Poem Breaking Silence

My poem “Disco Chinatown” is in “Breaking Silence,” an anthology of Asian American poetry (1983: Greenfield Review Press) featured in the latest edition of this online magazine “asiacana.”

Disco Chinatown
a poem by Yuri Kageyama

street blood throbbing
punk maggots of the slums with fake ID’s
smelling British sterling
cover the stink of sweat, car grease and dirt
and the blood from being cut up by a Jo
or is it W.C?
slant eye to slant eye talking
smooth talking or trying,
“hey, baby-
looking nice tonight”
spilling sunrises
bourbons with cherries
giddy easy striding to make it to my table
in your own eyes, a ghetto knight,
“wanna drink?”
in a flash and a flick, light my cigarette
the dance floor is dead tonight
linoleum cracked
the Filipino D.J. Berkeley Asian American Studies drop out is stoned
and even the lights look neon sleazy
you want me to move, a wax museum dancing doll, under your macho
or in your arms, rocking following your rocks,
layered black hair,
moustache, always, to tickle the quick kisses,
cheap shiny shirt, four buttons open,
a jade pendant swaying against yellow brown flesh,
darker brown leather and long long legs,
you want to take me home
and the grip on my shoulder tightens,
you driving a Camaro Z28?
an Olds 442?
a broken down Malibu?
a Caddy Eldorado?
you want to be rich someday
you want to enjoy life, you say,
cuz it’s so so short,
ALL girls want you for their old man,
“in bed, I have a good body,
opium makes me last
and last
I’m ten inches
and, “a smile,
“this thick”
you play the mind games with a too ridiculous seriousness
not another escape out just for kicks
your street male pride can’t take no scratches
you’ll kick my ass when the number I give you isn’t mine
you tell me not to dance with anyone else
when I just met you tonight
and isn’t your old lady waiting at your apartment?
hardened hard up
Ricksha stray tiger cat
your life view quite
touch mine
and being gang banged isn’t my type of thrill
disco steps don’t silence sirens
and the skyscraper lights don’t touch Grant Avenue on a Friday night
Golden Dragon massacred meat can’t ever be pieced back together again
black lights and hanging ferns or Remy sweetness can’t hide
spilled out alley fish guts
that tell you and tell you
there just ain’t no future
your hands grope
your eyes closed
your tongue dry
your penis limp
poor ChinaMAN-child

OKINAWA FIGHTERS head to dance competition

Roppongi warehouse-style techno disco Yellow is a eardrum-blasting brain-numbing thump-thumping of trance escapism on the main dance floor Friday night in Tokyo.
But the real action and real soul are tucked away in a corner room.
It’s for sitting around and sipping on drinks in between the dosages of trance.
The sound is more funk/R&B. And that’s all it takes to get these talented young dancers showing us all what real dance IS:
demonstrate without a doubt the reason Dance is art in movement and feeling as human interaction.
We find out they are in town to take part as the Okinawa Fighters in a rather serious dance competition Sunday at Shinkiba’s Studio Coast, Free Style Japan 2007.
I was (innocently) applauding two fantastic dancers who were, as I find out later, practicing, doing an enticingly fun-to-watch mock battle, contesting their hiphop/break-dancing/robot moves.
They suddenly invite me to the dance floor, motioning with their arms, spread wide/open in friendship, showing me moves, comically banging away at my hips, shaking their torsos, swaying their pelvis, cheering/laughing/clapping, making me feel as though I’m a pretty good dancer myself.
The boys are not touchy-feely with just the women but with each other in clean camaraderie that is breath-taking.
Let’s face it: It’s more fun to dance with a guy who knows what he is doing.
What I got was maybe seven of them _ all good enough to go to a dance competition _ pretty cool!
One says in Japanese “This is the Okinawan style.”
There is so much diversity on the island everyone makes a point of being warm, he says.
Dance the way they execute it _ playful, sincere and erotic in the best sense of the word _ is the epitome of that spirit.

Despair/Disco (Story of Miu 6)

Miu and I went to a DISCO called The Room in Shibuya.
And it was as tiny and shabby as a room.
People stood next to each other in rows and shifted their weight from one leg to the other nervously to the thump-thump of music as a mirror ball glistened sadly from a corner.
Miu says this is the new, tucked-away look of Tokyo discos.
The big slick ones with shiny floors are obsolete, although they apparently still exist in parts of Roppongi, where old men, many of them foreigners, try to pick up young Japanese women.
We were not dressed appropriately in our T-shirts and jeans.
You must wear short skirts and tops with your breasts about to fall out, then people will want to talk to you and want to have sex with you, according to Miu.
A DISCO is a place where boys take girls they pick up on the streets:
(1) By dancing, the male can make sexual overtures to the female and find out her interests/lack thereof in having sex.
(2) By dancing, the female will get tired, allowing the male to suggest going to a hotel to have sex.
A disco delivers relatively high return for low investment.
Dating for weeks to just kiss isn’t efficient.
“There has to be someone out in the world who is your true love,” Miu says, shouting a bit over the music.
“Romantic love must exist. Like Romeo and Juliet. Or is that unreal like a father’s ghost or a forest moving, which aren’t at all everyday like a disco?”
Miu says a man she got to know recently says he finds someone like Juliet a bit too much.
I’ll tell her maybe it’s better to hang out with another Capulet, or how about my friend Mercutio?
I may be someday someone’s Romeo but I will never find a Juliet, he told Miu.
DESPAIR was one of the paintings on display in Uneo by Edvard Munch.
Munch’s strongest works depict personal angst.
Despair, Anxiety and Scream were shown in two different sequences.
One had the Scream in the middle.
But the Scream has to be the culmination of the series.
Indeed, Munch painted them in that order: Despair, Anxiety, Scream.
Munch believed art should be about everyday people.
Never mind the people in the paintings may look psychotic, surreal and warped.
Not really everyday at all.
“I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love,” Munch said.