Swift Moving Waters

I can remember sailing a driftwood sea
by the cobra husks, in the gravel fields,
ten yen Pepsi can thick as a bullet;
on a grey concrete dam we laid out,
drying in the sun, the pointy hats of fishermen,
and rice farmers, dipping into satchels and waves,
and the snow caps of monasteries, cherry blossomed,
the blood blanketed floor of a speeding train,
blond hair matted, tissues offered, dictionaries flipping
to find some proper phrase, some apt apology,
for a visitor, for a stranger, for someone so obviously
grown in a different place, a different soil, a different climate;
might as well be a Yeti, or a Martian, in the flashing lights,
the future Tokyo still in the past, Nippon, 
riding in vans big but I was little, to beaches, 
caged by chain links; forty year occupation, 
a deal to end all wars, there was a harmony, 
but I was a child, there was a welcome, 
but who would tell me otherwise, 
under the shadows of mountains thrown up 
by the chaos of creation, in peaceful gardens,
where lotus blooms floated over Koi, 
the bronzed statues of an eternal imperative,
spirit wheels spinning, incense smoking,
the ear to ear smiles for tourists, the droning prayers,
philosophy in architecture, streams laid out,
paths and trellised bridges over swift moving waters.

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