Nasty Morning

Hiromi Itō
Japanese
b. 1955

 

More than through skin, more than through sex
Unease is something that becomes clear through language
Something that makes me particular
There were no accentual modulations in that language
Surrounded by accentless speakers
I couldn’t carry on a conversation
I was illiterate too
I abhorred written language
Their accentless addresses frightened me
Didn’t feel directed toward me
If I answered, my language
Sounded ugly, sounded deformed
I could not erase that
When I catch the delicate nuances of accent
In the language he learned in a land far away
I wanted to wash it all away
Language spoken aloud is all mine
Knowledge
Emotions
Time, things we eat
Even if under the influence of others
Even if under the control of others
Even if the language he writes is understood only by others far away
The language that enters my ears, comes out my mouth
And disappears is all my own
Something I want to claim
Even if wet with my saliva
As I scrub him late at night
I imagine washing all that accentless language
From his skin of his freckled back

Dee suiiteshita retoru omen (the sweetest little woman)
He taught me this once
De suiiteshita meen (the sweetest man)
I imitated him
Parroted language
One breath, then another
He was a strange frog, a cricket
Pronouncing with ease
But first he taught me
Nashite mounen (nasty morning)
Next ae habu eten purente (I have eaten plenty)
Next ae an nata hangure (I am not hungry)
Next yu aara nata hangure (you are not hungry)
I touched his language that day for the first time
When I did
I was jealous of language
With it he is connected to the world outside
He writes, people read, that remains
But just then, he spoke to me in his language that remains
Just like my language
His is voiced then disappears
Even if relationships disappear there
Even if memory disappears there
This language, voiced and disappearing, is suiito
I wanted to study and understand his language
Even if only like those boys
It makes me sigh with regret
Still, the words I spoke made him crazy
He said he thought about them for ages
My language threatened
The freckles on his back
They moved, they squirmed
For his thick arms, how light
I must have been, like an imp or fairy
My language percolated through his voice then became free
Taking on the heat and scent of his body
It coiled around me then disappeared
Through language
He dug into me
Searched for me
So heavy from the imps and fairies settled there
Searching out
And finding
My skin
My lips

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