It takes real talent to turn a pile of used crap into a
previously driven diamond in the rough with a life
expectancy longer than Fidel Castro.
If it wasnt for you guys our scrap yards and landfills
would be overflowing with clunkers, lemons and tons of
defective junkboxes deemed too dangerous to drive.
Instead, you religiously roll back odometers, fill wobbly
crankcases with oatmeal, then do whatever it takes to
unload former taxi cabs on mentally challenged hillbillys
or rip off unsuspecting Seniors with repainted hotrods.
As purveyors of previously owned automobiles, I know
life isnt always a bowl of guacamole, particularly these
days when every corporate crook and political con man
eventually gets called a cockroach, blood sucker or some
sort of glorified used car dealer.
Bilking 911 widows with pizza delivery Subarus is bad
enough, but when you get undercoated with the same
brush as the predatory mob who totaled our entire planet,
its time for honest people to raise their hands and say,
Eventually things will turn around. Everything is connected
with everything else. If a butterfly in the Amazon buys a
used car, bad credit will start to flow. Soon, people
everywhere will be buying beaters, one-time Mexican drug-
mobiles or previously driven Syrian military vehicles.
And lets not forget what else the automobile industry
brings to the table. Sharkskin suits, gro-lite suntans, that
perpetually optimistic Hey Rube smile even when an engine
seizes or the wheels fall off. Absolutely essential qualities to
jump-start shattered investor confidence or stimulate sagging
faith in the future of democratic capitalism.
So dont hold back. Lets hear it for car dealers everywhere.
Our future lies in your capable, loving hands.
Tokyo, Friday, 03/06/09
OHAYO GATEBALL. Suburban Tokyo action-packed sports thriller.
Watch as drooling Seniors sporting bucket hats and hearing aids
plop wooden balls though wire hoops using plastic mallets (filmed
NAKAMURA. Mrs. Nakamura is shocked when her new designer
handbag doesnt quite match her Italian designer shoes.
OX WALK. Hilarious news footage showing opposition politicians
delaying Diet business by voting as slowly as possible. Not to be
confused with the Ostrich Shuffle or the Hippo Ramble.
REALLY BAD SINGALONG. Its double cornball night as the RBS
gang take their cheesy sports coats and Bakelite hair to a dying rice
growing community in rural Yamagata.
MIKAN. Yoshi drives into a tree then listens appreciatively as plump
little oranges bounce off the hood of his wrecked automobile.
RED ASS. Hilarious hidden camera videos. Watch as unsuspecting
foreigners sit down in boiling hot onsen.
WHEELS OF DEATH. Hilarious high-speed bicycle action. Watch as
psycho high school boys zigzag through crowded sidewalks fatally
striking doddling Seniors and seriously maiming toddlers and small
NAKAMURA. Mrs. Nakamura is shocked when Mrs. Hashimoto arrives
at Tea Ceremony with a more expensive tea bowl.
SENSEI SENSEI. Experts discuss why Japan has so many experts.
GOLDEN PARACHUTE. Hilarious tales about retired government
bureaucrats moving into cushy high-pay no-work jobs at corporations
they previously were supposed to regulate but didnt.
ISNT THAT GARY SNYDER? Teams of tuna fishermen try to guess which
guest is the real Gary Snyder and which is a Kyoto haberdasher.
ONE FROM COLUMN A. Chinese cooking at its best. Today, celebrity
chefs prepare delicious beef curry.
BAKA. Grizzled homeless furosha take on emeritus professors from
Tokyo University to see who can make the dumbest statement about
BASEBALL BLOOPERS. Screamingly funny sports outtakes. Watch as
Japans best ballplayers bunt into double plays, flub easy ground
balls and get smacked in the nuts by scorching line drives.
NAKAMURA. Mrs. Nakamura is shocked when a neighbors bicycle
SPECTER. Japanese-speaking Mormons and ex-Marines who know
nothing about politics, economics or philosophy make endless
proposals about how Japan should become more like America.
HILLBILLY QUIZ. Attempting to answer simple everyday questions,
gnarly rice farmers make total fools of themselves on national tv.
GRINDSTONE. Junior professors work full speed around the clock
plus weekends and holidays to demonstrate their determination and
dedication to their universities.
WOK ON THE WILD SIDE. Todays dish: Beef Curry.
GOURMET SWITCHEROO. Snobby housewives try to guess which
grilled meat is the extremely expensive Matsutaka beef and which is
imported Australian shoe leather.
BUSHED. Senior professors at leading universities sit around faculty
rooms saying how tired they are.
MOUNTAIN. Giant cockroaches attack Mount Fuji.
GARY SNYDER. Gary sits on a zafu and breathes deeply.
SIGNOFF. Replay: WATCHING PAINT DRY. The 1991 documentary
featuring continuous in-depth coverage of the eight-hour marathon
around the Royal Palace.
Tokyo, Wednesday, 04/02/09
Rainy January morning. Shucked oyster sun sits behind
gray flannel undercast. One week before Chinese New Year
and its another three month holiday from English teaching
so Sayoko came down to Shinjuku where we could shop and
meet for lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant dim sum
twelve floors above the tracks as a fierce wind blows off the
Asian mainland and its -16 in Calgary.
Couldnt decide between The Che Guevara Myth and Jack
Russell Terriers so didnt buy a calendar at Tokyu Hands
because I was thinking too hard about the crazy Australian
bugger who wrote in the Japan Times its ok for Japanese
to exclude foreigners from their sentos up north because
Russian sailors behave like typical Russian a-holes in
Japanese public baths then the Times got flooded by irate
expats protesting universal human rights.
Here comes Sayoko with two suits for seventy percent off
and while eating shrimp fried rice and vegetable dumplings
and jasmine tea it reminds me of the Australian writer rotting
in a Bangkok jail for calling the King a stupid old fart. One is
gray and the other is black. What is it with these Aussies
anyway? Always mouthing off like the drunks beside me on
my last trip back from Melbourne heading for Hokkaido to
go snowboarding which I cant stand.
Actually its no wonder. Remember the former Prime Minister?
Helluva guy always good for a tasteless off-color joke or a
cheap racist remark about Aborigines and the work ethic or
horny shines, wogs, and nignogs. Then theres that flaming
a-hole who started FOX News please dont get me started
because I want to finish my lunch and get back to something
important like watching CNBC Business News or gouging my
eye out with a spoon.
Tokyo, Friday, 01/23/09
In Gaza this morning, Palestinian and Israeli forces sank to the
bottom following a fierce groin injury off the overloaded coast of
pirate Somalia. This is no country for old men, declared an old
bitch gone in the teeth. Mission Accomplished, echoed the Dalai
Lama speaking from his sandbagged summer home destroyed by
surgical strikes under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Meanwhile in this country, economic conditions continue unabated
as tens of thousands fill you with the faults they had then add some
extra just for you. In the short term, analysts dont expect a walking
miracle, bright as a Nazi lampshade. But at spring mending-time,
look out for incredible buying opportunities, especially among spying
Business-men intent on building one Standard Oil in the whole
Lately things are coming together, leaning on the john door in the
5 SPOT, watching the Internet Age flash by faster than huevos
rancheros racing under a foot of water. I feel whole, centered, more
powerful than a plastic breadbox, meaningful as a box of chocolates,
ready to hit the ground ass over tea kettle.
