Seth Howard


Driving through thick-blankets
of mist, the light cut into darkness
like a scythe. We were beginning
to get a sense of it, we thought…
& every now & then a liquid-sign
would slip in our peripheral vis-
ion. I had to keep on talking so
as to prevent her from nodding-off
at each sector, drifting along the
endless stretch of highway, the
music a warble-of-birdsong, & each
syllable a sound that sunk into our
consciousness. Had the mist begun to
let up some? On our left we saw
the ocean swell like a woman’s
pale-stomach, & our past vanished
into the waves that rose with each
breath of inflection… I saw a Japanese
house along-the-water, a little wind-
chime hung from slate-shingles
in distances I’d seen flash past...
It could have been the absinthe, she
said, but the lights that swoon in
pockets-of-illusion slip into halls of silence.
She was focused on the road, & I
wound a string of filament around
her thigh, at which she smiled,
seemed not to mind. Gradually
the sea tapered off into rivulets.
I watched its strands winding through
the darkness-like-a-snake, before
trailing off into the city. Night
balanced on the cusp a moment,
then plunged into a ghost-abyss…


That year the cherry blossoms
hung over our agitation…
I watched a few people pass in the street, who
seemed distant, removed. & surely one’s mid-twenties
malaise was something all-but-unspeakable.
To say so would mean madness, to lift the veil of our world that
had only just begun. I saw her outside the station,
& we exchanged pleasantries. I sometimes
wondered if that would be the last time I saw her.
Perhaps it was...

I remember the long-tunnels
extending into a space that had approached those grey-areas
of uncertainty, yet I lacked the required-insight then
to make any sense of my condition,
but the sounds, the pregnant-clouds that
hung over us, made an imprint
that remains (even now) when I think back to who I may have been...
Does the self die, & is it then reborn?
I speak of this time as if it had been me,
but now, sitting at some desk, I peer in as if through
a window, so utterly divorced
from that time & place…
Yet something of the experience was more
familiar than the current life I lead…
Did Murasaki compose her works in-quotidian-rooms,
or was her dream infused with the
inks of migrations & luminous-moods?
I come back to this place now,
having never-entirely-left. Just as I had not
been fully there, now I find
myself most cognizant
when I acknowledge this place
in my life…


The groan of a chair beneath
him in the afternoon, & those
roses of light that whisper to
him (often in silence) in solitude
that drips from-somewhere
behind you… Waiting in Kyoto
station for no-one in particular…
The faint-bitterness of coffee
swirls in his brain, & the subtle
neurosis of-being-nowhere at
once (or at least without any
fixed-destination). Volumes piled
on his desk of texts that lit his
mind in evenings. So often, while
reading Adorno, his life appeared
before him in pockets-of-mem-
ory, flashes-of-instances he had
once forgotten, only to return
as filmy-ghosts that usher him
into his bright accommodations.
A life nourished by the plastic
image, in which past & present
(even future?) swell & fuse into
almost an itch, a slight-tingle that
rings in distances of autumns…
The air cool, & the lonesome
walks through Ikebukuro-streets.
Yes, you had been a teacher…
Ever that soft-light-spills on your
fingers, from a couple-of-bulbs
gone out in the ceiling lamp.
Life (curiously) a tone-poem, that
flows in silent-whispers. & his
sole-window seen from the kit-
chen, into which he may view
the world-theater, where peo-
ple pass by, as if in recognition
of a life that remains-obscure.


just as breath follows us into silent-rivers
so the motions, soaked in color, speak

of the one enigma, driving for hours
into fields of locusts, she stole a kiss

& her lips tasted-of-poison, rivers of
silence, long hours rippling into visions

gripped, as she my wrists wrung from
the locus of immersion, the lengthening

road spun from my hand like leaves
I nearly touch, the glaze of sun

that swims in the rear-view-mirror, so we
speak of the silences that press upon

the cipher of a word, a whistle of birdsong
skimming through the air, she rests her

hand upon my knee, & there is a signal
in the distances between us that lessens

the need for speech, or even movement
& by this affinity we suck each other’s

breath, with so much left unsaid that we
are nearly-strangers, stark in the lucid

reflection of her sunglasses, we return
to that place she relocates in each moment

that swells with the sea’s breathing
as fields dissolve into darkness, &

nothing remains, but a silver-string she
pulls taut, the subtle-tortures by which

she molds me to her whim, I’ve begun
in silence what I never thought to finish

were it hours or years, the flash of
life in her eyes spoke of all we had

neglected, & the sun swam in a sea
of longing, a dark swell of dream

Seth Howard is a New-London-based-writer, & practitioner of Zen, who greatly enjoys the study of kōans, alongside the nightly exercise of zazen. He focuses his energies on the discipline of poetry, nourishing his spirit with the study of existentialist / phenomenological works, as well as delving into an assortment of experimental writings. Lover of things Japanese, Chinese, Korean & Taiwanese, he keeps up with goings-on by listening to Japanese-Web-Radio, & in his spare time edits CAPSULE.
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