More Nanao Sakai

Believe me, children!
God made
Sky for airplanes
Coral reefs for tourists
Farms for agrichemicals
Rivers for dams
Forests for golf courses
Mountains for ski resorts
Wild animals for zoos
Trucks and cars for traffic tragedies
Nuclear power plants for ghost dance.
Don’t worry, children!
The well never dries up.
Look at the evening glow!
Sunflowers in the garden.
Red dragonflies in the air.
A small child starts singing:
“Let’s eat stars?”
“Let’s eat stars!”

Nanao Sakai

Three by Nanao
Peter Warshall
(Whole Earth, Summer 1997)
Inch by Inch (La Alameda Press) is translations of Issa’s haiku. Very invertebrate (snails, cicadas, crickets) and contraposed to those many other very serious academic haiku translators. Nanao’s special sport: a disarming hayseed humor. Let’s Eat Stars (Blackberry Books)is his second compilation of poems and plays, after Break the Mirror. Nanao or Never (Blackberry Books) is a backpack full of stories by friends who love him.

Once a Buddhist monk lathered Nanao with the monk’s long, honorable lineage. Nanao answered: “I have no lineage. I am desert rat.” Nanao’s poetics cut through the clutter, chatter, and the misplaced concreteness of modernity. He is Japan’s ninja Earth walker, tripster, spirit warrior, and elder poetic voice; haunted by Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Disarming poetics, deceptively “simple” subversions and word carvings crafted from Ainu, “primitive,” and other ancients’ merriment. (Think of the best breeze at the best dawn of your life).
Upon the blooming plum twig
a warbler
wipes his muddy feet

How lovely
through the torn paper window
— the Milky Way

Grasshopper, good singer!
Take care of my tomb
when I die

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