Lets face it. These are extraordinary times. Im leading a quiet life in
Tokyo. Monkey mind jumping blog to flicker to twitter to hottest new
whatchamacallit. Every day watching the pachinko players holding
my hat for Breaking News Headlines. This Just In. Zip. Zero. Losers
pretending to be winners. Nothing masquerading as something.
Theres no other way. Always starting in the middle, the same old
story, but different, of how we ought to but cant because of without
sermonizing. Reality is funny. Emptiness. Fullness. Becoming like
you know what I mean. The World will always be whether we like it
or dont, whether we make our first or second, whether or not we
believe in The Great Mother or just uncap a cool one and say Ahhh.
Tokyo, Wednesday, 01/14/09
First Fascism failed. While everyone celebrated the fall
of Fascism, Jay moved to NBCs 10:00 slot. Then Communism
packed it in. While everyone celebrated the fall of Fascism,
the demise of Communism and Jays move to the 10:00 slot,
Conan moved to Jays 11:30 slot.
Everythings connected. The Third Reich. The former Soviet Union.
Never saving for retirement. Jimmys move to Conans 1:00 slot.
The dune buggy that flattened Frank OHara on Fire Island.
I walk up the Tokyo Street beginning to sun. Light bounces off
enormous glass piers as I suddenly see the headline:
CAPITALISM HAS COLLAPSED.
Nothing lasts. Orgasm. The Triple Alliance. Postmodernism.
Securitized mortgage securities. Somewhere beyond the ozone
Bukowski hammers the wood, demands another vodka-seven.
Ginsberg glances out the Greyhound window, sees Wichita
anxiety molecules conjure up fresh paranoia.
While everyone celebrated the collapse of Capitalism, Madonna
got another divorce. Then Fascism came back. While everyone
celebrated the collapse of Capitalism, the Material Girls latest
break-up and the return of Fascism, Michael Jackson came back.
And so it goes. Round and round. Up and down.
Fascism, Communism, Capitalism.
Tokyo, Thursday, 01/01/09
Theres mayhem in the markets. Carnage in the global village.
Africas starving. Mumbais burning. Britney cant get it together.
Heres Wolf. Theres Mohammed. Come back Jesus.
People no longer enjoy the mental discipline they once had,
opting instead for the quick coming home to roost. Blacks still
think OJ is innocent. Fascism has replaced Communism in
Russia. Everybody believed what they heard in church or read
in the newspaper.
Nothing is solid, but can we suddenly switch to divine certainty
after living a life of profound secular scepticism? Likewise the
conquest of human and nonhuman nature by unlimited
technological advance accelerated through the fuse of global free
Dont get me wrong. Im not saying weve got to get back to forty
acres of bucolic Rousseauean primitivism. A Black part-timer was
trampled to death when a WAL-MART opened on Black Friday.
McDonalds answered by unveiling their new double quarter
pounder with cheese.
Plato believed we are happiest when doing what we do best.
The polar bear is going the way of the aardvark and duckbilled
platypus. Naturally technology cant solve the climate crisis but
to watch rising waters in high definition embodies a beauty of
More to the point, you cant have a robust global economy without
looking like youre on the verge of something far greater than the
present moment. Descartes paved the way for the middle-class
collective orderliness now held responsible for Vietnam and Iraq
and the grossly overweight, also disappearing rain forests, the
subprime crisis and the firebombing of Dresden, across the Rhine
and deep into Germany.
With the death of the author, we are free to kill Black part-timers
standing between us and happiness.
The profit motive tearing apart the weaker ones lurks behind Eliots
Wasteland like an empty tequila bottle hurled from a speeding
sports utility vehicle which is why the exaggerated hopes of the
Enlightenment never panned out leaving tons of smartly dressed
people to uncouple survival of the fittest economic growth from the
devastating destruction of our fragile unstable biosphere.
Have some more beans, Tex said, shorting energy futures. Poetry
isnt rocket science although in our fragmented raging world
Social Science roars through shrunken forests like Simone Weil
cross-hatching a new cosmology in the endless flying apart
Everything is connected. Butterflies beating in Brazil. Polar bears
skating on thin ice. London bus bombings. Forty thousand tons
of raw tuna. The absolute explanation of absolutely everything.
Echoing Gertrude Stein particle physics says theres no there there.
Is the mind a mirror? Was there only silence before the Big Bang?
Will free market capitalism solve world poverty, end global hunger?
The moving finger points to the moon. No. Thats not right. This poem
demands something deeper. Pithier. How about, Praise the molecules
of this page, passing away, one by one, back to the Eternal Void?
Too Buddhisty. Trite. Are we free to interpret the narrative any way
we want? A pyramid of doubt rises from the embers of the Twin
Towers as I hammer along Main Street glancing at your watch.
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/12/08
Thank God. At last. Americas long nightmare is finally over. Of course
not everybodys happy. Because its a big disappointment for soccer
moms, ditto heads, knuckle draggers, unibrows, flagwavers, gaybashers,
right-to-lifers, everyone who puts country first and hates liberals.
Unfortunately not a good day for gun nuts, gas guzzlers, racial profilers,
dollar averagers, Joe the Plumber, the Watergate Plumbers, all those who
still believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
Yes. Its a brand new day in America. Unless youre a stock flogger,
derivatives junky, National Parks pipeliner, selling Freedom Fries, clear
cutting, making Revolving Door or Swiftboat ads or drilling for offshore
oil. Morning In America. Thousand Points of Light. Except for Jesus
freaks, Bible thumpers, The Base, granny dumpers, flat taxers, no taxers
and whale killers. Black Day In November for the Vegas Family, managed
health care mob, camouflage wearers, waterboarders, minutemen, surf
and turfers, global warming deniers, Fox News believers, war lovers,
Castro haters, the walk softly and carry a big hydrogen bomb set.
Tell me Im not dreaming. Is it really game over for cowboy boots, Stetsons,
Dallas Cowboys, leveraged bullbleep, Confederate flags, gun racks, the
tobacco lobby, attack helicopters, full metal jackets? Pinch me. Surely
salad days havent ended for depleted uranium, school vouchers, home
schooling, billionaire tax breaks, nude pig piles, Breaking News, the
Situation Room, CNBCs Closing Bell and High End Living?
Believe it. Its a whole new ball game. Earthshaking. Homeland Security
renamed Homeland Hilarious. No more sour airport greetings by surly,
identity checks, presumptuous luggage searches. Everybody warmly
welcomed with sexist racial kneeslappers pulled from secret background
profiles. John Wayne renamed I Love Lucy Airport. Ronald Reagan
Building now Iran Contra Complex. American Enterprise Institute
morphed into Dick Cheney Early Warning American Fascist Watchtower.
