Cassandra Atherton

You feed me prawn gyozas for breakfast.  Early in the morning.  In the Shinjuku Prince Hotel.  You give each prawn parcel a little squeeze between your fleshy thumb and forefinger before you reach across the table.  My mouth opens.  A little pink ‘O’ and you fill it to the brim.  Pink inside pink.  And I love pink.

You take me to a Hello Kitty love hotel in Shibuya.  We take the Hachiko exit and pass the statue of the faithful dog that waits forever.  Cast in bronze.  I wonder how long you will wait for me to come home.

I have somehow wormed my way into your heart.  You smile and skewer the cherry in my Manhattan with your swizzle stick.  We walk up the hill like Moon in Whisper of the Heart.  Love hotel hill.  Dogen-zaka.  I am yours for the resting rate of four thousand yen.

If you listen, you can hear the cherry blossoms pop.  I sit on a blue tarpaulin looking up at the sky between the branches of the cherry trees.  Ueno.  This is my bridal veil.  Soft pink petals are the confetti that binds me to this place.  You are restless.  The plastic crinkles.  We return to the Shinjuku Prince Hotel.  You coddle me like the coddled eggs at the buffet.  But I am not ready to leave.



A pear and an apple, shoulder to shoulder
?on a plate in a corner of my desk
They both, had been awaiting me for over a week

A pear and an apple, shoulder to shoulder
I faced them daily?to see the light repeating its massage
Over the skin, differently textured, and to see the surrounding shadows

Constantly presenting, tiny changes
?till one day when I sensed the apple
Growing a puberty pimple, a suspect flower spot

I found a fruit knife, moving the plate over?
When I suddenly realized that the problem was not the apple but
The pear whose other side had rotten till a fingernail-sized scar appeared…

?I took the rotten pear to the kitchen and chucked it into the bin
I then sliced off the little flower spot and peeled the whole apple
Halving it, I opened the purely white, spotless apple

How shocking?I witnessed the two white halves
Tightly wrapping up the two, stomach-turning
Hair-raising, worlds that were secretly rotting away…

Yang Xie (trans. Ouyang Yu)



Pork Suite

–2/3/11, Los Angeles Times, review by C. Thi Nguyen

More than thin ramen, pork belly,

more than dried seaweed squared

is the broth: a smoothie of crushed velvet.

Pork, lush and liquefied,

like drinking a porkly Snuggie.

Cloudy, dense with pork particulate,

hard-core pork ramen in its most elemental form.

You pig-lusting ones, speak out:

order the long-simmered-bone broth.

Close your eyes and sip:

like a glass of deep inky red, ah.

Inhale the meditative broth,

Bach cello suite in the key of pork,

the fermented funk’s mysterious wild alchemy.

Deepest bowl of SoCal’s ultimate liquid experience.

Quick, someone, grip my hands,

catch my shoulders,

keep me from fainting away.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya




With neither dignity
Of a canopy
Nor myth
Of an aureole

Your cap is simply too small
Your stem too short
Your geared-bones too tender
Yet your fleshy body has inspired
Myriads of umbrellas
To shield gods and humans alike

Against rain or heat
Against history

Changming Yuan


By Skye Davidson

I am not yet transparent,
The sunken cheeks,
The tight brow is but a thought,
A mention,
An idea,
But what an idea can do,
It can take you from a size 8 to a size 2,
It can banish the food,
And the fat,
And the food,
And the fat
Until there is nothing quite left of you,
Why must I be still?
Why must I be subdued?
Whilst it grapples with my mind,
Making a mockery of what I intended to do,
Replacing my virtuous deeds with sins,
Making a cake an apple,
A poisonous one at that,
So what do you do,
When she talks to you?
In dulcet tones first,
Then growing louder and louder,
To a shrill and a scream,
Do you conform and sit?
Disconsolate within your own skin,
Behind your own mouth,
Too far away from the ears,
Which would tell you of the fears,
The quietly wept tears,
Of your Mamma,
Your Papa and,
Your brother who
Don’t quite know what to do
But they just don’t know,
How it feels to be so
Seduced and devilishly special
For clamped shut in her vice,
You shall not eat a bite,
For fear she will devour you,
Eat you alive,
And even though you know now,
What you didn’t know then,
That if this sickness doesn’t cease,
Doesn’t end,
That you yourself will not live,
Another kilo you cannot give,
She knows all the tricks in the book,
She’s your drug,
And you’re utterly hooked

Your thoughts?