Saturday, December 21, 2013


Afterimage of a firework
Bright circles bound together
When we are already
Ashes strewn far apart

Saturday, December 7, 2013

O Son

O son
As I listen to you sleep
Your breath comes twice as fast as mine
Because you’re running to catch up
Even though you can’t walk

O son
Whenever you leave this room
You die, my heart is killed
Whenever you come back
I spring to life

O son
You grab for my hard food
Even though you still feed
From your mother’s breast
Or rice gruel from her hand

O son
As your eyes and ears sharpen
Mine dim and deafen
As your back broadens
Mine becomes bent

O son
Be not in a hurry
To grow up
For as you rise
So shall I fall

O son
We are planets
Moving in opposite orbits
Temporarily in synch
For a forever moment vanishing instantly

Monday, October 21, 2013


Dull-eyed girl
Never listening
Always looking at space
You made me speak your name a hundred times
Each class
Nana Nana Nana Nana

I was surprised
When you came to me afte
And asked how to get your English
As good as my Japanese
Even more thrilled
When you jotted down everything I said
About making it part of your life
Doing something you love in English

I saw you
As if for the first time
Eyes alive
Mind a void hungry to be filled
To go out and change the world

In that instant
You were heart-achingly beautiful
And I knew I loved
My job

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Weight of Things

you were thrown
into the ocean
above the Marianas Trench
tied to all your possessions
do you think
you could let go
of things

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Holy Grocery Bill

I have had my fill
Of the Holy Grocery Bill
That God left behind
For us cavemen to find
Inconsistent rules for life
Designed for misery and strife

Where’s the Commandment against rape?
That would separate us from apes
It isn’t there, anywhere
Where’s the fatwah against acid attacks
From a man trying to get back?
It isn’t there, anywhere
Where’s the mizvot against herpes
Given by circumcision slurpees?
It isn’t there, anywhere
Where's the sutra against pillage
Of another cult's  village?
It isn't there anywhere

Why listen to your conscience
When you can kill and rape like God says
I think there’s no doubt about it
We’d be better off without it

But the Holy Grocery Bill’s text
Is just a reflection of our illness
We’d realize we didn’t need it
If only we didn’t feed it
There’s some good items in there too
That are read by far too few
If we fanned the flames of this light
We’d better judge what is right
And see the darkness in our hearts
Is what’s keeping us apart

Friday, September 13, 2013


Listening to Sharon Van Etten
I remember you Kate
Beautiful girl
Your boyish grin
Your boyish haircut
Thumbs hooked into your jeans
How we’d talk about girls
Playing pool at the gay bar whose name I forget

Listening to silence
I remember the night
Soaking wet
You told me
You had a secret
I said if it was that you were a lesbian
That was half the reason I liked you
And no reason to stop being your friend

Listening to rainfall
I remember the morning
Smoking menthols
You told me
How your first love
Broke your heart and broke off ties
Like half your family and friends
Was already married and pregnant

Listening to nothing
I remember that Toronto night
Eating Greek food
You introduced me
To your fiancée
Two beautiful girls
Making me blush and look away
As you snuck kisses in the restaurant

Listening to my blood rush
I remember that afternoon
At your front door
Your sister told me
About your suicide
Just before your wedding
I walked home crying
Not needing to see the streets we played on

Kate, I love you miss you remember you

Monday, September 2, 2013


In life
It’s a small window
When I can rock you to sleep in my arms, son

It’s a small window
When I can take you in the tub with me
Then wash you clean and dry and clothe you, son

It’s a small window
When you beam at me and smile when I say “Good morning”
Then we talk nonsense to each other for an hour, son

It’s a small window
When everything I do makes you smile or laugh
My off key songs are music to your ears, son

It’s a small window
I will look back through
The rest of my life

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Heard the jackboots in the hall
No chance they’re here for me at all
Those goddamn queers they took away
Their fault for choosing to be gay
Turned and went back to sleep

