GIFTS FROM THE DEAD a poem by Yuri Kageyama

GIFTS FROM THE DEAD
a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Graves are always There
for those Who are still
Alive to Forgive
Accept Reconcile.
They don’t Speak Back.
They don’t expect much
because
they are ready
to be Forgotten
if not
really already
Forgotten.
So when You
Go There, You
will Be Forgiven:
Grave are Gifts
from the Dead
for the Living.

At a temple in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

At a temple in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA _ in NY in 2015 and in SAN FRANCISCO in July 2017

Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.

in NY in 2015 and COMING TO SAN FRANCISCO in JULY 2017

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
written by Yuri Kageyama
directed by Carla Blank

Debuted at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York Sept. 11 – 13, 2015.

Music directed and performed by Melvin Gibbs, with Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe.

The Cast:
Takemi Kitamura (Miu)
Monisha Shiva (Poet)
Shigeko Suga (Yu)

Lighting by Blu
Film by Yoshiaki Tago

A pensive and provocative theater of dance, poetry, music and film:
Fukushima is the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Radiation is still spewing from the multiple meltdowns, reaching as far as the American West Coast.
Some 100,000 people were displaced from the no-go zone. But the story barely makes headlines.
“News From Fukushima” is a solemn reminder and a literary prayer for Japan.
It explores the friendship between two women, juxtaposing the personal and the intimate with the catastrophic.

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[caption id="attachment_1735" align="aligncenter" width="640"]NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, written by Yuri Kageyama, at La MaMa. From left to right: Shigeko Suga, Monisha Shiva, Takemi Kitamura. Photo by Tennessee Reed. NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, written by Yuri Kageyama, at La MaMa. From left to right: Shigeko Suga, Monisha Shiva, Takemi Kitamura. All Photos above by Tennessee Reed.

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musicians for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet, written by Yuri Kageyama. Directed by Carla Blank. Music by Melvin Gibbs, Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe. In photo: Monisha Shiva as The Poet. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet, written by Yuri Kageyama. Directed by Carla Blank. Music by Melvin Gibbs, Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe. In photo: Monisha Shiva as The Poet. Photos by Yuri Kageyama.

Programs for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet at La MaMa in New  York. Program design by Annette Borromeo Dorfman. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

Programs for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet at La MaMa in New York. Program design by Annette Borromeo Dorfman. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

And we get a little writeup in the local paper. The New York Times, among other local papers, including Steve Cannon’s “A Gathering of the Tribes,” listed our performance in its Calendar and Spare Time sections. The San Francisco Chronicle also highlighted our work in its Entertainment section.

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Our NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet gets a mention in The San Francisco Chronicle

Our NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet gets a mention in The San Francisco Chronicle.

聴かせて魅せるニュース!『NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: 報じられない福島の大惨事を詩人が詠いあげる』でMelvin Gibbsがベースを奏でる。
News that enraptures and engages through Sound. A Poet sings of the unreported calamity at Fukushima in NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, and Melvin Gibbs plays bass. _ Katsumi.

“Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, Fukushima, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This poem proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by a media that is in the pocket of fossils fuel and nuclear interests. While black collaborators at MSNBC and other media outlets make money for their employers by promoting and gender and class civil war among blacks, stories about how the Fukushima disaster threatens the health of world citizens are neglected, maybe because General Electric, which still has interests in NBC, built the nuclear reactors at Fukushima. Is the Yuricane making up things? Fukushima has had far worse complications than the Chernobyl disaster. Check this out.”
_ Ishmael Reed.

Hiroshima and A Mother Speaks _ Poetry by Yuri Kageyama

“Hiroshima” and “A Mother Speaks” Poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama with Hirokazu Suyama on cajon and Yuuichiro Ishii on guitar. “Hiroshima” music composed by Nobutaka Yamasaki. Performed at a benefit for March 8, 2015 International Women’s Day at What the Dickens in Ebisu, Tokyo.

HIROSHIMA
Poetry by Yuri Kageyama

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.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: A MOTHER SPEAKS
Poetry by Yuri Kageyama

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 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 because we are looking so much harder, testing all the children in Fukushima.
The authorities say they are 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.

