After all the lights have been turned off I watch shafts of moonlight shooting in through the blinds. The bare room starts to reverberate with film-noir certainty. Tonight the moving is finished. All the pictures and photos have been removed from the walls and all the drawers and closets emptied, and only the laptop on the table remains to remind me of what I had formerly considered important. No more ordering the world, and no more maps and calculations. Only some strawberries are left in the empty refrigerator, and tomorrow waiting in a car across the street.
When will I ever learn why I must keep on moving? The road ahead seems like the only real thing. The rearview mirror scrolls out like a dream behind me, and a long train of cars is closing in like a persistent malady. Looking for a bypath is like looking for a cure. The next time I take this road I hope to see again the deer's family I glimpsed in the bush by the roadside. The mother and her fawn disappeared into the woods as the car approached - I could see only their white tails bounding through the trees, long after the other shapes had merged. Without nature the road ahead is a fleeting mirage.
The moment the car reaches the bridge the moon appears behind the pine trees. Is there ever a moment when, upon meeting the moon, white cranes take wing one by one and fly across her luminous face? I wish I could forget the possibility of forgiveness - it would make distance and asphalt and night easier than watching the edges of wings. Where is it that I hid my yearning - in the backseat there is only a dog-eared atlas of the
I hear a siren wailing in the distance and ignore it - disaster comes and goes and has nothing to do with this world. When I was young even a pimple on my face was a disaster. Let alone this. Call it calm after the storm, but the combination of tires and lives turning on the road at night is like a flight from ever-chasing hunters. No sanctuary ahead unless you count the all-night diners. But even there is only pie and stale beer. When will I ever be able to sit in an outdoor cafe again, spreading thick butter on crunchy baguette, in the middle of the afternoon? These images only drive me to blissful distraction.
I can't get off the highway now if I wanted to. I drive until I know my destination. I have a plenty of time, and even space, and as long as there is a radio station I will keep moving towards the desert heat. In heat there is a castle wavering, towers flickering, loopholes blinking in the walls. And I can hear the guard dogs barking already. Soon there will be only animal instinct and cunning left anyway, when the engine stops and the machine comes to a halt. The moon shines over the dune of clouds as if waiting for me to arrive. I flick on the turning signal, slow down, and look around. She is chasing me as ever.
SCROLL 5As always, I ordered a glass of
I don't know why I am among these actors and actresses with masks of ordinary citizens. A waiter passes by, a businessman, a thin teenage girl - but they all are gods and demons in disguise, I know. In fact they are testing me for a new role in a new play, but one that hasn't been written yet. Another car goes by, and then another, until finally only a distant barking of dogs is monitored on the back screen. I am obliged to speak my lines unknown to me, but that too is becoming easier. The thing that I can't get out of my head these days is a stray dog I find lying at my doorway every night when I come home. I try to turn her away, giving her some food, but every morning when I wake up she is lying by the door.
There is something comforting in that, but I am wondering what she really wants to get from me. I know she is also disguised with a mask, and that she barks when she sees blue cars -- but other than that we don't know each other well. Tomorrow I will bring her a gift, and perhaps she will leave her post. The trouble is I don't know what kind of gift she likes most, or if she can read the book I'm thinking of buying her. Once you teach an animal to stand on her own, you never know what she will be up to. But one thing is clear - she can easily smell intruders without learning from detective stories, and protecting my home is her only concern. I have never had a companion who is so persistent.
Tomorrow I will set out on a long journey, and she may know better how to read when I return. In the meantime, I'm wondering how much it costs for the rescue of a stray woman trapped in a swamp. Some say it may destroy my songs yet to be born, but if I don't save her she will haunt me for the rest of my already-haunted life. Some things sink and some things rise, but the thing that matters is to know the bottom line. All creation has two aspects, smiling and angry, like the moon that we see and the one that we don't see. The trick is to know what we see is also what we don't see. Ghosts are real and the real doesn't exist, say some people. As for me, both are true as long as there's a breeze blowing through the trees.
Coming back to the half-emptied glass of
[NOTE. The full series of Scrolls, still in progress, can be found on the Ikuta Press web site, from Kobe, Japan, at http://ikutapress.com/index.html About Yoko Danno’s equally experimental move from writing in Japanese to writing in English, Gary Snyder has written in his “Introduction” to a projected collection of her poems, Heading for A Futher Center: “Yoko Danno has chosen to write poetry in English rather than Japanese. She has been doing this for more than 20 years. It is not that she has lived a long time out of