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The Wayward Poet

Ruminations, Illuminations, Musings, and Original Work by Chester Sakamoto

“Osaka Riff”

Horn Players

Canals full of boats.

Reflections of lanterns

Distorted on the icy water’s surface.

Young hepcat leans against a lamppost

Outside Zuboraya,

Waitin’ for that blowfish to exhale.

“Van Gogh’s crows whom the lymph nodes know.”

He drums his fingers on his chest

With a steady rat-a-tat

And riffs,

Moving to the phantom beat

That no one else can feel.

 

Crab does a cakewalk

To the cornet’s clarion call.

Suffocating neon city

Blinks in rhythm,

A taiko’s tom-tom tempo,

While the old ornithologists

Wail away on their saxophones,

Clearing the clouds from view.

Crowds of revelers gather ’round them,

Hands held high in exultation,

As if to shout “Amen!”


© Chester Sakamoto

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“Chungking Road”

Chung King Road

Here, in a forgotten corner of the Angel City,

Coleridge’s dreams of Xanadu are realized:

 

Blue smoke rises from the restaurant’s vent,

Filling the air with a hearty aroma

That conjures up images of a fertile river valley

With mountains as ancient as Mother Earth herself.

Like a cobalt dragon, it reaches skyward,

Longing to read the Diamond Sutra

As the scroll unfurls among the stars,

Disguised as the Milky Way.

 

Out back,

The head chef steps through the kitchen door.

With nervous glances, he frequently checks his phone,

Awaiting the news from home.

His daughter is with child.

How he wishes he could be there,

Beyond the vast ocean,

With his family.

Wringing his soiled apron nervously with calloused hands,

He storms inside,

Disappearing behind a wall of steam.

 

On the grassy hill that rises above Chinatown,

A chorus of crickets drowns out the sound of the local freeway

By playing live jazz for the suburbanites,

Which is broadcast on all frequencies across the basin

From the imposing radio tower that crowns the peak,

A steel idol to the god of ingenuity.

 

Down in the twisting streets below,

The hot, dry winds from the distant Mojave

Cause red lanterns to jump and twirl

Like graceful Chinese dancers.

Storefronts are abandoned.

There is no sign of life anywhere.

Only a mother,

Seated on rickety steps in the alley

Between dilapidated apartments,

Sings a Cantonese lullaby

To soothe her weeping infant.

“Hush, my darling,” she says.

“Do not cry,

For you are on Gold Mountain now,

And nothing can harm you.”


© Chester Sakamoto

“Day of the Dead”

calaveras

“No se puede vivir sin amar.” –Malcolm Lowry

 

A cold moon hangs low in the western sky,

Distant Venus in its orbit,

Faithful dog always in tow.

 

Two thousand miles to Cuernavaca.

 

It’s just past 3:00 am

When I wake to visions of The Last Supper,

Jesus engaged in a heated debate with St. Thomas

On the nature of time itself.

The overnight bus crawls down a desolate stretch of highway,

Charon’s carriage ferrying lost and wayward souls

To the proverbial Other Side

While outside my window, the Mexican night rolls on,

Black, endless, eternal.

 

Dark-eyed caballeros

Sidle up to the side of the coach

When we pull into the depot at noon.

Roused awake by their incessant cries,

They coo and wink,

Hawking their earthly wares

With promises of a good time.

Abraham Lincoln smiles up at me

From a blank page in my passport,

As if to say, “Hang in there.”

 

Conspiracies of ravens circle overhead,

Inkblots on a pristine blue canvas,

Rorschach test of the soul.

Silver-tongued spiders and Yiddish aphorisms

Wander directionless through the labyrinth of my mind

As I traipse into a cantina at the end of a quiet tree-lined street,

Nothing to greet me but bebop Buddha Mingus

On the neon jukebox.

Calavera bartender,

Bones stark white,

Mixes concoctions in vials and test tubes like a mad scientist,

Content in his kingdom behind the counter.

Slumped in the corner, passed out cold,

Is D.H. Lawrence,

The imp on the absinthe ad

Poking and prodding the author’s aquiline nose with infernal pitchfork.

 

A naked woman swims in a bottle of mezcal.

Falling into my glass,

I consume her,

Her radiant warmth surges through my bloodstream,

Opening my eyes to the possibilities of the universe

And the secret to life itself:

 

It’s love,

For without it, we could not live.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Cardiff”

Cardiff

Scene of the crime:

A book has been murdered.

Its ripped-out pages take to the wind,

Volcanic ash in the wake of a massive eruption.

Its shattered spine contorts at an angle,

Inflicted by pure hatred.

The night watchman is questioned.

He claims to know nothing,

Lit cigarette dangling from his lips

And blue cap askew

On his golden blonde head.

