Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Man Root (for Sumiko's Birthday)

This poem by Shiraishi Kazuko (who is still alive and performing at age 77) - translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi - strikes me as a great subject for a poetry score.

I know a young Vietnamese man in St. Louis who is a student of traditional sword art. I am working on the idea of doing this poem as a multimedia score that includes music, the martial arts of the sword, belly dancing and the presentation of a birthday cake.

The target venue would be the local burlesque circuit. We'll see!


For Sumiko’s Birthday
By Shiraishi Kazuko
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi.

God if he exists
Or if he doesn’t
Still has a sense of humor
Like a certain type of man

So this time
He brings a gigantic man root
To join the picnic
Above the end of the sky of my dreams
I’m sorry
I didn’t give Sumiko anything for her birthday
But now I wish I could at least
Set the seeds of that God given penis
In the thin, small, and very charming voice of Sumiko
On the end of the line

Sumiko, I’m so sorry
But the penis shooting up day by day
Flourishes in the heart of the galaxy
As rigid as a wrecked bus
So that if You’d like to see
The beautiful sky with all its stars
Or just another man instead of this God given cock
A man speeding along a highway
With a hot girl
You’ll have to hang
All the way out of the bus window
With your eyes peeled

It’s spectacular when the cock
Starts nuzzling the edge of the cosmos
At this time
Dear Sumiko
The lonely way the stars of night shine
And the curious coldness of noon
Penetrates my gut
Seen whole
Or even if you refused to look
You’d go crazy
Because you can trace
The nameless, impersonal and timeless penis
In the raucous atmosphere
Of the passers-by
That parade it in a portable shrine
In that stir of voices
You can hear an immensity of savage
Rebellion, the curses of
Heathen gism
Sometimes God is in conference or out to lunch
It seems he’s away
Absconding from debts but leaving his penis.

So now
The cock abandoned by God
Trots along Young and gay
And full of callow confidence
Amazingly like the shadow
Of a sophisticated smile

The penis bursting out of bounds
And beyond measure
Arrives here
Truly unique and entirely alone
Seen from whatever perspective
It’s faceless and speechless
I would like to give you, Sumiko
Something like this for your birthday

When it envelops your entire life
And you’ve become invisible even to yourself
Occasionally you’ll turn into the will
Of exactly this penis
And wander
I want to catch in my arms
Someone like you

Translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi.

Published also in Seasons of Sacred Lust.

The painting of Shiraishi Kazuko performing on her 77th birthday this past Feb. 10 (above) is by Hisami.

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