TranslatingRitaSophie

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THE BUTTERFLY

My guts are full of butterflies.

Dormant, waiting,

Knowing You will come.

My butterflies,

lost in the confusion

of old infatuations…

Afraid to ever spread their wings

Relinquished their crown

Fallen into oblivion…

One of them, though,

one flicker of hope

emerged on my right shoulder

from there it seems to be calling

silently

imperceptibly

the call only You can hear.

The Sumida

Icebox

River, river, river (lifelong familiarity with a language lures us into hearing onomatopoeia). We look out on the Sumida River where it goes past the southern end of Tokyo’s Taito ward, and are just a couple of hundred meters upstream from the confluence with the Kanda (which I once lived alongside in Nakano ward).

A river—or any body of water for that matter—is a view that you can wholly rely on to be different every day. The color, texture, play of light on, speed of flow, traffic on, even the apparent width of a river change like the weather, like the mood of a creature you’ve been staring at for too long. In other words, a river is one of the most iron-bound promises against boredom, a lifetime guarantee of (at least) subtle surprises.

Windless
the grasses
bend forward

In anticipation
the gulls bob and wheel
at the mouth of…

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VALENTINE’S DAY UNSENT LETTER

I got your message ‘I don’t think we should see each other anymore’ on a Sunday morning, at 7:12 am. Ever since, my alarm clock goes off precisely at 7:12 every morning. I should have set it at 7:11 am, before the message had ever reached my inbox. Oh, well, it’s too late for that, I’ve learnt to wake up at 7:12 and I’ve also learnt to forget you in the meantime.

One might say that I’m experiencing a cheap infatuation, since we met only four times and we spent probably not more than 24 h together. Ultimately, who can say what’s time got to do with it? We could have met a hundred times, and spent an eternity together, and your message would have saddened me the same. It has nothing to do with time, habit or even love. I can’t say I loved you. You filled some holes in my soul, and it takes more than some for love to manifest.

And I cannot even send you these lines, so you can know how I feel. Your ‘I don’t think we should see each other anymore’ has placed us in two parallel universes. In mine, I blame myself for having spoken too much, for not having worn a nice perfume, for socializing too much with Mr Johnny Walker… In yours, you simply don’t reply to my messages. That’s as far as I can see.

In my universe, I pick up the broken glasses and I scatter them in my eyes, so I have a solid reason to cry.

In my universe I play the role of the judge – the creepy one in Pink Floyd’s THE WALL, and I forbid me to act like an 18 years old! At 40, feelings should be docile, coming and going at one’s simple will. At 40 one has better things to do than cry over a guy. But even if one plays nice and puts a large grin on their face, there’s a total tsunami in their soul, washing out all the peace calmly dozing for years. I wouldn’t say you did it on purpose, and definitely you couldn’t anticipate my falling for you so seriously. I can’t blame you. Besides, you’re far away, in your universe, and I have no idea what’s ruling it so strangely to have made you cut me off so badly. 

But tomorrow it’s Valentine’s day, and though I don’t believe in it, I decided… not to send you these lines. And that’s no attempt to reach and penetrate your universe, it’s just a simple manifestation of my poetic gene. It’s the mere expression of a disappointed woman that should keep quiet and be wise. Though, I’m not dealing with disappointment here, to be totally honest. Better not label it.

And if I never said it, it was really nice meeting you!

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