This is a remarkable poem, set in Japan, culled from scenes from famed Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi’s movies. 


So the poem is, according to Ricky, “all based in facts, however my addled mind interprets and remembers them. I sort of meditate on them and then see what comes.” 


He got into seriously writing poems during the ‘quarantine’, as he refers to it.I put music aside. I wanted to access another side of my brain. I started writing words incessantly, writing about everything I know and love. Since I was a little boy, I have been obsessed with foreign films. I believe it is because I worshiped my three older sisters, and they started bringing me to them when I was very little. 


Antonioni, Mizoguchi, and Bresson, [to be published next month] are the first poems in a series of meditations on my favorite directors, the visionaries who have shaped the inner eye of my aesthetic. I write music for the theater, but my goal is to create a theater of close-ups, like these heroes of modern cinema.”









Yesterday, a bird

Mid-flight, crashed into our door,

Falling to the wood.




It is hard to outrun 

Hungry soldiers

In a kimono 

With geta on your feet,

Especially with your boy

Clutching your back.


A knife’s plunge, though

Into your heart, 

Can quiet the screams.




In Kyoto, a prostitute,

A yatona,

(They make house calls)

Stabbed Mizoguchi in the back;

Showing a friend

The scar, straight

Down his back,

He said…

“You can’t understand women

If you don’t have one of these”




His father had been

A high ranking Samurai,

Then a roofer,

Then a drunk-

Lazy and profligate.

His sister, a Geisha,

Looked after him,

So, he understood

Better than anyone,

The plight

Of a woman’s fall,

Her degradation.




In the low light

Of sunset,

Delicately gray,

They are drifting through the fog.

Occasional weeds peer up 

From the water.

They are rowing towards death.




Greed impelled him

Then, a woman.

In a splendid palace,

Though she is a ghost,

And the palace, 

A charred heap of ashes.

He doesn’t know

Of his wife’s murder,

Or what has become

Of his only son.





After her lover

Of a lower class

Is executed,

And her family

Is banished,

Runs from her mother

Through the leaves

In frantic circles, 

Until she collapses

Into a pile of shrieks

And pain.




Everything is seen

At a distance,

Or heard.


Like when Tamaki,

Now blind,

Calls out

To her two children,


And branded-

“Anjo. Zushio. Anjo. Zushio.”

Their names echo

Like the chimes of church bells

In Russia,

When the slaughter

Is nearby,

And the smoke is rising.




Smoke is rising

When he arrives home.

Luckily, his wife

Is right where he left her,

At the potters wheel.

But she is smiling,

And she is dead.