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The Wayward Poet

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

“Satori”

Adele Bloch-Bauer

Luna moth dances in flame,

A flamenco harlot with pieces of skin falling off,

Precious flakes of gold leaf

That dot a canvas of Austrian decadence.

What hieroglyphics adorn the banks of Wall Street?

Faceless drones in business suits

Stare out of large picture windows,

Fueling themselves with copious amounts of coffee

And looking down upon the waves of human refuse

In the streets below,

Upon whose backs the very idea of commerce was built.

Ah, Hamilton!

Scrappy young ruffian of the West Indies,

Who drank ale with his buddies in the stables of a tavern

That was burnt to the ground by the Redcoats

In 1776.

 

Q: What do you fear?

A: The future.

 

The tall buildings are like universities, temples,

Here to Athena, there to Poseidon,

One to Ares, god of war

And fallen men,

The walls of which run red with blood,

Polluting the waters from the Hudson Valley

To the Schuylkill River in otherworldly Pennsylvania,

Where fearful Quakers who wear their hearts on their sleeves

Prophesize impending doom and the Judgment Day.

 

Mosquito helicopters

Patrol the jungles of Vietnam.

Below, an army of sad young men

Trudge through the muck and the mire,

Their thoughts littered with Coca-Cola

And the Amish controversy.

Lifting the scales of justice above their heads,

They walk, like Christ, towards their execution.

 

In the back of a cinema

Somewhere in Nebraska,

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas laugh at the latest news from Pyongyang

While two adolescent boys pass a flask of wine between them

And discover themselves (and each other) in the darkness.

It’s autumn somewhere, and the dead leaves fall from the trees

With the intensity of bombs.

On the distant shores of Concord, Mass.,

Thoreau drinks himself blind,

Waxing poetic about the stars he sees

From the front porch of his squatter’s shack.

 

Praise be to Soren Kierkegaard,

Who foretold of an era where nothing ever happens,

Yet everything is recorded.


© Chester Sakamoto

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“Black Beauty (Night Train to Harlem)”

Harlem at night

Night descends upon Manhattan like a phantom.

The stars fall from the heavens,

Scattering themselves about the avenues.

Bathed in the pastry shop window’s sickly fluorescence,

I tumble down the hell-mouth of the subway station

And catch the uptown express

For Harlem.

 

Moonlight on the Hudson

As we emerge from underground

And make our way skyward.

The ragged man across from me sings folk songs,

Guitar in hand and desperation in his voice

While the elderly woman in the corner munches on lotus blossoms,

Her vacant stare revealing all the hardships she’s seen,

And me,

Listening to Sketches of Spain

On this “elevated” train.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Most Excellent Fancy”

Et In Arcadia Ego

 

Shrill cries from the canning factory.

Truman has been defeated! –this latest development

Comes on the heels of a blood moon,

Solar eclipse,

And rain of frogs

Over Dutchess County—

All in one week.

Now, in the waning days of the empire,

We busy ourselves with trivialities:

Spending money on frivolous gifts,

Drastically changing our appearance,

Or worse,

Locking ourselves within a prison-house of language.

 

Detroit is no more.

The whir of machinery slows to a halt.

The tenement homes are scrubbed clean to make way for new victims

Of poverty and woe.

Abandon industry!

Shatter the clocks and calendars to which you are tethered!

Reclaim nature! –as thousands flock

To the wilds of Central Park.

There, baring themselves to the elements,

They make love,

Create art,

And forge a new utopia

Amid the surrounding squalor and moral decay.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Return to Eden”

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The earth breathes through the reeds

As a gentle breeze caresses the tops of the tall grass.

From the gray skies, a rain of ash

Like hellfire on the sinners of the world.

Follow the wooden path through dragonfly fields

(Those graceful lords of the air,)

Past the tree-line of Douglas firs

And enter a world untamed by man,

Flanked by walls of granite a mile high,

Whose faces were carved by the hands of God.

 

The ancient woods echo with laughter.

Here, a trio of young men

Charge, naked, for the cool, inviting waters of the river,

Returning, for a moment, to that idyllic paradise

Before the Fall,

Upon whose shores teem and glisten with gold.

 

Majestic sphinx,

Eternal guardian who holds up the sky

And has witnessed the passing of the ages,

Protect this hallowed ground,

Keep holy this sacred place.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Fork in the Road”

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Driving down a wide country road

In the backwoods of Kentucky,

The sound of the blues rides the airwaves,

Rocking me to my core.

My soul shakes before the eyes of God

(a.k.a. Robert Johnson)

As he sits on a fire hydrant on the corner of an empty intersection,

Hitchhiking and grinning at each passing driver,

Seeking salvation from his hellish fate

And looking to gain entrance into heaven.

