When the phone doesn’t stop ringing,
I excuse myself from the meeting room;
watch the rain create a rhythm that fails
to touch me beyond the sound-proof glass

I have collected two seasons
since the last time you called
the tremble in your voice seeks familiarity
Konnichiwa you say in an uneasy whisper
language has abandoned your fingertips, alienated you,
your poems now merely mirror the mirage of colors, of shoes and booths,
gestures you translate, eyes that disclose meanings
until you slip into the silence of everydayness eating you in the flesh

You dream of burning the distance with lit cigarettes
while the room stinks of yesterday’s tomato curry
You fill me with details of love hotels, sex toy stores, dildos you could
buy to pleasure me
you crave my presence — it overshadows
your studio apartment’s bland view,
you want my lips to wrap your skin
before you pass into oblivion

You talk of Ikebana and What the Dickens in the same breath,
the poetry-meets you attend, the Haibun you write,
The Sake you drink, the girl you wish to talk to but don’t
You crawl back to your loneliness
strip naked, cover up in a thick blanket while the world outside
observes as indifferently as ever. You learn the language, one word at a time,
dreaming a departure from the land where you have a real conversation
with the bartender on that lean stool,
discussing the woes of ordinariness, aimlessly
hoping that words will find the language
that will have your voice, after all.

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