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Twelve by Three Hundred - June


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.



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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.”

Pre-Order Your Copy Today from Backbone Press!