burning memories

burning memories

gaze into the fire
the flickering shapes you see –
can you imagine?
ah, they imagine themselves
these figures of you and me.


dimensions of love

dimensions of love –
side-by-side to sleep or wake,
we gaze at our skies;
like incandescent feathers,
your heart-shattering presence.

on this eternal morning I

on this eternal morning I
listen to you breathe and cry
“it’s okay, it’s time now to let go…”
these whispered words are all I know
and yet…

and yet you see that I love you
because our hearts just grew and grew
together in this empty, dying world
we won’t show our flags unfurled
there’ll be no war today

blind to each other’s bodies we
shared our souls ‘till we could see
the meanings of “now you and I”
the hallowed ground where you now lie
it’s beauty, after all

fading slowly back into the light
the moon protests our global fight
“night and day both give no place…”
I’ll follow now the dream you chased
it’s precious, after all

still reaching for the sunrise I
will close your eyes and gently sigh
a tinge of burning passion felt
maybe revenge would my heart melt
and yet…

and yet you see that I love you
because our hearts just grew and grew
together in this empty, dying world
we won’t show our flags unfurled
there’ll be no war today

there’ll be no war today, I think
it’s our love after all


Dedicated to the memory of all the thousands of people affected by the U.S. September 11 attacks

And to all those who still stand up for one loving, global humanity.

Looking towards a world at peace… someday.

KT

ride the barrier with me ~one day, freedom~

gazing at you through the veil of my laughter,
I can’t help but think that you’re beautiful…
I wish you could see and believe it, too

spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?

just tell me, who says we can’t love each other?
riding the barrier to freedom, we are
we’re not hurting anyone but ourselves
this doesn’t concern anyone else
and they can’t control love, can they?

spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…

but what a stupid word that is!
four letters to contain all of the feelings in the world,
it’s absolutely laughable
maybe in another language I wouldn’t hate it so much
but we’re all humans after all
so I guess I shouldn’t ramp up my expectations?

spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…
someday, the world will understand me

I want to embrace you and hold your hand,
please believe it
how beautiful you are to me
anyone who says you’re worthless or ugly or stupid
just doesn’t have the strength to see,
the imagination to feel,
the will to give you love

spending time with you, I’m so happy
I’m so glad I’m alive
if I have the power to make you happy, even a little,
isn’t it more than responsibility?
I love you…
someday, the world will understand me
and we can live as we were meant to be.

Remember Me

Waiting for the autumn wind to blow the stars away,
I dream of you and only you,
Reaching out for the days we shared
And the tomorrows we left behind.

The goddess of time cannot care about us;
She sweeps me away to my death —
I can’t keep track, I’m losing it all
The words you said to me that day…

How could I be so cruel?
The promises I made to you,
I’ve left them far behind;
I can’t remember how I felt that time.

The current is too strong tonight,
Our love and care too distant to see —
Washed up on that glistening black and white beach
Where I once traced your name into the sand.

I took it for granted that you’d be here,
And even when I didn’t,
Our future of isolation was veiled to me;
I couldn’t appreciate what was in my own two hands.

I thought I wouldn’t live this long;
I thought I’d have you to my end;
But you made sure you went before me —
And now I don’t know anything.

The distance between us increases with time,
And she cares not about our past;
Please, I don’t want to forget you tonight —
But I’m only human in this life.

Zuihitsu #6

Humans, I think, seem to have an innate desire to simplify, and to simplify too much.

Liberal or conservative
Male or female
Black or white
Gay or straight
Catholic or atheist —
Good or bad
Worthy or unworthy
Happy or sad —
Love or hate.

There are too many to name.

We reduce immensely complex feelings and thoughts to only a few words
We push those words onto a categorical binary —
Then we worship it;
And condemn any who do not seem to fit,
Or who fall on the wrong side of the line.

