GEOMORPHOLOGY Words. Words. Words.

A collaboration by Sandile Ngidi and Yuri Kageyama June 2022 ~ (ongoing)

Sandile (June 12, 2022)

It is windy, rough, chimneys banging in the winds,

begging for mercy, pebbles.

Still meditating, but prayers return as cloudbursts. Blood.

Sky dances, but no raindrops on the lips.

Bare gullies. 

Bedrocks rehearsing illness songs.

Orphans on dry geomorphology.

Yuri (June 19, 2022)

The blue-green planet is but a sneeze

Lost in two billion light years of solitude,

That speck of snot, or dot, of human life

In an eternal line of ancestral tradition:

Like Shuntaro Tanikawa and Mansai Nomura,

On this Juneteenth, we remember

Hope, courage, that patient wait.

Sandile (July 2, 2022)

On the first day of the month, the sun went home in splendid form.

A good ruse for me to sleep, and wake up in top form.

A world of theatrical summons suddenly made sensuous.

I am walking into the village where one season,

the magic of laughter died.

My dogs running.


Yuri (July 12, 2022)

The Music falls silent.

Piping, pellets, powder,

Wrapped in tape,

Two smoking blasts

from a homemade gun,

Assassination Assassination

Sinking and numb

We face each other and a new world

Sandile (July 8, 2022)

hope pulses with astonishing freshness.

i’m home

embracing every tiny patch

food in green pastures

songs making me feel whole

while mourning a dear brother

Mandla Dlamini,

his leaf refusing to wither …

Yuri (July 14, 2022)

… you are home:

The rice smells sweet,

Take your shoes off and let

The tatami cool your tired toes;

Take a deep breath;

Let it seep within _

That feeling that you count

When what’s going on around us  

Is just the opposite.   

Sandile (Aug. 18, 2022)

A man from boyhood rises on a point of order.

Tells a tiktok traffic DJ, his potatoes are wrapped in blood.

Pleads for wifey to go gentle into his black potato sack.

To keep it cool, moist.

This tiny poem is no portrait of a man as a naked cook.

It is his pain.

Sandile (Aug. 24, 2022)

In the punishing winds,

chimneys sing in the bloody winds.

Why can’t you see?

Sit down. Grow wings.

Simply sing along.

Grow dreadlocks. Brush your dog.

Chill out with bafo.

And Hugh. Cool laughers.

Sandile’s photo for the segment above shows “Madala Kunene (left), a superb South African guitarist and raconteur. The young chap is Hugh Mdlalose, a talented documentary photographer. His father was a musicologist and named him after the great trumpeter. Madala is popularly known as bafo. Zulu for brother.”

Yuri (Aug. 26, 2022)

it’s a blessed day

when you wake up and write

a poem,

or rather a poem wakes up

and gets you

to write a poem;

it just comes but it

has to be

a blessed day;

never forget when it happens last,

or those long silent days

when you just suffered.


(The poetic trans-planetary collaboration between Sandile Ngidi in South Africa and Yuri Kageyama in Japan has evolved over time. Their previous works are: #peacepoetry (March ~ May 2022), and the work that started it all in 2021: “Magic 50 of COVID-19 Poems.” The tradeoff of lines in a literary hand-holding defied geographic borders, in a shared vision, week by week, or almost week by week, through the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the comings and going of daily life. “This poetic dance is our call and response. A tango of sorts,” Ngidi says. Without having ever met once in real life, the poets know simple but totally perfect mutual understanding. Thank God for Poetry.)

