Jane Joritz-Nakagawa


Self Portrait 1

my heart   —    in exasperated tones
my heart, prologue
a heart, murmur risen
any heart      harms the cycle form

turn round to unacceptable
urgency    —     surfeit of lineage (chorus/coinage)
enter the immense feather of mood
— to prison with the sky!

spheres of swirling bildungsroman
lie slinking with the moon
— always lying

to commit treason against
the fluttering lawn   filtered
with 007 mobilized   under my
announced covers is

high damage — present tense
high moon, future

Self Portrait 2

Self Portrait 3

(in which I am conflated with other people then trapped in summery haiku and tanka)

the day the bomb fell flash of sunlight my hair gleams in buckets

the day the police stop me
my arms flail upward
body warmed by sunlight on dead concrete

Self Portrait 4

in unscented traces of habits
a successful operation

pockmarked audience
inscribed on sound

incredulous drama
for display on mantlepieces

incomplete booty acquisition
stolen by mimics

insistent cemetery
provides fanfare for adjacent century

here is where my voice (trails off)
.         .         .         .         .         (ドット).         .         .

intolerable outskirt
interior stain

stalking me on fake-book and insult-a-gram
please use a secure line

bludgeons the ancient
barefoot rescue team

Self Portrait 5

bony thoughts
mouth of famine

scar of sun
crust of bone

rhapsody at midnight
your legal passport

splinters of tourist
nervous hissing

deep lines
sighted, chilled

scarce currents
claim the dense mountains

walking through shadows
mere fragments

foul arrival
upon bent stones

pungent passage
its hind legs

Self Portrait 6

gently the streets darken
please cave in the day

eyes like wild birds
a deceased place follows me like

deep silence under the weight
of thousands of abandoned wrinkled

leaves fountains of decay
permeate would be paradisal fault

lines of painful absence
for houses built on flimsy

excuses during fires
in detainment centers

Self Portrait 7

scattered shudders in
mystical puddles become

bygone gardens leaking
from branches where

no one is talking amidst
bid rigging bed wetting and

acute organ failure
nonspecific threats

emanate from targeted
buildings where

no one is
listening or

inhabiting the space between
yet more objects

and there's crime
between my eyes

how to

Self Portrait 8

cold dew cries
because it's morning

cities are only
beautiful at night

in the daytime
i long for uninterrupted

rows of trees not
concrete buildings

with their laundry flapping
and grandpa smoking on

greying balconies
with metal railings

their wives sing insanely
afraid to go near the water

afraid of the weather
an artist is always being interviewed

i exit the back door unseen

a room full of poems
pinned to walls

poems emit from a wary

stiff immobile poems
fish tossed back into the sea

embraced by trees
i'm sitting there listening

but realizing i have little interest
in what is being said

this makes me feel

i notice i cannot touch another human being today
so i put a pagoda next to a tea cup

to produce chaos out of order
a mask of divided dwellings

for future allotted thoughts
and youthful piles of insides

my impulse on the clock
lined in haze

a powder flame
around a glacial spirit

running to the moon
emitting oceans of script

mock vapor
of canine birth

in chalky fields
shrill signals loom across slopes

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa’s recent books of poetry include Distant landscapes (Theenk Books, 2015) and the chapbook diurnal forthcoming in 2016 with Grey Book Press. She lives in Japan and can be reached via janejoritznakagawa(at)gmail(dot)com.
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