My political views cannot be reduced to a word.
Not all liberals or conservatives think alike;
What is the purpose of this all?
For now we promote doctrines on shaky grounds,
Like a house without a foundation,
Rejecting one’s ideas simply because “You are not
In the same party as I” —
And to what end?
How are we to progress?

You may look at me and term me female,
And perhaps it is true that I am —
But since I was young,
I display “male-type behaviors”
And reject the female —
What say you now?
Stop and think.
My behaviors cannot be reduced to a word.
They cannot be categorized —
They do not dictate my gender or my sex —
So why do you care?
Why do I care?

And what of love?
You say I love you
To your father
To your sister
To your friend
To your lover —
Do you really presume to say
That every feeling is the same?
No;
Love is a category
Not any one feeling.
So why is it that you judge
When I turn to a friend and tell him I love him
Or to a cousin?

Why do you assume?
Why do you care, if it does not involve you?

A person cannot be reduced
To good or bad
To worthy or unworthy
To sinful or pure
To anything.
So why do we insist?
Can we not believe in each other
Simply as we are?

But that, too —
That is a form of simplification in its own right;
Is it yet impossible to break free?
Are humans innately unable to comprehend the world
Without reducing the whole to some of its parts
And losing all the significant intricacies in the process?

Zuihitsu #3

Someday, you will be happy.

Someday you’ll live in a world where you are valued. A world where every person, every book, every movie, screams out I love you, a world that affirms your very existence, your right to life as a human being. A world of freedom and peace, a world where the sun shines bright and never goes down. A world where the curtain never falls. Where darkness is something unknown to man.

Someday you’ll live in a world where you don’t need me. A world where you don’t have to call me in the middle of the night crying. A world where you don’t have to silence yourself, restrain yourself to just looking at me with pleading eyes, hoping I’ll see your pain. A world where you don’t have to lie awake at night trying to understand… why. Why you exist. Why you suffer. Why nobody seems to care.

Someday you’ll live in a world where you are not alone. A world where you are surrounded by dozens, hundreds, millions of people who love you unconditionally. A world where you are understood, accepted, invited in with open arms. A world where you can talk freely, act freely, where you can put down your facade, your safety net, your wall. A world where you can simply be you.

Such a world doesn’t exist. I know that. I’m not naive. But hope doesn’t have to come from a place of innocence.

Sometimes, hope comes from a place of love.

And sometimes, hope is just hope. It doesn’t have to get any more complicated than that.

Another Year Has Gone…

Over the mountains and under the sea,
A thunderous world stares back at me;
Threads of time slip by unnoticed,
And pass through my fingers to yours.

Today, you are seventeen,
A beautiful soul just beginning to dream;
But what now, what next,
Who is it you’ll become?

Because the life you live has only just begun.

With intent you look ahead,
Searching with unease and dread;
The glowing horizon remains ever impartial
And what there lies in wait?

But whispering gently in your ear,
The autumn wind tries to ease your fear:
On this day of endless dawn,
The sun will rise again.

The sun will rise, and we’ll see what happens then.

The trials that come may give you pause,
You may feel despair completely without cause;
But on such days you must remember:
You are not alone.

No matter what it is you face,
No matter what dreams you choose to chase,
Those who love you will be here by your side.
And this too, please don’t forget —

So little time has passed since then,
But I’m so glad we met.


For my friend E… Happy Birthday.

Entry #1 – From One Week to the Next…

Hi! Kohaku here. I hope everyone had a great week.

I wanted to give myself room to do more traditional blog posts and casually express my thoughts, so I think I’ll write an open journal entry every Sunday from now on. Well, I’ll try it for a little bit and see how I like it.

Today, I made oatmeal raisin cookies… I’m really into them right now. It’s strange, because I normally don’t like sweet foods or desserts or anything. This is the third time I’ve made this recipe, and I really think I should stop. I’m getting addicted to them…

Anyway, I was thinking about reorganizing the post categories and navigation menu on this blog. Right now most of the categories are general topics like music, but I also want to organize my writing by style – short stories, poetry, journal entries, longer works, etc. If I do both, it’ll probably be too cluttered. So I’ll have to think about it more and figure out which categories to cut.