Mephistopheles, have mercy on his soul,

For he knows which way the wind blows.

 

Let us take a moment to observe the sunflower,

A rather large, prehistoric plant

That transforms any field or garden into a primeval forest.

On its tall, art nouveau stalks

Rest any and all manner of insect,

Gnawing away at the fanlike leaves with an appetite like that of vagrants

And vagabonds.

 

Horse Country,

A land of Southern pride and hospitality

Where a friendly smile goes a long way

And the people you encounter on the street

Share their intimacy with you,

A lover’s embrace

In the sultry, languorous air,

Which is heavy with the scent of bourbon.

 

Sunset like a Rothko print,

Vibrant colors clearly separated,

Yet melding into one.

Gazing longingly to the North,

The faint glow of the Queen City

Promises freedom from the pain

Of earthly struggles.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Omniscience”

Eckleburg

“I contain multitudes.” –Walt Whitman 

I am a man of two time periods:

That which came before

And the present.

With one eye, I can see

Everything as it once was,

While, with the other,

I see everything as it is now.

Most people may find this a source of confusion,

But I rather enjoy it,

For it offers differing perspectives

As well as provides a visual timeline

Of the changes that have taken place

Between then and now.

 

Somewhere deep within America’s heartland,

The farmer tills his soil,

Planting seeds for the upcoming harvest

And letting his cattle out to pasture.

Elsewhere, the whir of machinery,

Symbols of ingenuity and progress,

Bring to life the factories of the North and the Great Midwest.

Here, the workers toil all the day long,

Their bodies glistening with sweat and axel grease

Until the shrill whistle blows,

Bringing about a much-needed respite

And quitting time.

In the fabled cities of the East,

Subway cars rumble beneath the surface

While aboveground, the huddled masses go about their daily affairs

Without so much as a care in the world.

 

This tapestry,

This vast mosaic

Is truly a work of art,

A thing of beauty the likes of which

The world has never seen.

It is all around me,

Yet within me at the same time,

Protected and enveloped

By a blanket of stars and stripes.


© Chester Sakamoto

 

“Alone With You”

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The city tumbles and falls.

In a darkened room,

We stand transfixed

As the silhouettes of buildings collapse one by one,

Slowly giving way to a forest of trees

And verdant, lush greenery.

It’s oddly hypnotizing

To see everything that’s familiar

Disappear before your eyes.

And yet, there is a comfort in knowing

That nature will eventually take its course.

 

The labyrinthine halls

Echo with our laughter.

Drunk on the magic

Of exciting new places

And the sultry Midwestern night,

We are impervious to the troubles of the world.

Your eyes are alight,

Alive,

As we linger on each work

And share our thoughts in a language

No one can decipher or understand.


© Chester Sakamoto

When the World Stops They Listen — Charlie Zero The Poet

For my grandpa David. R.I.P I love you papa and I miss you. To his breath stampede of skeleton pennies, blowing out earth’s detail – its oceans plea resuscitation its pulse hyperventilating like Buddha, inquietude resounds. The dream concatenates – A haven planet surrounded by billions, walking abandonedly into the crowd. An abrupt […]

via When the World Stops They Listen — Charlie Zero The Poet

This is a beautiful, deeply personal piece by my friend, Charlie Zero.  While I love and enjoy poetry, I must admit that seldom does it move me to tears.  Please do me a favor and check this man out.  His work is revolutionary, and always thought-provoking!

“Waterfront Meditation”

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There are two halves constantly at war within me.

The first is control,

My center,

It is the side I am rooting for

While the other is anarchy,

Total chaos,

Whose consequences would be catastrophic

Were it to emerge victorious.

Such is the state of my psyche at any given moment.

I am a walking time bomb,

A human pressure cooker whose settings are too high.

 

At the age of 26

(A lifetime ago,)

My buddy and I spoke at length about the 27 Club.

Uncharacteristically grave,

He made me swear that I would never join its notorious ranks,

(Though praise be to Hendrix, Joplin, and Cobain.)

 

What do you do when your hometown

No longer feels like home,

When the people you love and all the memories you’ve gathered

Have gone away,

Leaving a place tinged with melancholy

Despite the near-constant sunshine?

 

Fleeing the unreal city,

My spirit travels a thousand miles

To the banks of a mighty river.

Resting for a moment on a loveseat,

I observe the transience of nature

And the walks of life that cross

The old suspension bridge.

 

Gray, ominous,

The western sky promises rain.

Needless to say, I welcome it,

So that I may emerge newly baptized

Beneath the Midwestern sun.

To be reborn to the strains of folk music

Playing on the deck

Of a passing riverboat.


© Chester Sakamoto

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