Ryo Yamaguchi

Race Car, Race Car


I want to jump the roof, red and yellow and purple and green, where my heart
steams its sweet whistles, dear me, dearest, and with curlicues, this strike-up
band. One day, two days, three days, four. Big head on a little body.




I climb a tree like this, and like this I fly in the sun. And I can sing,
but also, a chair I can sit in the grass, that would be the color of grass.
My song is the color of grass. Come hear me. Grass song. Marble in the grass.




In the window the rain laps; my eyes, gray; the rain and the window
and the night, come on; the lamp at the end of the yard.
I cannot go from the window; against the window, millions of fish.



Night has many stages, some of them a terror. I speak so I am sure
it is me. The cars on the wets roads; the headlamps on the church.
Some nights make up for several days. I have so much strength inside of me.




I put a mattress on my head. I put Mittens on the mattress because she is
a queen. Night has many stages, so Mittens sits herself tall, so
she keens, and we go out to let all the neighbors know our misery.




But I feel the doctors here, who are of the night, their moon coats and the
white dust of their hair. Their arms are thin as sleeves, and they grow and snake
and tangle and pulse and fill my room. Soon I will be a man.




Race car, race car, where do you go? Red and yellow and purple and green.
I want the parade too; I want the tin walk, the candy band; I want the candy to explode
around my head, to stall in its candy bloom, each piece whispering its hello.



My Friend, My Friend

Belief is present all around us—that much we can sink.
Belief has been one fidget after another in the dry grass across which

we’ve opened up, our great run.

I tell you the words of this paper, the very beginning, how we slapdash
                                                and holus bolus swept into the wrack,

                                  all that green fire, the pits of light, the jungle
decked out across our vision.

I tell you the lines that will make the semblance of a room.

You have a look of mixed operas; your face is pale with a want that has no edge,
                                                so you tell me the tilt everything has is erupting with laughter.

Then we are in the jeep moving through vast night,
                                                                   the cool of the dashboard

and the hum of your nonsense way in the back with the gear.

A flash of lightning illuminates the deep plains, but you hardly seem to notice,

you seem there already, or as though so thoroughly stitched to your one hard thought
                                                                                             you are doomed to a kind of

totality, your shadow clinging to the length of your back as you enter the trees.

We are watching you. We scrape along the ridges of our cans for the jelly.

There's a reason we came out here, we all clap; storytime, we all clap, animal noise
breaking over us like the very thick parts of our hunger.