This piece is more or less a meditation on the feelings that come to us within the night. At that time when everything around us takes on a fuzzy grey appearance, it is easier for us to realize that things are not so simple as we think. There are many lines that seem contradictory or paradoxical – “i lay awake, trapped in dreams,” “you ask if it’s night or day, and i say both / but it’s neither,” “our hands / just out of reach of our bodies”. But in the night, when we dream, when we lay beside each other and gaze up at the stars, lines like these become less poetry and more truth. And isn’t that something special, almost magical, something to be treasured and respected?
Tanka・July 28, 2020・Full Text
Try to live without making regrets, I’ve learned – but the problem is that regrets only become regrets in hindsight. In many ways, regrets are unavoidable. There are steps we can take to limit them – by frequently telling our loved ones how much they mean to us, for example, and spending as much time with them as possible – but you can’t do that with everyone all the time and still come out alive. We simply do our best and try to keep moving forward, and that’s all we can ever do.
Epilogue (Part IV)
Prose-Poetry・July 29, 2020・Part IV
This piece revolves around environmental justice. Specifically, intergenerational justice – the fact that the consequences of what we the living do with our planet will rain down unfairly on generations to come, and the younger generations who are already here. Recently, the youth of the world have leapt into a movement to try to bring attention to this injustice. I think it is essential that even if you’re older, you at least try to understand how they must be feeling. “You are borrowing this world from us,” I once wrote – can you not look into the future and try to ensure that the world you leave behind is one in which your children will thrive and be happy?
angels and demons, and goddesses
Tanka・July 30, 2020・Full Text
“We all have our angels and our demons,” I wrote once. Well, I suppose we all have our resident spirits and goddesses too. This tanka is pretty ambiguous and open to interpretation, but I think that even if you don’t come to any definite conclusion as to its meaning, you can certainly still enjoy reading it.
Tanka・July 31, 2020・Full Text
Our increasingly digital, globalized world has made it possible for us to make connections and all kinds of relationships with people all over. And one aspect of these new relationships that isn’t often spoken about, is the uncertainty that comes with injury, illness, and death. If the person you often communicate with online suddenly stops responding – for months, for years – you don’t know what happened to them. Maybe for some reason they suddenly decided they don’t like you. Maybe they got into a severe car accident. Maybe they have been claimed by the pandemic. Or cancer. Or they were a victim in a mass shooting or random robbery-turned-murder. At heart, you don’t know if they’re alive or dead. And if that person meant a lot to you, if your relationship had gone on for a long time and had been truly meaningful, that uncertainty hurts. Some people might say they prefer the uncertainty, because then at least there is a chance that the other person is still alive and out there – but that uncertainty will dig away at your soul forever. Years from now, will you still be happily hanging on to not knowing?
There was a decently strong earthquake the other day. I ended up writing this poem about it. I was awake when it happened, very, very early in the morning, and I was awake for one of the strong aftershocks a few hours later. But, it was only the aftershock that I felt. My only experience of the main event was hearing the abrupt, violent banging sounds of my closed door rattling back and forth in its frame. Having not felt the shaking, I thought for a moment that someone was banging on my door – but I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t get up or turn on the lights, I didn’t open the door or get my phone or call out to the people I live with. I just lay there, watching, waiting. Out of this experience came this poem, a meditation on moments in which we feel nothing, moments in which we are numb inside and anesthetized, and how we resolve that hollowness by interacting with each other and teaching each other to feel again.