read nine eleven on his watch. Now,
We pass a poster where a black Marine
Stares stiffly at us, serious, not mean.

“My dad was a Marine in Tokyo
In the sixties, you know. He loved Japan.
It was so cheap! He had a silk tudexo
Made there. He wore it to his wedding and
Never again, as far as I know.
He went everywhere—except Hokkaido.
He used fool the cigarette machines
On base with ten yen pieces, since it seems
They weighed the same as quarters. All the men
Who smoked did that. They kept a few rolls
Of ten yen pieces to buy Marlboros
Buried in their bunks, or Lord knows where, when
Preparing for inspection. But he quit
When he found Jesus.” Ever so polite,

Takaaki let me chatter about my dad
And his adventures with mute amusement
Until we reached his block and had
Said, “Hi,” to someone from his apartment
Watching as his dropsical dachsund
Urinated on an old, abandoned
Bike frame curled round a meter. “My
Dad was in Airforce.” Another, “Hi,”
Greeted the grizzled doorman greeting us
Along with a huge explosion of hot air
Which sent his paper flying from his chair—
A copy of the Post I think it was.
“I thought that we disbanded your Air Force.
You mean the Air Self-Defense Force, of course.”

He turned the key in his mailbox, “No—
No mail. Te kanji. Nobody loves me,
See,” he laughed, blue contacts lit, aglow,
The spectral hue of burning gas rings. “He
Was in Airforce,” he continued, “in World War
Second.” As the polished elevator door
Slid shut, I gasped internally. “Just how old
Is your dad?”

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