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.

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.

LOVING YOUNGER MEN a poem by Yuri Kageyama with drums by Hirokazu Suyama

LOVING YOUNGER MEN
A Poem by YURI KAGEYAMA
With Drumming by HIROKAZU SUYAMA
Film by ADAM LEWIS

A reading at the Japan Writers Conference in Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 2, 2013.
“Loving Younger Men” was first published in BEYOND RICE, A BROADSIDE SERIES, Mango Publications and NOLO Press, 1979.

Only the bodies of young men aroused her;
the pure innocence in their wide dark eyes,
the wild still animal strength in their muscles,
the smoothness of their skin, so shiny, stretched
out over their boy-like shoulders, flat stomachs,
abdominals rippling gently, their thick thighs
that could thrust forever into the night, their
soft moist lips, where their tonges, so delicious,
dwelt, which darted against, into her vagina,
making her moan with joy, forgetting everything,
which felt so strong against her own tongue at one
moment, yet another, seemed to melt like caramel
in the back of her throat,
their dry fingers, that touched her in the most
unexpected and expecting spots,
their penises, half-covered by their black curls,
seemed smaller, less developed, less threatening,
yet as their shoulders strangely widened
when they held her, their penises filled her,
pointed against her deepest uterine insides,
hurting her with a pleasurable pain, as though
she could sense with her hand, their movements
from outside her belly. Her father beat her as a girl.
She ran from him, crying, please don’t hit me! please
don’t hit me! No, rather she stood defiant, silent,
silent tears drunk down her chest, till he, in anger
or fear,
slapped her again and again, once so hard she was
swung across the room, once on her left ear so
that she could not hear for three weeks. She
frequented bars, searching for young men who desired
her. She sat alone drinking. She preferred
the pretty effeminate types _ perfectly featured,
a Michelangelo creation, island faces with coral eyes,
faces of unknown tribal child-princes. To escape
her family, she eloped at sixteen, with an alchoholic.
who tortured her every night, binding her with ropes,
sticking his penis into her mouth until she choked,
hitting her face into bruises, kicking her in
the stomach, aborting her child, his child.
The young boys’ heads, she would hold, after orgasm,
rocking them in her arms. She would kiss the side of their
tanned necks, breathe in the ocean scent of their hair,
lick their ear lobes and inside their ears. When they
fell asleep, sprawled like a puppy upon her sheets,
their mouths open, she would lie awake watching,
watching, watching, admiring their bodies, how so
aesthetically formed, balanced, textured. What
she enjoyed the most was their fondling her breasts,
suckling, massaging the flesh, flicking the tongue
against the nipple, biting, sucking till her nipples
were red-hot for days. She could come just by this,
without penetration.
When she is alone, she cries. In the dark, she reaches
upwards, into the air, grabbing nothing.

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

TURNING JAPANESE poetry and reading by Yuri Kageyama

TURNING JAPANESE a poem by Yuri Kageyama
Film and Photos by Ian Thomas Ash
Reading by Yuri Kageyama
Wincester Nii Tete on percussion and Hiromichi Ugaya on bass at The Pink Cow in Tokyo for a “Looking At Fukushima” event May 7, 2013.

TURNING JAPANESE

a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take architecture:
We take space that’s smaller than a toilet
Create a garden to express the Universe
Todaiji Temple grandeur hierachy
It doesn’t even use any nails

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take ikebana:
Flowers and herbs and blades of grass
Sculpture ecology Basho-esque balance
Homage to God’s perfection of design
It doesn’t even last a week

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be fore sale
So be proud

Take law and order:
Our trains are clean, run always on time
Apology on the PA if they’re two minutes late
The homeless politely take off their shoes
To get in their cardboard homes

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take politics:
They tell us we have a democracy
Imported direct from the US of A
A new prime minister every year or so
What’s his name _ Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, Aso, Hatoyama, Kan, Noda _ Abe again?
Please remember!

