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Brooding Over the Kitchen Sink: Fandom-Inspired Poetry

Chapter Text

Fox Trade Trick

 

The shrewd fox would gladly

trade spiders for the groundhogs,

and webs for molehills.

I’m afraid no one has offered him

such a splendid deal, but a price could

surely be found for a couple

of old grapes, a cheese, and

a nice shriveled mouse,

should a certain grizzled crow present itself.

It pleases him to mock the crow, you see,

in order to gain

a live dish more savory than the straw

scarecrows in the farmers’ fields

or hollow sucked eggs in the coop

(alas, the fanged snake got them first)

that the maid’s daughter forgot to pick up—

nasty, crunchy things with too much calcium!

Chapter Text

Character Flaw

 

With each and every minute I am with you

I can feel perfect leaching from my fingers

And I can’t tell you what a relief it is

to lose the golden ichor that bound me

to my father whom I regarded as a god.

 

Even now a slender thread of gold remains

wrapped around the fragile pinky finger,

but it does not try to choke me anymore

with nervous anxiety and the rasp of asthma.

 

There is no better thing to have happened to me

than to have dubiously fallen into your debt

and detached the cord that hung me from the sky,

the lifeline that enforced my independence.

 

Thanks to you, I smell of fish and cod oil

and the rushing river below and not

silk, paper, ink, and musty aging plastic

or that sour red vinegar slash mark, 100%.

 

I’m sorry my apology fell a little flat.

I am still getting used to the odd idea

that other people don’t think perfection

is the curse of strict adherence to destiny,

 

a set of rules, lines and demarcations

that left my personality flailing in vacuum

unable to explore the possibilities

that always included what would be wrong.

 

I am learning to be human again, to mistake

on purpose or by accident and forget

to watch my every step. I will not be nothing,

though you will think my dire earnestness

to reconstruct my self is misdirected folly.

To you, my self will have been there all along.

 

Even I can see the paradox, the contradiction,

in wishing to be worthy of a woman from Venus

by discarding all my trappings of immortality—

if that is the very flaw in my character, so be it.

Chapter Text

The Melody of Nagato Yuki

 

Feelings lurk behind feathers

Hidden under ponderous piano keys

Fingering lightly the Gymnopédies

Lonely as rain slips window panes

Trails of glass and tender sorrow.

 

Whither a girl waves,—hello, goodbye,

I love you—huddling in a grey muffler,

someday she must be stopped before

she turns the corner of this page forever.

You hold a worn handwritten bookmark.

 

She beckons the storm to come down,

and lightning fills the outstretched palm,

pale white like the snow that fell that day

for out of it she will create a new future,

to erase the old: this act is born out of love,

 

Out of love and lonely misery combined.

She bites to draw blood, submitting to her virus.

It wipes skies clean, sweeps away thought,

emotions apropos of nothing, mistaken for errors.

She was made too simply for this land of clutter.

 

What is bravery and what is cowardice?

Her courage erases all that came before.

But you must turn her around, steer her back

to the beginning of her journey—flawed, decrepit,

Frigid, inhibited, innocence incomparable.

 

Come what may,

your finger hit enter.

This time, that she may survive.

Chapter Text

I no Naka no Kawazu, Taikai wo Shirazu : 井の中の蛙大, 海を知らず : (the frog in the well knows nothing of the ocean)

 

Wisdom knows itself as nothing

compared to what it never knew.

He was that kind of simple frog,

the Zen kind, down in the damp well.

To him the land is just yay-wide;

largish puddles could be oceans.

 

If large puddles could be oceans,

if earth was not so far and wide,

could heaven dwell in the deep well?

Maybe it was the hell he knew,

or else just a place of nothing,

empty in the heart of the frog.

 

The hardened heart of the fresh frog

Came from that sad empty nothing.

Once, the organ was open wide

to wishes for peace like oceans

beloved by wishers of the well

weighed down by old grief long past new.

 

Shallow echoes were all he knew

bouncing off the bottom of the well

until he had become nothing.

sympathy understood the frog

who yearned to see blue oceans

so he jumped brick walls high and wide,

 

and across the earth round and wide

he found the great, roiling oceans.

He leapt to know what others knew

for himself, rejecting nothing

that dwarfed the diminutive frog

wishing insight deep as the well.

 

To leave his home had been well

for the very venturesome frog

whose experience grows like oceans

spreading fast and ever more wide.

The journey shapes the heart anew,

filling up what had held nothing.

 

Frog lets teardrops fall into wide

oceans, grateful for what he knew

in the well, shedding nothingness.

