MY TWO POEMS IN ISHMAEL REED’S KONCH

My Two Poems in Ishmael Reed’s KONCH

My two poems are published in Ishmael Reed’s KONCH online magazine Winter 2024 issue.

What a thrill. And what company I keep.

FEARLESS AT 90 a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Photo by On Lim Wong

FEARLESS AT 90 a poem by Yuri Kageyama

I am fearless at 90

Wrinkles deep as the Nile

Hair translucent spiderwebs

Varicose veins throbbing blood

A map of fate on a carcass of skin

I am fearless at 90 

I rap poetry with my dentures

Jazz dance with my wobbly knees

I rock like Jimi Hendrix

We Boomers invented Revolution

I am fearless at 90

I’m so close to the pearly gates

I’m on speaking terms with the angels

I’m so near-sighted I read minds

My fungus breath slays dragons

I am fearless at 90

My wheelchair zips Ferrari-style

My voice resonates five octaves low

My cane duplicates as a samurai sword

My hearing aid just blocks out noise

I am fearless at 90  

I have no appointments to keep

No bosses to please

No dates to impress

No one can put me down

I am fearless at 90

I barely remember what’s up or down

Or who is where anymore;

Beyond gender, race, class,

Or even age

I am fearless at 90

My skin like washi paper

My fingers gnarled like a witch

I am neither man nor woman

White, black, brown or yellow.

I am just 90, and fearless:

Those days are long gone,

Not trusting anyone over 30,

I’ve given birth to a thousand children

And have a million grandchildren

I am fearless at 90

Although death is around the corner,

I’ve seen war and peace

Endured abuse to survive;

Don’t expect or need respect

I’m proud to be fearless at 90

^___<

Note from the poet:

I am not yet 90, but I feel this way and wrote this poem.

When I’m 90, I will write my real fearless at 90 poem.

The poem was published in the Winter 2024 issue of KONCH MAGAZINE.

NOTHING HAPPENS A poem/song by Yuri Kageyama

NOTHING HAPPENS なにもおこらない

A poem/song written and read by Yuri Kageyama

Featuring Tea on vocals and the YURICANE band with Hideyuki Asada (guitar, arrangement, audio mastering), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass) and Takuma Anzai (drums).

Photo by On Lim Wong.

I started working on this song in February 2019. It’s finally finished in 2023, as a recording, with singing and music. The piece is about how people like to talk about “what’s happening” or what’s going to happen. But most of the time, nothing happens. And nothing needs to happen. If anything, it can be a good thing when nothing happens. With the pandemic unfolding, the song became for me more pertinent than ever. I reworked the song to reflect that. In June 2020, I added the rap section in Japanese that refers to the death of George Floyd. We must not forget how precious those moments are when horrible things that can happen don’t happen, and we can just sit back and enjoy the passage of time, when utterly nothing happens.

Nothing happens なにもおこらない

_ a poem/song by Yuri Kageyama

(1)

Nothing happens

Bombs no longer falling

Nations aren’t killing

Nothing happens

^___<

(2)

Nothing happens

Women aren’t screaming

Children aren’t starving

Nothing happens

^___<

(BRIDGE)

なにもおこらない

このきもち

なにもおこらない

しずけさ

^___<

(4)

Nothing happens

The stars will shine  

Behind clouds that hide   

Nothing happens    

^___<

(5)

Nothing happens

Birds, blossoms remind

The passing of time

Nothing happens

^___<

(rap section)

Nothing happens

We took it for granted

Nothing is boring

Nobody up to no good  

Looking for something

Something to happen

Before the coronavirus   

Now we wake up to numbers

Pray the curve gets flattened  

Pray it’s no one we know

Waiting for a vaccine

Scared by the sirens

Italy, New York, Spain, Wuhan, Tokyo

Now nothing else happens

Nothing else can happen

Now you know it:

Now you wish you didn’t wish it

Now you know for sure you like it

When Nothing happens

Yeah, Nothing happens

なにもおこらない

死ぬまえ

のこる生命で

えらんだ言葉

息ができない

彼のおもい

アメリカの差別

歴史のおもい

すべてすごくて

言葉がない

息ができない

息ができない

You know that’s the view:

