japonisme: THE JAPANESE WIFE

13 February 2009

THE JAPANESE WIFE

THE JAPANESE WIFE

O lord, he said, Japanese women,
real women, they have not forgotten,
bowing and smiling
closing the wounds men have made;
but American women will kill you like they
tear a lampshade,
American women care less than a dime,
they’ve gotten derailed,
they’re too nervous to make good:
always scowling, belly-aching,
disillusioned, overwrought;
but oh lord, say, the Japanese women:
there was this one,
I came home and the door was locked
and when I broke in she broke out the bread knife
and chased me under the bed
and her sister came
and they kept me under that bed for two days,
and when I came out, at last,
she didn’t mention attorneys,
just said, you will never wrong me again,
and I didn’t; but she died on me,
and dying, said, you can wrong me now,
and I did,
but you know, I felt worse then
than when she was living;
there was no voice, no knife,
nothing but little Japanese prints on the wall,
all those tiny people sitting by red rivers
with flying green birds,
and I took them down and put them face down
in a drawer with my shirts,
and it was the first time I realized
that she was dead, even though I buried her;
and some day I’ll take them all out again,
all the tan-faced little people
sitting happily by their bridges and huts
and mountains—
but not right now,
not just yet.

Charles Bukowski


"The Japanese Wife" by Charles Bukowski, from The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966. Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1988 by Charles Bukowski.

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6 Comments:

Blogger PIGNOUF said...

Oh Lotugreen, It's really a wonderful poem ...:)

14 February, 2009 09:29  
Anonymous Dorothy said...

Such a lovely, haunting poem, thank you. I imagine that the printed Valentine was a postcard, I enjoyed that too.
Special Valentine's greetings to you, Lotusgreen.

14 February, 2009 10:27  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh i'm so glad, pignouf--i think it's amazing too, and quite romantic, actually

14 February, 2009 11:47  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

do glad you think so, dorothy! yes, a postcard--too bad i don't remember where i found it.

happy valentines day, dorothy, pignouf, and y'all.

14 February, 2009 11:49  
Blogger belvedere beads said...

that's quite a pairing lady lily - the bukowski and the victorian valentine. i am completely charmed.

18 February, 2009 21:04  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

!!! :^) big grin on my face!

18 February, 2009 22:34  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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