he walked ramrod straight
a coat hanger still in his shirt
a face like some cowboy hero
he looked the part
walked the walk
talked the talk
but crumbled up with one punch
from Jimmy Johnson
over territorial rights to Margarita
Johnson picked him up
by his collar and belt
and deposited him in the gutter
another broken cowboy
at the end of his fistfight
at their OK Corral
Withered vines, old trees, crows at dusk;
A small bridge, flowing water, a few houses;
An ancient road, a lean horse in the west wind.
The evening sun sinking in the west–
A heartbroken traveler still at world’s end.
translated by Sherwin S.S. Fu
I cross the river to pluck hibiscus,
In the orchid marsh, many scented plants.
I pluck, but whom should I give them to?
For my love resides in a distant land.
Turning my head, I look toward home,
Along that vast and endless road.
Our hearts are one, yet we dwell apart,
Worrying and grieving till we grow old.
heading in the same direction.
And me, watching from the side.
Taking off my gloves, my hands stop–
what is it?
a memory flits through my mind
translated by Hiroaki Sato
In the end
that’s the road I’ll travel–
I’ve known it all along–
but I didn’t think I’d have to start
this very day
translated by Burton Watson
he named us The Jesters
had someone design the sweaters
a coat of arms
the unofficial leader
but more inclined to follow
told stories of his older brother
and cousins the Cicero boys
with sound effects
the roar of the crowd
a witness to my first car accident
almost caused my second
when the ashes of his cigarette fell
between his legs
one of the three of us
who actually graduated high school
attended college for a semester
got a job
had kids, I imagine, with Lorene
his sister Maryann
the darling of our crowd
a teller at a local bank
there are some who never get beyond
the working class we’re born in
that was Vic
too good natured to have ambition
still on the same block
making crowd noises
for his kids
Awakening spring: how many leaves!
Rustling dawn: how many branches!
Does she know the pangs of love?
Never a time she wouldn’t dance.
Pussy willows aflutter–hide white butterfly,
Tendrils hanging limp–bare yellow oriole.
All conquering beauty, perfect through and through:
Who would enjoy just the brows of her eyes?
translated by Eugene Eoyang & Irving Y.Lo
music fills the room
there is whiskey in the glass
shadows on the walls
memories haunt restless minds
this mind won’t rest till morning
like Cortez my ships
were burned just after landing
behind me the sea
in front an empty landscape
which way do I choose to go