CIA abolished. FBI reigned in. Everybody enjoying generous health care,
fat pensions, authentic education, 24 karat human rights. Bridges safe
to cross. Air okay to breathe. Americans welcomed everywhere. Because
its the dawning of the New Age. Bright happy well-adjusted America.
Pentagon in its proper place. Talkshows talking real freedom, spouting
genuine democracy. No fear. No cheap partisan exploitation of 911,
Armageddon, healthy family life, illegal immigration. Ralf Nader,
Secretary of Consumer Affairs. Allen Ginsberg, Secretary of Defence.
Lenny Bruce on the three dollar bill. Rational self-interest replaced by,
Hey Man, hows it goin?
Tokyo, Monday, 11/03/08
Days are growing shorter. Trees change color. Deadbeat mortgages
are in the red. Investors got the blues. Australian Aborigines rub
sticks together, blow digereedoos. Afghans grow dope poppies, Detroit
junkies finance Kabul carbombs.
Sarah leads electoral charge from Fairbanks Moose Lodge into Cleveland
industrial gutter. Mrs. Mainstreet Rumproast says Os different,
dangerous, not like normal subprime Americans. Towel head, camel
jockey, terrorist, wagon burner.
Straight Talk Express now mired in muddy dungheaving quagmire.
Rookie. Punk. Greenhorn. Prez. Candidate McShortribs unveils magic
economic wand. Vows victory over Apaches. Make West safe for honest
hardworking landgrabbers. Raghead lover. Lawn jockey. That One.
Who got Nobel for inventing Reaganomics? Who harpooned Freddy the
Tuna? Who ordered No. 6 with duck sauce? President Flubbermouth
lipsynchs bailout aint another nookleer yellow cake. The next
forktongued WMD mission accomplished. Corpse. Antique. Deadman
Bankers want free government smackers. Chrysler wants GM merger
for future hard times. World Court wants Kissinger for old Latino
war crimes. Celebrity. Flubberclone. Quota stooge. Zombie. Sarah says
O wants to raise white flag of surrender. Joe Bicep says Sarahs a
Northwoods toilet seat. Dickwad. Wingnut. Comsymp. Makaka.
Is your laxative causing cancer? Is your house sliding into the ocean?
Iraqi women wrap themselves in insurgent dynamite. Rush wraps
golden beer belly in starstriped gasbag. Sarah sits around the kitchen
table wrapping angry sandwiches. McShortfuse proposes massive
bailout for honest hardworking chicken pluckers.
Cranes vector south. Bears eat squirrels. Sarah says Os a closet Muslim.
McManchurian Candidate demands, Whats That One trying to hide?
Theres morning frost. Frost and falling poll numbers. Flubbermouth
announces humongous bailout for honest hardworking porkbelly
Theres snow in the mountains. Sixty shopping days until Christmas.
Two weeks til Election Day. Im not George W. Flubbermouth shouts
McClone. Proposes massive deregulation, taxcuts for billionaires,
Monte Carlo health care for Joe the Plumber.
Theres salmon in the butcher shops. Half price bath towels in the malls.
Both parties talk economic change. Idiot, lunatic, stupid piece of crap.
Pumpkins turn tangerine orange. Both sides talk national security.
Moron, fool, Nazi, surrender monkey.
Gun nuts take out duck hunter artillery. Stock market takes dead cat
bounce. Ones talking reform. Others talking patriotism. Bastard, yard
ape, Bible thumper, pinko. Squ
irrels hide nuts. Canadians drag out
storm windows. Ones talking education. Others talking religious values.
Pervert, dopefiend, a-hole, sonofabitch.
And so it goes. Round and round. Up and down. Everybody dancing.
Everyone singing. As the World turns. As the Universe hums along.
Tokyo, Sunday, 10/19/08
Once again my Tokyo week kicks off with the world in crisis.
Its starting to rain. Earlier, somebody jumped in front of a train,
snarling traffic, delaying robosmerfs commuting to treadmill days
at Boredom Incorporated.
This morning Im watching the jolly crew of Panic International
bang-banging us though Planet Earths newest Stay Right There
five alarm mindblowing super shockers.
The economy is roaring ahead. Slowing down. Heading through
the roof. Grinding to a halt. Its a miracle. Its a crash. A correction.
A fantastic buying opportunity. Theres skyrocketing oil prices.
Theres massive unemployment. Record profits. Devastating
foreclosures. Huge golden parachutes. Heartbreaking poverty.
Truck bombs have obliterated half of South Asia. Chinas gogo
autocrats are stunned. Totally dumbfounded by the latest poisoned
egg fu yung toxic chicken scandal. Europes in a panic. Africas up
the rigging. Japans shuffling the cabinet.
A little voice says I should wake up and get a life. But here I sit.
Glued to the Worlds fastest-breaking tragic trainwreck. Boggled
by the Globes finest in-depth up-to-the-minute completely unbiased
homogenized whizbang commentary. Sweating blood anticipating
more gutwrenching broadsides of This Just In pantscrapping
Madonnas getting divorced. Ebolas broken out in Bermuda. Housing
starts are up. The Arctics ice-free. The Amazons on fire. NBCs
unveiling their fall line-up. Theres chicken flu in Malibu. The Feds
slashing interest rates. Heres Ralf Laurens spring collection. Franks
brother died. Britneys on Oprah. Whitneys on heroin. Was Christ
crazy? Does the President have all his marbles?
What happened yesterday? Last week. A year ago. Who knows? Who
cares? Space ships land in Great Falls. Corn ripens. Snow drifts
below my window. Women are selling their bodies. Men are weeping.
Theres cursing. Swearing. Finger-pointing. Families are living on
Kraft Dinner. Larry Kings got Motley Cru. Its the Jews. Its the Blacks.
The poor. The rich.
Its not like it used to be. The good old days. Wheres the hope? Wheres
the way out? A workable solution. A viable alternative.I want to know.
Right here. Right now.
Tokyo, Friday, 10/10/08
Like the Catholic priest who thought he had mastered
sexual intercourse by studying the Vatican Manual,
everything you know about economics you learned
by counting frozen mackerel on your husbands fishing
Likewise skills acquired driving the kids to subzero
hockey games and reheating Tupperware containers
of leftover meatloaf, will stand you in good stead when
it comes to shepherding ten trillion dollar budgets through
Congress or advising the President how to reorganize
Experience is no laughing matter.
Next comes metaphysical certainty.
God made the world in six days and doesnt want men
Your whiny hog caller voice sounds like poetry, at least
to the Puritanical base who love your manly fortitude.
Then theres the school teacher glasses topped by the
librarian beehive which go along nicely with your plan
to solve Americas energy shortage by pipeling the National
Parks and obliterating the polar bear.
