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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Brazen

If I might give any would-be writer any advice at this time, it would be just because you have an interesting thought, doesn't mean you should follow it up.

It also doesn't mean you should ignore it... wouldst that I did.

I recently watched an old 1960s movie called The Raven... a lighthearted fantasy-comedy-drama lightly revolving around the opening stanza of Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem The Raven. The movie starred: Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and even a very young Jack Nicholson.

I know - holy crap, right?!

Anyhow... after amusing myself for an hour, I decided to watch the movie... er, I mean after amusing myself watching the movie, I wondered if I could take The Raven poem and apply it to Japan It's A Wonderful Rife.

Of course I can - I'm a writer - I can do anything. Except type. I don't know how to type.

So - here's my version of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.

Words below in Italics are my explanation and not part of the poem. Wakirimasen means 'I don't know' or 'I don't understand'.

I was going to called it The Craven, but there was nothing cowardly about the kids in the story... in fact, you might actually call them

The Brazen

Once upon a midday dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious cooking show of misbegotten bore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my apartment door.
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying thought wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my photo albums surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Junko -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Junko -
Nameless here for evermore (except her name is Junko - stupid Poe).

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each brown striped curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late afternoon visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, gomenasai, your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my apartment door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you - here I peered straight through my eagle's eye -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Junko!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, 'Tie me up, Andrew-kun!"
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my balcony door;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and my clothesline and nothing more!'

Open here I flung open my front door and looked down—waaaaay down—when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a class of brazen students, students of some primary core.
Not the least obeisance made they; not a minute stopped or stayed them;
But, with mien of lord or lady, shoes removed, perched upon my sofa and floor -
Perched upon a green fabric sofa of my Showkukan (the sofa maker), laid upon my living room floor -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then these flock of students beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy scalp be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grimy and teeny tiny, brazen wandering from the Ohtawara street -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the school track suit written neat!'
Quoth the brazen, `Wakirimasen.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly scowl to hear Japanese so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living gain being blessed with having non-English speaking guests sitting on this sofa and floor -
Girl and Boy with name inked on the tracksuit,
With such name as 'I don't understand.'

But the brazen students, sitting lonely on the sofa, spoke only,
That one word, as if his or her soul in that one word they did outpour.
Nothing further then they uttered - not a feather then they fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
In a minute they will leave me, as many a nihonjin has done before.
Then a boy said, `Gaijin no sensei.' (foreigner teacher)

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "I donto speaku Engrishu - wakirimasen."'

But the brazen still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of boy and girl upon the sofa and floor;
Then, upon the velour pillow, I betook myself to thinking just who the hell these kids were and what did they want me for -
What this grinning cast of primary school kids meant by coming to my home,
Meant in croaking `Wakirimasen.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the foul Nihonjin (Japanese person) chick, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velour lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velour emerald lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, WTF!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
farted by Suzuki-san who ran to poop and tinkle on the bathroom floor.
`Bakayaro! (Stupid idiot!),' I cried, `Oh my Buddha that smells! What onibaba (demon hag) has sent you to me from Toronto!
Can't you give me a break, I'm waiting for Junko! I want my sex-crazed gal back!!
Oh you stinky brats are enough to drive me to drink, leave my place so I may think of Junko!
Quoth the brazen, `Wakirimasen.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

(Hmmm, I must have missed this stanza - oh well...)

`Konoyaro!' said I, `Who are you kids?!
Are you someone Junko has sent to torture me?! Always there behind a door!
Junko was a soul with sorrow full, who stalked me till a sheared sheep grew full.
She begged me to clasp and tie her boldly, a pitiful tainted Nihonjin whom I called Junko
Bound and spanked that rare big-boobed maiden, whom I called Junko?'
Quoth the brazen, `Wakirimasen.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, children of evil!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back to thy home or school before it's dark!
Don't forget to take everything you brought - you leave it here, I keep it!
Go and leave me the fug alone - don't try to bust my door!
Get the freak from my place, and get thy form out front my face!
Quoth the brazen, `Wakirimasen.'

And though it now is evening, still the brazen sitting, still sitting
On the green-hued Showkukan sofa some perch;
some upon my carpet floor;
And their eyes stare at me without meaning;
And the street lights outside beginning a-gleaming,
And my soul thinks I should pretend I'm dying, sighing on my carpet floor.
Shall be lifted - nevermore!


And that was the day five elementary school kids found out where I lived and decided to visit me - the junior high school teacher, not an elementary school teacher - to see how the gaijin (foreigner) lived... to not know how to speak any English, and me with little Japanese skills, they came into my apartment and I was forced to entertain them for hours.

They had brought plastic bags filled with snacks - but not once did any of the little bastardos offer me any, though I, as the host of these unwelcome guests, got them drinks and snacks... allowing them to use my bathroom. Seriously guys?! Have you never used a western-style toilet before? Lift the toilet seat up and then pee!!! They finally grew weary of inflicting their horror show upon mineself and slipped on their shoes and left me - to return nevermore.

I had apparently visited their school once - as I visited primary schools during the month my junior high school kids had their end-of-year exams - and so they had decided to go upon some hellish journey riding their broomsticks bicycles 10 kilometers to see if they could find my home.

Apparently they spied my Canadian flag hanging outside on my balcony and deduced I must live there. Their Geography teacher must be proud.

Of course, I mentioned what happened to my bosses at the Ohtawara Board of Education who used some sort of spectral detector and found out from which school these kids came from and had their homeroom teacher speak sternly to them to ensure they did not bother me anymore.

Only this, and nothing more.
Andrew Joseph
PS: The kids in the photo - that's them. The apartment furniture came replete with doilies or tatting or whatever the fug it is... I just left it there because what the heck did I care? I never really had to look at it considering my back faced it.

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