Jackboots came again this morning
Striding softly without warning
Kicked down the door
Of that half-dressed whore
Smiled and drifted back to sleep

Hello old jackboots I hear
Shaking the floor as you draw near
Those muslims you can take
From noisy prayers give me a break
Yawned and turned back to sleep

Jackboots jackboots came again
This time for my dear old friend
Warned him not to go protest
Got himself into this mess
Took me some time to get back to sleep

Today cannot believe my ears
Tromp of jackboots drawing near
Echoing in the corridor
Till they stop at my front door
Please tell me I’m still asleep

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Here in Asia
This time of year
Some folk burn effigies
Spout hatred
Pray for death
Call for war
Some folk light candles
Profess their love
Pray for life
Call for peace
Whatever happened in the past
Right and wrong are dead and gone
On Remembrance Day
It is easy to forget that

Saturday, August 3, 2013


20 squats
With you in my arms
20 kicks
With you in my arms
100 laps around the house
With you in my arms
Wash the dishes
With you in my arms
100 kicks
From you in my arms
This is how I Fathersize
Make myself strong enough
To carry you

Friday, July 12, 2013


You’re gonna get bathed
You’re gonna get washed
You’re gonna stop smelling
Like a dirty old sock

We’re gonna wash your back
Then scrub your buttocks
We’re even gonna wash
Your dirty little cock

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Dear son
A month old today
We took you to pray
For health and happiness
Under the rising death ray

A cool mountain shrine
Massive cedars swaying above
Birds trilling in their leaves
Statues of dragons and monkeys
We washed our hands in a spring

Forgive us
Dear relaxed Japanese Buddhist mum
God cursing Atheist old dad
For swaddling you like Sweetpea
On this sweltering day

A portly fellow
In wooden clown shoes
And millennium old bathrobes
Chanted Dadaist poetry
And swished a wand of streamers

A cute maiden
Dressed as bamboo moon princess
Shook a wand of bells
Dabbed a drop of sake on your lip
And gave me two saucers to drink

We paid fifty bucks for a prayer
We paid fifty buck for a prayer
We paid fifty bucks for a prayer

The photos of us
By the giant orange gate
You in your robes
Curious onlookers
The bag of charms and ornaments

As if any of that could protect you more
Than the love and guidance we will give

Monday, July 1, 2013


The road to Confederation
Began with a fusillade on July 1st
Scything down first-born sons
In sewn puttees and rifles bought on credit
For the Motherland whose cry they answered
Leaving orphans, widows, and siblings
Aimless, crying out under grief and debt
To the Motherland who answered them
By taking their nation on a cold March day
Ending with a fusillade on July 1st
The road to Confederation

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Papa's Song

Papa's got you
Papa's got you
Papa's got you in his hand
Because you are his little man
And together we will stand

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Thank you son
For drawing me on
Beyond the Doors of Death
As I drew my father before me

Some great men
Live forever when
They make books or bridges
I am just a good man

You rest on my shoulder
Bald head as you dribble
As I will rest on your shoulder
When my hair is brittle

You stand on my shoulders
As I stand on my father’s
And he on his
Stretching back to the dawn
Forgotten but never gone
Sideburns and pomade
Greatcoats and sideblades
Stretching back to sloped brows
Flickering shadows on cave walls

This my first Father’s Day
I thank you for giving to me

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Democracy is a river
You can’t step on the same place twice
But it will drown you anywhere

Democracy is a sweet cola
That comes in fancy cans
Whose formula changes every year

Democracy is an old horse
Blind and wheezing
That still pulls our cart

Democracy is a fine-tuned machine
Made in the 1800s
That no one alive knows how to fix anymore

Friday, May 24, 2013


On the city’s veins
Giant metal mosquitoes
Echo Friday night

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Iron crown upon my brow
Though I was never king
Hovel buried in possessions
Though I never made a thing
Potent in impotent rages
Welcome to my middle ages