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take women:
Excuse me, I mean, Take girls:
Uniform miniskirts, eyelash extensions
Never have jobs or grow older than 13
But grow Barbie’s breasts

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Technology:
Robots, Pokemon, gadgets galore
Attention to detail, precision with vengeance
We get everything right _ unless something goes wrong
Like a nuclear meltdown

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Celebration
Revolution
Masturbation
Nuclear nation
Hydrogen explosion
Can I have your attention
Masturbation
Radiation
Nuclear nation …..

Japanophile Part 2 A Story by Yuri Kageyama

The toys piled up, evidence being submitted to prove an absent mother’s love.
The colorful trading cards were those warm hugs that were never given, the video-game cassettes in the dozens were those sleepless feverish nights forgotten, and the tiny cars that scuttled across the linoleum threatening to trip adult feet were those lullabies that fell silent. I wanted to prove I loved my toddler son, still too young to understand that I needed those hours away to pay the rent.
“When are you going to quit your job?” he would ask now and then, choosing a quiet moment he knows will get my full attention.
This is a serious question to be contended with. I want to cry. I would quit right now, if I could. But I don’t know how to tell him that.
His legs are starting to break out in hives, and because he scratches at his raw skin with his little clawlike nails, his calves are constantly bleeding.
Once I got a call from the social welfare office, wondering what’s going on. The doctor that I take him to for these allergies, as that’s what it is that is causing this itching, is giving me funny stares.
“My mommy doesn’t come home for a loooooong loooooong time,” I hear my son telling the doctor in his usual high-pitched singsong voice.
I was able to take some time off work the first few years after his birth. I dutifully followed the advice of La Leche League to breast-feed him as long as he wanted, or almost as long as he wanted, which turned out to be two years, after which I had to decide this was it.
He would cuddle next to my breast, sucking although he had grown to be more a little boy than a baby, staring into my eyes with total trust and the glee of possession, sometimes biting my nipple with his teeth or pulling with clamped lips until I had to ask him to stop. His looks said he was proud to have this privilege, especially because he no longer needed the nourishment.
A woman who happened to walk by remarked, “Oh, you are not working? So he doesn’t know the reality that is waiting for him; does he?”
I clearly remember the I-know-it-all expression of superiority on her face as though she had appointed herself a shaman fortune-teller, as do all those working women who went before me.
At least, they get to do that _ tell others what’s coming.
Even after my son started school, he didn’t really have a mother. I found out his friends were asking him: “Do you have a mother?”
It was a cruel, brutally straightforward question that children have a way of coming up with, but it was a valid question.
If others had moms picking them up and making nice lunches, and he didn’t, where was this mother?
Where was I for this child? Did this make me really a mother? Did I just want a child so I could have a child but without doing the job of being a mother?
I had to wipe the thought out of my mind when I was working. I had to forget.
Forgetting, you’d think, is something that happens naturally, what you thought you had tucked away in memory, some fold in your gray matter, slipping away. Oh, I forgot. But this was a different kind of forgetting.
It took a lot of concentration. But I was able to forget. If I did not forget, I would have lost my mind.
But I did forget.
But was this child able to forget?
Or did he have to fight the gnawing loneliness with all his might, fighting back tears and telling himself: “My mommy doesn’t come home for a loooooong loooooong time,” over and over?
It makes me afraid.
I cannot imagine such loneliness. To be a child and not have a mother. To be that tiny dot in the sky like a star all by itself in the universe and not know what is up or down, or if and when this horror will ever end.
To know not only that you are alone but that you are alone in this loneliness, that every other boy and girl had a mommy, that soft warm cuddly woman who came to pick kids up and made nicely decorated lunches.
How could a little mind forget? Even with all the colorful cards, games and tiny cars, reminding you that I do love you, how could he ever forget?
In his high school, there was one day hot lunch was not served, some strange practice to encourage parent-child bonding. My son didn’t even tell me.
I happened to see him jump into a convenience store to buy his lunch. That’s how I found out.
I felt a hot gush of guilt and sorrow as though it was enveloping me from the top of my head, the strange feeling I felt when I watched my father eat or my sister cry over nothing, when I was growing up.
I still have not figured out what this emotion meant. It tasted sour, like tiny pieces of glass, inside my mouth.

