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  • Still Life
  • Yoshioka Minoru (bio)
    Translated by Eric Selland (bio)

still life

Within the hard surface of night's bowlSwelling with brightnessThe autumn fruitsApples, pears, grapes, and so onPoised one on top of the otherMove toward sleep,Toward one melody,Toward a larger music,Extending into darknessTheir nucleus slowly inclines,The abundant decomposition of timeSurrounding,Before the teeth of the deadThe various fruitsUnlike stonesDo not shoot out,And collecting their weightInside the deep bowlIn the image of nightFrom time to timeHugely tilt [End Page 21]

still life

The night wraps them quickly upThe bonesTemporarily placedInside the fishEscape the ocean of starsAnd are secretly dismantledOn the plateThen the light shifts to another plate–There in its hollowInherited by the hunger of lifeFirst a shadow fallsThen the egg is called in

still life

Attached to the corkInside an empty bottle of wineOur throatsOur thin bodiesBeautiful snakes that tilt with the scaleOur eyes do not have the weight of goldWhat must be remembered is the sunThere is always a new distanceAnd our heartsEntwined in the long pipesOf a horse's intestinesCircle around summerTo a night sea where there are only jellyfishHalf drownedOur headsBreed things that do not shine [End Page 22]

still life

The kitchen's blackened saltA dog's dangling penisThe head of a nail protruding from the roof

A corner of the fragile substructureReflects in a dark mirrorAnd before longThe hands and feet of a fetus yet unformedA horse on the coast of the painter's mental imageIncalculable numbersAll the way up to parallel conceptsAre carried into another roomAnother dimension

Then all that is alien within themIs brought to a standstillAt the same height, the same angleBy the splendor and cunning of a night's workBut only one egg remainsBecause it is too heavyPlaced on the table by the window

None of the violence or disorder of night exists hereBut one egg in its splendor faces one placid moon

a world

In the twilight    we are awakened    and begin to move    before long stand up    and call out to the cluster of yellow archetypal forms    the chaos of things like slugs gathering    then emerging from below the expanding creases    our facial expressions    our noses    furiously sweating    repeatedly vomiting in order to live    our throats    exposed to the intense winter    our teeth    deepening the fissures from day to day    constantly driven back into that dark interior    our tongues    gradually replaced    now    begin to sink into the sea where the setting sun plunges like a huge saucer    then coming before the world of bones stripped of fat    our mouths    suddenly grown huge    dribble frozen saliva [End Page 23]


From a bed of straw wettened by rainA young woman with a distinctive posture risesRegarding its shapeIt is like a tree risingBeneath the bright sunLike flowers, shameful spotsFlow through the treetrunkWhere the woman hidesThe naked tree squatsIts insides completely dryBut soon the earthInfuses it with ample resin,And its bark becomes smoothAnd now, toward the unobstructed fieldsWith a willowy bearingFrom its swelling rootsFor the first time the treeStands erect like a man


When God also was absentAnd not a shadow of a living thing was presentNeither does the smell of death ariseIn the deep atrophy of the summer noonFrom a crowded zoneThings like clouds are torn awayAnd viscous matter is inundatedIn a quiet placeA thing is bornSomething suggesting a lifePolished with dirt and lightAn egg occupies the earth [End Page 24]

a winter song

for T.

The splendor and sadnessOf the night sky's prosperitySeveral stars break out from the dustAnd sinkInside a frozen container

Why is the echo audible to usIn this place where there is no love

Most roofsDo not grow in...