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Vanhaikuver

April 8, 2010

The more I think about it, the more certain I am that what this city needs is a book of irreverent haikus written by Kate M. Strayer. Is that the plural, “haikus”? No. Japanese doesn’t pluralize. One haiku, two haiku. Infinity zillion haiku.

O-ren Ishii! Shoubu wa mada tsuicha inai yo!

Some damn day in the future, maybe once I’ve banked all the fat stacks of money from the sales of Vanhaikuver, I will take a Japanese class, or a series of them, until such time as I have learned the language. It’s fascinating in every way. Kind of like Linear B with its syllabary and all. One day at my old workplace this ESL kid came in and asked if we had tekusutubukusu. (Have I told this story?) I stood there with my brow furrowed until I realized what he’d done and then I got all excited because it was one of the most memorable linguistic moments of my life so far. Holy shit, kid, that was awesome!, I wanted to say, but I couldn’t smile because he would have thought I was mocking his pronunciation and I couldn’t tell him how friggin’ amazing his utterance was because he clearly didn’t know enough English to process a rambling gleeful narrative about how turning a two-syllable English word into a seven-syllable pseudo-Japanese word was the most kickass thing anyone had done in my presence in years.

(Textbooks, he was saying, but in Japanese a consonant almost always has to come attached to a vowel…)

Anyway, for now, I’m just writing in English. For example, this thing composed at a classmate’s behest, more or less, yesterday. It’s been raining like a son of a bitch here in the Big V. She was looking for rain poems. I didn’t have any on hand so I wrote one right then and there:

I wish I could spit
high enough to hit the sky.
Hork. Splat! Tit for tat.

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