Chapter Text

EVA Theory of Co-Creation

 

It is certain: there is a beginning, and a middle, and an ending

to all this that came from the voice that gave light to the nothing.

Harried by the nature of time, in our world of lines

each moment murders the next and annihilates itself

in the rush to reach the future crumbling ahead of us,

narrowing to a point so fine it could break before we reach it.

Seers of our generation struggle to read the graphite traces,

so they guess: each year a stroke, each decade a word,

every complete sentence a century, an era per paragraph:

and at the end of the millennium, a page in God’s great book;

but a book so bright with life that it burns at the edges.

Who writes the book? Do we refer to the hero or the author?

The artist draws the cartoon, but the cartoon runs on

forever in search of a purpose that pulls beyond the paper

to squeeze the heart and wing the soul, in attendance

to the wishes of its creator. People of stories and stardust, hail!

Let your fate spread throughout the glory of the universe.

Chapter Text

blueness captured by water mirrors

 

Why is blue righteous? Why is it cold?

Blue flaked from the wings of angels,

an indigo bled from the clouds,

defies the ability of water mirrors to contain.

Rather, attention is drawn to the curvature

of earth and ripples made by feet

stepping into the round basin to retrieve

perhaps a sodden wallet, and abandon

a fishy cell phone.

 

-

Chapter Text

The Meaning of Your Name, Sakurazuka Seishirou

 

Since I learnt your ancient, antiquated name,

since I decrypted those ancient syllables,

my thoughts cast aka[1] over them, dark-hued, red.

You heard my feeble concerns, and simply laughed.

Why do you mean little, and sound so profound

it contradicts sincerity in your eyes?

 

The sakura[2] of my dreams is stained blood-red

when it ought to be pink; though afraid, I laughed,

and my throat constricted with hacked syllables.

It felt like that past moment had been profound.

Somewhere I had made a pact with those hawk eyes,

source of the dejá vù that came with your name.

 

We had fun together and freely we laughed.

Tokyo Tower shone alternating blue-red.

Sakura barrow guardian[3]the grave name

contrasted well with your smirking, lively eyes.

Embarrassed, I babbled senseless syllables

to avoid confronting doubt of the profound.

 

In communicating, speech slurs syllables,

becoming superficial before profound.

Speaking of that, something caught in my own eye.

I checked in the mirror for a speck of red.

Ashes in your mouth was the sound of my name;

but as you found me again, you quickly—— laughed.

 

And then you shattered all that had been profound.

I do not know why I searched your loveless eyes,

but melancholy took me and no more I laughed

at the oddness of your grave ancestor’s name,

the tree that drinks water wine-dark, iron red.

I shiver at harsh truth in your syllables.

 

Star chronicle son[4] was written in your eyes,

yet you might forsake the doom of that death name.

Admit what meaning is truly the most profound,

to declare love with only one syllable.

At my foolishness I wish I could have laughed.

From then on, I knew why strings of fate were red.

 

Red eyes betray love to human horror

as I mouth the syllables of your name.

I will laugh no more at what is profound.


[1] aka: could mean either “red” or “evil”

[2] sakura: cherry blossoms

[3] Sakura barrow guardian: translation of Sakurazukamori (桜塚護)

[4] Star chronicle son: translation of Seishirou (星史郎)

Chapter Text

Hand in hand, fingers curled with sureness

Our friendship walked everywhere, climbed anything,

She and her brother and I.

That summer we played with the garden hose

Make-believing a slipshod, splashy tea party,

for the beverage we consumed was of liquid smiles,

encouraging each other ever higher and braver.

Sun through the leaves, rough bark of tree;

she fell from the height of new green-bright growth.

Our hearts jumped into our mouths,

And when we swallowed them again,

They sank the wrong way down.

 

Fate closed over her; he and I slid down

and stepped into its claustrophobic circle.

Do you swear, he said, if she lives—

Yes I swear, I said, as long as life—

And both of us looked at the girl

with one arm outstretched at an angle

like a bird’s broken wing, still breathing:

and we realized what we might have done,

the impossible penance our souls demanded,

a perfect protection in lieu of this life-debt

that our young guilt could not leave unpaid.

While the red string could not be unwound,

Neither could we back down.

Chapter Text

You are my sunshine

when I am your moonlight,

a coldness that leaches your color,

that scrubs you with a chalky pallor

a dry bleached earth salt unobtainable

tumbled from the pure white peaks

 

My only sunshine,

and I your only sunflower so

my neck turns to watch

you independent of my will

 

You make me happy

when it ought to be impossible

to bring you these blessings of

abundant golden fortune

but you find them anyway,

just like you keep finding me

 

When skies are grey

and I keep raining on your parade,

already you are opening your umbrella

and ushering me under its brim.

