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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


 Here is another one:


You ask me what I thought about
Before we were lovers.
The answer is easy.
Before I met you
I didn't have anything to think about.


Making Love with you
Is like drinking sea water.
The more I drink
The thirstier I become,
Until nothing can slake my thirst
But to drink the entire sea.


You wake me,
Part my thighs, and kiss me.
I give you the dew
Of the first morning of the world.

An American poet, Kenneth Rexroth, invented this Japanese woman poet, Marichiko, and published these apocryphal translations of her.  You could criticize this as cultural appropriation, as gender appropriation, or as bad poetry tout court.  Rexroth had translated much Chinese and Japanese poetry, he had paid his dues in a sense. And yet he still came up with this.   

According to Eliot Weinberger, "he gained critical recognition for having conveyed so authentically the feelings of someone of another gender and culture." But how would Weinberger know?  He is not a young Japanese woman getting some cunnilingus, so how could he tell the difference between authentic and inauthentic renderings of this experience?   

What if we saw apocryphal and / or appropriating translation as the norm, and an effort to not appropriate as the exception?  Just as my attempt to write bad poetry can never quite keep up with the actual bad poetry that people love so much.   


Leslie B. said...

Again, tacky. I think most people can write better sex notes than that? I mean, not rising to the level of publishability or general interest, but -- really --

Jonathan said...

I agree. I just never trust other people to agree with my judgments.