There’s a woman in me who drinks poison
like water, thinks it’s what she needs
to stay alive. I wish she’d learn to savor
water’s plain taste, enjoy quench and calm.
But give her hurricane and drowned
peony blooms and she smiles, raises
her face to the rain and says, Hit me.
I can’t stand feeling wind on my skin
because it’s not your hands.
I don’t know how not to hand you
the match, how not to let you strike it
and light this house on fire, how not
to relish disappearing into ash,
my bones crumbled, an exploded
plum all that’s left of my heart.
The ground that is not true
ground but spindled grief.
After you’ve swum in the ocean, felt
the current, wave-crash, and depth
that goes deeper, deeper, and darker,
to choose a lake, with its smooth
and silt, no matter how fresh the water,
how relieved the skin to be rid of
the salt’s sting, is to ignore the hunger
of the man brave enough to love the sea.
Illuminating the Holiday Season in Japan
In Japan, Christmas lights, called “illuminations” (イルミネーション) in Japanese, go up as early as mid-November and can remain on display as late as March. Businesses, main streets and big parks go all-out with spectacular LED reveries and exquisitely decorated Christmas trees for passersby to experience. The illuminations play an important role in creating the festive and romantic mood of winter in Japan and they are more astounding with each passing year.
The Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) in Kobe, Japan, is one of the most striking displays every year. Kobe hosted its first illumination festival in December of 1995 in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck the region in January of the same year. The Italian-designed illuminations were donated by the government of Italy, and the soft, solemn glow of the hand-painted lights became a symbol of remembrance and hope. The Kobe Luminarie was originally meant to be a one-time event but, with the strong request from local citizens, it has become an annual event now its 19th year.
Want to see more illuminations? Visit the location pages below to view photos and videos from the best Christmas lights in Japan this year:
- Kobe Luminarie, 神戸ルミナリエ (Kobe, Japan)
- Kyoto Illumiere, 京都イルミエール (Kyoto, Japan)
- Country Farm Tokyo German Village, 東京ドイツ村 (Chiba, Japan)
- Tokyo Midtown, 東京ミッドタウン (Tokyo, Japan)
- Ashikaga Flower Park, あしかがフラワーパーク (Tochigi, Japan)
- Nabana no Sato, なばなの里 (Mie, Japan)
"Sometimes, I fall more in love with an echo than the real thing."
talking you down →
In the dark knotted limbs of my childhood oak tree,
there is a band of rings, each a finger-width wide,
measuring the years of growth. Inside every year of growth
is a year of your existence, an existence I discovered one day
not by accident, but by habit, like following a trail of breadcrumbs
"Memory believes before knowing remembers."