Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nissa 7.21.09

Hello--please find below an excerpt from my nissa (diary of a poet). This is a coda portion, a piece Enta will not be considering for potential publication. If you like it I will continue to post these, with the next one being a memory of my experience seeing Bob Dylan in concert in Eastlake, Ohio, at Classic Ball Park.


Last night Hideki Matsui hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY, NY, USA to defeat the Detroit Tigers. He came up with two outs, and with the score tied, so his home run was considered a “walk-off.” The players all swarmed around him and one, a pitcher, smeared a cream pie in his face, so that Matsui had to give an interview with the radio broadcaster covered in custard and whipped cream. The radio broadcaster yelled when he hit the home run, and called it “another Thrilla from Godzilla!!” He said Matsui hit the ball halfway to Japan.

This morning I woke up full of doubts, to an air full of rain. I decided to walk to the Botanic Garden, just as I did, with Olivia in my arm, in early May for sakura matsuri and, ultimately, to hear Enta Kusakabe speak. On the way to the garden on my walk I saw a gingko tree, on New York Avenue, one block from where I live. For the first time this year there were berries on it. I smiled and thought of Matsui’s home run, and thought, “the American baseball from his Mizuna bat has returned.”

I kept on walking, and arrived at the Brooklyn Botanic Graden, which is free admission every Tuesday. Usually Tuesdays are very crowded as a result, but the rain kept everyone away, and I was free to wander the garden alone. In the deep wet green leaves I was drawn to a path I nearly never follow: it is the “native flora” section. On this path I was struck by many beautiful huge trees—hickory, elm, oak, a beech tree whose enormous shining smooth gray bark looked like the skin of a hippopotamus—but what arrested me in my strolling was a small, shrubby tree. It had small prickly bulbs hanging from its branches, and it looked familiar. I saw the sign identifying it. It read: “Ohio Buckeye.” It is a special tree native to Ohio, USA. It is related to the chestnut, which is what those hanging prickly bulbs are a form of. I smiled and thought again of Matsui’s hit baseball. I thought of the currents on the Pacific Ocean blowing it back from Japan.

As I was leaving the Garden I saw a lace-cap hydrangea. The past month and a half has seen Brooklyn have its own version of a rainy season, though much cooler than what I imagine it is like in Japan during the real rainy season there. All the moisture has led the hydrangeas to thrive, and some species in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden which formerly have not bloomed are in full force. I had never seen a lace-cap hydrangea before. It was wide and a soft blue color, and it, too, arrested my exit from the garden. I smiled and thought, how like a baseball glove it looks. And I realized it would be good for catching the Matsui’s homerun baseball that has come boomeranging back this morning after being struck last night, in the form of new gingko berries and Ohio buckeyes.

It doesn’t matter
what’s inside the package
or what form it takes
(berry, buckeye, or baseball)
as long as it is wrapped well.

So I present to you, wrapped in my doubtful, stumbling English words, Japan’s poetic gift of Gogyohka back to those who created and write it.

1 comment:

Lauryn said...

I DO like the nissa! I would love to hear more of it. Funnily enough, just before reading your comment on my blog and this post, I went for a walk and ended up in the botanic garden. It was in fact, good for clearing my mind, and I think has banished at least some of the lazies. Thanks.