Tag Archives: Yokohama

Pink and Blue Benevolence


It’s raining in Yokohama.
I hang my transparent umbrella
on a hook near the door.
Water drops fall
and explode
on the carpet below.
I sit at my desk.
I turn on the red lamp
and look out
the window.

I peer in shop windows
in ancient Trastevere
where the sun pours in
at the ends of the streets
like rain falling
sideways soaking
the streets golden.
The buildings are tinted
with sun-variations,
butter yellow and
cantaloupe orange.

It’s not a memory.
I don’t remember walking.
I am walking.

I walk
through a small piazza
where two friends
with golden retrievers
on red leashes
greet each other
with kisses
on each cheek.
The dogs move closer,
stand so their bodies touch,
share a memory of open fields.

I walk past the restaurant
where we had dinner
was it two nights ago?
The waiters mock
the foreigner students,
send away those
without reservations.
Yet to us, they are
Kind the way that Romans are.

I pass the shop
where he purchased
the red ceramic bowl.
A Christmas gift.
The white haired shopkeeper
pushes her glasses
to the top of her head
just like I do.
She waves.
Come in.

I shake my head.
My inbox is too full.

We are at another restaurant
with white linen table cloths
and heavy utensils.
The man beside us
the patriarch
wears navy adidas pants
with three white stripes.
Three children devour their pasta
and make fun of each other.
They do both loudly.
Every few minutes
their mother says “taci”
and they are quiet
for as long as it takes
to remember
who they were teasing.
At the table on the other side
a young foreign couple
spends the evening
looking at their phones.
We order cacio e pepe,
mac and cheese for adults.
We wonder aloud if we could
make this at home.
Pecorino and pepper.
He says he thinks so.
He says he thinks
with some practice
he could get it.

From the safety
of street corner shrines
the Virgin Mary
regards us.
she is pink and blue
I believe
she is here for me,
my patron saint
of time travel.

In Yokohama
it is still raining.
My inbox is full.

Time is a circle.

Bird Man


We see a slim man
in a light blue shirt
tucked into
pressed black trousers.
He could be a minister.

He throws small cubes
of bread for the pigeons.
Throws the bread
over a chain-link fence
and the birds fly over
his head
and he does not duck.
After the bread is gone,
he walks away,
his hands clasped
behind his back.
Like children
the birds follow him
to the end of the path
where the path
meets the road.
This man and his birds.

Perhaps this is his church.

{Written on 9 July 2015}

Puddle-wonderful morning


“When the world is puddle-wonderful”
~ e.e. cummings

They were on their way to school this tiny
person and her mom when a too cheeky
manhole cover whispered, “Hey little girl!
Yes, you. In the yellow. Come over here.”

And the girl let go of her mother’s hand
and wandered closer to the weird talking
manhole and she leaned down and saw that it
was filled with water. “Go ahead,” the voice said.

“I know you want to.” And she jumped in the
puddle and giggled and her mother smiled
and I laughed. And she jumped again. For a
moment, in the joyful land of rain boots
and pink umbrellas, we forgot the way

to school.



All night our building
swayed in the arms
of the angry wind,
a boozy old woman
on a cruise ship.

The early stillness
of the morning after
by an earthquake,
doors creaked
in their wooden frames,
the pendant light
swung across
the dining room.

We opened the drapes
to crayola blue skies
Mount Fuji
who was out
for a stroll.
“Good morning,”
she said,
“You’ve weathered
another storm.”

An umbrella-shade woman
smiled as we passed through
the black and white striped
land of the traffic cop
blowing his whistle-warnings
sharp sharp and loud.

As they passed the train station
two girls in navy uniforms
laughed joyfully.
Commuters turned.
Eyes wide,
one girl covered her mouth.
The other wore a mask.

A boy with grey trousers
and sneakers
and four inches
of white socks in between
raced by,
a blue bag slung over
one shoulder like
a burden.

A young mother emerged
from the back seat
of a white car,
a baby tied to her chest
with fuchsia pink strings.
The infant touched
her mother’s face
as they raced across
the street.

A thin foreign boy
with blonde hair
and a beige leather jacket
danced to the secret rhythms
of his headphones.
Danced right into the station.

We weathered another storm.

The shop near school


There’s a little shop near our school
that serves “the world’s best cheesecake.”
That’s not just my observation.
It was the name of the shop.

And then it closed.

{I know. It’s a lot to take in.}

So we were sad for a while
and then we got busy wondering
what might take its place.

Months went by.

A few weeks ago, we noticed
the arrival of mid-century furniture.
You know the kind…
Looks great. Feels terrible.
So we deduced it was a furniture shop.

Then we saw a man working at a bar
like a coffee bar
on the far side of the space.
Coffee shop?

Big arrangements of flowers
appeared last week
which signals
in Japan
the opening of a new business.
It looks like a funeral in there
and still the whole thing is a mystery.

Damien says there is a sign
but it’s too small to read
from the road.

So I don’t know whether to say,
“Hello. I’d like a chair with my cafe latte
or a cafe latte with my chair.”

I’ll keep you posted.

Two hundred yen


On Friday night we had dinner
at our little Italian place,
the restaurant where everyone knows us.

We saw some students
on a date
so we slid quickly into our booth
keeping a low teacher-profile.

Stealthy. Like spies.

In Japan, it is common
to pay at the front counter
even in lovely restaurants
so despite our sneakiness
we found ourselves
behind those students
in line to pay.

The boy reached for his wallet
and handed some bills to the cashier.
Then he patted his pockets.

“Oh no. He doesn’t have enough money.”

“How do you know?” said Damien.

“I just know.”

The cashier looked at the wall
while the boy turned his pockets
inside out and the girl
opened her wallet.

“Can we help?,” we asked.

On Monday the girl brought me
perfect plastic bag
with two 100 Yen coins.
Two dollars.

“Thank you so much.”

That girl is going to love me forever.