『because we will meet again』


rainy season memories

alone on this night
rainy season memories
return to haunt me;
though we cannot see the stars,
their light shines through the downpour.


i see the light

i see the light
reflecting off a strand of silk that dances
but is still anchored, dances
but is still strong
and i close my eyes
afraid to look out the window at night because i don’t
know who will be there
waiting
or watching

i toss and i turn but it’s not the crickets that keep me
and your desperate words come and i call
and your voice
raw and breaking like i’ve never heard
painful and low because you didn’t know who else to talk to,
you’re sorry
but i’m not
i was never sorry

and i hit pause when you’re in the water
pause to stare at that stupid beautiful tattoo
branding it into my memory, it
means something to me
but i don’t know what
and we write and we write and we talk
until the last thing you write, those silent words
‘you mean the world to me’
and i have to swallow my heart again


anesthetized

shaking
to the point where i feel nothing
though others say it’s rolling like a boat, i
i just hear the demons
they’re banging on my bedroom door now
and i’m numb
hollow

part of me wants to invite them in, but i
can’t find my feet in the night
awake at 4am, my soul is wandering
ungrounded
homeless
i can’t feel pain and i’m not afraid
but this is when we are most vulnerable
you know

and in the end our souls alight
although the demons always visit twice
and you return me
to our shared dreamscape and we sleep
filling our voids with each other
and learning
to feel pain again


typhoon and aftermath

heat
as from a hair dryer,
filling the room
like steam I cannot see,
the warm cloud of your breath
expanding between us
enveloping
disguising
the morning fog rolls in around us
and your feet kick up the dust
and i follow
without seeing, i follow

the ocean throws up a mist
a salty spray that lingers on my tongue
and as it begins to rage, the fire comes
all sparks and embers and smoke-induced tears
and i think of you,
though no one would understand why

the stardust in the sea still glitters,
a reflection of the universe in your heart
and the flames lick at the shoreline and i,
i do not know what the waves are made of anymore
i do not know what i am made of anymore

i must be dreaming, i think
this scene is too fantastical
if i survive, it will become a nightmare
but you will be in it,
so i think i will not mind

i lay in my bed finding the empty space beside me
and the heat fills it, the waves wash in to fill it
unseeing
undreaming
phantom earthquakes tighten me like a screw
but at least they do not hurt, for the waves
the unknown waves soothe my scars
and reflect your eyes into mine

and i drift off to sleep, determined to dream
even if it will be another nightmare this time


Painting Dreams and Nightmares

dreaming unexpectedly,
her tears fall into the sand
thick ropes weave between our feet
as we walk into a foreign land

on fire, all of us and them
but together we still see
together we still see our dreams
and make them reality

she paints with the fibers of a noose
illustrating her nightmares from inside
and still we walk through the door to love her
so that we can say we tried

where we’re going, I won’t know
until I sleep tonight
but until I close my eyes this time
again I’ll hold you tight

until I close my eyes this time,
again I’ll hold you tight…


angels and demons, and goddesses

dripping just like blood,
the rain off her umbrella —
she speaks, and I dream;
if such a goddess exists,
why must she come to haunt me?


night visitors

sleep
like a night visitor,
a foreign stranger
who never planned to stay…

it was never meant to be this way.

i lay awake, trapped in dreams
and beside me you’re still feverish
you ask me if it’s night or day, and i say both
but it’s neither.
unsatisfied, you close your eyes
and something in me just can’t look away.

we spend our moments standing on a bridge
together wondering if we should burn it
“maybe this way we won’t have to choose…”
but the choice was already made for us
and we were too late to see it.

don’t tell me i’m naive.

if it must work out by the end i’ll make it work
but for now, we’re locked in separate dreams
hovering in the same space, our hands
just out of reach of our bodies
and our eyes
your eyes
glistening like stars in the night.


nothing else

with no other choice
I embrace your darkened form
in the strongest rain;
for you and for everyone,
there is nothing else but love.


black and blue

glowing black and blue, the quiet night
and a beaten man is sprawling on the floor
from his back he gazes at the stars
and we gaze back at him, silent and torn

there truly could have been another way

he dreams of you and I watch him
knowing how much it would mean to hear your voice
but on this night you cannot speak
and I cannot speak for you, though I cry

he reaches toward us with his open hand
and we know he wants to join us
but you can’t bear to pull him to his feet
and we watch as he stands up alone

and we watch as he stands up alone —

because he needs to live another day


because we will meet again

laying here beside you,
and afraid to say goodbye
the sun burns itself out,
reflected in my eyes
if only there could have been another time
the world revolves around us still
and everything just comes and goes
like waves crashing on the shore, we rise to die, and I
I’m not afraid
because if our universe returns to the beginning again,
then we are nothing more than immortal

your voice echoes in the night
compounded by your pain, but it’s alright
we both believe that it’s alright
even the fall of a great star is beautiful,
and gives life to those who see it
and the day must break again,
you call my name and bring tears to my eyes
summon me, wingless, to the sky
we knew our lives were a mockery, a chase played out in reverse
so we broke it like a mirror and made our own game out of glass
even the shattered fragments driven deep into our skin came alive
we did our best to live, that time

and now new times are coming,
they will always come
we put our foreheads together and close our eyes
and as the shooting stars sing their songs, we cry
out of fear but unafraid
because there was never anything to be afraid of but ourselves
so I whisper my farewells without regret
and you hold onto your reply, waiting
for our next chance to speak and hear, waiting
for our next chance to no longer be alone, waiting
for our next chance to rise.


