Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday poem #216 : Gerry Shikatani : HIKONE (Shiga Prefecture)

April 11

Just then a thousand lights
white, pink-tinged and small.
Heart turned, bowels churned
at footstep. In the lake waters too
snowtuft blossoms luminous.
April night, bright
ramen shops   others, metal-shuttered
to dark, streets
and street-crossings held these eyes

ramen, Japanese adaptation of Chinese-style noodle soup

castle’s mirror
sakura sea Lake Biwa
father’s young wide eyes
stare out at the Pacific.

Leafs’ Opening Day - ballgame
 Pop waited at our school’s door,

both Al and I hurrying
 down the halls.

Last night bright
grilled Omi-gyu --
 now, Pop’s hashi
over hot frying pan
frozen decades ago.


 sliced paper-thin
Pop’s Friday night beef
sukiyaki, yakiniku
electric frying pan our sizzling teppan

my eyes nothing now
  but his ashes.

Sakura:cherry blossom(s)
Omi-gyu, breed of beef cattle from Omi (Shiga Prefecture)
hashi, chopsticks
yakiniku, iron-griddled beef
teppan, iron griddle

skiff moored still to shore
as if a boatman
never returns.

On My Late Father’s Birthday

MacDo yet again, Birthday-boy
with this bossa nova Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars, heart
 in this Hikone-shi, coffee
to pack the punch B-boy on
your B-day. What did he call it..
 Hinatsu-san, bon-san…?

         That jazz - soothes here
as over the eki the low ridges,
forests of conifers are veiled
melancholic oyster gray,
pure light hinting at base. Sundays
B-boy used to make all the summer
evening smell fine with perk coffee to fill
the thermos for your lunch and
maybe Stan’s Amphora tobacco-filled pipe
on the porch. MacDo’s and now Imagination
tunes Japan a cool hit. Cool those
mornings, less the hot sticky evenings
on Ross Street, downtown T.O., must have been too
for dear ol’ Dad, near the end of night shifts
sweeping, polishing, The Mercury All-Night
Restaurant’s fine woody, earthy brew
poured from those tall stainless urns
still gleam, the suited prim salarymen of T.O.
banks, The Permanent, ready to walk those floors
he swept clean.

Hikone-shi: Hikone- (suffix identifying it as city, i.e. Hikone City)
Hinatsu-san, (O)bon-san: Mr. Hinatsu-(a term of respect) , nourable priest
eki, train station
Stan: eldest brother of the poet
The Permanent: trust company

It is Sunday afternoon in Hikone.
Around the trail to calm, return
Sunday, through scatterd rain:
cool, soft leisure of strollers
they, hearts are light. In this
exact centre, sakura now blossomed
draping out, to hear pounding
dance beat amplified, getting louder
from approach. Such silence that stirs

hip Hikone kids, arms flailing
the atchi-kochi dance,
exact heart.
It is Sunday afternoon.

atchi-kochi, here-there

Gerry Shikatani is founder and director of Lorca’s Granada: writers’ retreat, colloquia and workshops set in the Andalusian city that was home to the great poet and dramatist Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca. Since the early 1970’s Shikatani’s oeuvre has included poetry, visual and sound composition/performance, short fiction, editing, and film collaborations. His books include the 412 page collection Aqueduct (1996), mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (First Book, Three Gardens of Andalucia), and with co-editor David Aylward, Shoji – Paper Doors, an anthology of Japanese-Canadian poetry (in English and Japanese, 1981). As an international culinary critic and food/travel writer, he is an authority on Spanish gastronomy and recipient of Spain’s Officer’s Cross in the Order of Civilian Merit, granted by King Juan Carlos. He is based in Ontario and Spain. www.gerryshikatani.com

This poem is taken from mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (Second Book, niwa) still in progress.       

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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