Friday, December 28, 2007

Ishigaki Rin: 2 poems


In Tokyo
At the public bathhouse the price went up to 19 yen and so
When you pay 20 yen at the counter
You get one yen change.

Women have no leeway in their lives
To be able to say that
They don’t need one yen
And so though they certainly accept the change
They have no place to put it
And drop it in between their washing things.

Thanks to that
The happy aluminum coins
Soak to their fill in hot water
And are splashed with soap.

One yen coins have the status of chess pawns
So worthless that they’re likely to bob up even now
In the hot water.

What a blessing to be of no value
In monetary terms.

A one yen coin
Does not distress people in the way a 1,000 yen note does
Is not as sinful as a 10,000 yen note
The one yen coin in the bath
With healthy naked women.

* * *


In the night I awoke.
The clams I bought yesterday
In a corner of the kitchen
With mouths open were alive.

‘When dawn comes
I’m going to gobble them all up
Every single one.’

I cackled
The cackle of a witch.
From that moment on
My mouth slightly open
I passed the night in sleep.

Translation by Leith Morton; 2005

1 comment:

chicagoforlife said...

i really like the first poem. I feel like Ishigaki uses the one yen coins to show people the true freedom of being worthless or rather unembodied of all of the things that people carry around with them physically and mentally. -M.D.