Saturday Nov 18

NomuraKiwao Nomura Kiwao studied Japanese literature at Waseda University and pursued doctoral studies in French literature at Meiji University. His works include over two-dozen volumes of poetry and critical essays in addition to translations of Paul Verlaine, Joris-Karl Huysmans, and others. Lauded in Japan with several prestigious literary prizes (Takami Jun Prize, Ayukawa Nobuo Prize, and more). The first full volume of his works in English, Spectacle & Pigsty (translated by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander), came out in 2011. Recently, in addition to his creative work and electrifying international performances, he has taught creative writing, rhetoric, French, and literary studies at Waseda University, Hitotsubashi University, and Meiji University.
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JordanAYamajiSmith Jordan A. Yamaji Smith (Ph.D., UCLA in Comparative Literature) is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at California State University at Long Beach. He has translated works from Azuma Hiroki, Suzuki Takayuki, Fernando Iwasaki, and Alberto Fuguet. His research deals with the theorization of global translation studies, urban poetics, collaborative literature/media, humor theory, and contemporary transnational studies.
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四季アーバニスト第弐番
 
 
柔らかな戦争がしてみたい
夏の午前2時になると
この街の縁辺がまず反りはじめ柔らかな
戦争がしてみたい蛇行する河のかたちになって
漆黒をのぼりつめ
ぼくの額のすぐそばに滞留するから
するとようやく風がかよい
きらきらした中間地帯が柔らかな戦争が
幾ばくかの星をたずさえてあらわれる
おお柔らかな柔らかな
待機の姿勢からも夢は漏れ出るのだそこへ
赴こうとするぼくのもっとも感じやすい中枢は
この街の縁辺と紙一重に舞って
アーバニスト
秘匿しておきたかった足さきの
柔らかな戦争がしてみたい疼きまでもが
思わずなぞられてしまう
 
(詩集『幸福な物質』より)
 
 
 
“Urbanist of Four Seasons, III”
 
 
I want to wage a tender war
summer at the stroke of two in the morning
the edges of this town begin to curve faintly, take the form
of a meandering stream that wants to wage a tender war
ascend in darkest black
because it stalemates right beside my forehead
and then the wind begins to sigh
twinkling no man’s land, the tender war,
ushers in a toddling smatter of stars
oh, tender, tender
posture at attention from which dreams leak, toward there
where my most easily sensed center tries to advance
whirls paper-thin on the edges of this town
urbanist
I hoped to conceal in my toe tips
that throb of I want to wage a tender war, but
it seeped right out
 
Translator’s note: in Japan, the time after midnight during the summer season connotes the hour of haunting, hence the presence of ghosts. From Nomura Kiwao, Kôfuku-na busshitsu [Felicitous Substance], 2002.
 
 
 
 
 
骨のカントー、肉のカントー


骨のカントー、
肉のカントー、
いまにも疾駆する姿勢で、
あわれ、馬でもない牛でもない、
いやはての哺乳類の骸骨の、
その首から上が、
西北西へそこを出ようとしている、
あとはまっくらくらな空間を、
分子となってあふれかえる一瞬の記憶の俺たちだ、
あわれ、馬でもない牛でもない、
いやはての哺乳類の骸骨の、
その首から下が、
乱高下する株価グラフのぎざぎざのあたりに、
捨て置かれた遊水池のうえの稲妻のあたりに、
みえかくれしている、
カントーのカが、それを喰って、
その下で、レオナルド・ダ・ヴィンチの、
人体デッサンの、
手が、観音のように振られている、
あとはまっくらくらな空間を、
分子となってあふれかえる一瞬の記憶の俺たちだ、
骨のカントー、
肉のカントー、
あわれ、馬でもない牛でもない、
いやはての哺乳類の骸骨の、
その首から上が、
東南東からそこへ潜り込もうとしている、
ああ、首の反復だ、
反復だ、
 
(初出「鐘楼」12号、連作「デジャヴュその他の街道」のうち)
 
 
 
“Canto of Bone, Canto of Flesh”
 
 
 
canto of bone,
 
canto of flesh,
 
any moment now, poised to sprint,
 
pity, neither a horse nor a cow,
 
of this final mammal’s skeleton,
 
from the neck upward,
 
trying to break free heading west by northwest,
 
and the darkest of dark spaces
 
we become molecules, overflowing, in an instant of memory,
 
pity, neither a horse nor a cow,
 
of this final mammal’s skeleton,
 
from the neck down,
 
somewhere around the jagged graph of rapidly fluctuating stock prices
 
somewhere around the lightning flash on the neglected pond,
 
darting in and out of view,
 
the ca in canto eats it,
 
underneath, Leonardo da Vinci’s
 
rough sketch of a human body,
 
its hand waves, like Kannon Boddhisattva,
 
and the darkest of dark spaces,
 
we become molecules, overflowing, in an instant of memory,
 
canto of bone,
 
canto of flesh,
 
pity, neither a horse nor a cow,
 
of this final mammal’s skeleton,
 
from the neck up,
 
trying to slip back in there from east by southeast,
 
ah, the repetition of neck,
 
repetition,
 
 
 
Translator’s note: this poem has also been published under the title “Heikatsu ro-do” (Level Road). First published in Shôrô [Belfry], Volume 12 (Feb. 2009), Déjà vu Other Highways.