the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
i am an unmarried mother
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

Japan cameos

cameo 1: Tokyo

the city of skyrises
and clouds-kissing
of humbling people
the suavity of Roppongi
sheer energy of Shibuya
powerhouses of Shinjuku
pachinko parlours sushi bars
that never sleep
divas in deep-slit silken long skirts
and grand dames in kimonos
MMS on the roll and metro spill over
mirror the romance
and restiveness of Tokyo
the Xanadu of the east

…and the water divides
and unites

cameo 2: Shibuya

a riot of neon
punk players unremitting
night show
a fantasy of light and sound
short cropped hair spikes
tamed well behaved trees
Shibuya 109
of the railway company
and gargantuan malls
a subculture breaking
the mould
hedonism individualism
love and longing
attitude on the tap
creativity in chaos
a country attached
to its moorings

cameo 3: Japanese girl

demure and confident
she puff-paints her face
colours her lips twin-polishes her nails
in the anonymity of Tokyo metro
and bows to age and authority
wisdom and wealth
not an in-between girl
but one who deftly straddles
the two worlds
a perfect civilisational
rope trick

cameo 4: Shinjuka

seedy bars strip alleys
intimidating adult shops
black touts
cajoling a peek-a-boo
fully nude live shows
they whisper in half
conspiratorial tones
and the Tokyo Metropolitan
twin tower the plush seat
of the Government indulgently
overlooks the hotbed
pun intended
of feverish activity

cameo 5: old Kyoto

soft silent stream
tree lined paved streets
silhouettes that flicker
across warm windows
a world of grace
and aesthetics
still-life landscape
a sad tale
for the non believer
the centre of imperial power
for a thousand years
Kyoto Gion where Geishas
serve to entertain aging
business tycoons
in three-piece suits
who made their treasures
by sci-fi technology
picture perfect

cameo 6: a lost generation

Reiko twenty-seven
loves temples shrines
and traditions
even eats ice-cream with chopsticks
some dexterity
a year at Cambridge
a model of decorum
grounded and elevating
Naomi gentle and petite
post grad in community development
went to Philippines
for understanding and academics
prays to a temple in Kyoto for her
knight in shining armour
cries like a baby
when it’s time to part
very Indian very universal

Ms. Kumagai Professor of Sociology
Don of Kyorin University
how could you call
the Japanese youth
a lost generation

(24 September 2004)