In the same vein, blasting moose in the back forty qualifies
you to negotiate a political settlement between Shia and
Sunni as well as head the Six Party Talks to denuke North
True youve never met the head of a foreign power, but
the Russian coast is visible from Alaska and you read about
Jack Shellac in the funny papers.
And just like the notorious Bridge to Nowhere which you
opposed then favoured then came out for and against,
we know you will apply the same sensible decisiveness to
health care, mass transportation and illegal immigration.
So God speed, Sarah.
Dont let the liberals and media deflect you from your divine
mission to save the nation and spread creationism.
Tokyo, Saturday, 09/20/08
A slick pullout from the local paper. Ads on tv.
Its July. Its August. Summer sales time. Back to school time. Time
to buy a new backpack. Get organized. Get connected. Be successful.
Look. Its the Big Bang. Its a Black Hole. Its our 37th Annual Summer
Liquidation Sale. Here come Adam and Eve. Here comes the Scientific
Revolution. Here comes Happy Hour. The Hydrogen Bomb. Our
Fireball End of Days Summer Blowout Extravaganza.
Its September. Its October. Fall Sales Time. Political campaign season.
Time for Super Buys on Luxurious Leather Sofas. Time for electoral
buffoonery. For Swiftboating. Instant Rebates. Red-baiting. Time for
flagwaving. No monthly payments. Fag-bashing. Lazy-boy recliners.
Time for wedge issues and code words. Dressers and Queen-size
Days are getting shorter. Dead leaves cover the ground. Are you
unhappy? Dissatisfied? Well cheer up. Because its Harvest Sales Time.
Record Breaking Savings. Heres an aluminum patio set. Theres a
Revolving Door Ad. Try our Cocomo bamboo place mats. How about a
sex scandal? Nothing down. Some toxic tabloid rumours. No interest.
A totally dishonest distortion. No payments for fifteen months.
Its November. Its December. Election Time. Christmas Sales Time.
Theres lies, untruth, half-truths, false accusations. Theres colored lights
in the malls. Theres questioned loyalty and kneejerk patriotism. A Jesus
manger scene at City Hall. Hate-speech and McCarthyism. Check out our
rock bottom prices. Dont miss out on reverse victimization. See our Back
Page for Special Power Buys. Try our money politics, collapsible laundry
sorters, fear mongering, fully loaded Subaru.
Media fills my mind. I drink websites. I breathe emails. I stand in line for
the latest ipod. Everythings moving. In play. Everybody wants everything.
More and more. Right now. Anybody can do anything. Everythings really
important. Nothings real. Nothing matters.
Its January. Its February. Theres white nights. Tremendous savings.
Im trying to understand. Time for our Everything Must Go After-
Christmas Final Clearance Sale. I read McLuhan. Do I need 70 percent
off prehung French doors? I study Mao Tse Tung. Test drive a fuel-
efficient SUV. I listen to Newt Gingrich. Arrange for a No-Obligation
In-Home Free Demonstration.
Whats happened to organized religion? Is your hair-dye causing cancer?
Whats gone wrong with music, medicine, responsible journalism? Come
on over. Paris was partying hard at a Vegas club. Pick a payment. Think
outside the box. No sales person will call.
Its March. Its April. March Madness. Easter. The Final Four. Hanukkah.
Time to hit the Winter Clearance Sales. Time to defend freedom. Buy a
snow blower. Bring light to the darkness. Buy storm windows. The white
Time for our Incredible April Fools Mix & Match Spring Spectacular. Buy
a gas barbecue. Receive absolutely free, a guaranteed money-back
targeted assassination. Get a Home Theatre Full HD Plasma TV. Choose
either domestic democracy or a hard-line in-your-face foreign policy.
Its May. Its June. Time for vox populi. Time for our Pre-Summer One-
Time-Only Spectacular Blowout Sale. Time to level with the masses.
For hand-trimmed sirloins. For honesty and openness. Delicious center-
cut pork chops. Headbagging and offshore rendition. Time for healthy
outdoor living. For fake compassion and phony glad-handing.
Who wants to see how sausage is made? The blemish on Miss Universe?
Dont worry. Go shopping. Dont miss our Fabulous Giant Out-the-Door
June Inventory Sale. Take advantage of our intolerant religious ranting.
A 24-Pack of Coors Lite. The disappearing rule of law. Fifty percent off
Tokyo, Friday, 09/12/08
Following a quiet trading day in Europe, poets in New York
opened sharply lower. Early losers included such perennial
favorites as William Shakespeare, John Keats and Robert
Frost. Analysts attributed Shakespeares almost 30 point drop
to rising petroleum prices.
Readers just cant afford those long gas-guzzling tragedies and
lengthy energy-burning sonnets, said one poetry strategist. They
want shorter, more efficient poems. Poesy that gets right to the
point. No more verbose fuel-wasting descriptions and voluminous
low-mileage character development.
Beat poets fared somewhat better. Especially after meeting
earning expectations – America Ive given you everything and
now Im nothing – stock in Allen Ginsberg rose steadily through-
out the morning. Jack Kerouac, also went up. Kerouacs ultra cool
philosophy of draining other peoples batteries by hitch-hiking,
panhandling and borrowing money struck a warm, responsive
chord with many cost-conscious investors.
The New York School had a tough day at the office. Following
an over-night downgrade by Harold Bloom, John Ashbery
quickly tanked. Even confused but enthusiastic support from
Oprah failed to revive confidence in the once high-flying word
master. Frank OHara joined Ashbery on the dip. Nervous Nelly
investors, wary of OHaras dogs breakfast full-after-burner style,
unloaded the manic bard right from the opening bell.
Shares in l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poet Lyn Hejinian also took a tumble.
Readers are bailing out of l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poets, explained one
analyst. The metaphor crisis plus the rhythm crunch are forcing
folks to rebalance their portfolios, jettison the more cerebral,
darkly emotional stuff.
Eastern European poets fell victim to the same trend. Czeslaw
Milosz, Joseph Brodsky and Paul Celan were particularly depressed.
Said one unidentified spokesperson: Readers are sick of those
bitter old buggers. People are looking for poets with genuine upside
potential, much happier, fuzzy stuff than barbed wire, Gestapo and
As for emerging market poets, Li Po and Tu Fu came flying out of
the chute before taking a bath and ending the day with a 15%
hair cut. Even a late afternoon bounce by several deep-pocket post-
colonials and handful of wordy Indian large caps failed to keep the
visible minority poets above water.
The days biggest winners turned out to be the quick, punchy poets:
Basho, with his terse mind-blowing Haikus; Bukowski, the master
of inebriated minimalism. Both did surprisingly well in what turned
out do be a decidedly choppy, highly volatile trading day.
Nowadays everybodys wound-up, ticked-off
on-edge or out-to-lunch.
Thats why Im premenstrual, postmodern,
semi-conscious and fully rational.