The River _ a poem in the spirit of Hart Crane _ by Yuri Kageyama

_ a poem in the spirit of Hart Crane _ by Yuri Kageyama


The River

_ a poem in the spirit of Hart Crane _ by Yuri Kageyama

Katsushika Hokusai’s hawks
Still eye this Sumida River
Crying their fue whistles
Echoing music on scuttling boats,
Carrying workers, travelers, modern-day geisha _
Some rickety, faded lanterns dangling,
Other ships are futuristic tubes of glass;
The torrents are dark with the wind,
Torn dreams of star-crossed lovers
Jumping tied by cloth as one
From the Kachidoki Bridge
No longer a draw-bridge, separating at the center,
The winding waves glisten in tips of white
Like the wings of seagulls that flutter
Only during the fall and winter seasons,

The River

In the rain, darting sideways sumi strokes,
Tiny people scamper across the landscape
The O-Edo “salarymen” and the “office lady” O-Ls
Faceless, hustling proletarian lives
Clasping sheer convenience-store umbrellas
Not the woven straw hats of the past
Tokyo Tower to the left
Sky Tree to the right
Stirring distant eternal visions,
Swimming in the Seine,
Sumida’s Sister River,
And Van Gogh’s deranged mind,
Sashaying to the ocean and the connecting skies,
Where the sun sets again,
Bleeding purple among wispy twisted clouds;
And the River churns,
Remembering glory,
Knowing sin
Through an anonymous city of lights

The River


Kabuki’s answer to the Pelican
The Flamingo, the Albatross,
The Heron swoops through the sky
Perches so perfectly on a pine _
Princess in mirrored waters;

The humble fish-gulping Cormorant
Dives in muddy waters,
Spreads battered wings to dry,
In flight, freed from slavery _
Transforms, a gliding Black Swan;

The Sparrow plays, chirping staccatos,
Small furs of speckled brownness,
They play, always searching
Like a lost forlorn child _
Unchanged from Issa’s poems.

SIGNS OF LIFE _ A Poem and Not a List


Azure-winged Magpie
Bobbling Lanterns
Giggling Motorboats
Baby Crabs, some are still
Worms on the pavement, mostly still
Fish are jumping, really
But Seagulls mew like Cats
And Monkeys slide on Dagwood Trees;
Smell of Tsukudani, dead Rodents,
Where Basho began his Journeys _
If We can feel the Words,
A List turns
Into A Poem:
Zinnia Elegans Profusion
Zinging Cicada
Couples in Yukata
Cotton Clouds
After the Storm


HANABI (fireworks)

Fireworks at Ryogoku by Utagawa Hiroshige

Fireworks at Ryogoku by Utagawa Hiroshige

Hiroshige had the idea
Roses, wine glasses, mandalas
Exploding big in the hot dark
Psychedelic flowers blooming
Over milling crowds of evil
Drunken laughter
Aspirations of Smallness:
I whisper to my blind friend:
“It’s lovely like truth,
Like forever.”
Fragile glows bleed with neon
Hanging low only for a moment
Hiroshige had the idea

Sumida River fireworks

Sumida River fireworks


Let me create them
Poetic moments
A Ditch is a River
Poetic moments
The River is Vision
Poetic moments
Lost forever found
Poetic moments
Poetic moments
Poetic moments
Let me create them
Poetic moments
May I stay pure
So I don’t miss them.




Sumida River
Whether a ditch or river
Ukiyo Vision


The River

their fangs shimmer
in the darkest of nights
in multitudes
like starving soldiers
they make their run
across downtown
fur upon fur
covering the cement,
nails scratching,
blocking the office lights,
monstrous mice mewing,
looking for the fish
that is suddenly gone,
as they once looked for
the Pied Piper of Hamlin,
the rats of Tsukiji
are moving,
not to Toyosu, where
the ground is poison
but into rich people’s homes
to eat their steaks, greed and children;
the rats blink
with tiny golden
unfeeling eyes,
diamonds of stench,
in time
with the stars

tsukiji night




I waited all summer
For your return
Flutters of petal
Above the water
Buddha’s wafting lily pads
Your squawks swim the salty breeze
Circling, swooping, dancing,
They say birds vanish before an earthquake,
A hurricane, an apocalypse;
It matters not you don’t remember me
Your playful swoops
Silence screams of hate
Your presence is comfort
In this Atomic Age
You are back:
“I will not cry
Except in love” _
I wrote those lines
When I was very young,
And they are still true
As I die,
You are back



the river oct 2018

the river with boats

The River with effects by Christopher Robert