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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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