Also, I was trying to start a longer story the other day, but I could barely get even the first paragraph out! I guess the idea hadn’t quite taken shape yet. I’ll try again.

My friend J is coming over tomorrow to play music with me. I haven’t seen her in a while. I think I’m blessed to have friends who will do this kind of thing. Most people don’t appreciate their friends enough… everyone, do something nice for a friend today. That’ll make me happy.

On that note, it’s my friend E’s birthday on Saturday, and I haven’t yet decided what to do for her. I have to do something. Don’t neglect your loved ones, especially on their birthdays – it’s a special day to celebrate their life and think about how much they’ve impacted yours. Make a meaningful present, throw a surprise party… at the very least, give them a call. What if something happens to them – or you – tomorrow? You’ll regret not spending enough time with them, right? Try to live without giving yourself a chance to feel regret. That’s important.

Because it’s too easy to lose someone you love… I always think about that when August is right around the corner.

Well, that’s all for now.

This week, practice showing love, and giving it. The world needs more of that. And, as always, take care of yourself.

KT

Death Wish / Death Will

Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

As the car hurtles down winding roads, I stick my head out the open window to take a breath of the crisp mountain air. I feel like I might throw up. “Don’t you think we should slow down?” I yell out hopefully, but there’s no response from the front. I’m beginning to regret accepting Katsumi’s invitation to ride in his car.

The rock walls on either side of us begin to narrow with dizzying speed. I sit back properly and stare at the back of Katsumi’s head; even from the rear, he gives off a strange aura of determination. His hands are tight on the steering wheel, and I know his foot is pressed just as firmly on the gas pedal. Sitting beside him in the passenger seat, Tadashi gazes calmly out the window with a vacant but thoughtful air.

Katsumi brakes hard, throwing us all forward, and makes a sharp turn. I cover my ears, wincing at the sound of his skillful death-defying flair. Thankfully, the road soon begins to straighten out, and a guardrail appears where the rock wall breaks away to our left. Tadashi glances over his shoulder, as if to check that I’m okay. He gives me a relaxed smile, brushes some of his incredibly long blond hair out of his face, and turns toward Katsumi.

“Katsu, let’s take a break, okay?”

“Okay.” Our driver gives a slightly disappointed sigh and begins to slow down. My sigh, in contrast, is one of delirious relief.

Some ten seconds later, Katsumi pulls over at the side of the road. He gets out immediately and wanders off to find a private place to release his bladder. I take my time escaping the car, moving slowly so as to make sure I won’t actually throw up.

Once I get out, I see Tadashi a few feet away, leaning against the roadside guardrail. I join him, taking deep breaths. He shyly offers me a cigarette, but I decline, and he chooses not to light up either.

“I don’t know how you can do it,” I say after a moment. “He’s crazy.”

“He is,” Tadashi admits. “He has a death wish. But this kind of thing is good for him, you know? Going for a ride lets him clear his head, release his aggression, satisfy his fantasies. If he didn’t do this, he’d probably be dead already.”

I shake my head. “Honestly… you really go with him every time?”

He smiles a little and nods. “Every time.”

“Aren’t you afraid he’s going to kill you?”

“Yeah, I’ve thought about that. But whenever I start feeling afraid I just think, if I’m going to die, at least I’ll die with him. You know? It’s better that way for both of us. Besides, I think he needs me. He can’t do this kind of thing alone.”

“That’s kind of messed up,” I say.

Tadashi smiles again. “We’re both pretty messed up people.”

“No, you’re pretty normal, it’s Katsumi who’s crazy… Anyway. I forgot to tell you this earlier, but I really like your hair.”

