Sawako Nakayasu

New Poems From the USA


Absolute Texture of a Park on some Tokyo Sunday, or Some Kind of New Village Idiot.

In one version of the story it starts here:

For most intents and purposes and Sundays, this much is true:

A group of mostly Canadian expats and mostly Japanese women engage in what appears to
be for the most part an indoor or outdoor activity resembling a common Canadian sport.
No further details are relevant, as it is questionable whether any of these details were
relevant in the first place.

This is true as well: the park holds a number and array of groups of people, ranging in size
from one small person to many large people, plus all the gradients and variations contained
therebetween. Their activities, too, display a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities,
the outdoor activities being overwhelmingly more numerous than the indoor activities.

This is what happens next: at the very particular moment when the largest number of
people find themselves naturally positioned in the closest physical distance because of
a natural and inherent quality of whatever activity was already taking place, every other
motion taking place in the park stops to participate. Participation in this case means
participation in each respective compression. The original group, the trigger for the whole
incident in the first place, continues its compression until all group members are enmeshed
tightly in a single mass of bodies and sporting equipment and toys, as the case may be.
Children and their kites swerve into a ball of string in the air, trailing the large limbs of their
parents or guardians. Couples in the makeout corner get wrapped up in a ball with their
blanket or tarp, along with their wine, their cheap cheese, the contents of their picnic basket.
The trees smush right down into the ground, all the while lengthening their limbs
into one another, once and for all articulating the secret desires and sexuality of trees. All
sources of water – fountains, lakes, puddles, drinking fountains, slide quickly over the
ground surface so that they might meet, as if at a previously arranged meeting place.

But it is still the bundles of people that hold the most interest. Someone comes along with
giant and deep canapé cutters, in order to cut out a cross section out of each bundle of
people, to be analyzed later at the lab.

Someone goes Sleeping Beauty on us, claiming that if only there were two people in any
one bundle of people, if only two people would kiss each other, with that special magic of
princes and witches and stories and dreams, then the spell would be broken and the
bundles of people would naturally disengage and continue what they were doing as if
nothing had ever happened. As if nothing ever happened. We laugh him right out of the