I try not to say, “I am busy,” but occasionally say it unconsciously. When I prepare for work in the morning, I excuse myself from taking care of flowers or other things because I feel that I am busy. My poor, small garden, its flowers will be thirsty as hell until I come back home from work in the evening. Putting water in flower pots takes about three minutes. If I am observing my favorite purple flowers and they somewhat inspire me, I do not have ten minutes to write a note. Although, I may need these minutes if I have a morning meeting, and I must leave before 6:45am. Then I ask if I prefer to be late for the morning meeting or enjoy three more minutes with my flowers. And I always choose not to be late for the meeting. I am not a workaholic, but I have a certain seriousness for work in me. Then some people say, “Naoko, you are a poet. You need time for flowers; perhaps artistic time.” It is true. A poet, Franz Wright, commented that writing must be the first thing in one’s life. And it is true. But I am not going to ignore how to pay monthly rent and other expenses if I want a home to write in. Haruki Murakami thinks that writing is like descending into a deep well. Pablo Picasso thought that creativity is like remembering a memory from a long time ago. Either way, they had quiet time alone to travel through their deep consciousness. Am I too busy to span a ladder over a dark hole? Or am I actually doing well in balancing my work and writing? At least I believe it that way— that writing stories in my car or during lunch at the office has the promise to go somewhere.
I take notes because it is much easier for me to write a poem after work or on the weekend. Some writers do not take notes as they remember all their inspirations mentally, and many of them are brilliant writers. I envy them, but I need to do it my way and take notes to best remember those moments I had during the week. Because I trap my favorite words for a long time, I must have particular note books— a note book that I have been using for seven years is from Italy with pretty flowers on the cover page, a diary-schedule type book is from Japan, and my recent favorite one is from India— I bought it in a local bazaar in Jaipur. When I walked down some streets in the city, there were several note book stores because they were close to some schools. But all the note books were so dusty— when I touched them to select one, my fingertips became gray... In addition, the makers tried to sell me some for ridiculously high prices, like $10 for a small note book. If I spend $10 in Japan, I could buy a super artistic one with great utility. Therefore, I negotiated hard. I felt like a complainer though – this note book has a stain, or why it is covered in dust – I am pretty sure I was the typical, picky Japanese girl. But I eventually found one that I really liked. I paid about $2.50 and carried it in my arm. It is definitely one of my favorite souvenirs from India. So far, I wrote four poems from the note book. And my black cat loves the string attached to it. She dragged it from the dining table to the carpet in the morning several times. I have to pack it in my handbag now and take it to work so she doesn’t hide it from me.
A simple clay cup is on my dining table. This cup keeps fascinating me—I am currently writing poetry about it— I got it from a street vendor coming back from Chand Baori, which is the famous stepwell in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in India. I love chai tea. I had tasted good chai in many places— Yokohama, Bruges, and San Francisco… But this chai tea in the clay cup was the best of all. Maybe because an unusual location helped my taste buds— I had a tea time in the middle of nowhere in mustard fields and there was nothing, really nothing around the local chai shop on the highway. In the shop, the tea maker boiled water in a big copper pot. He put in masala spices— his nails were stained brown with them, which I assumed were the spice crumbs— and powder milk from a stainless box with a lot of sugar. I did not know at the moment but when the British Empire colonized India, high quality tea leaves were all exported to Europe. Therefore, there was only cheap tea available in India. The locals could not enjoy their simple tea flavor, so they added masala and sugar to help their recipes every two hours or so. My new passion is making masala tea. So far I tried with my own tea flavors— English breakfast, Assam, Earl Gray— and I enjoyed them all. I like to use reasonable tea bags on sale at a supermarket following an Indian tradition. Even I can enjoy making it at my work office— I heat a cup of water until it boils in the microwave, and I add spice (any favorite spices like in the masala package, or cinnamon) with milk and sugar. I am obsessed with asking, “Would you like to try masala chai?”
The winner of the first annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press is now available at my Etsy Store!
I really love how Russian art designer, Igor Zelenov, adapted my original art. If you would like to own a copy, there are two choices. #1) Please go to My Etsy Shop Website. Credit Cards payments are available. I will personally address it to you with my signature. (Please kindly understand that this item is non-returnable.) OR #2) Please go to Educe Press Website. *** From the back cover: People happily live.... That is ideal; however, unwanted events happen-earthquakes, tsunamis, cancer, brain surgery, unfilled love, or not making monthly rent. Naoko Fujimoto, a Japanese poet, adapted these scenes into first-person narratives, in which ordinary people face these broken moments. Diane Raptosh, judge of the 2015 contest, says of Home, No Home: "It is gritty and raw, earthy and spare, crafted superbly."
It has been five years after the Tohoku Earthquake on March 11th. Some
may know that I keep writing poems about the natural disaster and
tsunami. This poem, "Radio Tower," wants to capture the last moment of
Miki Endo's brave sacrifice. What does it mean to survive through life, I
think about it all the time. Healing will take a long time still.
You should read the newest issue of Cimarron Review B-E-C-A-U-S-E my two
poems are in the last pages (one is devoted to Haruki Murakami, and I
am going to send this magazine to him). I am reading it with my cracker
(not my white husband) and cheese from Amsterdam. Delicious!