No news is good news,

It’s so quiet you can hear it

Silence is the music

When NOTHING HAPPENS

^___<

なにもおこらない

このきもち

なにもおこらない

しずけさ

^__<

Nothing happens

The Virus descends     

Like a stranger of death     

Nothing happens

^___<

Nothing happens

We can forget the rest  

How we miss those days   

When Nothing happens

^—–<

And this is how the song all started; the clip below is from while it’s in the works (Artwork by Munenori Tamagawa):

Yuri Kageyama · NOTHING HAPPENS a poem/song by Yuri Kageyama with guitar/arrangement by Hide Asada

My other Virus Song (a side B to NOTHING HAPPENS if this were a CD like back in the good old days)

I AM THE VIRUS a poem written and read by Yuri Kageyama with piano by Nobutaka Yamasaki

photo by Ong Lim Wong

I am the virus

I thrive on mossy envious egos

They keep showing up

Offices, clubs, picnics,

Choosing being seen, hoarding

Over social dis-tan-cing

I am the virus

I fester in corona-shaped clusters

Commuter trains, cruises, crowds  

Peering at the Olympic torch,

I love the naming “Chinese virus”

The taunts, attacks on slant-eyed people

I am the virus

I cower when folks stay in

Takeout food, work from home,

A meter apart on solitary walks,

Wearing masks, washing hands,

Mixing aloe and alcohol

I am the virus

The crazy evil devoured

By doctors, vaccines, canceled concerts

Turning into live-streamed music,

People who remember to tell those they love

How much they really love them.

LOVE SIMPLY a love poem by Yuri Kageyama

LOVE SIMPLY a love poem by Yuri Kageyama

To be near hurts

To be far hurts, too

Love simply hurts

To live hurts, to die hurts

Watching you die hurts even more

Love simply hurts

To know you hurts

To have known you hurts

Love simply hurts

But to not know you, not hurt for you

Is simply not a choice

It’s simply love, simply love

My Mother’s Mink _ A poem by Yuri Kageyama

My Mother’s Mink

A poem by Yuri Kageyama

my mother’s mink

sleeps in a drawer

so silken soft;

she longed for it

like her jewels,

a bit of an embarrassment;

the Marilyn Monroe generation,

she went to college, spoke English

my mother’s mink

silent like a corpse,

all the fuzzy rodents,

womb cradling fetus;

once there was life;

I can’t get myself to

throw it out  

but I will never wear it

MY POETRY IN LIFE AND LEGENDS

My Poetry in Life and Legends

My poetry is in great company here in LIFE AND LEGENDS Twelfth Edition
July 15, 2022, Irvine, CA, USA. Thanks to the Editor-in-Chief: Kalpna Singh-Chitnis.

HAIKU FOR BASHO a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Haiku for Basho a poem by Yuri Kageyama

May 3, 2022

眼差しを

無に流すかな

芭蕉のかわ

He is still watching,

Though washed away to nothing-

Ness, Basho’s River

SHADOW a poem by YURI KAGEYAMA

Photo by Tennessee Reed

SHADOW a poem written for the Poetry Challenge May 1, 2022

By Yuri Kageyama

when young,

one thinks of what

one will become

or what one

wants to be

^___<

as years pass,

we realize

what we are seen as

doesn’t really

matter

^___<

what matters

is who we really are

how we live

what it is that we do

day by day

^___<

which is not

the same thing

at all

that is what counts

in the end

AS IS MUCH IN LIFE by Dr. Minh and Yuri Kageyama

AS IS MUCH IN LIFE

A poetic collaboration on Twitter by Dr. Minh and Yuri Kageyama April 22, 2022

Dr. Minh wrote the poem in five minutes after I tweeted the title. I just added the last two lines.   

As is much in life

you sit alone on the edge of a river   

I know

you nurture your solitude

but wonder

tomorrow

you will sit alone on the edge of the river

is your solitude still there

only you know

^___<

As is much in life

solitude is not emptiness

or vacuum or the void

where the real and the real annihilate

to give birth to something new

just emptiness

but this is where life begins

you and I know

as is much in life

HAIKU A poem by Yuri Kageyama

HAIKU a poem by Yuri Kageyama March 18, 2022

鶯や

水辺羽ばたく

都市開発

the nightingale

fluttering by the waters

urban development