Poem From Japan–Miriam Sagan

Thanks to Stone Bridge for publishing my poem of the Japanese countryside.

from the desk window
blue roof tiles
those dragon scales
that ripple
like the sea
and a corrugated
green tin roof
then the lettuce beds
of the old lady’s house

when she opens the screens
I can watch her
watch television
or eat a little snack,
she has quality
of loneliness
or aloneness
I recognize—
she’s the one
who is left

To see it all–

2 Second Fix: No Need To Curse The Darkness

The item I need in order to feel secure is not a phone, pepper spray, or a credit card. It is a flashlight. One with internal batteries that comes with the claim PREFERRED BY FIREFIGHTERS. I’ve been blacked out in many unfamiliar and remote places. And since I have to pee in the middle of the night sleeping right through isn’t an option.
On an unrelated but equally useful note—I had a Hassidic teacher tell me that if it is Hannukah and you don’t have a menorah tea lights are a perfectly good substitute. As someone who spent two winter weeks in the Everglades clutching her flashlight, I can also attest that the tea lights are very pretty.

One more thought. These lanterns were ubiquitous in Japan–and gorgeous, even if just advertising noodles. Wouldn’t they make a great basis for a text installation?

Sex Trade and A Very Small Earthquake: Poem by Miriam Sagan

Just published in https://sheilanagigblog.com/volume-2-3-spring-2018-the-poets/miriam-sagan/
Click to read more!

Sex Trade and a Very Small Earthquake

at 1am it woke me
more the house moving
than the earth itself
loud noise
screens rattling

on the way to the grocery store
my son-in-law and I
saw a long line of silent men
looking like a queue for bread
standing outside a tiny door
advertising women
and the price

this is just
a few feet from
from the fish stall,
more than sixty years and half a world
from my cautious worried
life as a woman
where one wrong turn
leads to dangerous DANGER

now old
I’m sleeping
beneath my drying clothes
pink sweater
which is another body
fluttering at the window shade
and swaying
like a gull
that looks down
on islands
and sees the ocean floor

Suminagashi in Japan–Isabel Winson-Sagan

Working with suminagashi in Japan was a terrific experience. Returning to the country that is the source of suminagashi lent meaning to the practice in a way that nothing else could. Because it is a traditional art form, the original influences were easy to find- from pieces of sumi in museums to the mountains that have influenced everything from woodblocks prints to sumi-e, the physical place and culture that birthed the art form were all around me.

Home From Japan But So Many Impressions Remain


the gate of the city of Fukuoka
sits as a walled park,
its shrines are several stories
with a public architecture
of gray curved roofs

the spirits housed here
assert a place
that will be populous, prosperous,
its train station
takes you everywhere else
and you must
bring home a box
of little cakes
to show you were there

feral but sleek
black and white cats
by the bodhisattva—
(someone must be feeding them)
a large pile of tiles
stacked up
to keep things in repair
above our heads

red pagoda
enormous tree
handful of cherry blossoms
lines of weathered buddhas
put out to pasture
and one huge buddha
you can’t photograph
but offer incense, candles
as I whisper
your long gone name

on the corner
is a noodle shop
the table set with garnishes
of green onions and tempura bits
who wouldn’t be happy?

flying half the night
I don’t see
the eclipse of the moon
although that will no doubt
the one I love

back in Honolulu
on the way home
Pagoda Hotel
with its funky
overgrown green
carp pool
full of whiskers and big turtles
I sit alone in the afternoon
in a fake
replica of a tower
that invites
the habitation
of the invisible.

Hakata Station

We’ve rushed through the station many times–off the bullet train, for every jaunt to town–often tired, hungry, and distracted. But noticing just how enticing it seemed. Ten stories of lavish shopping and long underground arcades of food and tiny stores. There is even a railway shrine at the top–but today I got there before it opened.
Now heading home, we’re at a boutique style hotel a few blocks away. And so back to Hakata, to experience it as more than a transfer.
First off, a fabulous smell always hit us on entry. After scouting around, we found the source–Italian bakery. I ended with a doughnut (red bean paste) from another bakery.
There is a wonderful Henry Moore statue of mother and child outside. Inside, endless blue decorative tiles, bas-relief, small plantings, and stores stores stores.
The inscription below is too archaic for google to translate. So I don’t know who this gentleman is. But I look characteristic enough.