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The Wayward Poet

Ruminations, Illuminations, Musings, and Original Work by 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

 

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“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

“Vigil for the Fisher King”

Saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea

The days are numbered.

 

At the edge of the world,

A rest stop offering provisions for the apocalypse

Has become a gathering place for the lost souls

Who are set to embark on their eternal journey

Across the state line.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Harbors them to safety in her Model T,

Charon reincarnated.

In a café,

Scott Fitzgerald,

Sitting opposite a western banded gecko

Gets drunk on straight bourbon

And laughs maniacally,

High on the fallout from the atomic testing done here

Over sixty years ago.

 

Monsoon season in Arizona

Includes a downpour of vinegaroons,

Blackening the sky and littering the red earth

With legs, pincers, and carapaces.

Wandering aimlessly across the Sonoran Desert,

The mournful cry of a coyote

Reaches my ears

As do the horns of the freight trains

Which rumble through the night like summer thunder.

Bumming it in a boxcar,

I watch America zip by outside the open door,

All the while wondering what has become

Of the Dream.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Vicious Cycle”

ouroboros

If I stand on the corner of Mell and Collie,

Gazing past the lines of heavy traffic,

I can easily distinguish the Tower of Babel

On the skyline.

 

Language destroys, but it can also create.

 

Tuesday morning finds me

On an entirely different cosmic plane,

Where Eliot and Williams

Are locked in eternal battle,

Like the dragon and phoenix of Chinese myth,

Circling the Pearl of Wisdom.

 

The car stereo broadcasts an entrancing mixture

Of Beiderbecke and voodoo

As a police chopper overhead

Drops pamphlets about the corrupting influence

That is William Blake

And gives the play-by-play of the sacrificing of Trotsky

In Teotihuacán,

(See the blood pouring down the steps

Of the Pyramid of the Sun.)

 

O Muse,

Have you betrayed me?

Why has your voice fallen silent?

Sing me a song

To ground my wandering mind

Before it escapes like a rebellious balloon

From the vicelike grip of a child’s hand.

 

Tied to the streetlight, half naked,

Lorca stands with his hands bound

Above his head,

His glistening body riddled with bullet holes.

Eyes closed in rapture or pain,

He sings the praises of Saint Sebastian

Before falling limp,

A muffled “mea culpa

Escaping his chapped lips.

 

Headstones line the churchyard.

For all its hope and rebuilding,

The Financial District

Remains hallowed ground.

Hands in my pockets,

My collar turned up,

The water laps against the Battery,

A Japanese painting in real time.

Looking out across the river,

I see her on her pedestal.

Even now, after all these years,

She continues to weep.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Brooklyn Bridge”

Brooklyn Bridge

Observing the universe in a puddle of water,

Ganesha sacrifices his right tusk

To write down a bevy of words

In order to analyze them.

“In many traditions around the world,” he says,

“A mole on the foot means one is destined to travel.”

He suddenly turns to me, his expression grave.

“If that’s the case, then what does a mole on the brain represent?”

And it’s as if I’m falling…

 

The digital clock

Atop the building across the river reads 4:45 am

As my weary soul traverses the Brooklyn Bridge.

Quiet, churchlike,

Its gothic arches, stone towers,

And spider-web of cables

Call to mind the years that have elapsed

Since it first spanned the East River.

Behind me, the buildings of Manhattan

Glisten and gleam

Like thousands of jewels stacked atop one another.

I picture old Graybeard

On the deck of a ferry,

Crossing this same stretch of tributary

Well over a hundred years ago,

His mind everywhere at once

And his spirit one with the whole of time.

 

Across the dark water,

The Q Train rattles along the Manhattan Bridge,

Its rhythm syncopated

Like a Duke Ellington tune,

Bringing me back to the present

While the faintest of light in the eastern sky

Creates a kaleidoscopic collage of color

Reminiscent of a Mondrian painting.