『Best Tanka Collection ~Season of Change~ 』


painted dreams

color-changing leaves,
painting now my destiny –
the wry smile I show;
my internal haunting, now
self-fulfilling prophecy.


beating memories

at that sandy shore
where I left my soul behind –
time has come and gone;
the season’s hesitation
like the clock within my heart.


痛みの夢

stardust in the sea
wash across nocturnal eyes –
is there beauty still?
living within a lie, this
inescapable torment.


dimensions of love

dimensions of love –
side-by-side to sleep or wake,
we gaze at our skies;
like incandescent feathers,
your heart-shattering presence.


永遠の歌

永遠へ
雷の音
すぐ帰る
その瞬間に
君だけ想い。

the sound of thunder
ever swiftly returning
to eternity;
in that single instant I
I can only think of you.


and you looked into my eyes

bracing autumn winds —
as if we were, I smiled,
trying not to cry;
and you looked into my eyes
and you told me to let go.


As If “You And I”

like the shifting sand
the time blurs into my eyes —
as if “you and I”…
chasing our reality,
in this world we make our own.


condemned

waiting for this lie
to self-destruct and vanish
like a falling star;
condemned for eternity,
I forever watch this path.


Chasing Eternity

working day and night
for a future I can’t see —
leaf-blown fantasy;
still chasing the horizon
that will never end for me.


pilgrimage

a long journey’s end —
collapsing beneath the stars,
that light which guides me;
to the warmth of one’s own home,
finally able to rest.


begging, drowning

gasping for our breaths,
we’re drowning in this ocean —
of tears, of silence;
begging for another chance
that is not our chance to give.


waiting for another world

grasping at straws, I’m
waiting for another world –
hoping, then falling;
as the seasons turn the tides
within the fire in my heart.


burning borders

burning, falling trees
that exist just here and now –
is it then my time?
to move from zero to ten,
to grasp this, our world, anew?


blurring edges

anticipation
of the slowly rising sun —
dreamy summer days;
closing my eyes and praying
for the seasons to return.


breathless

the air in my chest
caught between rhythms of death
like the halting wind;
chasing after my own dreams —
at least, that’s what I believed.


separation

we knew it would come
but we thought we had more time –
so goes history;
now, in our separate lives
we reach out for what we’ve lost.


(wild)fire

as the dark ash blows
and her eyes begin to close —
how can we still love?
even in times such as these,
even in this cursed place?


rebirth

seeing your shadow
is like a dream to me now —
a misty autumn;
who would have thought, after all,
that you would now live again?


contentment

falling one by one
we are embraced by the waves
that first gave us life;
without feeling abandoned
we walk homeless and alone.


synesthesia

wandering alone
in the moment the rain stops
the beautiful sky;
brought to life by your music,
the scene that haunts me tonight.


「Re:construction」

(wild)fire

as the dark ash blows
and her eyes begin to close —
how can we still love?
even in times such as these,
even in this cursed place?

wildflowers

laying here beside you in the damp, glowing sand
I think, this is what it must mean to live.
the next great wave will erase all traces of our past being,
but that is fine with me,
because I don’t need to be immortal –
so long as I am here, now, with you.

we walk the paths worn by those before us,
hiking the forests in their great autumn displays.
the days flit through our fingers and the leaves shed like tears –
like a brilliant, loving rain –
and you wrap your hand securely in mine,
both of us knowing that after all,
these are just our times.

it’s nothing to be sad about,
hear us say to you –
watch the wildflowers bloom beneath our feet,
the beauty that reclaims us, and know
that like waves we all come and go –
but the sea is no less beautiful in our wake.

dear child,
we’ve promised as we lived.
listen now to the music of our souls,
an offering of strength when you have none left to give –
close your eyes as the words take root in your heart
and find the peace we spared for you.

dear child,
as you someday gaze up at the stars,
please know it is not over,
that our tongues did not all drip lies.
not every life is made to end in tragedy –
return to the sand, the autumn woods, and there we will still be.

it’s nothing to be sad about,
hear us say to you –
watch the wildflowers bloom beneath our feet,
the beauty that reclaims us, and know
that like waves we all come and go –
but the sea is no less beautiful in our wake.

Bedside Dreams

I know it’s beyond all control
though it was never my intention –

even now the threads of time spill between us
loose enough to remember,
loose enough to see, I cry
reaching out for my past self
and the you I will meet tomorrow
we chase each other in opposite directions,
flying from horizon to horizon unseen
our whole lives compressed to single moments, these
fleeting glimpses of your eyes –

and it was never my intention to have to watch you die.

Haunted ~watching, day by day~

dragging my feet through the sand, I
can think only of you
consumed by all the world’s pain
as I search for our gravestones now swallowed by the sea,
we cried
wanting our love to make a difference
trying to save all the world’s children and our own
now condemned
I walk into the sea without feeling the chill
the swirling pull about my legs, meaningless
the same way our lives were meaningless
you cannot drown a living spirit, after all
and the spirit of humanity is still nothing but alive, I tried
to find you but even now I’m lost
and haunted, I resume my eternal wanderings without a thought
without a word to describe the thought
forever searching, watching, losing,
to this world in which I live.

condemned

falling slow, just like
prisoners, not on death row
but condemned for life;
there is no greater torture
than being living spirits.