Why Im in-line, out-front, on-message, and
But Im not old hat, yesterdays news, under
the weather or over the hill.
I keep on-message, in-the-mix, in-the-loop,
My media are wireless, paperless, pointless
If it bleeds it leads.
I love car wrecks, train wrecks, natural disasters
and man-made catastrophes.
But right now Ive got an Excedrin headache,
turf toe, a carbon footprint and a flat fourth
So I guess I better stop and think, cut and run,
bait and switch, cap and trade.
But it all depends on what I bring to the table,
how much is on my plate, whose ox gets gored.
George, its too bad what happened. Because
you were a wonderful father, a great guy, a
terrific colleague and a fantastic human being.
Anyway George, were going to miss you. Now that
youve passed on, passed away, kicked the bucket,
are getting your shoes shined in a funeral parlor.
Yes. There you are. Six feet under, eating dirt,
pushing up daisies, talking to God, dancing with
Goodbye George. But please keep in touch, give us
a call, dont forget to write, remember us in your
Tokyo, Friday, 06/27/08
Its raining and Im wondering where I should put my
money now that the Presidents reign is coming to an end.
This country has everything constantly shifting the blame,
prophetic voices inside bedroom walls, flying saucers on the
White House lawn, staging a saloon-front apology while
bowing and pretending to take responsibility.
Heavy clouds cover the real thing somewhere behind the
Bullet trains, mysterious orange lights, hard wind bouncing
off enormous glass towers, the late night strategy sessions
with Jesus Mary Barb and our Heavenly Father Himself.
China lay behind Japan as a first presence when suddenly
giant bats filled the sky, he knew the left-wing media were out
to get him, corruption and money politics hiding ten thousand
years of rich cultural history – the actuality –
guiding his decisions following 911: Mission Accomplished,
his stubborn stand on pink elephants, little green men, the bid-
rigging and systematic kickbacks, political wisdom flowing from
Scripture reinforced by an irrefutable gut feeling.
Things are tough but I can still make money on wheel chairs,
riot control gear, cash in on if youve got it flaunt it: WMDs,
he knows Saddams gottem gut feeling, yellow cake, attacked
by huge purple raptors, lip-syncing National Apology Spectacles
to protect life-time companies from massive criminal prosecution.
Yes his Presidency is coming to an end zigzagging across Europe
Iraq Afghan victory parades the alien abductions to Zenon and
Pyongyang stored for his Presidential library doctored tapes hidden
from prosecutors three years suspended sentence his head turns
on his neck somewhere a baby cries…
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/22/08
It just doesnt stop. The Japanese wear June as a badge:
no holidays, constant overcast, suicides stopping crowded
morning trains – drip drip drip. Thank God for gun control.
Darkness, then gray light, then sticky blowing mist.
Everybody hunkers down to watch rental DVDs. Last month
a ritzy Osaka restaurant got caught re-serving left-overs.
The president bowed and apologized on NHK.
A ballsy U-boat captain glides under the stormy North Atlantic
inside a womb of silence. Last week somebody jumped off a
hotel roof. The president said she was shocked. Then a stupid
old bugger drove his car into a crowd of first-graders. Through
his periscope crosshairs he watches a fat Allied convoy.
The president blamed her employees. He claimed the kids were
mocking him. He fires his torpedoes. An employee blew the
whistle because the president is a greedy old blood-sucker who
bullied her workers.
The rain never stops. An ambitious meathead tries to reach
the top by pounding sides of beef. Mould grows in bathrooms.
A high-school student strangled six rare swans. It blows along
in humid horizontal sheets. On surveillance cameras, one
drunken salaryman was caught bashing the heads off tulips.
Officials were shocked. Retired salarymen are called sodai
gomi. The ritzy Osaka restaurant went bankrupt after many
irate customers cancelled their reservations. They sit around
their living rooms watching tv baseball and getting in their
wives way like big bags of garbage.
Somebody wearing a goalie mask attacks teenagers with a
chainsaw. Rain blows under umbrellas. Two unemployed men
robbed a pachinko parlor. Last summer the ritzy Osaka
restaurant got caught labeling boiling fowl as gourmet smoked
chicken. Everybody steps in asphalt puddles, walks in wet
shoes. One unemployed man surrendered, the other shot
himself in the head. A bankrupt small businessman jumped
off a department store roof. Mould grows under refrigerators
and inside clothes closets. Every day is overcast. The rain
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/08/08
Whose woods these are I dont want to know –
dead computer screens, roaring rusted mufflers,
floating polar bears discarded and forgotten.
His house is in the Grand Caymens though;
far from the chemical eve of everlasting destruction,
way beyond the eye-burning Hell gasses hanging
over the Formless Fossil Void.
He will not see me stopping here to watch his absentee
fast-buck investment fill up with crushed PET bottles,
topless plastic lunch boxes – oily water reflecting
the orange/purple sunset.
The woods are radioactive, dark and deep.
But I have miles to go, miles before the next grimy
Gas N Grub.
Tokyo, Thursday, 05/15/08
Hes promising change. Shes ready to lead.
Hes on top. Now shes on top. He screwed her in Iowa.
She licked him in New Hampshire. He wants a tax cut
to help the middle class. Her husband wants a bj and
a fresh piece of ass. All agree theres no free lunch,
especially the nominee from the other party, the one
who became a hero by getting shot down over the jungles
of Southeast Asia.
Its April. Its May. Hes got more delegates. She accuses
him of inexperience. He calls her callous. She claims his
health plan wont fly. The incumbent President is a
lame duck. His father became President after becoming
a hero by getting shot down over the waters of the South
He was raised by a single mother, so hes got street cred.
Her husband was President, so shes got experience.
His pastor blames white people for black peoples problems.
Shes got blue collar whites who blame black people for
their problems. Would you want one of them sitting in the
Hes talking off the top of his head. She pulling policies
out of her ass. He says he wants to talk about the issues.
She says he should have dumped his pastor twenty years
Old time liberals love his progressive patter. Hacks and
bagmen think shes a winner. Hes attracting idealistic
young people. Shes got middle-aged white housewives.
His wife sparkles with womanly energy. Her husbands a
bad-tempered sleazebag who ate too many cheeseburgers.
Hes on a roll, sounding full of confidence. Shes out of gas,
sounding flat and hollow. Hes cleaning up. She refuses
to throw in the towel.
Tokyo, Thurs. 05/08/08
Yesterday morning this guy says to me, a nice guy
from Australia, who knows Im a poet outside the Mr. Donut
in Matsubara Danchi, so I suppose youd like to live in the
country beside the rows of double chocolates and Dutchies
with wild boars and horse manure and I said
no goddamned way I hate the country.
I bet you didnt know its the 25th Anniversary of Tokyo
Disneyland because its full of tightassed old boohoos rolling
up the sidewalks at six oclock, another example of cultural
imperialism just as many claim Tibet is historically part of
China, which is why I don’t like Shakespeare either.
