Entry #3 – No More. We’re Done.

Hi, Kohaku here. I hope everyone had a great week.

The past few days have been hard, don’t you think?

Right now we are dealing with the aftermath of several mass shootings in the US: Gilroy, California at the end of last month, and back-to-back shootings last weekend in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. These have been covered a lot by local media. Please look them up, if you haven’t heard about them. There are also many other horrific events that haven’t been covered as much, in part because they are all too normal nowadays. Meanwhile the protests in Hong Kong rage on, typhoons and heat waves batter Southeast Asia (and other parts of the world), and tensions between Japan and South Korea are incredibly high…

This week, we also passed the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To honor the over one-hundred thousand people who died, as well as all those who still live, I spent this week writing and posting a series of poetry based on these events. I was having a hard time reconciling how little progress we seem to have made since then. Here are the poems in order, if you haven’t read them all:

Perhaps, I should make my thoughts and intentions more clear… Yes, I perfectly understand that Japan and Japanese people did some very terrible things during the war. Particularly because I am Taiwanese, I know this very well. But America also did some very terrible things during the war. Every country did. Please, I am tired of people trying to evaluate history through the lens of “which side had the moral high ground?” I am tired of people saying, “well, Japan did this, so that justified America doing that.” Please stop trying to say that one side or one action was more just or ethical compared to another. It may well be, but it’s too late for that now.

This week, it is not the individual countries and their actions that I condemn. What I condemn is war. What I condemn is the mistakes of humanity as a whole, our willingness to destroy ourselves, our willingness to drop atomic bombs on each other and kill thousands of people in a single instant. What I condemn is our failure to learn from the past, our failure to get rid of our nuclear weapons after seeing how terrible they can be, our desire to keep making more and more weapons that are many times more powerful, many times more horrible, in the name of ‘global power’ and ‘national security’…

Tell me, how can anyone be safe in a world where almost 14,000 nuclear weapons still exist?

And how can anyone be safe in a world where weapons of war can be legally possessed by civilians roaming the streets?

The atomic bombings may have been seventy-four years ago, but they are still very, very real today. Every time there is a war, every time we are brought to the brink of one, every time there is a mass shooting or bombing or arson, part of me is angry, and another part is incredibly sad. We should have learned long, long ago that humanity cannot live like this. But we still haven’t learned. Even the atomic bombings could not teach us. So what can? What now?

No more war. No more nukes. I am tired of this. We are one global community, and we have to start acting like it, or we’re done.

This week, communicate with your loved ones, your friends, your family. Talk to them and listen to them and hear them out, even if you had an argument, even if you disagree with what they’re doing, even if you can’t bear their political beliefs. Stay close out of love and hope for peace. And together, teach your children – and each other – to value life. Human life, and non-human life. Your own life, and the lives of those different from you. If we are to survive and be happy, we cannot continue making the mistakes of the past.

As always, take care of yourself.


A Single Star-Filled Sky

As the darkness sets in I gaze up at the sky,
Wishing I had the ability to fly –
But I don’t even know where it is that you are,
So where would I head, for how long and how far?
The light is fading, and without you I’m stuck here,
But strangely tonight this produces no fear;
Just counting the bombs like I would count passing cars,
Knowing that you and I are now seeing the same stars.

On the other side of the horizon line,
You live in a world that’s no better than mine,
Full of clumsy creatures who act without thinking,
Who commit acts of destruction without even blinking.
They say that two minuses are supposed to make a plus,
So should we let two countries war without making a fuss?
I love you all, but it’s beyond my control –
Humanity is determined to rip apart my soul.

Dozens of years have come and gone,
And here we are at the edge of dawn,
Repeating ourselves like a song on replay,
Crawling desperately toward the end of the day.
The ground cracks open beneath my feet,
You wrap your child in a bloodstained sheet,
They whisper “I’m sorry” and pretend to care,
While celebrating nothing but death and despair.

Gazing at the same sea of stars, you and I,
We wonder how quickly our time will fly,
Praying we’ll live long enough to see
A world where love will be finally set free.
But tonight I understand that it’s only a dream –
One we can’t reach, one still too extreme.
I hoped we would meet in the future some day –
But tonight I am dying, so alone we will stay.


Even when the last leaf falls from the tree,
Even when the last creature drowns in the sea,
I will take you by the hand and say,
“I’m glad I am alive today.”

There’s so much that we do not know,
So much the gods have yet to show,
But if our time here must now end,
I’ll go freely, so that our world can mend.

Our era was brief, but brief is just a word;
All I see now are the smoking feathers of a bird.
It’s trying to rise, but only spreading the flames,
Killing itself with its ignorant aims.