Sora

sinking into the sea, your face still masked
and of course it was your own undoing
the chains curl around your body but you cannot feel
the moonlight pierces the surface high above,
our only indication of direction as you fall

you might as well be flying

as precious as a child’s dream, your eyes I cannot meet
hidden behind the plastic that guarded your heart
she cries but her tears dissolve into the saltwater unseen
both knowing this is nothing more, nothing less than eternity
nothing more, nothing less than being alive
because if the act of waking up is dying, our world is now right-side up

and you can be anywhere you want to be

soaring through the heavens, you call to me
as images flicker through your mind
this isn’t so hard, you think,
your mask still fastened tight
and when you draw your knife I don’t resist
and when you are reborn I don’t resist

because when you are alive I cannot live but here we are

spiraling to the ocean floor like helices
all of us flying in our eyes
fully masked and hauntingly we cry

after all, our paths are beautiful

after all, we are still beautiful.

born this way

she says “you’re burning up”
but it’s no matter, I was born this way
acting up as if noon is midnight
I’m an earthquake, hurling objects at the walls
locked up from within but that’s okay
‘cause nature alone can break me, you called
my name from across the room and I still hear you
you’re just an apparition, that fairy of my nightmares
and whoever said that ghosts are scary?
humans are ten times worse! and after all, you knew
that I could never have survived here
so you tried to save me with these chains but listen!
hear me cry
feel the ground tremble beneath your feet
I know you meant well, I won’t hurt you
if anyone dies tonight it will be me, or so you said
thinking I’d be dead by daybreak
but you just watch
you just open your eyes and watch, love
and the sun will crown the victor in the morning.

lost

crashing
     like the crystal waves on the burning shore
     like the patient lying on the floor
and still I cannot find my way to you

waking
     like a child with slow eyes within the morning
     like passion and compassion when it’s pouring
and still I cannot fall asleep to dream

she says “it’s time to go” and we start crying,
     but everyone of us is already dying,
we break the walls with our own bare hands
and now there’s nothing left

and now there’s nothing left but we are free

retracing ~together, our midday stars~

because I always knew you were destined for something more –
but I never thought today would be the day.

walking alone on an empty street
surrounded by your footprints, I watch
as the wind gently removes you from our world.

my chest hurts but it’s not raining
because the world goes on without you, don’t you know?
I reach out for the hand that extends from your heart
grasping at shadows in the mid-day sun
and I don’t know why I still have to live.

I don’t understand why you left me now
how you could just close your eyes and vanish
it seems so cruel in retrospect, but I’m not angry
and as I watch the last traces of you crumble away
it seems I’m already bringing flowers to your grave.

there is something contained here, I know
within the limits of our lives,
but our hearts at least are limitless
can you see me here, walking down this street?
in our dreams, we called this “eternity”.

so take my hand and let us walk this path together
whether we leave our own footprints or not
the stars will still shine, for us but not for us
and our shadows will still be traceable, until that day
that wonderfully limitless day we call “tomorrow”.

because I always knew we were destined for something more –
but I never thought tomorrow could be the day.

reconstruction ~18/25/74~

headphones in and I’m lost in time
even though I always was
     sitting at the bar, another man sits beside him
     they talk about life and love
     they talk about dreams
you start your song and I close my eyes
can’t tell what I’m searching for
          she lowers her head into my chest and cries
     he collapses onto the floor and dies
and I’m asking why me, why him
why you, why now
          somehow 18 became 25 became 74
          and I can’t fathom this turn of events
          she’s mad if she thinks I will live
     the man at the bar leans over him
          but we’re both out of canvases, there’s
          nothing left but to paint over what’s behind
          let’s paint over our bodies tonight
laying here with an arrow in my chest
     he’s not gone yet
the only thing I want is to hear your voice again
I’m mad if I think you will help me live
          she splatters scarlet red across my ribs
     he is going to make it
two more minutes of your song, I know
     he breathes,
and now it’s time
          she sings,
it was always time to live.

「Mo{ve}ment」

I.

because if it’s any consolation,
there’s something there –
so he whispered in my ear
       trailing the shadow that taunts me in the mirror,
       I walked out the side door to lands we’ve lost our touch
       there I found faces, uncounted, unrecognized
       laying where they had fallen though some of them had still moved
       and those crimson tears turned to ice upon their cheeks, I stared
       as the off-season snow gently erased all signs of war
       and with them all signs of life
       somebody has to clean up after us, I knew, but I didn’t know
       because they don’t tell you...
they don’t tell you that the aftermath of death can be so beautiful.

II.

because if it’s any consolation,
there’s something there –
so they said to me that day
       watching you disappear and reappear
       like some sort of phantom or ghost, possessed
       if possession means to take care of me
       the way you stared perfectly expressionless
       and snatched the bill out of my hands, the way
       you turned to check your footprints
       to see if I was still there even if I wasn’t
       and the silence when you were hurting still one-sided, because
       this time you weren’t important...
I don’t know how you kept me alive.

III.

because if it’s any consolation,
there’s something there –
so he sang from his heart to mine
       watching you spiral in the depths of your love
       because you felt your emotions too much
       because you needed something others could not give, you
       made these perfect songs
       these perfect, painful, healing songs
       that have made you immortal, but I’m sorry
       that the love of millions could not save you
       that people following in death could not bring you back alive
       because your wounds ran too deep for even you to heal yourself…
but still from the sky you heal us – and we don’t stop to wonder why.

IV.

because if it’s any consolation,
there’s something there –
so they said in a single breath
       gazing into the windows of your soul
       and keeping perfect time
       the way we breathe in unison, the way
       our hearts beat in unison
       as the words pour out through our multiplied voices
       and wreathe, alive, around millions of waiting eyes
       this is the way when you say “I cannot do this alone”
       because there is power here when there is two
       and if a whole is not just the sum of its parts…
there is no longer any point in trying to quantify it.