Poet Yuri Kageyama, Drummer Pheeroan akLaff and Filmmaker Yoshiaki Tago

YURI KAGEYAMA, a poet of both worlds Japan and America, American drummer PHEEROAN AKLAFF and Japanese filmmaker YOSHIAKI TAGO come together to tell a pan-Pacific tale of pain, love and survival that defies racism and sexism over moments and generations.

Witness, celebrate and join in this exhilarating crossing of barriers of cultures and genres to debunk stereotypes and find free expression.

MON Aug. 6, 2012. 8 p.m. (door opens 7:30 p.m.)
at Live space plan-B (4-26-20 B1 Yayoicho Nakano-ku, TOKYO.
FREE ADMISSION (Donations welcome for plan-B).

Yuri Kageyama is the author of “The New and Selected Yuri: Writing From Peeling Till Now.” Her works, winning praise from literary giants like Ishmael Reed and Shuntaro Tanikawa, appear in “Y’Bird,” “Pow Wow,” “Breaking Silence,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Konch” and “Phati’tude.” She has read with Eric Kamau Gravatt, Isaku Kageyama, Ashwut Rodriguez, Seamus Heaney, Shozu Ben, Victor Hernandez Cruz and the Broun Fellinis.
http://yurikageyama.com

Pheeroan AkLaff is a New York-based drummer and composer. He has played with Rashied Ali, Oliver Lake, Henry Threadgill, Cecil Taylor, Yosuke Yamashita and Andrew Hill. A headliner at many festivals including Moers and Nurnberg, he is in Japan on the “Dear Freedom Suite” tour with Jun Miyake and Toshiki Nagata. He has led an ensemble dedicated to John Coltrane’s music. He teaches at Wesleyan University.
http://pheeroanaklaff.com

Yoshiaki Tago directed “Worst Contact,” “Believer” and “Maid in Akihabara,” and served as assistant director on many Japanese feature films. A graduate of the prestigious Japan Academy of Moving Images, Tago frequently works on TV shows and promotional videos for pop artists, major companies and government projects. He is documenting Kageyama’s readings with music in a work-in-progress “Talking TAIKO.”

For more information, email yurikageyama@yahoo.com or 090-4594-2911

A TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN production

My poem in a literary magazine

Just got this publication “phati’tude” Literary Magazine. It has my poem:

For women only

perfume,
rubbing shoulders,
we rattle silently over the tracks
blouses, tucked bags, even powdered chins,
up too close to really see;
we sense only relief
we smell no greasy beards or sweaty suits or
beer breath of the morning after _
this morning commuter train
“josei senyo sha”
reserved
for women only,
introduced to protect the gentle sex
from those groping dark hands
preying prying fingers, stroking thigh,
poking panties,
pretending to be penises
right in public transport,
“josei senyo sha”
this is the kindness of Japanese society:
let chikan go unchecked,
forgiven for their mischief,
and give us, women, this special spot
farthest from the action
farthest from the ticket gates
the first car up front,
and the most dangerous
if we crash

Tokyo Yuricane Reading

Tokyo Yuricane Reading: Poetry by Yuri Kageyama with Taiko drums by Chris Holland, percussion by Winchester Nii Tete, guitar by Takenari Shibata, bass by Satoshi Adachi, drums by Jin Imamura.

I feel decidedly good about the future of Japan (and the world) when I work with young musicians like the ones who played _ and so sincerely and so passionately _ as the Tokyo members of The Yuricane, with my poetry reading Dec. 3, 2011 at the Tokyo American Club.
The world is in good hands _ if only it would allow the right people to get their hands on what happens.
One of the relatively new works we tried out, using different percussion to highlight the contrasts/evolution:

ways of saying ‘yes’ in Japanese
a poem by Yuri Kageyama

“Hai!!”
That’s the correct way of replying when spoken to in Japan for centuries, hai! the way people are taught in school, by their parents, what’s right in society _
respect for the hierarchy, yes sir, thank you ma’am, hai hai hai, like hiccups, like hiphiphurray, hai! hai! hai! no pause, no hesitation, no thought,
following orders, quick, no questions, grunt it out, soldiers at attention, yelling, spitting, believing, say it with all your heart and mind,
hai!
“Haa~aai!”
That’s the way people answer in Japan these says, haa~aai! the way people drop out of school, freeters, parents are just friends to follow only on Twitter _
flattening out the hierarchy, maybe yes, maybe not, haa~aai! like a mumble, like a whisper, a kiss on the ear, haa~aai, innocent, hurt only for others,
wind blowing in your hair, smiley faces heart icons in cell phones, improvise, imagine, immaculate, sing it without a care in the world,
haa~aai!

