AN ODE TO A NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE _ A POEM BY YURI KAGEYAMA

AN ODE TO A NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE
_ A POEM BY YURI KAGEYAMA

PART ONE: HIROSHIMA

they wander like a whisper
still
over this city
blending with the sea breeze
the soft light
the cracks of scars
not just one ghost or two
but tens of thousands
who all looked up and saw a flash
turning people into dead globs of charcoal;
there are no photos from that day,
they wander, crawling, naked, moaning,
flesh hanging like tatters;
they’re asking that question,
we did nothing wrong
why oh why
when all it can do is
kill kill kill kill
nothing else
turning skin eyeballs laughter head back legs
into a keloid of hell,
but no one really answers.

^___<

PART TWO: FUKUSHIMA

Y’all, it’s a Meltdown nation
Since Three-Eleven
Covered in the fear
Of unseen radiation
But Don’t you expect
Any revolution
All you will find
Is fear and contamination.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
Instead of a holler
Hear just a whimper
They say it is safe
The kids like Chernobyl
Are coming down sick
With Thyroid cancer.

Y’all, it’s no hallucination
The refugees’ life
No compensation
No resolution
Just nuclear explosions
Get your dosimeter
Cesium in the water
Lost Imagination

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
The radiated Brothers
Faces are hidden
Goggles and masks
Like an astronaut
From head to toe
The Invisible workers

Tsunami Demolition
God’s DeCreation
Genetic Devastation
Our next Generation.
Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
No-go zones forever
The World must remember.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

^___<

PART THREE: IT IS ALL TELEVIZED

Tiny cars gobbled up
In a crescendo of raging water
They are not plastic toys
Floating in a tub
They drop from
Concrete, suddenly bending like rubber
We see people moving
Flecks of flesh, faces inside
Are they screaming?
Are they laughing?
Are they thinking of death?
As we all watch
Hundreds of miles away,
It is all televised
The flickering screens and broadcaster voices
Remind us of what we have already felt
Our own skins shaking
Hard breathing, fear of dying,
The swaying building
A giant quake not seen for centuries
Rattling in a bolt of God’s wrath
Or uncaring
Tipping the bath tub of
The Pacific Ocean
Blanketing miles of coastlines with junk and mud
Buses on top of roofs
Ships climbing into towns
Thousands dead
Thousands dead
Thousands dead
Brothers, children, farmers, teachers, truck drivers
Our prayers aren’t over
When it is again all televised
The shuddering explosion
At Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear power plant
Oh, my God
Oh, my God
Oh, my God
東京電力によりますと今日午後3時36分ころ福島第一原子力発電所第一号機で復旧作業中に直下型の大きなゆれがありドーンという爆発音が聞こえ白煙があがったということです。この爆発で東京電力社員二人と作業員二人とあわせて四人がけがをしたということです。爆発の原因など詳しいことはまだ分かっていません。
Tokyo Electric Power Co. is reporting that about 3:36 p.m. today there was a vertical sharking, an explosion going boom, and white smoke rising at Reactor One of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. As a result of this explosion, two Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees and two other workers have been injured. The cause of the explosion is under investigation, and other details are not immediately available.
We don’t know it yet
We are living the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl
That phrase
We write and hear
Later
Over and over
The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl
A fume of noise and error
Spewing invisible radiation
Names we know like plutonium
And iodine but with strange numbers after it, like 131
Or stranger names we do not know
Cesium
Tellurium
Strontium
Overnight
Part of our everyday lives
福島原子力発電所第一号機では 炉心を冷却する水の水位が急激に下がり続けるなど不安定な状況が続いています。こうした状況で燃料が溶け出す炉心溶融が起きている可能性があります。
Unstable conditions are continuing at Reactor One of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as the water level continues to drop for the coolant designed to cool the reactor core. Under these conditions, there is likely a meltdown.
We are all witnesses
We are all victims
We are all reporters.
We are all mothers
We are all children
We are all perpetrators
We are all culprits
Although no one knows
And no one is accountable
Although it is all televised
Smoke billowing from
A giant fire with no flames
A ghostly skeleton of bleeding
Gnarled steel
Please stay indoors
Please shut your doors and windows.
Massive radiation has arrived.