V.

because if it’s any consolation,
there’s something there –
so she murmured as she died
       I went for you to forbidden lands
       questing for something I did not know
       and as the waves lapped at my feet I reached
       for the light of long-gone stars that reached me
       for the endless expanse that beckons
       because it is not only life and death that beckons
       and as the setting sun transformed the sky and sea
       to a wildfire almost instantly put out, I cried
       knowing that there’s something in nature that humans can’t contain...
but when it comes to this feeling, we can’t even contain ourselves. 

This mini-compilation is paired with the B-side extended poem Meditations: Read Here

「winter lovers’ serenade」

alive again ~these winter waking dreams~

searching for you, I walked
       these empty moonlit winter streets
              as snow enveloped me in silent sheets
       masking the scent of waking dreams
that chased the weakness in my heart.

if you could feel my love,
would you answer me?

“we will meet again,” you said…

if I could hold you one more time,
would I live again?

reaching for you, I walked
       past the edge of this eternal night
              blinded by the shining white
       protesting this internal fight
that I could give no reason for.

if I knew I was destined to lose,
would I still keep running?

“we are going to make it,” you said…

if you really believed that,
would you have let me go?

yearning for you, I walked
       the traces of our broken past
              supported by a glowing cast
       the memories of those who last
still alive within my winter dreams.

all the things you said to me

don’t tell me you aren’t beautiful
don’t tell me you aren’t smart
don’t tell me you weren’t meant to be;
if only the world could see
       if only you could see
what I saw every time I glanced over at you
and looked into your eyes

every time you made me laugh
every time we laid in bed
       and traced our foreign days together
what was that if not beauty?
every time you spoke for hours
       about the aesthetics of life and love
what was that if not intelligence?
all the things you’ve said to me
so blindly self-deprecating
and it hurts when you believe it;
you took that to the end

you were born a shooting star but never shot
never streamed across the northern skies in your private colors
and will the world know why?
you chased a dream you never saw
       the dream of being yourself, of being happy
and for once,
       if you could have been happy for once
would you still have left me?

if I could hear your voice again,
would I follow you home?

the dream you left behind

trampling through fields of dead roses,
       with a mournful serenade gracing your ears
you hold your head up high, gazing at me
       locks of your brown hair falling to the ground one by one
       tracing our shattered destiny on the maps of time
I didn’t know what I was leaving behind.

the shadows of your fingers entwined in mine,
I still remember
       the words you said to me that day
       the strength of your loving embrace
but you knew, I knew, I had nothing left to give
       and so you walked away without looking back
knowing that I was just waiting to die.

breaking the endless lines with your bare hands,
       to the soundtrack of a selfless hero
you climbed the walls we had built together
       and tore through the eternal night that was nothing but an illusion
              nothing more, nothing less than a single night’s dream
       the dream I could never see
the dream you left behind for me.

before that night was over

the night I tried to show you the way
the crescent moon pierced the sky like a farmer’s blade
and as the wind tore down the willow trees behind us
you gazed into my face and cried
still believing that there could have been another way
another way for you to stay
to ground yourself against my flat chest
and never have to break that first-year promise
but I watched the air before you burst into flames
reflected back to me in your stormy eyes
and before the night was over
before the moon and wind and stars had won
you released my hand and let me go.

brainwash

waiting for the end, we walk
parallel to the edge
as if we were just walking along the shore
basking in the glow of who we used to be
we try to love and end up in tears
we try to live and they kill us
before we can kill each other, they
grasp our hands and we cover our ears
we jump off and they catch us
they promise the light at the end of the tunnel
but when we get there we realize it’s death
throttled by the dreams of people who believed
we used to believe, we used to dream, but
it was never enough to say we loved each other
because they didn’t want us to mean it
they wanted us to become the liars they were
waiting to catch us in the act they forbid, they
claimed we were going to live and still, they
stabbed you in the back while we embraced
and I couldn’t even cry a single tear for you
they already had me in their death grip
so I lied and said I never loved you
I lied and said I wanted to live
and now I walk alone
parallel to the edge
just waiting for the end.

demon/s in the mirror

“someday” was a promise I’ll never see
because she, you, I lied to me
this demon in the mirror spiraling out of control
neon pink fringes bursting from our heart
I won’t let you win, I’ll die
to see this tragic farce all the way to the end
when the rain flows upward and he shatters his guitar,
drunk against my bloody face
determined to do everything it takes to make it
I will win, you’ll live
even if it was never meant to be, I don’t believe
drowning you in endless seas of love-blind fantasies
because this mind of mine was never mine
except to blow up on a heart-held trigger
except to walk the line between life and death,
pretending to be sane enough to hold your hand.
don’t lie to me again. 

reciprocity

don’t give up on me, you said
but you gave up on me

and it was never enough

the old days were so simple
coloring books and pinky-promises on the playground
afternoon naps and carefree hugs
and kisses I don’t remember
we walked hand-in-hand through the days, silently
our faces written with love we never understood

why can’t we go back?

to a time when giving up meant nothing
even if there was nothing to give up on?

you sang me the song of your future
but I never had a future
not even with myself, I thought
the days were too easy but I couldn’t get out of bed
the work was too simple but I couldn’t stop crying
and eventually you walked out
you gave up on me

I thought promises worked both ways
but I was never worth the other side of it anyway.

blown-glass trains and fleeting dreams

gazing into a sea of blackness
I fall asleep to the sound of falling rain
the city quiet except for the midnight train
still suspended in my blown-glass dream

again I hear your soothing voice
but my restful sleep is fleeting
we can’t spare a chance at meeting
only now can I turn back time

yet in the rain we are both blind
reaching out vainly for your hand
it disintegrates to fine storm sand
I will wait on the tracks until that day

caught together in this moment
as the spirits’ tears come flood the streets
as the seasons change in rhythmic beats
I hear your words again

this goodbye is not forever…
we will meet again.