I prefer classical jazz, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, guys not
grandstanding worse than Robert Mugabe or Wayne Newton
and now the Pope just stepped onto the tarmac at Andrews
Air Force Base which reminds me of Julie Andrews who
keeps hanging in like the stock market even though oils
gone through the roof and food is turning into a regular riot.
I hope youre not thinking of getting an abortion, he told
the Presidents oldest daughter, thank God its not raining in
Tokyo this morning so the Prime Minister can smoothly pave
the way for more expressways connecting rural voters to
urban pork barrels even though another Olympic boycotts
looming on the horizon.
I wonder if the Pope eats donuts, not like the present Prime
Minister, another sour apple who really put his foot down
during Sundays NHK singalong from Niigata where rice
farmers fiercely lay down the pavement when it comes to
political road construction because they too speak directly
I know policemen love donuts with sailors and hot coffee
but so far theyve barely penetrated Chinas booming fastfood
market even though the Chinese have plenty of policemen
with chocolate icing and strawberry sprinkles just like the
Dalai Lama with his permanent equanimity and Mr. Smiley
Tokyo, Tuesday, 04/15/08
God of the 12-Item Fukubukuro, Pray for us.
Lord of the Designated Driver, Keep us safe.
Buddha of the Inning-Ending Double-Play, Do your best.
Allah of the Foot-Long Hotdog, Hold the mustard.
Jesus of the Giant Screen TV, Send us Breaking News.
Mary of the Choppy Opening, Make markets rise.
Mohammed of the OJ Mugshot, Find the real killer.
Joseph Smith of the Child Bride, Avoid the FBI.
Jaweh of Premature Ejaculations, Give us more lead time.
Messiah of Country Music, Reduce redneck rage.
Lama of Fried Donut Holes, Increase technological fixes.
Saint Peter of the Last Smorgasbord, Pardon Cheney.
Enkidu of Canned Salmon, feed the hungry.
Brother Andrew of TV Bounty Hunters, Forgive us.
Holy Mother of the Cosa Nostra, Make it a double.
Moloch of Balloon Payments, End the subprime crisis.
Ali Baba of the Nevada Task Force, Spare Warren Jeffs.
Lao Tze of Frozen Eggrolls, No Polish jokes.
Thelonius Monk of 911, Support Rudy.
Sri Ramakrishna of Old Stogies, Bring it on.
Maharishi of Apply Directly to the Forehead, Get lost.
Zeus of Nuclear Biohazards, Keep us safe.
Tokyo, Wednesday, 01/02/08
Suppose, at the Little Big Horn, Custers cavalry had been
armed with nuclear weapons. Just imagine how different the
course of men in the street, the Enola Gay pilot, Jose Canseco,
who at first denied using steroids or other performance
enhancing substances. Entire villages destroyed, millions dead,
Sitting Bull bulked up like a prize steer at a Montana cattle
auction. Babe Ruth didnt use steroids to establish his home
run records. Hank Aaron never used nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, the same cant be said for Harry Truman,
the first American president who didnt use steroids but
did use the atomic bomb. Who wouldnt like to go drinking
with Josef Stalin, infamous for murdering millions and those
memorable words: The Pope? how many home runs has he hit?
Following the 1994 strike, team owners tried to restore fan
interest by shrinking the strike zone, by incinerating
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and by conducting the seventh
inning stretch in High Church Latin.
Robert Oppenheimer, Rocket Roger Clemens, Albert Einstein,
Barry Bonds. Can you guess which of these men injected
human growth hormones and which denied all knowledge
and responsibility? Fans are jaded, immune to moralistic
bromides, bored by literalism, by beginning, middle and end
narratives. Nobody was surprised when owners diverted
responsibility to trainers, clubhouse attendants and then
the Japanese Imperial Military.
Critics called it a collective failure. Two defenseless cities
totally obliterated, a see-no-evil commissioner slow to react,
Americas finest cavalry troop dead on the ground. Others
called it a senseless war crime. Boom goes London.
Boom Paree. Three MVPs under a cloud of suspicion.
And so the poet is forced to collage together a set of image
fragments, floating fractured percepts along a line of
enjambed syntax. Astrological signs. Book of the Dead.
Coming apart. Caving in. Whos been pissing in my
Tokyo, Thursday, 12/20/07
Im working my ass off in Tokyo, trying as hard
as I can to ignore the needy,
watching the world-wide wreck with a blind eye,
doing my best not to stand up to injustice
or let my voice be heard.
Yes. Im working my ass off in Tokyo.
Also a kidney and part of my left eardrum.
Trying not to save the Planet, which doesnt
want to be saved anyway, at least not by me,
maybe by Mohammed, or John Lennon,
or Jesus – poor old bugger –
whos been turned into absolutely fabulous,
the grotesque corpse of war and Country Music,
a Born Again pearly hang-up for wooly
Christian lost sheep.
Anyway. Im giving 100 percent, trying not
to make a difference or be part the solution,
giving all Ive got not to work with young people,
although work isnt all its cracked up to be,
especially meaningful work, which doesnt mean
any more than meaningless work,
not unless youre waterboarding suspected
terrorists or potting ceramic tea bowls.
Regardless. Im busting my balls in Tokyo.
Keeping my golf cart in gear, my shoulder to the
Ferris wheel, my saxophone to the grind-stone,
toiling like a Terrier,
while swallowing the corporate vision thing
hook, line and teflon-coated press conference.
Tokyo, Friday, 12/14/07
Ever get the feeling the worlds out of balance,
chaotic; that your lifes unsatisfactory,
not going the way it should?
And thats when I switched to new improved
No more messy dogma or guilt-ridden clean-ups.
No costly donations or complicated theology.
Are you afraid of God?
Scared youre going to grievously offend
the Big Guy up in the sky,
burn forever in Hell?
Then get rid of God!
Get Him out of your life completely.
Right here. Right now.
Because this is it!
This is all there is.
No omniscient Higher Spirit.
No fire-breathing brimstone Devil
waiting to welcome you
to eternal damnation.
Just the here and now.
So stop praying. Get off that carpet.
Dial our simple toll-free number:
Our assistants are waiting.
Waiting to welcome you to Heaven on Earth.
Tokyo, Sunday, 12/02/07
We are the trouble-makers. The sceptics and screw-ups.
The disappointments, who, as mom and dad say... could
have made it, but threw it all away.
We are the squawkers. The irritation. The embarrassment
censored by fair and balanced book editors. Never heard
on responsible radio. Outside the broad bean and pork
canned spectacle, the gassy electronic hoedown proudly
presented by beautiful downtown television.
We are small. Disoriented. We contradict ourselves.
Contradict each other. Turn against our gurus, priests
and phys ed instructors. Nothings ever good enough.
Dissatisfied. Disappointed. Fish and friends turn foul
after 20 minutes.
Unlike Will Rogers Ive met a lot of people I didnt like.
And who didnt like me.