^___<

PART FOUR: MYTHICAL MONSTER

鯰Catfish sleeps
Buried in the mud
Of meltdown metal
A black-light coastline
Fifty reactors
Tomari to Genkai
鯰 Catfish moves
And the Earth rumbles
Sways its tail
And skyscrapers crumble
Swishes a whisker
Bridges, roads shatter
鯰Catfish grows
Bigger and bigger
Eight snake faces
Eight dragon tails
Volcanic eruption
Yamata no Orochi
鯰 Monster lives
Our daughters and sons
Every year, a sacrifice
Hundred eight brave samurai
They’re all dead,
Trying to kill it 鯰

^___<

PART FIVE: A MOTHER SPEAKS

Please listen and tell the world.
How our children in Fukushima are getting thyroid cancer, one by one.
My daughter is one of them.
Pediatric thyroid cancer is rare.
The chance for getting it is under one in a million.
One in a million.
But in Fukushima, it’s 112 out of some 380,000 children tested, and the tally is growing.
This is Fukushima after Three-Eleven.
Beautiful Fukushima, where rice paddies stretch between lazy mountains.
Beautiful Fukushima, where snow falls everywhere like fluffy rice.
Beautiful Fukushima, where, when spring finally comes, cherry trees explode in pink chiffon.
But this is Fukushima after Three-Eleven.
No other place in Japan is like that.
No other place in the world is like that _ except for the Ukraine and Belarus.
But they say these cases are turning up, these cases that should be under one in a million, because we are looking so much harder, testing all the children in Fukushima.
The authorities say they are just playing it safe.
When no one really feels safe
After Three-Eleven in Fukushima.
My little girl got surgery and so her tumor was removed.
And the doctor told me: Aren’t you so lucky?
Aren’t you so lucky we did those tests to save your child?
If we hadn’t, the cancer might not have been found.
But I don’t feel lucky.
I don’t feel lucky at all.

^___<

Poetry Kanto 2014

Three of my works are featured in this annual publication.

Three of my works are featured in this annual publication.

My works just got published in Poetry Kanto 2014. an annual and multicultural compilation put out by Alan Botsford. The pieces are: “blank spaces over generations,” a poem about how our love for poetry is so often misunderstood and ends up being painful; “The Crooked Smile,” a short poem about motherhood and giving birth, one of my favorite themes, and “Why the Japanese Love Michael Jackson” _ well, just what it says. Naturally, I am in great company. I am always amazed at how poetry brings us together. There is so much goodness in this world. Thank you, Alan.

Hatsu Kooh – First Poem for 2015 by Yuri Kageyama

Hatsu Kooh _ First Poem for The New Year
by Yuri Kageyama

Integrity.
Integral.
Inside.
Within.
In Itself.
Self.
What It Is.
Not NOT Not What It Is Not.
Naught.
Nothing.
Thing.
Everything.
All.
Real.

HAIKU FOR HOMELESS by Yuri Kageyama

HAIKU FOR HOMELESS
by Yuri Kageyama

gray frizz under
a baseball cap, he sweeps
his boxes clean

HIROSHIMA a poem by Yuri Kageyama read with Kaoru Watanabe

HIROSHIMA

A poem by Yuri Kageyama
A reading by Yuri Kageyama
With Kaoru Watanabe of Kodo on fue flute, taiko drum and other percussion.
Recorded at Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Studio in Brooklyn New York
For a memorial for poet, publisher and educator Virgina Scott at Lehman College, the Bronx, New York
September 20, 2014.

they wander like a whisper
still
over this city
blending with the sea breeze
the soft light
the cracks of scars
not just one ghost or two
but tens of thousands
who all looked up and saw a flash
turning people into dead globs of charcoal;
there are no photos from that day,
they wander, crawling, naked, moaning,
flesh hanging like tatters;
they’re asking that question,
we did nothing wrong
why oh why
when all it can do is
kill kill kill kill
nothing else
turning skin eyeballs laughter head back legs
into a keloid of hell,
but no one really answers.

