日付変更線 International Date Line

Just back from the Tokyo Poetry Festival, the poets Joyelle McSweeney & Johannes Göransson (the editors of Action Books), have started blogging about their experiences on the always awesome, theory-driven, poetry criticism website Montevidayo. They were particularly struck by the haiku performance artist Ginema ギネマ, who takes the traditional form of haiku and explodes it, performing in strange, new, often funny, often terrifying ways—turning it into dramatic performance art that screams out from the stage with a ragged voice.  (If the playwright KARA Jurō 唐十郎 were to write haiku, this is no doubt what it would sound like!)

I immediately looked online and found this Youtube video of her reading some of her poems.  Many are in modern, colloquial Japanese—not the stilted, restrained classical Japanese that one usually finds in haiku. Half as interesting as the poems themselves are the reactions of the audience, who shout things like “Huh?”, “What are you talking about?”, “I don’t get it!”

Here are my quick, off-the-cuff translations of the  poems in the order they appear in the video. 

—————-

huge guy
stone cold dead
can’t even shoo the flies

      stuck
      in the drain
      my womanly love

secret rendezvous
in the garden
where I spread herbicide

     suck my finger
     like a dog
     on a moonlit night

little bastard
you say you painted it
must be talking about the window of your idiocy

     i suck the ripe persimmon
     of the night we cannot meet
     how cold!

our hearts
are connected
what about the electrical cord?

     a promise
     tied around
     my pinky toe

on the red bruise
a snail
is it longing?

      from the plaster
      i call out
      the man from the past

I cannot be burned
so the crows
will carry me away

     that’s a dog isn’t it!?
     here in a place
     like this