Enough For Me And You

breathing quietly beside you,
       I gazed up at my own dark sky –
so different from yours
       even though our dreams were the same
       even though the promises we exchanged
              had been knowingly impossible… 
if I could have understood then
       what it feels like to love someone
       who can’t love you back…
that day the seas rose and fell
that day the sky split open
       and shattered our silent dreams into a million pieces,
              glass shards we grasped in our hands despite the pain
you asked me for a reason –
       and I blurted out so many
       but it’s only now that I realize what the right answer was.
“I don’t need a reason,” I should have said.
“Isn’t ‘I love you’ enough?”

Nocturne of a Dreamer

sitting at the edge of dawn,
waiting for who knows how long
the first bird shares her siren song
       and we –
in this intangible moment we
       go off into infinity
stepping into the unknown that is our life.

as though we could have stopped them,
       and made this place our own
as though we could have met them,
       and bent our fates anew
we chase each dawn from night to day,
each following our own loving way –
       then searching for the words to say,
words that might still change the world someday.

reaching into open arms, we gaze
       at these reflections of our own blind eyes
       at our opposite horizon lines
and we say, “we will not go.”
we say “this is not the end.”

because here, the sun is rising –
       hear, the sun is rising –
and today
with nothing else to do
       and no other path to take
we follow it into eternity.

Entry #33 – Interviewing My Mother; 「winter lovers’ serenade」Releases Tomorrow

I believe in the madness called “Now”
Time goes flowing, breaking my heart
Wanna live, can’t let my heart kill myself
Still I haven’t found what I’m looking for
Art of life, I try to stop myself
But my heart goes to destroy the truth
Tell me why, I want the meaning of my life
Do I try to live? Do I try to love in my dream?

– X JAPAN, “Art of Life”
lyrics from Genius

Hey all, it’s Kohaku. I hope you’re having a great week.

Since I mentioned it last time, I want to briefly talk about the oral history interview I recently conducted with my mother. Interviewing your parents or other relatives can be a little awkward, but I think that it can be very significant because it opens up avenues for talking about things that you don’t normally talk about – like your parents’ childhoods, immigration stories, refugee stories, and so on. I felt that I didn’t really know a lot about my mother, her childhood, and why she came to the US. She’s a 1.5-generation Taiwanese immigrant and she doesn’t usually talk about herself or her life story – in part because she feels like it’s not your “typical” Asian American/Asian immigrant life story. And maybe that’s true, but that doesn’t make her story any less important. She didn’t want her interview to be shared with anyone, so for that and other reasons I won’t post it or give specific details, but I thought it would be fair to just mention it. I came out of the interview after a little over an hour, knowing a lot more about my mom, her family’s reasons for migrating, and her worldview in general. The process was liberating in a way, but it also scared me – because what if I hadn’t interviewed her? Maybe, despite being parent and child, we would never have talked about any of this and I just never would have known. I think there is a lot of information, a lot of emotion, a lot of wisdom that gets lost between familial generations and people in general. I’m not saying that the older generations are always right, or that the younger generations are always wrong, but the lack of communication can be frightening. Humans in general seem to have a hard time bridging the past and the present; that’s something I want to work on moving forward.

Speaking of moving forward, I have a new poetry compilation for you all. It’s called 「winter lovers’ serenade」and it’ll be published tomorrow. Let me know what you think! It got a little rushed because I’m really running short on time recently, but I hope it still turned out okay. Also, the deadline for me to submit Love Letters to the World We Made to that art reception is this Friday, so I’m scrambling to find time to finish that, too. Expect the last two parts to come out sometime this week – if they don’t, you know I’m in trouble!

I’d better get to work. I’m just gonna keep running toward the end. You all take care of yourselves.

Lots of love,

KT

Last Night ~2019~

on this final moonlit night
we look back and ask ourselves:
where are we?
who have we become?
and now, where are we going?

dozens of years have come and gone,
and here we are at the edge of dawn
with what?
can you see?
having locked our memories in chests full of blood,
we can no longer hear our own children’s screams –
how stupid can we be!
thinking we can put a face to tragedy –
as if humans ever understood humanity.
to what we have done, no thing can compare,
and we continue to do it on a childish dare,
putting up fronts of sincerity and sadness,
spray painting over our internal madness.
this world…
a cold desert with no horizons,
no longer a place of life –
it’s a meaningless battleground!
but, after all,
darkness is not something
unknown to man.
you always knew this…
I love you all, but it’s beyond my control –
humanity is determined to rip apart my soul.

day after day, I watch
waiting for the world
to transform into a rose –
perhaps, a rainbow…
tracing your outline over and over again,
my tears become the gentle rain.
you always knew what I didn’t…
we’re burning in the light of day,
living our lives without a say,
still struggling to find the way,
and I know I don’t belong here –
but I’m forced to share this dream.

