Poetry / June 2017 (Issue 36: Writing Japan)

From "Be Yer Own Hitman (Deathsounds/Lovesongs)"

by Jeff Alessandrelli

It's like skateboarding down the street
while dribbling a basketball
while listening on your I-pod
to a TED talk

about the myriad
gradations of shame,
them infinitely
kaleidoscoping levels.

Oh Po-Chu-I, you balding old politician,
what's the use?
Why parse the particular
non-particulars of dry mud?

The circle of life
is rectangular, oblong:
The dead wait for us
all our lives

to die
while, alive, we pray
to be reborn again
upon our deaths.

Seventeen out of twelve,
twelve out of nine,
nine out of four.
No beginning to soon to end.

But later afternoon's dreggy
wallows and still:
6000 casualties in Sapporo,
two blog posts in America.


Then in spite,
forgive me:
somehow in taking pleasure
from the light

ways of your body
I have given you

the roughness of my heart.
Against you,

reality's a pettiness,
merely invoked
in flat, impatient


The descending of evening, again.
A vulture's counterpoint.
Hungry obituaries,
unreadably hungry.

My past
a winter's thaw,
sun intermittently through
dark cloud.

As then I believed
I owned the air,
now succumbed

to my mere rental
of it,
for a short time,
at a great cost.

(Realizing that under certain circumstances
even the sunshine
can be a kind of death

As today I finally study
the meaning of snow,
of mud. Thick
mysticisms of snow

some canyon's
every pockmark.

(Emperor without an empire.
Weeds without gardens
and shrubbery for trees.
Counting on your clenched fists

the number of times
you've been wrong
and swinging again
and again

Weeds without gardens,
shrubbery for trees.
Fish with feet. Farting with your mouth.)
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All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.