 

Airborne hippos were likely the culprits,

The morning edition of the Times reports,

Having recently escaped from the local zoo

Following a violent protest

Regarding vegetarianism

And the rights of caged chickens

Wherein the Socratic Method was challenged (in Welsh)

By stoic university professors

Who should have known better.

 

I wish I were back in Cardiff,

Where everything is familiar

And Dylan Thomas climbs the rafters

Over the city,

Touting the virtues of Man Ray and the ghost in the machine

At the top of his lungs.


© Chester Sakamoto

“London”

London photo

I wake before dawn.

They say the mind has the ability

To travel thousands of miles in an instant.

Crowded on a cold fog-shrouded San Fran couch,

Morning in Pacific Heights is melancholy at best.

In the blink of an eye,

I’m on the holy Thames,

Spray from the bow of the river-barge

Riddles my face like liquid bullets.

By the Houses of Parliament,

Big Ben announces the Hour of the Jackal,

Tolling forlornly over English skies.

James Baldwin tome in hand,

I marvel at the interconnectedness of all things.

An idea is reflected on the page,

Or else a cryptic message

Left on stone walls

That line a chartered street:

“The urge to destroy is creative.”

Oh, philosopher!

And you, dear painter,

What are your thoughts on this current age,

Where each passing second on the mighty clock’s face

Teeters between chaos

And a new beginning

(Though parishioners at Westminster Abbey

Pray for the latter)?


© Chester Sakamoto

“Spring Street”

Art Walk

“AOP ’93”

This inscription

On the side of a building,

Bleached white

Against red brick,

Its meaning lost on me

While crossing the street,

The halo from the lamppost

Illuminating each stranger’s face

Like radiant saints.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Deep Song”

Old Guitarist

I saw blood

Dripping down a young man’s arm,

Masterfully concealed by his shirtsleeves.

Nevertheless,

A river of warm desire

Reddening the cold concrete.

 

From Basra to Mosul,

I saw towering minarets jut skyward,

The call to prayer

Piercing the sacred silence of the valley

Like a doleful cry.

 

I saw swarms of sanctimonious paper airplanes

Cast their triangular shadows

Over fields of men,

Whose crestfallen faces

Were scattered upon the charred earth.

Food for the carrion birds.

 

In the cities of the West Coast,

I saw frogs

Raining down from the heavens,

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Punishing humanity

For its wickedness.

 

I saw abandoned textile mills

On the banks of the Passaic

Rotting away to rust,

A tetanus trap

That senselessly murdered whole schools of fish.

 

At the Grand Canyon,

I saw the sons of Ilium

Charge off a cliff

So as not to surrender

To the conquering Greeks.

 

I saw life rafts

On the mighty Mississippi.

Huck Finn and Jim

Paddled on vigorously

So as to avoid censorship.

 

Landing on Romanian soil,

I saw the ghosts of freedom fighters

Throw Molotov cocktails at phantom tanks,

Chanting slogans in a Latin language

That conjured up images of Roman emperors.

 

What mean these words that I sing?

Crocodile tears aren’t very salty,

Or else they’d mean something to the average person.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Stroll on a Foggy Morning”

foggy morning

Mist shrouds the veteran cemetery,

Its cool, wispy fingers cradle each headstone

Like a consoling parent.

Here lies a young man killed in the line of duty.

Beside him, a combat veteran who stormed the beaches of Normandy

On that fateful day during World War Two.

Each grave is a library of stories

Of courage, valor, and honor.


© Chester Sakamoto

Lamas Dipped in Vagisil & Amish

This is as good as it gets, folks! My buddy, Charlie Zero, is a masterful poet, whose work is an absurdist romp through the world we think we know. Chock full of surreal imagery, you really ought to check him out. 🙂

Charlie Zero The Poet

Harpo Marx used a pizza wagon
to lure Ariel, John Hinckley,
& Lamas.
He takes them home
for soup recipes
and creates a dipping sauce
called: “Vagisil & Amish.”
Cosmo Kramer
you penny pincher scallop –
make love to the wall pervert.
Macaulay Culkin
does impressions
of KFC & Jheri curls.
Just ask Mariah Carey –
she’s a marine rectumologist,
she’s Danny DeVito’s pacifier.

Raphael wiggum,
are you rabieist? No!
Good, because imitating
Tupac Shakur is considered bronchitis.
Pineapples & Sharon Tate
tough to choose, I’ll pick…

Meredith brooks vs. Cinnamon toast crunch.
I’d love to see a Dave Chappelle skit –
involving Sammy Davis Jr. as Doctor Satan the pimp
and Mickey Rourke as Ursula the paparazzi manwhore.

You’re Welcome.

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Zero the Poet

All rights Reserved.

No part of Lamas Dipped in Vagisil & Amish – may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or…

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