the world I tried to find
never existed in my time…
so condemned for eternity,
I forever watch this path.
still, chasing the horizon
that will never end for me,
I will close my eyes and say,
“I will not give up hope today.”
your parting words grace my lips
there’ll be no war today, I think –
it’s our love after all.

can we believe in an impossible world?
I can’t live without it…
but tonight I understand that it’s only a dream –
one we can’t reach, one still too extreme.
her whispered words
“you won’t live to see that day”
so I walked without a future…
well, to sprout and bloom and die,
maybe this too is our life.
just like you before me
I know that I’m not here to stay,
but at least I can say I’ve tried –
now, I’m searching for a place to die
just waiting for the right time.

but in that single instant I –
I can only think of you…
I call out for a love that
was never mine to cherish,
reaching out for the days we shared
and the tomorrows we left behind.
promising “one day, someday, some time…”
in the future one of us lacked.
if only they would let us live…
so you said –
can you feel it?
time is slowing down for you
so that you can smile again…
what words!
humanity wasn’t fair to you,
and unfortunately you were human too –
and yet you see that I love you
because our hearts just grew and grew
together, we bend their definitions
expanding what it means to be alive.
was this all not worth it in the end?

someday, the world will understand me
and we can live as we were meant to be –
but right now, in our shared dream,
we are still struggling,
searching for the words to say,
words that might still change the world someday.
at least, for today
we look into each other’s eyes
and we say, “we will not go.”
we say “this is not the end.”
we say, on this day of endless dawn,
the sun will rise again.
this goodbye is not forever…
we will meet again.


Happy New Year, everyone. Lots of love to our one global humanity. Let’s make a good 2020, together.

KT

「Anniversary ~2019~ 」

Preface

When I say “anniversary,” what comes to mind?

Maybe it’s a wedding anniversary. Maybe, it’s a dear friend’s birthday. Or maybe, it’s the anniversary of the day your loved one died.

The different ways humans understand and categorize time are highly arbitrary, if you think about it. Some of us follow the cycle of the moon, and others follow the cycle of the sun. For some people, their daily clock starts at midnight, and for others, their clock starts ticking at sunrise. Some nations follow daylight savings, and others don’t. And for some cultures, the flow of time is itself nonlinear.

Most of us generally sort time into increments like days, months, and years that repeat endlessly, but the way we do so differs depending on our language, culture, and location. What if your “year” was thirty days long instead of three hundred and sixty-five? How many birthdays would you have had until now? How “old” would you be?

Because the way we understand time is so arbitrary, we depend on anniversaries to keep us grounded. We hold on to birthdays, death days, wedding days, days of historical events, and so on because we’d get lost in the flow of time otherwise. Anniversaries are thus incredibly important to our survival and our sanity.

This book is a compilation of poems I’ve written this year to commemorate anniversaries of all kinds, starting from when I first began to blog. It’s good to wrap up the year by looking back, but it’s also important that we use the final moments of 2019 to think about the relation of time to ourselves, the things we care about, and the people whom we love.

So, what did 2019 mean to you?

What anniversaries did you celebrate?


Another Year Has Gone…

August 3 (◯◯’s Birthday)

Over the mountains and under the sea,
A thunderous world stares back at me;
Threads of time slip by unnoticed,
And pass through my fingers to yours.

Today, you are seventeen,
A beautiful soul just beginning to dream;
But what now, what next,
Who is it you’ll become?

Because the life you live has only just begun.

With intent you look ahead,
Searching with unease and dread;
The glowing horizon remains ever impartial
And what there lies in wait?

But whispering gently in your ear,
The autumn wind tries to ease your fear:
On this day of endless dawn,
The sun will rise again.

The sun will rise, and we’ll see what happens then.

The trials that come may give you pause,
You may feel despair completely without cause;
But on such days you must remember:
You are not alone.

No matter what it is you face,
No matter what dreams you choose to chase,
Those who love you will be here by your side.
And this too, please don’t forget —

So little time has passed since then,
But I’m so glad we met.


Seventy-Four to One

August 6 (Atomic Bombing on Hiroshima)

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.


許してください

August 7 (Week of Atomic Bombings)

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.


Even

August 8 (Week of Atomic Bombings)

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.”


A Single Star-Filled Sky

August 9 (Atomic Bombing on Nagasaki)

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.


黙祷

August 10 (Week of Atomic Bombings)

As the time approaches I close my eyes;
The world fills with our empty sighs;
I want to pray, but the words won’t come –
And deep inside, my heart is numb.

How can I go on living?

For all those who were there, I cried –
For those who lived, and those who died;
But the rain today refuses to fall,
And all I feel is incredibly small.

It’s not the time that has dried my tears –
Though the days have quickly turned into years;
It’s the incredible failure of humanity to move,
To learn from the past and force itself to improve.

I don’t know how much longer here I can stay,
From this silent prayer to the end of the day;
This legacy is too much of a burden to bear,
Made worse by the refusal of thousands to care.

Our history is tangible in this moment of time,
In all of its glories and its war-filled crime,
And as it cements into our future and past,
I pray for the dead and for those who still last.


On the Edge of Another World

August 14 (◯◯’s Birthday)

Waiting in the shadows for a new world to be born,
We look back at the promises we’d once sworn;
Still holding the thoughts that we chose then to confide,
We watch the years pass and grow older side-by-side.

The memories we shared, the dreams we chased,
And all of the challenges that we each faced –
Today, on your birthday, they are tangible and strong,
As we turn towards a future where we both belong.