Haiku for Van Gogh
by Yuri Kageyama

An old wooden desk
Yellow dots of light shrieking
Van Gogh’s room

Warped plums dagger rain
Crazed geisha dance in ukiyoe oil
Breathe Van Gogh’s Japan

Sliced ear of love denied
Road to nothing ravens in flight
Genius of yellow

Another review of “The New and Selected Yuri”

A review by poet Ravi Chandra’s of my latest book, “The New and Selected Yuri: Writing From Peeling Till Now,” (Ishmael Reed Publishing Co., 2011.)

I met Yuri Kageyama at an event honoring Ishmael Reed at LitQuake. Yuri performed her piece “Little YELLOW Slut”, a powerful spoken word piece that punctuates stereotypes of Asian American women with the judgmental projection “Little YELLOW SluT.”

I was immediately taken by this piece, and was proud to soon be carrying Kageyama’s latest collection of work, which she generously gifted me in exchange for my modest first book, “a fox peeks out: poems.”

I was very impressed by Kageyama’s poetry and prose, which are both a tender and raw depiction of her Asian American sexuality and political mindset.

Some of the poems are in what’s now called the “wordfist” tradition, like “BIG WHITE BITCH,” taking aim at and taking down the oppressive forces of racism and sexism with a uniquely feminine yet tough-spoken mindset.

These are angry and direct. Some might find them shocking, but I found them vivid and real.

Others are a lament _ of childhood abuse by her rocket scientist father and of sitting next to him as he lay dying.

There are also many prose pieces. One discusses Japanese concepts such as Kakijun, Enryo and Iki. Another is a perhaps semi-autobiographical look back at 1970’s political-poetic movements in San Francisco.

Another is a dialogue between her and a younger Asian American woman living in Japan and struggling for relationship and power _ possibly a younger version of herself.

This is an emininently readable and enjoyable collection.

I found myself in turns challenged and entertained by the sheer soul-force of the person who comes shining through these words. Close to the heart, close to the soul, deeply human and remarkable. Recommended.

^___< And here is my review, in turn, of Chandra’s book:

A lot of poetry, probably including much of my own, is destructive, addressing inner turmoils to give them a form of expression as literature than other equally tempting but less acceptable, perhaps even criminal, outlets.
Such is the madness of the world around us, the abuse that we take and the psychosis we battle by the day.
Ravi Chandra’s poetry is the voice of calm, the antidote of therapy, the ointment of peace.
Perhaps it is because he is a medical doctor and psychiatrist that he seeks to heal not only internal wounds but almost the entire world around us with his debut poetry book “a fox peeks out _ poems.” (San Francisco: Pacific Heart Books, 2011)
He juxtaposes the technology of the Internet with the tradition of Asian religions in the same poetic breath that is our American experience.
Other types of slam poetry may be identified with street violence and the defiance of oppression.
Chandra’s slam poetry is more like the chamomile tea you sip before bedtime.
His works read almost like a prayer, asking God to keep us safe through another day:
“Heart like earth _ /Mind like sky./ No walls, no weapons, no war/”
The power to soothe and unify through the word involves a risky balance to keep between artistry and platitude.
Chandra pulls it off with the intelligence of a scholar, the insight of a master and, most important, the benevolence of a saint.
“Mountains do get built from earthquakes,/ great masses of earth pushing into each other,/ Pushing the ground up,” he writes in “subprime tsunamis.”
“Greed must be contained by wisdom./ Compassion must be the greatest power./ Only so, can the waters purify./ Only so, can earthquakes/ give ascent,/ instead of annihilation.”