IMG_3244 kaoru

An excerpt from Story of Miu (a performance piece in the works) by Yuri Kageyama

An excerpt from Story of Miu (a performance piece in the works)
By Yuri Kageyama

You are curled up tight, in fetal position, eyes still closed but seeing red blindness, throbbing flesh, still alive, deep inside our stomachs so entrenched within us but also disjointed and expanding like our pain and like all the solar systems in the universe.
I was already there in that moment. We shared in that secret of knowing you will someday be born, before anyone else knew, and then grow up and become man _ or woman _ with a yelping gasping flash-of-light wail, the newborn’s cry in that first breath, and recognizing from the very start that you will someday have this same joy and same pain, growing inside you and being born.
It doesn’t matter that you will make towers. You will make music. You will make computer programs. You will make money. You will make babies.
It doesn’t matter that you will be a pillar of society. You will be an outcast. You will win rewards. You will be abused as a stranger.
It doesn’t matter that you will witness a great northern earthquake, although it is a once-in-a-century disaster setting off a torrent of outraged water that turns farmland into mud, buildings and homes into rubble, and quiet untouched happy towns into ghost towns covered with radiation.
I was there, with you, before it all _ in that redness and blackness and all seeing blindness that was here and everywhere, bleeding and beating and breathing and being, inside my uterus, that spot near my navel that connects with your navel, before and even after your newborn cry.
This is the same cosmos inside the bodies of all mothers, where we fall in our slumber, snuggling against our blankets, the safe and eternal place we visit that are called dreams after we awaken.
This is the same cosmos in the resonance of the giant taiko drum, shaking and deafening, but we hear and understand every note like our mother’s heartbeat.
The otherworldly world that awaits behind the mirror in a Tadanori Yokoo painting, the crooked road not taken behind the church in a Vincent Van Gogh painting _ a world from this end we fear might be the Michelangelo hell of a nuclear meltdown with faces and arms peeled, stunted and melted by an erring god scientists will never admit was provoked by anything other than a mother’s mistake, or else it could smell like lotuses and incense and candles, sinking into a Claude Monet lake of sheer light and blindness that is canvas and museum walls no more but total artist’s vision.
This is the same cosmos where ghosts with long black hair reside, sometimes standing besides riverside willow trees weeping about their lovers’ betrayal, and at other times mysteriously saving children from car crashes as benevolent all-knowing ancestors.
After all these years, I finally know this is where I return when I die.
To be with you again, all the time, in that moment of eternity that is before birth, so perfectly connected we don’t need to speak or breathe or remember.

“Story of Miu,” a film written and directed by Yuri Kageyama. Dance and choreography by Yuki Kawahisa starring as Miu.

“Story of Miu,” written, directed and edited by Yuri Kageyama.
Yuki Kawahisa as Miu.
Dance and Choreography by Yuki Kawahisa.
Man and chief camera work by Rodrigo Albuquerque.
Woman in park Desiree Cantuaria.
Camera and other production work Raquel Prado, Rodrigo Albuquerque, Desiree Cantuaria and Yuri Kageyama.
Music “Nikata Bushi” by Isaku Kageyama on taiko drums and his Hybrid Soul, Chris Young guitar and Pat Glynn bass, with Yoshinori Kikuchi on shakuhachi.
Credit roll music “My Africa” composed and sung by Ayumi Ueda with Isaku Kageyama on percussion, Yoshinori Kikuchi shakuhachi, Yumi Sugimoto piano, Keisuke Higashino bass and Seiemon Sawada shamisen.
A TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN PRODUCTION.
New York Film Academy.
October 2014.

My First Film

I’ve written, directed and edited my first film “I Will Bleed.”
I am still learning; I am now a student at the New York Film Academy.
But it is wonderful to learn visual storytelling _ another way to express my poetry.
I’m working on my second film.

