Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saving Goldfish

Kingyo sukui
Saving Private Goldfish.

They give you a paper net 
Meant to break and tell you 
Save a few as one or two 
Always die in the bag 
On the way home. Helluva life.

Japanese Lessons

Japanese roads have taught me
To take the lead or stand aside
On the subways and morning trains
I learnt to dance and twirl and slide
Japanese fat cats have forgotten this
As they take their limousines for a ride
That’s why their katana shatter
Against the rising dragon’s hide
And if they cannot remember
To whom they sold their pride
This lovely castle their fathers built
Will be washed out with the tide

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Osaka H & M Store

Distressed Robocop T-shirts
Made in Bangladesh
Gorillaz, ironic sayings
Foreign retro cool
In small sizes no foreigner could wear
I joke to the clerk
“Even if I dieted I couldn’t fit into this”
“Nope” he replies and keeps folding shirts

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Osaka Garuzu

These Osaka garuzu sure look grand
But it’s all smoke and mirrors, my man
Go down to Shinsaibashi shops and listen in
“Wear this coat if you want to look slim
That skirts hides, that one reveals your thighs
This powder shrinks your nose, that one accentuates your eyes”
You’ll see the shapechanging sorceresses
Who beguile the boys with their dresses
But see that mousey girl in uniform
Who seems the image of the norm?
Selling pork cutlets in the lunchtime light
That is her! The Venus from last night
Ten times realer in white socks and flats
Than wobbling in pin heels and fishnets
To avoid a shock when in bed you wake up
Make sure you see your angel without makeup
For a love to last throughout your age
Love the person not just the image

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Animals Incorporated

Living in the city
The only animals I see
Live in cages at Animals Incorporated
Alligators and crocodiles asleep in tubs
Warmed through winter by electric heaters
Lesser pandas in wire cages
Who’d escape in a day
If their feeders stopped coming
In 20 years we’ll all be asking
If they’re real or cloned
Silent coelacanth, perch and tropic nematodes
Gap mouth guppies in coffee table aquariums
Living lives in small boxes far from nature
To rent nature to people living in small boxes

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shame Full Self

To the Osaka homeless man on his cane
Who approached me as I held my new $100 leather coat
I responded in French and shuffled away
Just as I responded in Japanese
To the bum in the Paris Metro
Before I felt bad and went back

He told me to go fuck myself
And disappeared down the echoing corridor

I am not perfect
I am good when I drop a few coins
Or buy a copy of The Big Issue and chat
But sometimes, scared or startled
I turn my back on the man
Who I could one day be

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ode to the Neckbeard

O hairy mantle of the neck
Woolly growth of my gorget
In winter’s grip best worn
In sticky summer best shorn
Shorthand for unrepentant geeks
Whose itchy beard of Cheetos reeks
Look at Gilgamesh and Nut
Who did Sumerian throatlocks strut
And know that though it may seem odd
The neckbeard is the beard of gods

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weekday Mornin Train Haiku

Sleek Salarymen
Slipping their legs into seats
Before women sit

Ode to the Muzak Makers

Hello, Ted here. I've been busy as hell shuttling back and forth to Osaka, so you may have noticed a slowdown. The good news is I am back with a ton of poetry scribbled while on trains and subways, poetry I feel  has some new bite to it inspired by the big city. Enjoy:

Ode to the Muzak Makers

Do you feel any pride
That my airplane ride
Is made melancholy by your clarinet cover
Of Charles Aznevour’s ‘La Mer’?
Or that your strains drift in and out of mind
As my mind drifts in and out of consciousness

Did you work hard I’d like to know
To master Spanish guitar and violin
To make your interpretation
Of ‘A Groovy Kind of Love’
That filters through the fertility clinic
Where we wait miserably
With only your music to console us

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kill Road

Cat’s eyes widen
Headlights lead
Long lighted corridor

Instant of breath
Eternal second
Façade of nothingness

Purr the redline
Utter stillness

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ode to Fearless Young People

Young people I know
Lend me your ear
Believe me when I say
You got to fight that fear
That grows on you year by year

Fear of strangers
A child would wave to anyone
The old fear they will be undone
But keep your heart and hand open
And hands and hearts will be open to you
Learn quickly who is worth friending
Then you’ll enjoy bonds unending

Fear of failure
A child will try to do anything
The old excuse themselves by lying
Create in themselves a fear of flying
Shake fears off like water drops
Never forget to try the new
Before deciding what you cannot do

Young people I know
Banish fear from your door
Be cautious of injury and risk, for sure
But don’t let fear make your life poor
Be rich in spirit and in step secure

Young people I have known
I thank you all for sharing with me
The joy of everyday life
The courage that keeps me free
The young eyes that let me see

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ode to a Blind Shanghai Masseur

A Shanghai friend
Recommended your healing hands
So we traveled to the city’s west
My wife and I waiting on twin tables
While the interpreter lead you and your colleague in

Your hands worked out my kinks
The strained shoulder
The displaced vertebrae
Until you asked me to roll over
And your hand grazed my unruly Canadian beard

Your gay laugh echoed
Naïve and high pitched
Like a frightened bird
The interpreter told us
You were shocked to feel such alien, animal hair

Your eyes could not see
My curly red chin cover
Like steel wool or pubes
You had touched a chimera
Of Scottish and Irish and Inuit and French

And so we laughed
Two blind Chinese masseurs
One Chinese interpreter
My Japanese wife
And mixed Inuit French Irish Scot Canadian me

Five people laughing together