 

And with the dawn, I am reborn.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Consider the Aurochs”

aurochs
au·rochs
ˈouˌräks,ˈôˌräks/
noun
 
  1. a large wild Eurasian ox that was the ancestor of domestic cattle. It was probably exterminated in Britain in the Bronze Age, and the last one was killed in Poland in 1627.

A strong wind blows tonight.

Catching the breeze,

I whisk myself nine thousand miles

To the caves at Lascaux

In the south of France.

There, in the dim light,

My eyes take in the legendary aurochs,

Stampeding across the stony walls

As it has for countless millennia.

 

Situated at the foot of Wall Street,

The bronze bull stands frozen in time,

Yet in a constant state of anticipation.

Ready to charge,

A sneer curls his lip

And his eyes contort with blind rage.

 

But I fear not,

For I know that he, like me,

Is a misunderstood creature,

Tethered by social constructs

And imprisoned by misconceptions.

 

Slowly, gingerly, I reach out my hand

To comfort the brazen beast.

When my eyes flutter open,

The anger in his gaze

Has been stripped away,

And in its place, a spark of something greater.

Is it hope?  Relief?  Happiness?

He steps forward,

Gently nuzzling my arm,

And I could swear there are tears in his eyes.


© Chester Sakamoto

“Private Outcry”

Lenin

My hatred of hospitals

Dates back to my childhood

When, at the age of six,

I was confined to Urgent Care for a week

After suffering a severe asthma attack.

A terrorist cell in my lungs

Restricted all airflow,

Making each breath painful and labored.

It was as if razor blades

Had made their way into my chest.

As I lay on the gurney, recovering,

I saw all manner of people

Trudge through the automatic doors,

Moaning and carrying their exposed organs

In their hands,

Gore and viscera dripping behind them

Like the bloody trail that follows an army of wounded soldiers,

Ripped open by the scars of battle.

 

So, too, is the current condition of the world,

A sick, twisted place overrun by the retched,

Marred by evil and wickedness.

The earth is rushed in on a stretcher,

An IV injected into its oil-rich vein.

The nurses and doctors do all they can to save it,

But, alas, it is too late.

Violence and chaos have won.

The EKG flat-lines

And planet earth is pronounced dead

At exactly midnight

On the doomsday clock.

 

How can one hope to survive in an age

Where all decency

Has been thrown out the window?

Selfishness, greed, arrogance,

These are the morals of our times.

As good people suffer,

Tearfully pleading for any hope of salvation,

The vile seem to thrive

Like cockroaches,

Which have survived every cataclysm

Since the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

 

A shrill, inhuman, animal cry

Rises from the deepest fathoms of my being

And escapes from my throat with the force and power

Of a hundred nuclear detonations.

Whitman’s barbaric yawp

And the howl of Ginsberg

Pale in comparison.

It is a shriek of change,

Of revolution,

Of communal introspection,

One that I can only hope stirs fear in the hearts of those

Who are impervious to the feelings of anyone

But their own.

 

Satan stalks the streets of cities,

His claw-like hand leaving bloody imprints on the walls of alleys, buildings, and businesses.

In tow, his minions dance and frolic,

Imps with forked tongues and scaly skin.

They laugh maniacally at the warzone that is Skid Row.

Wayward souls,

Children of the night,

Swim in pools of spiritual stagnation

While their fever dreams keep them awake,

Shivering underneath blankets

Made from executive orders and promises not kept.

 

“The past is for poetry,”

Lord Krishna says to me

As he takes me in his arms and we fly

Over the rooftops of a city made of concrete and steel.

With a wave of his hand,

It all becomes a giant mandala

Whose vibrant colors and intricate pattern

Remind me of the beauty still left in the world.

 

Perhaps the earth can be saved.

 

Across the many years that have elapsed since that hospital visit,

Six-year-old me wakes up on that selfsame gurney,

A big smile plastered on my face,

For I know that the future

And humanity

Will be alright in the end.


© Chester Sakamoto

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