TOKYO CORRESPONDENCE

Tokyo Correspondence: Notes From a Writer Beyond the Headlines

I kept a blog from 2007 before I started this site in 2011. Here’s the link below. I’m also sharing after this TEPCO CORRESPONDENCE: Notes From a Writer Beyond the Headlines. Those are my posts on Facebook in 2011, while I was covering the utility behind the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It’s amazing to run across bits of your past self _ and what you wrote then. Both so clearly you and not you at all. Yet totally the truth. And all that makes you you.

https://yuri-kageyama.blogspot.com/

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.

MAGIC a poem by YURI KAGEYAMA

Why do We Write?

More Mysterious,

Why do We Read What we Write?

Why are there Chants, Prayers, Songs?

Poems?

Words are There To Be Spoken.

Words are There To Be Heard.

Magic of The Word.

Magic

Of

The

Word.

AN UNDENIABLE FACT A haiku by Yuri Kageyama March 8, 2020 8:55 a.m.

AN UNDENIABLE FACT

A haiku by Yuri Kageyama

March 8, 2020 8:55 a.m.

Some

Writing

has no

Soul

No Voice (No Story being told)

It

Comes

from

Within

AN ELEGY FOR JOURNALISM A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

AN ELEGY FOR JOURNALISM
_ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Stories killed, stories buried,
Stories untold, stories denied,
Robert and Dori Maynard
Woodward and Bernstein
Margaret Bourke-White
Howard Imazeki
Gary Webb
Robert Capa
Anja Niedringhaus
Gerald Vizenor
Gwen Ifill
Joe Oyama
Gordon Parks
Do we write to live or live to write?
Do we write to remember or do we write to forget?
Do we write to remember or do we write to be remembered?
Do we write so we don’t kill or do we write so we don’t kill ourselves?
Do we make movies to live or live to make movies?
Do we make music to live or live to make music?
Do we write to live or live to write?
Do we live?
Do we live?
Do we live?

The poem is a part of my performance piece “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet,” directed by Carla Blank, presented at ZSpace in San Francisco last year, debuting in an earlier version, without this poem, at LaMaMa in New York in 2015. This version combines what I wrote several weeks ago with what I wrote several years ago. I like this what this poem has become.

The Warning _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

The Warning _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Writers
Beware:
What defines
A Square?
Those Who keep
Looking Around
To see Who’s
Giving them
The Glare,
Wooing approvers
With Sexual favors,
Unlike
The Poet
Who Listens
Only
To
That Voice
Within

YASUNARI KAWABATA’S ROOM a poem by Yuri Kageyama

kawabata1a

YASUNARI KAWABATA’S ROOM
a poem by Yuri Kageyama

The soft light flickers even in daylight on moss, ferns and rocks, and a well trickles drops into a circular pool of peace, beyond the tiny shoji window, where he used to sit, smile and pick on kaiseki dishes with friends like Yukio Mishima and Yae, the head maid of the ryokan inn, talking about nothing and everything, that moonlit space, like a dream remembered at midnight. He wrote only after everyone left and went to sleep. In a silence that is his only. So intense he feels numb. And he wrote like he bled, effortless but draining. He only needed one night. To get away and soak in that special space, a fantasy complete with the passing of the seasons, knowing of the right word and the shock of an ancient doll’s face, so very similar to that place in his mind and soul and his writing. No one raises his or her voice. Everyone is frivolous, fragile, forgetful. Tea is bitter-sweet foam, served with a pungent pastry. He wrote. He could write. And the publisher found his manuscript done, always, outside the door in the morning.

Yasunari Kawabata's room at a Kyoto inn

Yasunari Kawabata’s room at a Kyoto inn

EN-EN-EN-EN-EN A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

En-EN-EN-EN-EN
A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

POETRY
DOES NOT
CANNOT
EN-TERTAIN
POETRY
DOES CAN
EN-GAGE
EN-RAGE
EN-LIGHTEN

No Gift of the Magi _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

No Gift of the Magi
A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

we were poor
not dirt poor but poor
me a reporter at the local rag
you a stay-at-home dad and part-time English teacher
and so when i opened that velveteen box
you handed me oh so casually on
Christmas eve
palpitating
anticipation about a
gem or jewel or sparkle
that other girls get
and saw a plain black fountain
pen
the kind no one uses anymore
mont blanc or some other brand requiring finger-smudging
ink,
i was angry
“why did you buy this and
waste money?”
and then you
suddenly
moved
and i thought you were going to hit me
and you took the pen
and broke it in half
hot with something
that was beyond
the anger i felt
sour-tasting disappointment
a feeling of not being
loved
not like that O. Henry story
where the comb unwanted, the watch band unwanted
were simple
priceless proofs of
true love
undeniable,
not that dumb purchase filled with
hate,
and you looked up
and said what I didn’t
think of and what you didn’t
want to say
at all,
“I bought you a pen
because you are
a writer
and that’s what writers use
_ a pen.”