Thursday, April 25, 2013


“I don’t like being accused
Of being that type of guy”
He said
Ignoring that
We have all been that type of guy
At some time in life
Before someone told us
Don’t pull hair
Don’t push a girl
If you like her
Or if you don’t
Be a gentleman
Then be a gentle man
“These chicks
Just like attacking guys”
He said
Of fearful nightwalks
Acid attack nightmares
The terrible question
“What were you wearing?”
As if clothes were an invitation
To commit any crime
Safe and secure
He grinned
I stood up
And left him
With his rape culture

Monday, April 8, 2013


Asia has so much history
Japan forgets to put it in her textbook
South Korea will never leave a second out
While China is always making her own
And South Korea writes alternate history
Better than fiction

Asia has so many fireworks
Japan exhausted hers a long time ago
South Korea borrows her uncle’s sparkler
China keeps on stockpiling bottle rockets
And North Korea aims hers at her neighbor’s walls
Better than family

Thursday, April 4, 2013


The world isn’t flat
It is flattened
Spun out, sped up
Intensified and concentrated
Words race across the globe
Before they are spoken
What’s ordered today
Gets here yesterday
We are becoming
A single body
With electric nerves
Connecting dumb tissue
Eyes that can’t see the self
Hands that know not what the head does
A head that thinks it commands all
While cancers bloom
In forgotten flesh

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Streets of Kyoto
Paved with poetry
From olden days
When drunk courtiers
Floated verses down
Swollen Kamo river

Every time
Walking in Kyoto
Poetry flows
From cobblestones and tombs
Anime hair and fishnet tights
On Kamo riverbank

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


A filmmaker was diagnosed
With early onset Alzheimer’s
“You have a year left
More or less”

He decided to finish
His latest film
Spent his year
Cutting and pasting

The film was released
To rave reviews
But not popular appeal
The filmmaker thought

He decided to recut
His latest film
Spent another year
Cutting and pasting

The rerelease party
Critics smirked with disdain
The public was mad with admiration
The filmmaker thought

He decided to recut
His latest film
Spent another year
Cutting and pasting

It came out again
Critics called it a waste
The public stayed away in droves
The filmmaker thought

He decided to cut again
His latest film
Spent a third year
Cutting and pasting

He died as it came out
He missed the critics lavish praise
The tears and smiles of his fans
The filmmaker was gone

I ask you now
How are any of us any different?

Thursday, March 7, 2013


English Teaching Professionals!
The posters proclaim
But you can tell in
The panicked horse eyes
Of the smiling gaijin
Who see where they are going
Reflected in the camera lens

Japanese people have it right
Never look where they are going
That way lies fear
Better to bump into travelers
Narrowly miss disaster
Or end in a jumbled heap
Than think too much

Saturday, February 23, 2013


To see and be seen
For what’s in between
Our legs
We go into bars

Beat the bush alone
Two birds and one stone
In hand
We lose in bars

Sunday, February 10, 2013


First castle
I made at dawn
Is long gone

Second castle
I made under the sun
Is a bowl
Fishes swim in and out of

Third castle
I made in evening
Is toppled and lost
Lapped by froth

This last castle
I make in the dark
I hope will last
Until morning and past
When I set sail

Friday, January 25, 2013


Reading Toni Morrison again
Ugly acts wrapped in beautiful words
Innocent souls trapped in dirty worlds

Some think Beloved is her ghost story
But to all black people
Slavery is their ghost story

Black woman with blue eyes
Black woman with dead child
Black men emasculated by white

This is no Colour Purple
This is no happy ending
This is the unending horror

Thank you Toni Morrison
For showing the ugly truth
And making beauty from it

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Life is beautiful

Like a retard singing in the subway
Like a chemical fire nightsky
Like a needleless day after chemo
Like an eggshell sucked dry by a rat

Life is beautiful
Never forget that

Monday, January 21, 2013


My morning breath
First gasp of morning
Fresh as a sewer
Like living death
Comes with a warning
Your kisses to skewer