I am exhausted by your kindness.

You are soaked in my despair.

Yet I bow my head and fall in line,

whispering, “sorry, sorry.”

 

You’ll never know now, how much I love you

for if I measured your love, if

I should know its exact numbers,

I could not estimate

the cost—

is infinite

and you—

are priceless

 

Please don’t take my sunshine away

and find another girl, another friend, another lover;

please don’t go and find another world;

do not dream of dreams within other dreams.

I may be unable to push you away,

but I would never ask you to leave.

I would hope you stay.

 

(To find one happiness,

to be your happiness—

it is too much for me . . .)

Chapter Text

Of Selfless Selfishness

 

If there is but one thing that causes you distress...?

This illicit trade, my pain for yours, is all I think of

that represents to me your very selfleshness.

 

What irony, that the very quality that you possess,

that brings me ever fonder, closer to your love—

it is also the very thing that causes me distress.

 

Your eagerness for others' sakes to make redress

as if your fate were—and it is not!—as a sacrificial dove's,

and again that would be your very selfleshness.

 

I understand why you would not want to confess,

why you still stifle empathic hands with soft kid gloves.

But that is the very thing that causes me distress.

 

Tell me why it is that you cannot bless

me, without carving yourself hollow thereof!

For I can only call it your very selfleshness.

 

I would that you followed your feelings to guess

at what would bring you fulfillment well above

the things you do that cause me such distress.

 

How you smite with gratuitous largesse;

I cannot repay a gift I will never be free of,

                        and if you receive so little,

I cannot in conscience acquiesce.

 

This represents to me your very selfleshness,

if there is but one thing that causes me distress.

Chapter Text

The Same That We See

 

I live in the jungle

these days. Highways of taxis,

Red lights teeming through Tokyo

draw me downtown, away from you,

but I do not feel that I forget.

 

Rather,

I remain in this world to gather

what knowledge I may find to share.

            —Such was my intent;

and yet these days,

worn by the tears of this unclean city,

I find myself sharing these discoveries with you

      less

            and less.

 

Mold born of rain has infiltrated

days too dark, streets so crooked,

washed with a thin veneer of filth you will never witness

                                                for yourself, and

your garden is so spacious, so generous,

you live in the natural sunlight,

shirking from shadows and storerooms of dust

so that our worlds yawn so far and wide,

      apart.

 

You insist this fate is not house-arrest,

though you can never leave;

            each time,

            it is my choice to depart

            because I must:

surely you harbor some black thoughts,

some bitterness that envies my freedom,

though self-imposed exile was what you chose.

How long you will hold out, I wonder.

 

You are weathering

the change of nations,

the ebb and flicker of individual

                                                souls,

hearing out their wishes, exacting their price,

and I know—that you, also grim, say nothing or middling

                                                            to me

of the hearts of the men that you meet,

but that this much you know:

not the Why, but that they have been on the streets,

and it has tainted them. And still you must grant their need, and I know

 

we sense a stricken Babylon, She

Who knows not what has happened to Her,

but that She is rotting

as together under the eaves we wait, to stand by, for

Kingdom come, for this slowly revolving world of grey cloud to move,

                                                                        to change all around—

And then, maybe then when the world

Has been rendered unrecognizable and once again, good,

This life will be a little better, a little more bearable,

                                                                        for us...

Chapter Text

Another (Apocalyptic) Wizard's Oath

 

Love, the skies may not fall today

Or tomorrow, but the rain of stars

is promised to us by the past

which leads to our future.

 

Depending, it may not be very soon,

but nothing is going to stop that

which has already been set in motion.

 

Keep watching the rain leak out

of the sky, unleashed and spilling

energy all over the place, and channel it

so it may leach, purify, replenish.

 

When this place settles into stillness,

then you will know the end days have come.

Until then, strive against death,

and protect those who yet struggle to live.

Chapter Text

My Own Oath (a draft in progress)

 

In Life’s Name, in Life’s Sake, I assert that I will use that Art

To Protect that Life from the Evil that would do it Harm.

I am the Defender. My Strength

Comes from the One who made me

And the blood of his Sacrifice protects me.

I do not go on this journey alone. I bring the eyes

Of my allies, and through wise words and deeds

Overcome the ignorance and apathy of the human soul, in myself and others;

I patiently turn minds and hearts back to the Glory of the One,

and establish, for a pocket of space-time, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever,

Amen: and the Darkness Shall Not Overcome It. Nay, the LORD shall rebuke the Dark.