As the waves crawl in to a Malaysian shore,
We strain in silence for something more –
Seeking a happiness that was taken away,
Hoping that together we’ll reach it someday.

And if you must burn bridges for the life that you need,
That I will stand by you is still guaranteed –
For although human beings must live their lives alone,
Those we call “family” together face the unknown.


手紙

August 18 (◯◯’s Birthday)

Dear ◯◯、

If you are reading this, can you tell me?

If you’re alive, will you send me a sign?

Today is your birthday

Again, this year

I have passed many of your birthdays

Without you.

I will play music for you, today

Will you please listen?

From wherever you are

Whoever you are

I hope the sounds of the piano will reach you

And maybe the sound of my voice

Or yours

Are you still sick?

Are you happy?

You made me happy

When I was feeling depressed

And couldn’t name it

I wish you had someone

Who could make you happy too

All I can do now

Is play music

And remember you

How long has it been?

Every year I feel regret

Around this time

You have taught me

Not to make such regrets

Have I grown since then?

If you have returned to the stars

Or not

Do you still remember me?

It doesn’t matter so much

I’m still alive, after all

I just want you to be happy

At least today

On your birthday

Can you feel it?

Time is slowing down for you

So that you can smile again

Today

Someday.

From 〇〇

August 2019


on this eternal morning I

September 11 (9/11)

on this eternal morning I
listen to you breathe and cry
“it’s okay, it’s time now to let go…”
these whispered words are all I know
and yet…

and yet you see that I love you
because our hearts just grew and grew
together in this empty, dying world
we won’t show our flags unfurled
there’ll be no war today

blind to each other’s bodies we
shared our souls ‘till we could see
the meanings of “now you and I”
the hallowed ground where you now lie
it’s beauty, after all

fading slowly back into the light
the moon protests our global fight
“night and day both give no place…”
I’ll follow now the dream you chased
it’s precious, after all

still reaching for the sunrise I
will close your eyes and gently sigh
a tinge of burning passion felt
maybe revenge would my heart melt
and yet…

and yet you see that I love you
because our hearts just grew and grew
together in this empty, dying world
we won’t show our flags unfurled
there’ll be no war today

there’ll be no war today, I think
it’s our love after all


Last Dawn

November 5 (◯◯’s Birthday)

at the edge of eternal night,
at the end of a sparrow’s flight,
I’ll be waiting, waiting for you.
playing
        chasing
                talking
wading
we’re burning in the light of day,
living our lives without a say,
still struggling to find the way
        but at the edge of “come what may,”
I’ll be waiting, waiting for you. 
        as if we could understand our own reflections
        our own shadows beneath our feet
        our bodies laying in the street
well they never, never saw us.
and if they never saw us,
what could we have done?
        turning towards a future we cannot grasp,
        putting our destinies on silent timelapse,
        we chase the dreams we never had –
and when we wake up and open our eyes,
there I’ll be waiting, waiting for you.

Nocturne of a Dreamer

December 6 (◯◯’s Birthday)

sitting at the edge of dawn,
waiting for who knows how long
the first bird shares her siren song
     and we –
in this intangible moment we
     go off into infinity
stepping into the unknown that is our life.

as though we could have stopped them,
     and made this place our own
as though we could have met them,
     and bent our fates anew
we chase each dawn from night to day,
each following our own loving way –
     then searching for the words to say,
words that might still change the world someday.

reaching into open arms, we gaze
     at these reflections of our own blind eyes
     at our opposite horizon lines
and we say, “we will not go.”
we say “this is not the end.”

because here, the sun is rising –
     hear, the sun is rising –
and today
with nothing else to do
     and no other path to take
we follow it into eternity.

Entry #22 – 「VANGUARD」Reflection, 「Anniversary」Releases Tomorrow, Christmas

Hi everyone! It’s Kohaku. I hope you all had a great week.

The poetry compilation 「VANGUARD: Flagbearer of Nocturnal Skies」released this past Monday. How was it? I’m pretty happy with how it turned out; there’s some really good stuff in there. Here’s a question – what do you think the message of the whole compilation is? In other words, what did you take away after reading it? Overall messages are important, and while I certainly know how I interpreted it, I’d like to know how you guys interpreted it too.

Anyway, as I promised, there’s another poetry compilation coming out tomorrow. It’s called 「Anniversary ~2019~」, and unlike other compilations, it’s composed entirely of already published material, just gathered and put together in a new format. It’ll be longer than usual, too, and it will have a preface, something I haven’t included since 「DOUBLE-SIDED」. It feels like it’s been forever since then… time really does fly. Well, look forward to the compilation coming out tomorrow, and let me know what you think!

Christmas is coming up, for those who celebrate it. I hope you all are able to spend some meaningful time with your families; I’m definitely doing my best with mine. Take care of yourselves, and reserve the strength you need to make it through the holidays and the end of the year. It gets tough around this time, doesn’t it? For some more than others, sure, but passing into the new year can be pretty rough for us all. Just do your best to keep moving forward.

Anyone have any favorite Christmas music? I don’t like the music that gets played a lot where I live, not because the songs are bad necessarily, but because they play the same five or six songs over and over again, every year, everywhere. I just want more variety, that’s all. I don’t really celebrate the holiday though, so it’s not as if it matters terribly to me. Well, for the past few years whenever it gets around this time, I tend to pull up and re-listen to these two tracks: GACKT’s「12月のLove Song」, and Makihara Noriyuki & Hamada Masatoshi’s「Chicken Rice」. They’re my personal Christmas staples.