He brightens. “Thanks! I do too!”

“It’s so long.” I laugh and reach out to touch it; the longest locks come down to the middle of his chest.

“It is long,” he agrees affectionately, “And I’m not planning to cut it anytime soon. I like it this way.”

Katsumi comes back to us asking for a cigarette. Tadashi offers him one and lights it for him, and he wanders off in the opposite direction to take a smoke. Strangely enough, he’s the type who needs to smoke alone… and now that I think about it, he’s also a solitary drinker. I wonder about that for a silent minute.

“See, he needs this kind of thing,” Tadashi says.

“Yeah. I know what you mean. His eyes aren’t so wild anymore. Wait till we get back in the car, though…”

“It’s okay, Haku, I’ll tell him we should turn back and head home. You seem like you’ve had enough excitement for one night.”

“Thanks for your consideration,” I say. That’s Tadashi – always looking out for those around him, the epitome of kindness and compassion. I always wonder how he and Katsumi ended up so close, seeing as how they’re so different from each other. But then, maybe they aren’t so different after all…

“You should consider it a pretty big honor, getting to go for a ride with him,” Tadashi comments. Then he sees the look on my face and laughs quietly. “It means he’s willing to die with you. That says a lot.”

“Maybe I’m not willing to die with him,” I suggest.

He shrugs. “For Katsumi, that’s besides the point.”

I think about that for a while. “Say, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“It might be kind of rude, but I’ve been thinking this for a long time now…”

Tadashi nods encouragingly.

“Are you in love with him?” I ask quickly. Embarrassed, I keep my eyes locked onto his, searching for any hint that he’d taken offense, but there’s none to be found.

Instead, he looks at me with surprise and gives his usual gentle laugh. “What kind of question is that?”

Before either of us can clarify, Katsumi is back. He looks at us, says, “What’re you waiting for?” and gets back in the car. Tadashi follows him, glancing over at me with amusement.

“Katsu, I think we should head home…”

After a minute I too return to my seat. Part of me is terribly unwilling to do so, but Tadashi and Katsumi both deliver – the car turns around. I say a silent thank you and do my best to enjoy the rest of the night, thinking about what Tadashi had said to me.

Maybe I should be willing to die with these two…

Full Moon / Spirits

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

I sit at the edge of my balcony, staring out at the cloudless night sky. Over the city, pollution has dimmed the light of the stars, but the view tonight is still spectacular. The yellow moon is bright and full, and it’s so close I can see the alterations of light and shadow on its surface. Its power is overwhelming but not oppressive; rather than feeling small, I feel drunk. As I stare at it my mind seems to be pulled in a thousand different directions at once, chasing after the possibilities of my – and our – future.

I have to remind myself to breathe.

The moon hints at many things. For instance, it tells me that tonight is a night for talking to old friends. It’s not the only night, of course – it’s just a good opportunity. I take it gladly, and spend some time thinking over who I want to talk to. But I have no time to choose; behind me I can hear that one friend has already arrived.

“See, you’re not so hard to find,” she says as she opens the balcony door.

“I was worried I might be,” I reply. “That’s why I came outside.”

She smiles at me, joyful and energetic, her eyes deep pools of grey.

I drink in her image. “Did you cut your hair?”

“Yeah. Looks good, right?” She runs a hand through it as she comes over to sit beside me.

“Shorter than last time,” I laugh. I give my own hair a little toss. It’s definitely longer than I would prefer, and it just keeps growing.

“I like short hair,” she says. “What’s wrong with that? Anyway, I haven’t seen you in so long!”

“It’s been a few months, right?”

“Something like it… I don’t know. Time seems to flow differently nowadays…” She closes her eyes, brow furrowed slightly as if intently concentrating on something.

Watching her, I say quickly, “That’s okay. Sorry for being… I don’t know. Inconsiderate.”

She looks at me and beams. “It’s not inconsiderate. I’m glad you’re talking to me! I miss you.”

