While KJ is not primarily a literary publication, poetry has always been a vital component in our content mix. This poem by Elena Karina Byrne, along with others by Jane Hirshfield, Arkaye Kierulf, Tamara Nicholl-Smith and (in translation) Shinkichi Takahashi, is featured in KJ 95 (Wellbeing).
KAZUKI TAKIZAWA’S COLOR FROM GREEN
Brain, in the vessel shell of the body, begin in this fine engine-
metronome breath between breath, stay intact. Tell me my color today
and those I left light-behind in childhood on shore–– they were made
of mother’s broken glass, now tiny inedible grains of sand, now live
shells carrying other bodies out to sea to a Pacific shelf downed by no
sun. Out of silence you make language my own, a transparency I can
hold up until this sky becomes too heavy or rain fills my mouth with its
own grey need to sing. Fold me home. Carry me out of your kiln, cooling,
this blown shape, dawn, shimmering in my sides. Because talk begins in
heat in the body, as one passenger who never leaves the moving train, as
the senbazuru cranes’ wings folding back to you in silence, circling the hour.
I can only hear myself, hear the exhale wind between the long bird-ribs of
trees. So, please, show me what will not break in thought, show me sight.
—Elena Karina Byrne
Elena Karina Byrne
Elena Karina Byrne is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Squander (Omnidawn 2016). She has just completed a book of essays: “Voyeur Hour: Meditations on Poetry, Art & Desire.” She is a freelance professor, editor, Poetry Consultant / Moderator for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club.Her work has been published in the Pushcart Prize XXXIII, Best American Poetry, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The Kenyon Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, and is forthcoming in POETRY, Massachusetts Review, Poetry International, Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, and Persea Books’: The Eloquent Poem, among others.
Kazuki Takizawa is a Japanese glass artist, currently based in Los Angeles, California. For the past decade, he has been making work in glass addressing his personal experiences with mental illness.