For women only

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

May 4 Reading of "an ode to the Caucasian male"


Carl Freire and I reading “an ode to the Caucasian male” at What the Dickens in Tokyo.

Published in “Peeling,” by Yuri Kageyama, Berkeley, Calif.: I. Reed Press, 1988.
First published in “Women Talking, Women Listening.”

an ode to the Caucasian male

white man
white man
with the silky blond hair
the emerald-blue eyes
and the cool million dollar grin
I won’t mind being a Suzy Wong for you.
cuz
I’m tired of the laundry-men
and the dirty restaurant cooks
who can only smell of won ton soup
and talk about chowmein
they don’t have the powers,
the style you do
seems you’ve got to be white
to really be a man
the long sleek legs
with the acid rock walk
in the hot tight pants
where the warm prick dwells
it’s okay
you see only the race in me
just a stereotype, not my personality
it’s okay
cuz, white man
you have
whiteness
to give.

an ode to the Caucasian male

Poetry by Yuri Kageyama.
Guitar and music arrangement by Carl Freire.
Recorded in Green Village Studios, Tokyo, April 13, 2008.
“an Ode to the Caucasian male,” from Yuri Kageyama, “Peeling,” Berkeley, Calif: I. Reed Press, 1988.
First published in “Women Talking, Women Listening.”

an ode to the Caucasian male

white man
white man
with the silky blond hair
the emerald-blue eyes
and the cool million dollar grin
I won’t mind being a Suzy Wong for you.
cuz
I’m tired of the laundry-men
and the dirty restaurant cooks
who can only smell of won ton soup
and talk about chowmein
they don’t have the powers,
the style you do
seems you’ve got to be white
to really be a man
the long sleek legs
with the acid rock walk
in the hot tight pants
where the warm prick dwells
it’s okay
you see only the race in me
just a stereotype, not my personality
it’s okay
cuz, white man
you have
whiteness
to give.

Girl Talk

Women can talk about anything from handbags to sex to perfect desserts and makeup and teething in babies and politics and social change and global warming without having to prove who’s on top.
This is because in this sexist world, women have learned that communication is not about power or about who rules vs. who gets to grovel in the mud.
What is being said is not important.
What is being communicated is this: I care about you.
I read an interview once with Dustin Hoffman when he played a man masquerading around as a woman in the movie “Tootsie” about how he envied the way women can talk to each other.
In this sexist world, girl talk about fashion, let’s say, is looked down upon as proof that the person who is doing the talking is dumb.
For a long time, I didn’t realize this was happening (… and that’s why smart women feel they have to look ugly, wear no makeup and show they are above such trivial girl talk concerns.)
Next time you hear giggles in the office and women oohing and aahing over new boots, thank God for the gift among women to find in such simple joys a way to give love.