aglimpseof 08 . SNAFU

FROM THE “GIRL” TO THE “FIRE”

APRIL-MAY 2011

REPUBLISHED TEXT: The poem SNAFU by Toshiko Hirata. It was found at “Other side river: free verse, edited and translated by Lisa Lowitz and Miyuki Aoyama, Contemporary Japanese Women’s poetry, volume 2 / “The Rock Spring collection of Japanese literature” published by Stone Bridge Press, 1995.

CONTENTS:

• the photo A girl, she is 100% by Giannis Drakoulidis is linked to the word “girl”

• The poem April Miniatures by Antonis Katsouris is linked to the word “April”

• the photo Tell Me How Beautiful They Are When You Wake Up by Dimitra Ioannou is linked to the word “evidence”

• the photo Abiquiu by Misha de Ridder is linked to the word “fire”


Basically, there are no clocks in this room. Basically, there are no days or months. The temperature is a non temperature and you, well I don’t know where you are. I am in SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up).

aglimpseof 08 republishes the poem “SNAFU” by contemporary poet Toshiko Hirata. The poem was found at “Other side river: free verse, edited and translated by Lisa Lowitz ans Miyuki Aoyama, Contemporary Japanese Women’s poetry, volume 2 / “The Rock Spring collection of Japanese literature” published by Stone Bridge Press, 1995. You can find more poems by Toshiko Hirata at: http://www.asu.edu/pipercwcenter/how2journal/archive/online_archive/v2_3_2005/current/translation/toshiko.htm

SNAFU

by Toshiko Hirata

Basically, there are seven clocks in this room. Each hand points in its respective direction. Each hand points to respective numbers. One hand points to 1:10 a.m. Another points to 1:15. Another to 1:21. Another to 1:13. One to 1:02 and still another to 1:15. I’m thinking oh, this clock says the same time as the other one did, but the one that pointed to 1:15 at first nows points to 1:17. One of them points 6:45. I’m not sure if it is 6:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. It is a clock whose batteries wore out several years ago. The clock died at 6:45. I can’t rely on the dead clock’s time. I’m going to disregard the time on the dead clock’s face.

There are seven clocks and if six are still alive, it is somewhere between 1:02 a.m. and 1:21 a.m. now. I wonder if 1:02 and 1:21 are the same time. What is the difference between them? The difference is not easily explained. What is obvious is that you are not here now.

In other words, you are not here. You are in the not-with of this room. Where are you? There are four calendars in this room. Three of them say it is the 6th and one of them says it is the 7th. Which doesn’t mean that it is the 6th and not the 7th. After all, the date is not determined by majority rule. Furthermore, I am the one who is in charge of changing the desks pads daily. What I do is not always right. I am often wrong. There is evidence of this in that one of the pages dated the 6th is a Monday, while another is a Wednesday and the last is a Saturday. I wish it were Saturday today. Saturdays and Sundays are when I don’t have to ride the subway and go up to the 13th floor of the office building. I’ m scared to go into the building. I’m scared to go to the elevator because it is possessed, maybe by the devils. It is often jammed by the possessors playing tricks on us.

I wish it were Saturday today. Saturday is the day when I go to the dentist’s. I don’t like the dentist’s but I’d rather go to the dentist’s than ride that elevator.

Basically, I have been trying to determine the month for some time now. It might be November, but here is no way of proving this. There is a stove next to me. Though no fire has been started. If I made fire I could get warm.

My legs are cold. If I do not light a fire, it is of no consequence. It is not so cold that a fire is imperative. It is most likely November now, but I cannot be sure. There is an air conditioner in the adjacent room. If I turn it on, cold air will blast out of it instantly and I’ll feel the cool. But I do not particularly think that wind is what I need.

Basically, the thermometer registers 17 degrees. 17 degrees is the proper temperature for November, but the temperature does not always reach 17 degrees in November. It rises to 17 degrees in April and even in May. It could be April now.

Basically, my memory tells me you are living with me here. In the morning you leave at 8:05 and you return late at night. We have been living in this way for some time. I wonder if my memory can be trusted. I wonder if this happened a long time ago, and if you have already left this place.

After leaving here, did you go to live with someone else somewhere? Or are you and I going to live together? Next year, after the new year begins and the flowers are in bloom, will we live here? Did we promise each other that we would? Or did you die a long time ago? Have you lived here for some ten years, and did you suddenly die a few years ago? Am I left alone? Why did you die? Was it from sickness? An accident?

Basically, I can’t recall how old I am. I found an I.D. card in my drawer. It says I am 15 years old. Does this mean I am 15 now? Only 15? I must study for entrance exams. I must practice vaulting the horse at the gym. Does this mean you were a dream? Does this mean that I have never met you? Will I meet you after many, many years? Will I meet you when I am 23, eight years from now? It gives my birth date as June 30th, the 30th of June in the Showa era. I do not know an era called Showa. I do not remember have been born in that era at all. That means that this birth date is probably not mine at all. Next to my birth date there is a picture. There is a girl who looks a little bit like me, though she is quite different from me. The length of her hair and its style are different from mine. The expression on her face. That is not the way I smile. I don’t smile like that at all. I rarely smile at all. It is not my face at all. It is not my I.D. card.