Even at the flash of a nuclear bomb,
Even at the end of the final calm,
I will throw out both my arms and say,
“I still believe in peace today.”

To what we have done, no thing can compare,
And we continue to do it on a childish dare,
As if life and balance are toys to be played,
Then tossed in the trash once we move up a grade.

Beautiful creatures now incapable of love,
We’ve chased away our single white dove.
It returns despite abuse to fly over our heads –
But by the end of the day, we have torn it to shreds.

Even as an assault rifle lets loose its roar,
Even as the schoolchildren dive to the floor,
I will close my eyes and say,
“I will not give up hope today.”


As thick gray petals rained down from the skies,
I begged of you to close your eyes –
But we both knew we could not unsee
The flames that would soon set us free.

“I will not forget you to the end of my days;
I will not rest until we have changed our ways;
What happened to you will not happen twice,
For such tragedy is really worth no price.”

Forgive me.
Even to the dying, I can do nothing but lie.

All of the souls now wandering at night
Reach out their hands to the dying of the light;
I make as if to hurl them a safety line –
Knowing they will never again see the sun shine.

“A moment of silence, we will hold for the dead,
To honor the blood and tears that they shed;
And we will do more, I promise to you:
The laws will change, and our hearts will too.”

Forgive me.
Even to the dead, I can do nothing but lie.

Making our livings manufacturing death
Selling off ways to silence one’s breath
Forgetting the promises we once cared to make
Failing to learn from our worldwide mistake.

Pointing fingers, as if that matters now
Debating ethics, as if history will change somehow
Putting up fronts of sincerity and sadness
Spray painting over our internal madness.

Forgive me.
I should not be alive…
For so many of the living can do nothing but lie.

Seventy-Four to One

The ocean breeze flows easily,
I close my eyes to try to see
The branches of the tree of time
Still reaching out to you and me.

I take them in my hands and sigh,
You look away and start to cry;
“We’ll be okay,” I try to say
But to you I could never lie.

The world folds in like a paper crane,
A freeway collapses into a single lane –
Seventy-four years condense to one day
And the fires are still burning in the autumn rain.

A jam-packed calendar of tragedy –
This is no longer inhumanity!
What have we done, what have we learned?
Just killing ourselves in plain insanity.

Hundreds of thousands swamp the river of death,
Worlds torn apart by a species’ breath –
Nothing has changed, if anything, it’s worse!
Yet we still try to live – only ignorant and cursed.

We’ll go again to such extremes,
You’ve seen it in prophetic dreams;
Having locked our memories in chests full of blood,
We can no longer hear our own children’s screams.

Seventy-four years and I still can’t see
The peaceful life you begged from me;
Longer and longer the branches grow,
As we lose sight of what once could be.

Zuihitsu #34

How many are left?

This is a loaded question –
Perhaps you don’t want to ask it,
Perhaps you don’t want to answer –
But there is so little time…
We must face it now.

So I ask –
How many generations are left?

How many years do we still have on this earth?

How many more children will be born –
And how many more children will die,
In school shootings and genocide,
After how many more promises and prayers,
How many more “we shall never forget”s?

How many living beings are left on the planet?
How many have we killed out of ignorance and selfishness,
And how many are left for us to kill – or save?
How many people still think we have the right?

How many tragedies are left before the end of the world?
How many more wars and fights and meaningless arguments,
How many people still must die?
And then, how many more times will killers try to justify their acts –
And how many more times will we accept?

We must ask these questions now,
While we are still here –
While we still have the capacity to change our answers…
Time is running out...

The Eleventh Sun

Photo by Specna Arms on Pexels.com

An endless graveyard,
A sea of blood –
My dreams have been fulfilled –
I close my eyes, but I can’t unsee
Bodies sprawling across infinity –

When we are gone
We will only be known for death –

A universe, a planet, a species
Given life and so much promise –
A single second torn apart
By the birth of the human heart
Anger and greed collapse at our feet –
Nothing can save us now –

Beyond my window I see children,
Shattered by assault rifles
Pushed in front of trains
A world on fire –
Call yourself the savage!
What we have become…

On our way to the moon,
We shot down all ten suns
And here we are in endless night –
A cold desert with no horizons
No longer a place of life
It’s a meaningless battleground!

In front of an elementary school
Stands a man with a gun
Bleeding hatred and pain –
There is no way to stop him –
Today he is all of us
And the children too, after all…

Screaming into the void
I close my eyes
Begging, pleading, crying –
And the world whispers:
I’m so sorry for your loss…
We will never forget…

Breaking news, thirty-two people confirmed dead in a mass shooting in…