Too many taught in Canadian universities – deans,
chairmen, former frogmen, CIA spooks – the cream of
the political science soup kitchen.
We inhabit politically incorrect coffee shops, live
underground, shop aboveground, hide out in condos
and taverns, retire to voluntary exile, but never in our
hometown, never in buildings that welcome small pets
or cities with nauseating we are the world zero tolerance
up with idiots festivals for pushy visible ethnic minorities
because weve got lousy attitudes, filthy thoughts,
deranged eyeballs – always looking for something cheaper,
weird, 50% off with a money-back guarantee.
Something better than capitalism, communism, managed
brain-care, the latest cure for toxic mediocrity.
Our motto is Freedom: Free samples; Toll-free numbers;
Free sushi parties; Freedom from bad hair and obnoxious
We try not to stand out. To blend in. To be incompetent,
incoherent, part of the herd. Because as Home Hardware
warns: The nail that sticks up gets lots of crank calls.
We are the screwballs, the smart-asses; the dirtbag politicians
worst nightmare. Hardworkers hate us. Respectable home-
owners go ape.
Like good refuseniks we dont ride the Police State Knee Jerk
Terror Freedom Express.
We wear slow learner clothes. Ask blood pressure questions:
How long before Governor Aluminum Toilet Seat gets arrested?
Who put the stupid pills in the chiefs fruit loops? Why is
Big Oil pretending to be ecofriendly when we all know fossil
fuels are destroying Planet Earth?
Tokyo, Sunday, 11/24/07
Whenever I hear a screen door slam or listen
to Bruce Springsteen, I know its what weve
always wanted. Ever since we crawled out of
the cave and stepped onto dry land.
Technology: humanitys way of never having
to say were sorry. Our way of telling Mother
Nature who the hells in charge.
And whats so nice, its not just coal mines
and 777s, but everything we do.
I cant remember if it was the first O. J. trial
or the second. Anyway, when the glove didnt
fit and Johnny played the race card, I knew
it was all over.
Have you ever seen a UFO? I havent, but
that doesnt mean we can just go out and
start gladhanding astronauts. Because after
one shoe drops, we cant just sit there waiting
to remember something my uncle once said.
Did you ever notice how excited people in
infomercials get about new toilet bowl brushes
or abdominal machines or giant screen tvs?
I know theyre only actors pretending to get
excited but did you ever notice how much
poetry is about being a poet and so little is
actually poetry itself?
Whenever I shave with an electric razor, I have
to finish with a blade. Thats because the electric
razor doesnt work well under my chin even on
mornings when the Dow is down 360 points
and Im feeling pretty happy.
Technology started in Northern Europe because
people got tired of cold and snow. In Australia
the Aborigines didnt have houses but now they
have fastfood and on-line shopping.
Now that my cold is better, I think Ill go back
to the health club again.
Tokyo, Friday, 11/09/07
To go home and get pissed forever
in the enormous city, no more hog barns or horse troughs,
far from the chuckwagons of Calgary,
to walk around at lunchtime totally tanked,
no grassy forests or feedstore crackerbarrels,
nursing a hangover, with a sake flask and plastic bento box.
Is this the year of the horse monkey rat or rooster?
Im not sure. Maybe the armadillo. Could be grapfruit or
the artichoke. Perhaps the avocado or magic mushroom.
Who knows. Who cares. Astronomys so boring.
Whats your sign? Im a Scotch drinker myself. Preferably
single malt, from those peaty little islands out in the
gulf of wherever.
I walk up the muggy Shinjuku street and have a Martini
and buy an ugly Daily Yomiuri to see whos the target
of the week, which meatpacker loaded his burgers with
guts and nostrils or bureaucrat sold out for free golf
or how a hundred million snuck inside a politicians bank
Circling and circling on the Yamanote Line,
I get off at Harajuku, head down the hot humid street
starting to snow. Head past autumn leaves falling
beside cherry blossoms that just wont quit because in
this country we have four seasons.
All at the same time.
At Shakeys I stop for all-you-can-eat pizza lunch washed
down with jockeys of Kirin draft.
Maybe its the snake or dragon. Could be the watermelon.
Melancholy reminders how life flashes by in an instant.
Anyway. How are you going to keep them down in Niigata
once theyve seen Shibuya?
Rice paddies, hay bails, rubber boots, nothing happening.
Because Shibuyas got low-brow hedonism, sex and nonstop
shopping, lewd entertainment.
Speaking of which, its time for another round. Garcon!
I guess I should do something about my future.
Perhaps join AA and clean up my act.
Could go macro-biotic. Try Yoga. Maybe attend Mass again
or sit meditation.
Surely at least one Zen temple has a bar.
At least sleeping quarters with a mini-bar.
Calgarys got only two seasons – nine months winter then
six weeks spring.
But Tokyo just cruises along. Open. Polite. Everything
you could ever want.
Not like neurotic politically correct Toronto - good old
Hogtown. Or sweaty Bangkok chaos. Twenty-four hours
in rude edgy Seoul is one day too many.
Which reminds me.
My mothers folks homesteaded in Two Hills, Alberta in 1903.
Maybe its the year of the cow. They had cows but in Tokyo
weve got beer-vending machines, fresh fish restaurants,
trains every two minutes.
Paris is fun. So is Sydney. New Yorks got great modern art
and hip lively people.
Much better, thankyou.
I sit in a Harajuku bistro thinking about Vancouver.
Is it raining on Suzannes head in that strange urban jumble
below Grouse Mountain?
I love Hong Kong Harbor, City Lights Books in San Francisco,
Singapore happy hour.
Ah yes. Sitting in a sidewalk cafe watching the city go by.
No tractors, whining rice farmers, mossy trees.
Just fabulous ladies in tight dresses, musicians, punks,
and Goths dressed like Snow White.
Screw John Denver, sweat lodges and carbon emissions.
Bring on crowded streets, traffic jams and machine suntans.
Tokyo, Monday, 11/05/07
I was watching the latest moronic crack-down
in some Neanderthal military hell hole;
plenty of tight close-ups showing the usual beatings,
clouds of tear gas, Niagara-gushing water cannons;
loads of mindless pounding, followed, of course, by
the photogenic assassination of unarmed protesters.
Ferocious gut-wrenching stuff; savage stupid images
guaranteed to piss off Starbucks drinkers, enrage
knapsack guys pumping ten-gear mountain bikes.
After the crack-down, I got into a psychopathic murder
spree in South Central Los Angeles.
Then there were the massive carbombings in Bogota
and Sri Lanka.
Enoughs enough. So following the second rerun of the
L.A. bloodbath, I clicked down the sound, letting news
play as background or in case Anything Big Broke.
Then I turned to what I like best: Dreaming about
the good life.
Like long leisurely visits to exotic onsen:
refreshing mineral baths, spectacular sea or mountain
vistas, tasty seasonal delicacies, fat fluffy quilts and
What the travel brochures refer to as romantic getaways,
natural beauty spots, unforgettable dream vacations.
