Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two poems translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles

Toshiko Hirata


In those days, there were still staircases

Climb them and you would reach high places

There were potted plants at the top of the stairs

And inside the pots, dark, dry earth

There were still fountains in the plazas

Sitting around that, people with nothing to do

In those days, there was an untrained but skilled doctor

Who gave us effective shots in the arm

Afterwards, we would always get fevers

But when they went down, the sickness went away too

There were still keyholes in the doors

Where the keys would work without sleep

In those days, I was alive

And that person was not dead

Touch him, and his lips were cold

And his gaze was even colder

There was a fence around the town

And beyond that, an unknown sky

It was easy to cross the fence

But impossible to go more than ten steps


Translated by Jeffrey Angles

Translated by Hiroaki Sato


Atsusuke Tanaka


He had a tattoo.

Under his leather jacket, a solid, white T-shirt.

Don’t look at me.

I thought I didn’t live up.

There are lots of other young ones.

I am nothing to look at.

But he chose me.

Want to grab a cup of coffee?

He didn’t put in any cream?

So, you’re the same age as me.

He smoked a cigarette.

Only a single week of no smoking.

The name of the love hotel was

Under the Guava Tree.

Rain had soaked his socks.

Should’ve bought some new shoes sooner.

I took a shower with him.

His dick was white and beautiful.

Why am I writing this down in a poem?

Once and that’ll be all.

Just once and that’s okay, someone once said.

I didn’t go home right away.

That was true for both of us.

We both lingered on and on.

I was in Tokyo for seven years.

Our dicks had fallen.

They had fallen a long way.

It’s good if there are natural enemies for people.

There was nothing in Tokyo.

He looked as if there was nothing

And so he was here.

He was beautiful.

His back turned, he placed

On the table his can of cola

Half consumed.

Atsusuke Tanaka's page

Jeffrey Angles's page

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