origin story

not that you’ve asked, but
here’s why I’ve been writing
all these Japanese-
influenced poems:

it started with that book
I bought on the first night
of the first festival.
you didn’t ask
what it was, even though
I bought it right
in front of you.
were you looking at it
when I strode up
and said, “I need
another book
like I need a hole
in the head” and
read the back
and instantly
bought it? I think
you had just put
it down. so there’s
no need to explain
what it’s about,
is there?

anyway I read it.
flipped back and forth
through the footnotes,
even. now I’m reading
another, in the same vein,
by the first author’s aunt,
or her niece. I forget. but
it’s interesting
because the parts I like
the best are the parts
that the critical consensus
thinks are the worst:
the poems.

I like how they
juxtapose
the author’s jealous heart
and obsessive mind
with nature, with snow,
with birds, with the rain,
with mountains. I like how she
states two things
and implies they are
equivalent. they’re not,
of course – Mount Fuji
isn’t sad; the thrush
doesn’t cry for its
absent love; etc –
but poetic license
has always been
a poet’s prerogative.

so when I say that
the silent corners
of my house are
no longer empty;
the bird house
is occupied; and
the chives have
survived the summer,
maybe we can just
leave it at that.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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