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The Perfect Place To Die

( Rensaku: linked Tanka )  

1) Aokigahara Dream  

this belov’ed sight  
I’ve grown up with a lifetime,  
even out at sea  
helping Father mend his nets—  
he and brother haul a catch  
 
lurching from the waves,  
thoughts of late spring pilgrimage  
family outing days—  
tossing back the smaller fish  
before we set sail for home  
 
early next morning,  
Mother’s honored sisters come,  
cherished reunion—  
helping prepare the lunches  
when we honor Fuji-San  
 
Father’s ‘Buddha’ truck  
loading for the trip, and us  
packed just like sardines—  
off we go with happy shouts,  
Yamanashi Prefecture!  
 
2) In Mount Fuji’s Shadow  
 
honored sisters sing  
old tradition travel songs—  
men on bicycles  
smile and wave as we pass by  
watching glancing scenery  
 
Father nodding head  
in time with sisters’ singing,  
brother Yoshi grins  
as Mother leans, turns around  
focusing through camera lens  
 
and when we arrive,  
the forest, black, forbidding  
where no sun enters,  
of bones dangling from branches  
and no life leaves after dark  
 
we walk the thin trail,  
it fades where thick roots tangle  
when time and rain caught,  
o’er layers of eruption  
the humid breath and strangle  
 
I haven’t seen them,  
anyone, since darkness fell,  
and only silence  
what I hear and cannot tell  
if I died or everyone  
 
3) The Black Sea Of Trees  
 
costs of being old  
the elderly forgotten—  
abandon a soul  
having done what love dictates  
for the chance to die in bed  
 
and the lovers flock  
like two birds of a feather,  
for they too are mocked  
as the end, their tragedy,  
never knows eternity  
 
hoops of braided hemp  
as if trees make offerings—  
the death po’ms of monks,  
scratched out kanji on tree bark  
of sentinels’ no longer  
 
a single bird call,  
rustlings of its floundering—  
in which direction  
did it make its last mistake,  
‘fore once again a calming  
 
4) The Suicide Forest  
 
as the forest stands,  
forever firm in lava  
regurgitated  
a millennium ago—  
storing its own in the caves  
 
trespassers no more  
and the volcano is stilled,  
snow cap is unchanged,  
with the belly of the beast  
bulging till more come again  
 
to honor dark spawn,  
to consecrate the mother,  
the roots with their blood—  
and even they are all gone  
In the fires of Fuji-San
Jade-Pandora
Author's Note
This is a Japanese form of linked Tanka called a Rensaku.
This piece was written for and entered in the DUP competition "Aokigahara" (known as the 2nd most popular place on earth to take one's own...
This is a Japanese form of linked Tanka called a Rensaku.
This piece was written for and entered in the DUP competition "Aokigahara" (known as the 2nd most popular place on earth to take one's own life), located in Japan, northwest of Tokyo near the Pacific at the northwest flank of the volcano Mount Fuji.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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