Saturday, May 24, 2008

People Who Know Pain

Recorded with Yumi Miyagishima on violin at Music Man studio in Tokyo, May 24, 2008.
Part of the TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN poetry readings with music.
Yumi Miyagishima, or Shima, is one of my favorite Tokyo musicians and one of my favorite people.
I wrote this poem inspired by the kind of things she talks about because she is so filled with a free spirit, the sense of justice, the love for music _ and a total disregard for practicality, status, "common sense" and material wealth that makes her really delightful.
It is difficult living in this vicious, greedy and insane world that Tokyo has become _ especially for a Japanese woman.
Tokyo on the surface looks like any big modern city.
You'd think women will get equal treament.
Think again.
Women are being treated like second, third, class citizens, and live and work fighting for their jobs, safety, self-respect, right to be creative as though this is right in the Third World.
It makes it even sadder that all women like Shima want is genuine love.
And they must seek it from men, the very pepetrators, for the most part, of the discrimination, cruelty and degradation that hurt and brutalize women.
Women who want nothing more than the fulfillment of their simple dreams are vulnerable.
But Shima grows stronger day by day, year by year.
Here she is, still playing music in Tokyo, and she even has a nice boyfriend:

People Who Know Pain

The World is divided bet-
Ween two kinds of People
The Winners and the Losers
The Takers and the Givers
The Famous and the Forgotten
The Loved and the Unloved _
Those who don't care and

People who know Pain
People who know Pain

when your tongue rolls, the
tips of my nipples, piercing
knife of betrayal

Vincent Van Gogh
John Coltrane
Garcia Marquez
Toulouse Lautrec
Billie Holliday
Richard Wright
Kenji Miyazawa

People who know Pain
People who know Pain

baby foxes dance,
leaving paw marks in the snow,
fairy tale of joy

Hermit, victim,
Outcast, untouched,
They travel faceless
Shadows on the subway
Mute, unconnected,
Unknowing of their own Pain

People who know Pain
People who know Pain

bitter memories grow
a cancer pomegranate
bleeding and rotting

I'd rather shelter that Pain alone
A powerless nobody,
Ashamed, shunned,
Stench of insignificance,
Laughing the idiot's laugh,
Running forgotten errands,
Dying before living like other

People who know Pain
People who know Pain

a zillion light years
the planet pulsates timeless
soundless universe

I'd never be that superior someone who
Conquers, fornicates, lynches,
Deposits paychecks, plans careers,
Forms opinions, writes reviews,
Weighs pros and cons, wins awards,
Attends receptions, discriminates,
Never knowing, shrugging off, how painful

People's Pain can be
People's Pain can be


Anonymous said...

I like this alot.

I hope to catch some of your readings when I am in Tokyo in July.

Yuri Kageyama said...