Carnets de voyage

JAPAN, March-April 1998

Tokyo: la grand illusion

Pink nylon blossoms
trembling in the icy wind
simulate the spring

on a Shinjuku plaza
a whole plastic garden
blooms in anticipation

jellied meals devoid of scent or taste
tempt the spectator without appetite
while on the 52nd floor
polychrome fish drift serenely
on a video screen behind a veil
of real water

and the Sage maintains
that only the water is false.

Tokyo-Kamakura: la petite illusion

The distant snowflakes sparkling in the springtime sun
resolve with proximity into fat globules of milky water
slowed in their falling by the structures of the wall

the precious daughter with the blossomed hair
painted and padded and cocooned into kimono
is captured one final time on film and in her father's dream
enacting the fullness of her springtime in the temple garden
a bud straining to burst into incandescent flower
and jive away in jeans and Nike shoes towards the summer.

Kyoto in the season of the cherry trees

Sternfaced in the April sun
tourists group to attention for photographs
before the joyous profusion
of plump pink blossom

the young priests of Heian Jingu
mount guard proudly in resplendent white
flagged sleeves flared trousers
and broad sashes bulging behind
with black walkie-talkies

by night at low tables sushi and tempura
are consumed to strains of Mozart
while out under the cherry trees
in the rosy halo of the spotlights
a young blond busker from the west
wrests eastern harmonies from the shakuhachi

nico mann

April 1998





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