I think next week I might talk about my recent artist inspirations. I’ve been listening to new music recently – it’s important to always keep learning and exploring new things. That’s what it means to keep moving forward. Well, until then~

Take care,

KT

「VANGUARD: Flagbearer of Nocturnal Skies」

Last Dawn

at the edge of eternal night,
at the end of a sparrow’s flight,
I’ll be waiting, waiting for you.
playing
        chasing
                talking
wading
we’re burning in the light of day,
living our lives without a say,
still struggling to find the way
        but at the edge of “come what may,”
I’ll be waiting, waiting for you.
        as if we could understand our own reflections
        our own shadows beneath our feet
        our bodies laying in the street
well they never, never saw us.
and if they never saw us,
what could we have done?
        turning towards a future we cannot grasp,
        putting our destinies on silent timelapse,
        we chase the dreams we never had –
and when we wake up and open our eyes,
there I’ll be waiting, waiting for you.

and you looked into my eyes

bracing autumn winds —
as if we were, I smiled,
trying not to cry;
and you looked into my eyes
and you told me to let go.

ride the barrier with me ~one day, freedom~

gazing at you through the veil of my laughter,
I can’t help but think that you’re beautiful…
I wish you could see and believe it, too
spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
just tell me, who says we can’t love each other?
riding the barrier to freedom, we are
we’re not hurting anyone but ourselves
this doesn’t concern anyone else
and they can’t control love, can they?
spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…
but what a stupid word that is!
four letters to contain all of the feelings in the world,
it’s absolutely laughable
maybe in another language I wouldn’t hate it so much
but we’re all humans after all
so I guess I shouldn’t ramp up my expectations?
spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…
someday, the world will understand me
I want to embrace you and hold your hand,
please believe it
how beautiful you are to me
anyone who says you’re worthless or ugly or stupid
just doesn’t have the strength to see,
the imagination to feel,
the will to give you love
spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…
someday, the world will understand me
and we can live as we were meant to be.

A Night Song

if I could hear your voice again
if I could see your face
if I could gaze into your eyes
who knows what I would do for you
the days when I could take your hand
and hold it gently in mine
if only I could still remember
the feeling of your embrace, this time
there’s a world out there that I can see
just beyond your sunrise song
it’s waiting now for you and me, but
but you’ve left that path behind, and I
I could never blame you now
I want to chase, you, down
show you the promise of tomorrow
share all my love with all of yours
‘till I’ve nothing left to give
if only they would let us live
I couldn’t reach you if I wanted to
and they knew how much I wanted to
but dreams will be dreams, and after all
I didn’t dare wake up from mine
I wasn’t as brave as you, you see
and I wasn’t as damaged, maybe
I just held on faithfully
guess I was too blind to flee
and still,
and still
there’s a world out there that I can see
just beyond your sunrise song
it’s waiting now for you and me, but
but you’ve left that path behind, and I
I could never blame you now
I want to chase, you, down
show you the promise of tomorrow
share all my love with all of yours
‘till I’ve nothing left to give
if only they would let us live
so you said

As If “You And I”

like the shifting sand
the time blurs into my eyes —
as if “you and I”…
chasing our reality,
in this world we make our own.

Prison Break ~one human happiness~

falling just like a single strand of hair
      in this world
where horizon lines are like prison bars
where we cannot help but see the same stars
together, we bend their definitions
expanding what it means to be alive
      we heard them say
She would not force his judgments onto you
So we promised to start living what’s true
And slipping into this borderless dream
I had a taste of joy in fantasy
      from day one I kept
Reaching for your hand though you could not take it
Well, without a band I could not shake it
I saw the universe without boundaries
As it was still reflected in your eyes
      and in the end I knew
that even if the world still hated you
we would get the payment that we were due
exchanged in one human happiness, this
time, we’d have all that we needed again
      so one day in the near future
you can be who and what you want to be
and you won’t have to look far to find me
I know that right now it’s far-fetched, but I

dimensions of love

dimensions of love –
side-by-side to sleep or wake,
we gaze at our skies;
like incandescent feathers,
your heart-shattering presence.

Falling For You

dreaming
         reaching
this was never meant to be
calling
         falling
if it’s just you and me
I can’t see
the world I tried to find
never existed in my time
         so just breathe
              I’ll leave
‘cause once you chased me down the shore
I knew I couldn’t ask for more
no, I couldn’t ask for more
if you knew that I was falling for you
and if that meant anything to you
well, on this day, if I may
         I guess I’ll say it, I
I’ll keep it to myself this time
dreaming
         reaching
this was never meant to be
calling
         falling
if it’s just you and me
if it’s just you and me,
you’ll see
but I’ll keep it to myself this time

non-existence

waiting for the song
to tell me what’s in my heart —
whisper from the wind;
I call out for a love that
was never mine to cherish.

Nocturne of a Dreamer

sitting at the edge of dawn,
waiting for who knows how long
the first bird shares her siren song
         and we –
in this intangible moment we
         go off into infinity
stepping into the unknown that is our life.
as though we could have stopped them,
         and made this place our own
as though we could have met them,
         and bent our fates anew
we chase each dawn from night to day,
each following our own loving way –
         then searching for the words to say,
words that might still change the world someday.
reaching into open arms, we gaze
         at these reflections of our own blind eyes
         at our opposite horizon lines
and we say, “we will not go.”
we say “this is not the end.”
because here, the sun is rising –
         hear, the sun is rising –
and today
with nothing else to do
         and no other path to take
we follow it into eternity.