God is dead. Marxisms in the crapper. Liberalisms
finished. Everythings mixed up, churning around,
heading up the spout or down the drain.
Whenever I tell someone from Kyoto Im from Tokyo,
they flash this condescending smirk like only they really
understand impermanence, like Im just some low-brow
materialistic cowboy, a hick who cant even solve a koan,
some dumb rube destined to spend Eternity picking
strawberries and policing bedpans.
Of course I havent totally abandoned the search for
meaning, cynically turning my back on the issues –
Chinas brutal eradication of Tibetan Buddhism,
Africas heart-breaking poverty, the startling shock of
the new – Im not selfishly ignoring whats at stake; not
refusing to position myself in the world-wide struggle
for the new moral order.
Yes. The new moral order. Or is it just the old moral order
without the crewcut and double-breasted suit:
pre-marital celibacy, Christian family values, the classical
supremacy of individual responsibility over a dependency-
creating Nanny State.
Are we just a herd of spooked sheep stampeding back to
knee-jerk patriotism and the tight white collar;
a catastrophic reversal back to McCarthyism, split-level
conformity, the air-conditioned nightmare?
Or is something radically different about to happen, say
for example, the complete sweeping away of existing
Whatever. Thinking about the moral order gave me an
Excedrin headache. So I switched back to the good life.
Warm enticing waters, the spectacular magic of red and
gold autumn leaves, wild waves smashing into rugged
rocky shore-lines, evening mist drifting over majestic
On the silent tv screen, brightly-blinking numbers
signaled another stock-market crash.
As analysts soothed hysterical investors, the usual flood
of feel-good b.s. scrolled below the market mavens:
correction, not a crash, explained a bimbo with plastic
tits and severely bleached hair; a much-needed correction,
echoed Armani-suited London slush-buckets; buying
opportunity, enthused the lilac turban pontificating from
Everyone looked like a second-rate actor, the in-house
pimp at a five-star casino, a fraudulent realtor desperate
to unload doomed houses sitting on defective land-fill.
Soon the silent television switched from the financial crisis
to fifteen second blips updating earlier diaper-wetting news
Philippine graft scandals; two Tokyo political suicides;
the Egyptian horsemeat crisis; nuclear contamination in
But by now I was dreaming about onsen:
steaming geysers, genial kimono ladies, calm landscape
gardens, chunks of red tuna, hot sake...
Suddenly Breaking News flashed. Now what? A head-line
death perhaps. Maybe some medical break-through. An
airplane crash. Turkey pot pie recall. The latest O.J.
outburst. A hole-in-one. More religious riots. Chicken flu?
We were in no mans land, between major conflicts.
One war was winding down.....Another just beginning.
This could be something Important, something Really Big!
Could be a peace agreement or the first bombing runs.
It wasnt. Just another celebrity scandal. Small potatoes.
Not even an expose of Al Gores gas bill or the latest
shot of Britneys beaver.
Just another fender-bender by some B-grade actress.
So I went back to dreaming of Izu:
Relaxing sunset strolls beside a pounding ocean, empty
beaches, quiet meditation, women walking by – women
with extremely large breasts...
Tokyo, Sunday, 10/14/07
Summer heat following two days rain.
Smoke down valley, I call in a forest fire.
Forest fire? Im not in a friggin fire-lookout
on Sourdough Mountain.
Im in my Tokyo condo. Reading Gary Snyder.
Knocking back Niigata sake.
Must be losing my goddamn mind.
The only smoke I see is a thin white plume
rising over a garbage incinerator;
Over there, across the Arakawa River.
Also its not a hot summer day.
Its a cool October evening.
What the hell is the fire department thinking?
Another foreign mental case.
Drunk or zenned out.
Idiot phoning in a phony forest fire.
Anyway. Last time was worse.
When I called in a missing mule.
Tokyo, Thursday, 10/11/07
Wet mountain, after rain.
The flocks have flown up and gone,
NOVA closes two hundred English schools.
Sun, leaves, water, all interwoven in drifting mist,
rookie wrestler beaten to death by irate master,
Sumo Society bows in deep apology.
Jade steps grow white dew.
Fresh prime minister stocks lame-duck cabinet,
recycles familiar old farts, promises bright
Red leaves fill mountain streams.
NHK unveils new fall line-up: same old samurai
potboilers, weepy domestic dramas, cornball Enka
hosts in used-car sports coats.
Heaven and Earth, so vast, so vast.
Rural NHK talent show. Gold-toothed rice farmers
join in jolly rhythmic clapping.
Off-key J-poppers screech seasonal hits.
Kimono ladies belt out tuna boat love songs.
Leaves disappear, single crane flys south.
Cracks appear in nuclear power plant, top dogs
scape-goat local official; holds one-man neck-tie
party in Niigata hotel room.
Tokyo, Tuesday, 10/02/07
UNDERESTIMATING NEGATIVE CAPABILITY
I like watching war footage natural disasters
stock market crashes – watching people
getting shot down blown up drowning losing
I enjoy watching juiced ballplayers religious
scandals boating accidents disgraced politicians
twenty-car pile-ups burning jumbos street riots.
I know when I watch humanity failing falling
apart its how we were meant to be:
not logical reasonable scientific predictable,
not being goody-goodies then heading
straight for Heaven,
but evil erratic helter skelter doomed,
stealing somebodys wallet then crashing
into a plate glass window.
Tokyo, Sunday, 09/30/07
God of O.J. Simpsons Vegas arrest for burglary and armed
robbery. Please pray for the Juice.
Our Father, who art entrapped in a Minneapolis airport
mensroom. Get a good lawyer.
Hail Mary, full of Botox, Mother of all carpet cleaners,
Madonna of child brides and underarm deoderants.
Pray for us.
St. John of the tuna blob on whole wheat, the cancelled
tv sitcom, of new improved athletes foot spray. Bless us.
Mother Teresa of the new fall line-up, of the Nebraska
Corn Huskers and the Iraq surge. Be here now.
St. Peter of the Price Is Right. Come on down.
God of the slow-speed Bronco chase, the O.J. mugshot,
the bloody glove and Kato Kaelin. We give up.
Lord of the 48-hour probable cause, of a former golf
buddy and business associate. Arrange bail for Juice.
Holy Mary, Mother of the high-5, the level-5 hurricane,
of carbon footprints and on-line poker. Go all in.
St. Joan of the Warren Jeffs polygamy cult, of Shock &
Awe and the impenetrable fire wall. Give us a hug.
Honest Ed, king of the crazy appliance discount, of totally
nuts panty-hose prices and midnight madness mattress
sales. Help us live like millionaires on workers wages.
God of Dog The Bounty Hunter, of Stone Cold Steve Austen,
Britney Spears and O.J.s stolen sports memorabilia.
Give us a leg up.
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, lead us
not into temptation, but give us another half point rate cut,
now, and at the hour of our death.
Tokyo, Thursday, 09/20/07