Kita Kyushu Kirigaoka Municipal Junior High. I have never heard of such a place. I don’t remember ever going to that junior high school. Toshiko Hirata. 4th class in the 9th grade. I am not familiar with such a name. It is not my name. It is not my I.D. Or if it is, the person here is not me at all.

A GIRL, SHE IS 100% . 100% ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙ

του Γιάννη Δρακουλίδη / by Yannis Drakoulidis

Λέξη-σύνδεσμος: κορίτσι / Word-link: girl

 

APRIL MINIATURES

(Soft Paganism, Anthesteria and Lies)

by Antonis Katsouris

On her new dress,
one flooded by yellow polka dots
and green motifs,
there stands like a crazy
powdered April Pierrot,
one and only,
the mimosa.

*

A young man of 30 Aprils, presentable and well-off,
wishes to meet
a young lady of 20-25 Mays, presentable.

*

April is the real esthete of the calendar. A faithful servant and keeper of Beauty he is exclusively interested in blossoming (an esthetic value) and completely ignores fruit-bearing (a moral value). For 30 days he sets the tone and the decor by attending to the wallpapers of Paradise, the carpets of Eden, and the ephemeral glory of the Flora. A nocturnal esthete also, April spends his evenings close to the fire burning rare copies of The Portrait of Dorian Gray and secretly reading Psyche (1898) by Louis Couperus.

*

(folklore)
When the gold thread is unravelled
and the rites of April have begun…
When we bury our clothes under the big tree
and our lives are caught together in the spider’s web…
Then I’ll know that our love has become
bigger and stronger.

*

A walk in the garden of April
along with the drunken insects…
And suddenly,
in the heart of a clearing
the back of a headless marble statue,
with two divine buttocks
looking at you straight in the eyes…
Venus or Apollo?
Apollo or Venus?

*

April from the latin word aprilis, contracted from aperilis, which indicates a beginning (perhaps with no end…). On April 1st witticisms and lies become de rigueur and the person who gets deceived gets the title of April Fool.

*

Half hidden, at the garden’s edge,
an  April violet
is winking at me.*

*

April…
And the circus (punctual as always)
has come once again to our little town.
We went on Saturday
and there, for the first time,
we saw a live orgasm up close.
It was very big and dangerous
and it was locked in a cage,
with gold letters on the door reading
Orgasmus Orgismenus.
It scared us all.
And at least it was worth
its full share of
our applause…

*

April’s secret love is yellow… Rare in nature, and occupying only one-twentieth of the light spectrum, yellow is the brightest colour and has April as a patron saint. It is only he who spreads it in abundance wherever he may pass, fulfilling his esthetic duties and ornamenting his lies… Since this is how he sets his traps, tricking and deceiving insects, birds, animals, and people, or even Satan himself – who famously loves to swim in yellow – the utmost (boy? girl?) of the out-of-tune chorus of April Fools.

*

How I would love
to leave
my last breath
amidst the wildflowers
of April…
(pretending)

*

It’s getting dark in the forest and the wise owl gives me its oracle: “Don’t let any temporary setback worry you. Shed any inhibition and follow your inclination – the only guarantee of fulfilling your wishes and aspirations. From April a new, leafy path-without-end will guide you. Follow it.»

*

Lusty, fresh, wet, and excited from the relentless ecstasy around him, April is constantly aroused and comes… comes… comes… without ever finishing. Like a happy Priapus enjoying his protracted erection and adorning it with flower garlands, April will end in May or even June, extinguished by an overdose of sun – without actually knowing if his orgasm came from a masturbation, a fellatio, a penetration (or maybe something else?).

*

An April afternoon
and the smell of carnations is
so delightful, so exciting,
that its flip-side
couldn’t be anything
more than
an unconstrained sneeze…

*

Back in those years, every April, women from good families, shepherdesses and shepherds, handsome adolescents, and young devotees of Diana (see virginity), would rush to hide in fear… To protect themselves this way from the divine rage of Zeus and his gang who would storm down from Mount  Olympus to indiscriminately chase males and females for a quick fling. The female victims of this sexual harassment  would usually bear demigods and new, wonderful creatures and species. As for the boys and girls that dared refuse the gods, so much the worse for them… Since they would invariably spend the rest of their lives transformed into a tree, a bush, or even a beautiful April flower.

*

Who knocks? That April-
Lock the Door-
I will not be pursued-
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied-**

*

The perfume shop Mon Avril recommends:
Eau de Camille by Annick Goutal,
Vanities by Penhaligon’s,
Apres l’ Ondee by Guerlain,
Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma,
Michelle by Balenciaga
(and for every hour) Bouquet Imperial by Roger & Gallet.

*

*Words by Daphne (a tenant of Hotel Women).
**Extract from poem 1320 by Emily Dickinson.

ΠΕΣ ΜΟΥ ΠΟΣΟ ΟΜΟΡΦΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΟΤΑΝ ΞΥΠΝΑΣ / TELL ME HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE WHEN YOU WAKE UP

της Δήμητρας Ιωάννου / by Dimitra Ioannou

λέξη-σύνδεσμος:  απόδειξη / word-link:   evidence

ABIQUIU

by Misha de Ridder

λέξη-σύνδεσμος:  fire / word-link:  φωτιά