The Chatters and the Chills


Tokyo winters with the beginnings of sick
Mean you are hunkered-down, hiding under the pile of blankets
Layered over socks and old lady clothes
Shivering because two minutes ago,
When you had to leave your fox den
Clear away leaves, peel out
To go pee,
You had to cut through a hallway
Not under heat, more like a runway
of ice and back
into your bed,
You had to start all over
acquiring warmth.


Tokyo, not centralized heat, Tokyo,
Is all about getting warm:
Businesses selling sophisticated cavemen woolen sheets
Hot vending machines every corner and underground, allover,
Because you need,
Absolutely could LIVE for a hot can to shake and get hotter,
Oh, hot cocoa, latte, or coffee, black.

Hot pouches of beans that schoolkids and business men push
Into their socks
Or hold like a sacred muffin,
Just back and forth in their hands.

Uniqlo, polar – tec, give us everything we need to live on the streets
Or in a house that won’t heat up in the hallways or stairs, bathrooms, or entry-ways.

And then, just when I could strike down these few months from the calendar, envy the Bevy of Hawaiian holidays my friends take,
I spot an older woman trudging with gentile grace,
Kimono clad, rabbit stole, updo, and this is also winter, I know.
Mikan succulent citrus like kinkans at the market,
Blue skies when not abhorrent rain spouting down like knives while I’m pedalling                                         Our kids Home on the bike,

Sun making me forget shivers

And yet,

Tokyo is hanging up wet laundry on the line
When you go out to check and don’t
Know if it’s cold or still wet.




Tokyo is elusive, fleeting warmth and dishes cooked over a stove

Right at the table.
Tokyo is kids
in layers-
No stockings, no pants
Just schoolgirl pleats and legs of skin
All of us together, cashing in on those hot green tea cans
We shake so hard, they could spark fire.


Tokyo drives me chattering in the search for heat,
In search of coins,
In search of the hearts’ treasure, combustible, or fully flammable.
I’m looking for heat.

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