“I Will Bleed,”
a film written and directed by Yuri Kageyama

Cast:
Woman: Raquel Prado
Man: Rodrigo Albuquerque

Camera by Rodrigo Albuquerque and Desiree Cantuaria

Music “I Will Bleed” based on poetry by Yuri Kageyama
Lyrics by Yuri Kageyama and Trupti Pandkar
Vocals by Trupti Pandkar
Music composed by Trupti Pandkar and Hiroshi Tokieda

Performed at the SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco June 2014,
by the Yuricane band
featuring Hirokazu Suyama on drums, Hiroshi Tokieda on bass, Hide Asada on guitar,
and featuring Trupti Pandkar on vocals.

A TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN PRODUCTION
September 2014.
A New York Film Academy student music movie film.

My Poetry with Music at SFJAZZ CENTER in a tribute to ISHMAEL REED June 2014.

SFstage
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

Poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama with the Yuricane band, featuring Hirokazu Suyama on drums and tablas, Hiroshi Tokieda on bass, Hide Asada on guitar and Trupti Pandkar on vocals.
“A Tribute for Ishmael Reed”
SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco SAT June 28, 2014.
All poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama http://yurikageyama.com
5:40 “Loving Younger Men”
11:05 “Little YELLOW Slut”
17:25 “No Gift of the Magi”
23:55 “Ode to the Stroller”
30:00 “Fukushima” in homage to Questlove Jenkins and The Roots.
34:00 “Hiroshima”
40:10 Indian Improv Interlude
44:02 “I Will Bleed” Lyrics by Yuri Kageyama and Trupti Pandkar, Melody by Trupti Pandkar and Hiroshi Tokieda.

withbass
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

SFJAZZ with drums
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

with trupti
Photo by Eba Chan.

ebaSF
Photo by Eba Chan.

Poetry at the SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco with Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed SAT June 28, 2014.

SFJAZZVERSION6 copyCopy(1)

We are putting on a poetry reading with music at the SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco to pay tribute to the center’s Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed SAT June 28, 2014.

Ishmael is my mentor and my muse.
He is also my first publisher.
This is my way of saying: Thank you.
Thank you, Ishmael.
Thank you, Poetry.
Thank you, San Francisco.
FREE ADMISSION
The SFJAZZ CENTER at 201 Franklin Street.

Yuri Kageyama’s “Fukushima” A poem with music _ an early version as it was born in a Tokyo garage. On SoundCloud.

ISHMAEL REED, the legendary poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, educator and thinker, TAKES CENTER STAGE AT THE SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco, where he is the poet laureate, to read his works in an evening of POETRY AND MUSIC, celebrating his multicultural and multi-format legacy.
MINER AUDITORIUM at the SFJAZZ CENTER (201 Franklin Street at Fell San Francisco, CA, USA)
FREE ADMISSION Saturday, June 28, 2014 7 pm – 9 pm (Doors open 6:30 pm)
Ishmael Reed, one of the most respected American writers today, has fascinated and provoked many. A winner of the MacArthur “genius” award, he has published more than 20 books, including “Mumbo Jumbo” and “Japanese By Spring.” He has recorded the spoken word with renowned musicians. Coming soon is a nonfiction work on Muhammad Ali, “Bigger Than Boxing.”
To his credit, he has also published the works of lesser known writers, including some of his students at the University of California, Berkeley, highlighting voices from minority groups that rarely get mainstream media exposure.
“Ishmael Reed was the first person to publish my poem, and that meant so much to a young poet who felt so alone but had so much to say,” says Tokyo-based poet and writer Yuri Kageyama, who is organizing the tribute for her mentor at the SFJAZZ CENTER.
Kageyama will be reading with her band from Japan, the Yuricane, inspired by Reed’s introduction to her latest book, “The New and Selected Yuri _ Writing From Peeling Till Now,” from Ishmael Reed Publishing Co. The band features drummer Hirokazu Suyama, bassist Hiroshi Tokieda , guitarist Hide Asada and Trupti Pandkar on vocals, who all hail from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. They stand for a new breed of Asian artists, who are not afraid to challenge cultural boundaries.
Tennessee Reed, author of “Spell Alburquerque: Memoir of a ‘Difficult’ Student,” and “Adventures Among the X Challenged,” is the special guest.