Reading poetry about women for women’s day in Tokyo

March 8, 2015 International Women's Day event in Tokyo.

March 8, 2015 International Women’s Day event in Tokyo.

I’m reading poetry about women at an International Women’s Day event in Tokyo SUN March 8, 2015.
I’m reading with Hirokazu Suyama on percussion and Yuuiichiro Ishii on guitar.
What the Dickens in Ebisu 7 p.m.
Many other talented poets and musicians at this fund-raiser for the Lighthouse Center for Human Trafficking Victims.
I’m in the opening segment with two other poets, Biankah Bailey and Joy Waller.
A good cause and good art and good people.

An Ode To A Nuclear Catastrophe _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Published in the January 2015 issue of KONCH MAGAZINE, edited by Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed:

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.

^___<

HAIKU FOR HOMELESS by Yuri Kageyama

HAIKU FOR HOMELESS
by Yuri Kageyama

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

A reply to a musician doing a song about Japanese women wearing cheap perfume

A reply to a musician doing a song about Japanese women wearing cheap perfume
CHEAP PERFUME _ A poem by Yuri Kageyama

CHEAP PERFUME
that whiff snuggled in the commuter train
it makes him want to puke, he says
CHEAP PERFUME
cheap suit, chubby arms, fat feet
she is smug and straight, he feels
CHEAP PERFUME
rushing to work, she squirts it on
escape in a heavenly scent, dream of a faraway world
CHEAP PERFUME
a sculptured bottle costs 3,000 yen
lots of zeroes fewer than what fashion usually costs
CHEAP PERFUME
Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Chanel No. 5
a well-earned chance to inject that glitz high
CHEAP PERFUME
a fragrant aura like an “OL” halo
to protect all women against chauvinist evil
CHEAP PERFUME
it doesn’t take that much to know
No PERFUME ever comes CHEAP

FUKUSHIMA HIPHOP: Poetry by Yuri Kageyama written in homage to Ahmir Khalib Thompson and The Roots


Official video by The Roots “What They Do” 1996 Geffen Records.

FUKUSHIMA HIPHOP
Poetry by Yuri Kageyama
in homage to Ahmir Khalib Thompson and The Roots

fukushima3
photo by Yuri Kageyama

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

fukushima1

fukushima2
photos by Yuri Kageyama

My latest is in KONCH magazine, an Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed publication

My prose poem “Dec. 12, 2012, The Very Special Day _ a Prose Poem” gets published in the October issue of KONCH magazine, an Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed publication. It is a story about the discrimination in Japan against Japanese Americans. It is also a story of survival. It is a story about defying discrimination. And I am in great company in this publication with the likes of Alejandro Murguia and Ishmael Hope.

LOOKING AT FUKUSHIMA


The Asian American Journalists Association presents
“LOOKING AT FUKUSHIMA _ An Evening with Hiromichi Ugaya,”
a talk, photo slideshow and discussion session with a veteran journalist documenting a post-nuclear disaster landscape.

THE PINK COW
5-5-1 Roppongi Minatoku Tokyo Roi Building B1F
TUESDAY May 7, 2013 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
2,500 yen for a Great Buffet is the only charge. Drinks pay as you go at the bar.
A public English-language event.
Come on time to catch a musical performance opening the event.
Musicians and poets welcome for Jam Open Mike to close the event.

Hiromichi “Hiro” UGAYA is a veteran journalist, photographer and educator, who has devoted his life recently to intensive coverage of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the plight of the tens of thousands of people the accident has displaced. A former reporter at Asahi newspaper and writer for AERA magazine, he has authored more than half a dozen books on security issues, media criticism, Internet technology and Japanese pop culture. A graduate of Kyoto University, he holds a Master’s in International Security Affairs from Columbia University. His latest book “Fukushima’s Lost Seasons” is a poetic photo essay of the serene flowers and trees of the region that have been invisibly devastated by radiation. He is also a bassist and performs regularly at Tokyo clubs.