Inuo Taguchi: “Morning Discussion”



Inuo Taguchi




I had a strange dream.
An airplane –
it doesn’t fall straight down
but crashes horizontally.
“Don’t ask me how.
It happened in my dream.”

Now, in this ‘modern’ world
it’s common for vertical things to change into horizontal.
So it’s nothing to make a fuss about
that a plane should crash horizontally.
“Why are you making such a big deal out of it?
Nonsense is commonsense nowadays.”

Don’t worry. If you tip over you glass, wine will spill out.
If you let go of a knife, it’ll fall straight down.
Our world, as ever,
obeys divine providence.
What doesn’t obey it is your dream and –
“No, don’t turn on the television.
It’s never told us good stories. It never will.”

I am listening to the morning discussion half-heartedly,
for I only want to think about poetry.
But my thoughts suddenly turn to the grasslands of

There, too, are things that should be floating in air

floating in air?

There, too, is what should be falling falling?
Do things never crash horizontally?
Is what should be landing landing
and what should be ascending ascending?

Suddenly I feel like confirming it
and begin to be restless.
The soul begins slowly spiraling.
A kitchen kettle
begins honking like a horn.


from:  Hush-a-bye


Translation from Japanese:

William I. Elliott and Kazuo Kawamura

The original Japanese poem is featured below.







Inuo Taguchi was born in 1967 in Tokyo, Japan.  His pen-

name, Inuo, means Dog-Man.  He began to write poetry

in his early twenties and his first book came out in 1995.

He has been described as having a “self-less voice” as a poet,

meaning he is off to the side, even out of the “story”

– and often his poems are little stories.

At festivals he reads his poems aloud – usually barefoot.

His poems have been translated into Turkish – among a bunch

of languages.

He muses:  “I feel that poetry must strive to open giant

air holes in human consciousness.”

Inuo Taguchi: “For the Vegetarian”



Inuo Taguchi




John Lennon died, you know.
“That must have been because of unpolished rice and

vegetarian food,”
Jesus said, sitting on a park bench.
“That’s not so,” I said. “John Lennon was assassinated . . . ”
I broke off mid-sentence,
because Jesus had an open New York Times before him
which actually carried an article to that effect.

When I got back to my apartment last night
there was a message from John on my answering machine.
He said he’d very much like me to participate
in a 4-day natural foods workshop in Atami.
If people get too gung-ho over something
do they even forget that they’re dead?
What’ll we call it? Karma? Anyway that’s a sad story.

Jesus spread out a take-out turkey sandwich on his lap
as he talked.
“When I was in Palestine I used to be really healthy,
but since coming to Manhattan everything’s gone wrong.
Is it because I’ve eaten too many French fries?
I tell them not to,
but my disciples themselves seem to frequent McDonald’’s

pretty often.

“Every time I argued with John I lost.
On those occasions my disciples were always upset.
Buddha once told me in all sincerity
that bad food was our karma.”
So John thought he would all by himself
eat up all the unpolished rice in the world.

I pictured John loading his cart with unpolished rice
in an Oriental market in Heaven
and at check-out
sticking out his tongue and mumbling,
“I don’t give a damn about good health, really. After all,
dead people are the freshest of all.”

The sky we see over Central Park is blue everywhere
and I slowly realized that under such a sky
it would be no wonder at all
if I had a call from dead John.

And sure enough when I got back to my room
there was a message from John.
Dead John said as follows:

“The opposite of eating is not not eating.
The opposite of eating is praying,
because while we’’re praying, at any rate,
we can’’t eat.”


from:  Armadillogic

Translation from Japanese:

William I. Elliott and Kazuo Kawamura