I reach for her hand by reflex, and regret it immediately. But she happily reciprocates, locking her slim fingers with mine. Embarrassed, I tell her, “I miss you too.”

“It gets kind of lonely…” She trails off and then gives me another of her trademark energetic smiles, but this one is a little on the wild side. “By the way, I like it when you play music for me. Thank you.”

“Of course!” I say. “I think it’s so much more meaningful than… you know, flowers and wine and stuff…”

“My little brother leaves me wine sometimes. He knows I don’t like wine! People’s likes and dislikes don’t change just because they die… I bet he does it to spite me a little.”

“Is he still mad?”

She nods. “He’s got all of this anger locked in his heart. And don’t get me wrong, I know he has a right to be angry at me, but I just wish he would learn to… let go a little, I guess.”

I smile faintly. “He’ll learn. Just give him some time.”

After a few seconds of silence she gives me an odd sideways look. “And what about you?”

“What about me?” I ask, surprised.

“Are you mad?”

“Me?” I shake my head and reply honestly, “I was never mad.”

She leans toward me, still holding my hand, and her face takes on that wild look again. “Define ‘mad’,” she says persistently.

I throw my head back and laugh. “You’ve caught me. You were always good at that.”

The compliment doesn’t even throw her off. She leans her face toward me a little more and speaks in a determined voice. “So you are angry?”

I raise my free left hand to my face and rub my eyes as I try to find an answer. “I’m not angry in the usual sense of the word,” I say. “It’s more like… I wish you hadn’t gone and died on me, that kind of feeling.”

“So you’re like my brother,” she comments. “Just not so intense, right?”

“Not so intense as to leave wine at your grave,” I laugh. “My, I’ve missed you. The way you joke around, the way you create the perfect lead in for my own jokes… you’re brilliant with words, you know? I never told you that.”

She blushes a little. “You really think so?”

“Absolutely brilliant,” I affirm.

Grinning, she turns away with satisfaction and looks out at the city sprawled below us. Then she raises her head and gives a low, contented sigh. “The moon is pretty tonight…”

I nod. “I’m glad you’re here to see it with me.”

She pushes on my shoulder playfully. “Reminds you of the time we met, right?”

“Sure does.”

“Tell me something, Haku.”

“What?”

“Did you really want to see me tonight?”

I look at her with surprise. “Of course,” I say, but as soon as the words are out of my mouth I begin to feel guilty, and she knows it. But the new expression that crosses her face lacks any sense of jealousy or hurt feelings; instead she seems concerned for me. As soon as I see this I think: I never once deserved this woman…

“My dad died last month,” I tell her. “I’ve been meaning to go see him, but it’s hard… Especially for my mother and all. So when I saw the full moon tonight… I was thinking of him.”

Her grip on my hand tightens. She glances away for a moment while she tries to string together an answer – we both hate the robotic, meaningless I’m sorry for your loss that gets thrown around so often. Finally she returns her gaze to me and says with overwhelming compassion, “The night’s not over yet, so I’m going to go, and then you can talk to your father, okay?”

I start to choke up. “Wait, hold on, that’s not what I…”

Determined, she lets go of my hand and stands up. I rise with her as she says firmly, “Haku, my sense of time might be degrading, but even I know I’ve been dead for a long while. At any rate, you come see me pretty often, and you play music for me and talk with me, so you know what? I’m blessed to have so much time with you. And right now your dad isn’t so lucky. So I’m going to go, and you can talk to your dad.”

I search for words. For a minute we stand in silence, facing each other on the balcony, enveloped in the yellow-white light of the full moon. In the end all I can manage is a heavy, passionate “Thank you”.

She gazes into my eyes and smiles wide. “Come see me soon, I’m getting lonely…”

Then she heads back inside and vanishes from my sight.

I bite my lip, trying not to cry, and return to the edge of the balcony to wait for my father.