Saturday, March 24, 2007

stone buddhas

visiting Usuki stone Buddhas

That archaic smile!

I bet you`d smile too after centuries

gazing out from the cliffs

photo by Yukiharu Kai

Thursday, March 08, 2007

morning black

The spark when you need to wake up:

Morning Black!


`Human beings need to experience hell in this life at least once, to empty themselves of their superfluous accumulations, to reflect on their past conduct, and to contemplate the path ahead. For this important purpose, I highly recommend a visit to Beppu, to witness the many aspects of hell. Only those who have been through hell and lived to recount the experience are worthy to be called real human beings.`

--Admiration for Jigoku, Kon Toukou, a writer and Buddhist priest, winner of the Naoki Award in 1957

Who's Going to Hell This Week and Why or Why Not

Friday, March 02, 2007


(from my window at Kanezumi Hotel in Miyazaki)

there`s something about bridges, those mighty spans
distinguished, low-slung, the color of rust
burnished orange as the sun comes up

squat stone buttresses, primeval women, stagger along
bearing up their men
their men`s ridiculous leaps across the water

the bridge beyond, mundane
dun flat concrete ferrying cars and trucks

but this bridge delights and surprises

five cars -- the bright red Nichirin express to Beppu
two cars -- a local, silver with a blue streak
three cars -- a local, silver
ten cars -- the Hyper Saloon with supersonic snout!

four cars -- bright red, yellow, green and blue
as vivid as the child`s express to Wonderland
yes, I swear I saw it, some exotic dragon
leaping across the river in a happy nightmare
arousing a three-year-old`s intense surrealist pleasure
over my jaded coffee

and in the foreground, the crows in the palms
and the pines, always the pines

photo by Yukiharu Kai

I lecture on sex
in the onsen

my students, diffident, respectful,
sweat straining to comprehend
the complexities

dense steam rises
from the surface
of the deep

each trembling bead of moisture
comprises the other
a web, a matrix

I lecture to myself
in the old
clawfoot bathtub

photos by Yukiharu Kai

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Miyazaki Hachimangu