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Tanka, short poem.
Zanka, left over ember.
There is no sacred
scent, suffering, tradition
for the unfamiliar.









Folk can’t write poetry.
Songs can’t write poets.
Between five and seven
morae held by fraud,
ditties plucked by famine.









Some call for hiccups.
Some call for location.
Some call for sound.
Some call for image.
Some call for objects.
Some call for lines.
Some call for calls.









Blew the bud, bud the blow.
Pull and cut sharply—
the “poeticized” sequences
the immediacy of flora
sweetmeat adorned in branches.









Now bend the fragments.
Flow the path, young humor.
Follow the fog, aging angst.
Trickle this dispersal.
Trick that direction.
Ten thousand years or leaves.
Your choice is merest choice.









The innocent primitive.
Foreign digestives/digestions.
Then, from Basho and Buddha
a gang of comedians and priests.
Not easy to work here
without a permit for purity
to pine that of pine.








Sho Sugita

Sho Sugita lives and writes in Matsumoto, Japan. His translation of Spiral Staircase: Collected Poems of Hirato Renkichi (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017) is the first book of Japanese Futurist poetry to appear in English.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2017

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