Michael T. Smith



20 Love Notes to Tokyo

On the broken leg o’ the sun
25-hours a day

A child’s eye unblends
Trees through a cloudy blanket
From the mountain tops?

While a fine rice-hat
Orbits the (shadowed) head
Of a man’s blind spot.

And rickshaws roll through
A forest of temples
Of human nature.

Ideas bleed out
Through the black blood of a brush:

A lone cricket sings—
And the earth shakes its haunches

A mass of tongues
Clicking phonetic lines—
Music of the country

Is a seven letter word
But one kanji

For in winter’s tux
I want to marry a’ plum blossom
With whispered vows

Only man can grow
A sordid mushroom
Twenty stories tall

Cocoon of tomorrow
Bursts forth industry
Pachinko’d humans

Like vertical bridges—
On the iris o’ my eye

Mask of geisha
Contains every emotion
In one expression

A smile the size of an atom—

Doors of woodblock cuts—
Of Ten thousand leaves

God juggled
The sun, the earth, and the moon
In a cosmic circus

Drips from the third
In an aerial puddle

Counting a hot spring’s bubbles
Is godly work.

A squished pond shows
Ghosts of all
That look into it?

Nihon: rings a sound
Of a thousand neon suns,



Diary XIII

I fear the world may not be able to be
I fear that I’ve learned how to fear
with age.
I fear this tick, but then fear I’m only a
conglomeration of ticks.
I fear both having and not having an
I fear not only the word, but the
eternal structure in which it lies.
I fear I’ve sold my cash for too much.
I fear there’s a limit to time.
I fear the man next to the pauper
wants to be him.
I fear the world only looks good on
(I fear you will not look).
I fear my lunch will not go down in
history (like Breton’s).
I fear I / you / we only think in footnotes.
I fear you only want to see similarity.
I fear line fourteen.
I fear nothing.


Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of the Polytechnic Institute at Purdue, where he received his PhD in English in May 2014. He teaches cross-disciplinary courses that blend humanities with other areas. His poetry has been most recently published in Tau Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Bitchin Kitsch, Taj Mahal Poetry Journal, Zombie Logic Review, and the Asahi Poetry Journal. His critical work was recently published in Symbolism and Cinematic.