Being foreign is the democracy that allows the Nigerian,
in all the accoutrements of a gangsta, to address me as brother
and offer a special discount to a nice place where the girls are all foreign
– Russian, Brazilian, Australian – and all speak English.
We are, perversely, brothers: of the same continent,
slave and master, ear and mouth,
in the weird dialectic of Shinjuku, this thoroughfare
where crowds blur into clouds.
What tradewinds brought him here? and those girls? and me?
Our common tongue is illusory, necessary, a kind of coin
minted by being stamped on.