Rain Drop Drag Race

Droplets of rain drag race
Across the crowded window pane
As the train departs from Hachiman.

As the faster racers
Devour their slower opponents,
They gain in both size and speed.
I’m unable to avert my gaze
From their cannibal carnage.

Beyond, a ghostly backdrop
Of formless black shadows
Inhabit the night outside.

We watch the rain race,
These spectating specters and I,
They shout odd and wagers
While I place my money
On the coming of a new today.

A flash of cameras
The photo finish lights
The winners’ long comet tail.
A thunderous roar from the ghouls
Who’ve been exposed by lightning.

The droplets come to a stop
As the train pulls into my station.
The race is over.
Occasional flashes of camera bulbs
Still light the night sky.
The crowd is still howling
As I collect my meager winnings
And bid the night farewell.

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The Train Rolls On

Mountains melt into clouds
As the sun falls beneath the world
To brighten other, distant days ahead
And leave this one behind.

A grey and white twilight backlight
Illuminates the earthen specters
Blending lake, land, and sky.

I gaze across the pallid water
From the window of the 7:15 Rapid Transit Train,
Transfixed by the mysterious ephemeral
That is already disappearing
Before it ever fully comes to being.

The day has ended
And the night is approaching,
But I am grasping at smoke
Trying to possess transforming twilight.

The Kumano Kodo 熊野古道

A peaceful night is ended
By the first light of morning
Before a bright Sun soaring
Over the edge of the ocean.

Inside, the tent has become a planetarium
Shining droplets of condensation-stars
Refracting rainbows of morning dew
Formed from the radiant body heat
Of weary pilgrims happily beat
Upon the Kumano Trail. Read More

Sakura

Snow still sits atop the highest peaks
Like vanilla icing, dripping
From rocky road ice cream cones,
Shining, sleek with sweat
From its battle with the Sun.

Down by the lake,
playfully shimmering water
shines a halo around the pink tutu
Of Cherry Blossom ballerinas,
Dancing aloft with a woodwind breeze. Read More

Winter Rain

Steady rain blankets the plaza
And shrouds late afternoon with early night.
A torrential downpour of fine droplets
That deceptively make no sound
Above the wind of the winter typhoon.
Only the plod of boots is heard
As they splash through frigid puddles.

The eyes of gods’ down trodden faces
Hover over their soaked leather soles,
Watching the light of street lamps
Dance through the watery explosions
Of each booming step.

Shoulders, as hunched as they are wet,
Desperately cling to the ear lobes
Of the now neck-less masses
Holding on to the remnants of heat
Yet to be drained away by the dreary winter storm.

White Morning Silhouettes

Ahead, three bikes roll.
Slowly they trudge through the snow
Against the blizzard.

Nature’s Rebellion

Concrete skyscrapers
Loom over cracked concrete streets,
Where green life revolts. Read More

Culture Day

Awake in the predawn dark.
A shot of coffee that scalds my throat,
And a last-minute dash to the nearby station,
Leaves me ready and alert for the day ahead.

The expression on the faces
Of the few passenger still fighting
To escape the black hole of sleeps allure
Are as vacant as the nearly-empty train.

We arrive still shrouded in darkness
And walk in stoic silence
Listening to the running water
Carrying minerals down from the mountain
To feed the hungry fields of rice.

While the streams flee elevation
We welcome the battle with gravity.

We begin our ascent
In tandem with the sun,
As Shiga snores through “snooze”
Celebrating the holiday in leisure.

Rays of morning twilight caress the peak
Like tenuous fingers gracing a lovers face,
Making their way down the mountain side
To welcome us with warm embrace
And gently wake the world below.

Ominous Obelisks

Frothy foam floating atop steaming chemical vats
Boils, becoming warm white clouds
Climbing up cold concrete columns,
And billowing forth from icy smoke stacks.

The spouting towers stand in testimony:
An armada spanning across the horizon.
Obelisk overlords exploiting our energy addiction,
Polluting the air with grey oppression,
Forcing us to accept their overcast depression.

Snowflakes fall from the man-made melancholy.
The pleasant white specks against poignant grey
Appear to swirl about playfully on chilly eddies,
Until the warming Earth melts this frivolous fiction
And a frigid downpour dampens our hypnotic joy.

Suddenly the obelisks’ true colors show,
And the consequence of our reliance
To the parasitic dichotomy we’ve fostered
Placing Us above absolutely everything else
Has finally run its course. Read More

The Chase

Late night stroll in Kinomoto.
Crickets chirping. Bats feasting.
The doppler crescendo of passing trucks.

A cry rings out from wooded mountain.
The shrill sounds of shika
Pierce the silence with chilling shrieks.

Perhaps a mating call?
But snapping branches,
Stones falling down the mountain side,
Two animals crashing through the trees,
Reveals a more violent truth: 熊.


“shika” 鹿 is A Japanese deer. 熊 means bear