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Only One Line

I showed an article to my mother in New York Magazine to point out my name.

I usually Skype her every weekend, but this was a Tuesday. When I texted her to ask for five minutes in Skype, she was busy practicing walking in her apartment with my father. I kept bugging her to get online because I have big news (which she interpreted as me being pregnant or something). In the tiny camera feed, I was proving that my name was actually next to the respected Swedish poet.

My mother seemed to be happy that my name was mentioned with those big names though she cannot read English and doesn’t have any idea what I am doing in the contemporary poetry world. She was excited to see my name with the words “New York” nonetheless.

In the magazine, the names listed are Will Hubbard (a best-selling poet in 2011), Naoko Fujimoto (no book publication), Tomas Tranströmer (Nobel laureate), and Walt Whitman (a legendary poet). In the tiny screen, my mother pointed out their credentials and said, “You have only one line. You need to work on your publications.” Actually, she was seeing a credential of Tranströmer. It says, “Nobel laureate.” And she continued, “There is an arrow toward under…so your next step will be Tomas Tranströmer?”

Then I thought: When I become 80 years-old and am still a poet, if I then receive a Nobel price— for example— would I be really happy? Of course I would be honored, because my art work would be a staple of the 21st century. However, I couldn’t say, “Do you remember the article in New York Magazine?” and laugh about it with my parents. They would already be dead. I may feel vacant with such an expensive prize. There are no parents or current close friends to take to luxurious spas in Japan. I may not be able to cerebrate from the bottom of my heart without them.

Perhaps I may try to spend all the money before I die within five years or so because I would not want ugly inheritance arguments between my children, extend family, and extended-extended family. There are always ways to spend money, like buying a Swarovski crystal toilet recently produced in a Japanese toilet company.

I guess I just like to ramble on about another “IF” story. In the end, I am thrilled that my name is printed in a national magazine, Naoko Fujimoto— on the way to being a poet like the names surrounding mine.

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RHINO Poetry 2017 this Saturday, April 29, at The Book Stall

3 pm RHINO editors write poems-on-demand! Order a poem-to-go on any topic of your choice. RHINO editor-poets will compose a poen for you on the spot in ild school typewriters for a small donation to the magazine.

4-5 pm Featured reading by RHINO 2017 poets and editors. Copies of the new issue will also be on sale. Grab some RHINO swag--bookmarks and buttons and meet the editors and poets of this 40+ award-winning literary magazine.

Featured readers:

Naoko Fujimoto was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. She was an exchange student and received a B.A. and M.A. from Indiana University South Bend. Her recent publications are in Prairie Schooner, Hotel Amerika, RHINO, Cream City Review, and many other journals. Her first chapbook, “Home, No Home”, won the annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press. Other short collections, “Silver Seasons of Heartache” and “Cochlea”, will be published by Glass Lyre Press in May, 2017. Currently she is working on her graphic poetry co…

Pre-Order "Mother Said, I Want Your Pain" Today!

"Mother Said, I Want Your Pain" (The winner of the Shared Dream Immigrant Contest, selected by Janine Joseph) will be available from Backbone Press (Spring 2018).

Of the collection, Janine Joseph writes:“I do not know/ if I am even right to be a mother at a right time,” discloses the speaker in the opening poem of Mother Said, “I Want Your Pain.” Evocative and startling in their unflinching clarity of image, these poems are inheritors of the aftermath of nuclear fallout and chemical warfare. They are tuned to the movement of transgenerational traumas. Grandmothers who “hid in a ditch with three horses” while B-29s shot bullets overhead, leave relatives who later ask of our bequeathed earth, “Is the land poisoned or not poisoned?” Here is a striking collection with a deft voice, poised even as it turns on or transcends an observation or emotion: “Grandfather watches TV on the highest volume,/ the howling-wind.”

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