Kiwao Nomura Three Poems
translated from the Japanese by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander

alligatorzine | zine

Eyeground Road

who are we,
although this sounds like a riddle,
whose work it is to trek all night,
around your eye-grounds,

on the roadside,
where afterimages of the stupid things you do by day,
are scanned and read on the soles of our feet,
such pleasure,

but in the depths of the eye-ground,
this may sound like a bad pun,
your agonies crystallize into pieces of agates that dot the road,
we pick them up and click them against each other,
to photograph the scattering sparks,
and send them to you in dreams,
what pleasure,
what a pleasure,

when morning breaks at last,
we silently withdraw,
this may sound like a riddle,
but what are we,
for you,

(One day, suddenly)

One day, suddenly,
I have nothing,
left to do, life, empty shell, rattles,
summer netted up, bucket kicked, Amitabha Buddha,
ah, rashly,
I wouldn’t mind, making love to,
a pregnant woman, how sweet it would be,
over that swollen, protuberant belly, like a watermelon,
my tongue, flicking,
sliding, up and down,
her Magic,
along the stretch mark, unnerving, like a lightning bolt,
tracing it, and divagating,
and listening, to the fetus’s cardiacal whoosh-whoosh,
as though, oh, it just moved,
my sweet old earth,
my sweet old earth,
while I’m fooling around, it’s dinnertime,
just kidding, though, I’m being called,
to the base of that mountain, where hair, absolutely luxuriates,
to be called, how splendid,
I would, insert my penis,
nearer and nearer,
to the fetus, like a microphone,
delicately, to catch,
the parricidal whisper,
escaping from the outsized head,
of “Superman,”
of “Star Child.”


The happiness I hope for is simple
like a tide that comes only once
relinquishing the tranquil swelter of an afternoon
and to be with you
no that’s not it that’s not quite it
the happiness I hope for is simple
the tranquil summer afternoon swelter naturally
and over and over and over relinquishes itself
at its embouchure where I no longer
recall anything about you
despite that, at the moment, a stone basks in the sun
since stones can be counted and hotter than memory
the happiness I hope for is simple
far to the right of appearing and disappearing natural numbers
is an agate? yes something like an agate
and a fricative rustling of the sky’s leaves can be felt
even as the rustling feeling flutters diminishing
the happiness I hope for is simple
because at the moment a flower bud pops open in my inner ear
a flower bud opens on the stapes of my ear

Famous for his electrifying performances, Kiwao Nomura is revered in Japan where he has been awarded major literary honors including the Rekitei Prize for Young Poets and the prestigious Takami Jun Prize. His inspired work as a writer, editor, performer, organizer, and critic has altered the landscape of contemporary Japanese literature. Nomura’s work is iconoclastic—at once playful and heady, saturated by his interest in philosophy, Japanese shamanism, music and art. A first book of his poems in English is being translated by Kyoko Yoshida & Forrest Gander.

Kyoko Yoshida was born and raised in Fukuoka, Japan. She was a participant of the 2005 International Writing Program at University of Iowa. Her stories have been published in The Massachusetts Review, Chelsea, The Cream City Review and The Beloit Fiction Journal, among other places. She is working on a novel about the visit of American Negro League baseball players to Japan in the 1930’s. In addition, she translates Japanese contemporary poetry and drama. Recently a Visiting Scholar at Brown University, she teaches English at Keio University and lives in Yokohama.

This material is
© Kiwao Nomura
English translation © Kyoko Yoshida & Forrest Gander
www.alligatorzine.be | © alligator 2009