(Shibuya, Tokyo, 2/14/18)
A friend tells me one sign reads “Making out in public is terrorism” and another states “Resist romance capitalism!” I do not speak Japanese so the signs and the chants in the streets are incomprehensible to my gaijin ears but who really needs translations for yells of protest? I know they beg, tormented, that chocolate burn, I mean really burn, rising high in choking clouds infused with the scent of lipstick, cognac, leather, slight undertones of caramel, berries, and vomit. Stoked with tinder of rose petals, lace, and—especially—the glitter that turns up everywhere. Drenched with Chanel No. 5 and 6 and 7. They beg the chocolate scorch the coarse cushioned walls of the office cubicle with rolling cinders of charred obligations. They pray for an explosion, a symphony of black thunder that shakes children from trees overlooking neighbor’s changing rooms. They writhe to bask beside the bonfire of rejection, to embrace the revolutionary act of not-quite-hate-but-refusing-to-love.
on the lips of a stranger
Professional editor J. Todd Hawkins writes and lives in Texas. He is the author the chapbook Ten Counties Away (Finishing Line Press). His poetry has recently appeared in Rattle Poets Respond, AGNI, The Bitter Oleander, The Louisville Review, Bayou Magazine, and American Literary Review.
Photo by Joshua Ness.