for Sayaka Murata

on my way to work i walk through


the alley   past the apartment 

i see through my bedroom window

where a young woman used to

live   where now a man with a beard

lives   i pass the recycling bins

the trash bins   the compost bins

the parked cars and weeds   from the

alley i walk past a jack-in-the-box

past the euro-furniture store   the

thai restaurant   store after store

a used car lot   at each corner i wait 

for the traffic light to signal walk   

then i walk   i do this almost every

day   twice a day   morning and evening




at work i sit at a desk in a room with

many other people who also sit

at desks and work   we all have very 

technical work to do   our jobs are

very specific to the task   we create with

out being creative   we complete

tasks assigned to us   we work together

and we compete   we have nothing to

gain by our successes   but must be

successful or be let go   we are friends

and we are not friends   the days

pass very slowly   but weeks pass very 

quickly   no one would ask to do this

job   but we have all competed for them




i always fantasize   i think in stories   

when i used to look out my bedroom

window at the apartment across the

alley i might catch a glimpse of the 

young woman   and imagine scenarios 

when i walk past the euro-furniture 

store i might imagine having such 

furniture   and the house marketa

and i might have if we could afford 

such luxuries   and i admit at times i 

imagine my north country girl   or terri   

or any number of other lives i might 

live   i also imagine direness and lone

liness   my imagination has no off switch



an old mercedes has been parked in

the alley as long as i’ve had the apart

ment   it is filthy   i wonder why the

owner doesn’t sell it   rather than let

it disintegrate   and i wonder why i 

walk through the alley instead of 

walking along the sidewalk where the

lawns and rock gardens and parks

are nicely kept   i think it’s because i

like seeing the unkept side of peoples’

lives   it’s true to their nature   and 

my nature   i like the disparity between

the two   the kept and unkept   though

i think the word i want is kempt




i’ve never eaten at the jack-in-the-

box   the thai restaurant   though   is

very good   marketa and i often eat

there after work   i’ve seen the man 

with the beard eating there   he looks

more successful than myself   but i

have marketa   so ha   marketa makes

me laugh   so i don’t mind my job

or the alley   and she makes me feel

a full and rich range of emotions   and

on weekends we visit colin   or go to

the beach   or the redwoods   or go dan

cing   all in all   a beat-up old mercedes  

is a small price to pay for my vast riches




It’s no wonder that I imagine so much, the reality of my world leaves something to be desired. San Francisco is becoming unlivable. It isn’t the same city it was ten years ago when I moved here for college, and time is passing. I see no future in my job. As imaginative as I am, I don’t know what I was thinking when I took it, beyond the paycheck. Now what? I might be happier being a server at a restaurant in Sonoma, saying, “My name is Lynn and I will be your server tonight.” I would make more in tips than I do in salary. Though, I know that isn’t true. Imagine living in the wine country, the golden hills (when they’re not on fire), the vistas and opens spaces. Imagine walking through the nearby redwoods, imagine never seeing the Mercedes again. It could happen. 


I realize, after all this time, that I write about Marketa, and I’ve never given the big clue as to have to pronounce her name. It’s Mar-kee-ta, long “e”.


I’m trying to think of a celebrity that might give you a clue as to what she looks like, or is like. Nothing is coming to mind. The adjectives I might use

would cause her to sound ordinary. She isn’t. Just the opposite. You know how some people radiant their attributes rather than show them. She does that. It comes from within. Imagine the word “brown,” and what it might conjure. Imagine the word “brown,” but associate it with the brightest sunshine, the bluest sky, the freshest snow, the sweetest music, the most joyful laughter—the disparity between the adjective and the reality is what makes her hard to describe. 


When I say, “I love you,” she says, “I love you more.”


She is argumentative. 


Years ago, when I walked on the beach with my north country girl, I imagined complete happiness. I was living in complete happiness. At the same time we knew we had only two days. We had two perfect days. It’s hard to reconcile that level of happiness with the reality of life as I, we, know it today. It’s unreasonable, though, to think those perfect moments could be anything but fleeting. 


When I say “north country” I’m thinking of words from a Bob Dylan song, and the fact that she lives in a small town in northern England. Or she did ten years ago. Before I met Marketa I imagined visiting her, showing up on her doorstep, but we had decided not to exchange addresses or any contact information. I know I could find her if I searched, but I want to honor our commitment. We had our moment. We knew more would be impossible given our circumstances.  


When you work all day fulfilling others’ creativeness, living in your imagination is all that’s left, so I do. That is, during the day. At home, in the evenings, at night, in the mornings, on weekends, on the dance floor, on the beach, at the vineyard, by the ocean, I am in the moment.





Poetry by one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 375 times
Written on 2018-12-06 at 08:32

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Love the way you have blended prose with poetry. Each one complements the other. Also, I am fascinated by the way you end the lines, the way one word runs into another line, and the way meaning of that very word gets dispersed in-between. This is quite unique, something that looks effortless, but needs years of writing to achieve.

StillHoppin The PoetBay support member heart!
The switch to prose was unforeseen but surprisingly was not a jolt in the reading. It was expertly achieved. The minutia of the day proved to be engaging, yet the simple language employed adds to the feeling of repetitiveness/routine of each of the activities described. I enjoyed reading this work of art!

Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
All at Coo & Co enjoyed this poetry-and-prose piece. We hadn't heard of Sayaka Murata, so we looked through her entry on Wikipedia.

'Murata's writing explores the different consequences of noncomformity in society for men and women, particularly with regard to gender roles, parenthood, and sex,' reads Coo.

Woo-hoo! We were right about the pronunciation of 'Marketa'. Coo does a little dance :>)