Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Masayo Koike: 2 poems


Late at night the Daikokuya bathhouse is quiet
An old woman bone-tired
Even naked unable to be free of dirt
Rattling the door
Comes in
From the nozzle of the shower with the tap loose
Water makes a dripping sound
Bare-footed the cool of the night softly steals in
From the high skylight
The water is rocking
Overflowing the edge of the bath
Pass no judgement
Like a log
I look at the female bodies
I saw
Naked backs, hips and backsides
Private parts
The water flowing over their bodies
Fallen head-hair
The many hollows of the female body
Water gathering there
Dripping down
I feel as if I have been looking at this
For years over and over again
I also saw the wall separating the men’s and women’s baths
And I took my time to make certain that
Like a wild beast
Climbed from the men’s into the women’s bath
Or the other way


A Short Poem about Daybreak

America, in a toilet in Santa Fe
I was urinating softly for a long long time
In the whole world
I felt as if there was only this sound and myself
Despite the fact that I was making the noise
Curiously it sounded as if it was coming from outside
As I was being consoled by it
Like an old woman’s unending story
I was
Waiting for it to end
But it would not
A time that doesn’t belong
To anyone
I wasn’t here,
I’m not alive,
I could even say this
Presently the sound ceased
In this room that had rapidly grown cold
A silent soul suddenly created
Is that me, is it me?
The temperature of life left in the shape of an invisible circle
Were you there?
Were you there in that room?
I was
I am alive
Long before then the questioning voice reached me

© 2001, Masayo Koike
From: Yoakemae Juppun
Publisher: Shichosha, Tokyo, 2001

© Translation: 2006, Leith Morton

1 comment:

Glamourpuss said...

I went to a Japanese bath house. In Matsuyama. A strange mixture of the modest and the brazen. They all stared at me.