Taro Hokkyo, 1963 born in Osaka, Japan
1985 Waseda University
1989（？）Dropped out of Waseda University due to illness
1998 Rekitei Shinei Award in Japan
2021 Arab Golden Planet Award
2022 Russia Telekov Reading Prize declined
Awarded the title of Doctor of Letters from the Arabic-speaking world.
Born to Sing
Wendy, my room is littered with books. Untidy problems haunt us. The purpose of life is lost. The night comes, and after all the work of the day is done, as much as I can do, I finally feel free. From now on, it is my time alone. But why is it that I can’t stop reading books or watching TV? Is it just me, or do I get lonely when everyone else has gone to bed? Wendy, please be a fairy and talk to me today. I’d like to take my mind off this freezing loneliness for a little while.
No matter how old you get, you can never give up your dreams. Wendy, even an unfulfilled dream is better than nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’re not very good at it. I was born into this world, I have done my best, and I will continue to do my best. It’s just that I was unlucky enough not to encounter something outstanding compared to others. I don’t want people to think I’m making excuses, so I always keep quiet. Let’s start all over again from the beginning. Someone once told me that it is never too late to start over in life. Still, on a lonely night like this, I’d like to talk to you, Wendy.
I feel like I could write something about you if I could find a job. I know I’m just a poor poet, but Wendy, I just want to dream a little with you. I am a third-rate poet, poor and helpless, who will never get paid for the work I do. All I can do for you, Wendy, is love you. I have no luck, no talent. I feel like I’ve wasted another day. It’s always been a one-way street for me. All that comes here is the bill. I’m going to have a hard time finding something to eat tomorrow. What can I believe in this world of contradictions and traps, Wendy? I have to sleep with my head in this messy little room.
King of eclipses
The half-eyes of the sun. The land of the eclipse is inhabited by those who, for example, have lost both arms and still clasp their mossy hands together. They greet their dead neighbors and go to plow the fields that cannot be plowed by each of them. If you walk with your heart, you will find a path that leads you to each other, and your straight heart will sometimes make a big turn. Fallen leaves are turning colorful.
On the high stone steps, a blue-spotted dog, which brings a white prayer left behind in its mouth, crouches and becomes a stone before it reaches the path. The sweat of an old monk, who is removing the stone from the steps and scraping the soil, is causing seasons to appear on his wrinkled face.
She could see more clearly with her blind eyes, and she could hear the picture scroll of the hell of famine in his heart. As if to peruse the unknown world, the old woman at the Sanzu River holds an oar and smiles at his unopened mouth. If there is a stone there, ring it! Let each one ring from within!
Cut down one big tree for the sake of a newly born child. Plant a seedling for a newborn parent. The king of eclipses. Enjoy the moss that grows on the seedling of the tree that was cut down. Enjoying the growth of the seedling’s stem in the same way as its parent. I wait for the red flower that falls at my feet, fragrant in my hands, until the prayer of the one is forgotten. The king of eclipses. Already without even a hint of it.
Do not surrender
What the hell was wrong with me? He crouched down in the kitchen and poured himself a glass of liquor from a cheap one he got at the liquor store. He had been drinking and smoking since this morning. He had lied and cancelled an important appointment. In this world, if you go out in the world for a moment, you’ll get slammed by everyone. I’m trapped in a corner, and I’m treated terribly. At the bottom of the pit, you are insulted and ignored, and there is no one to help you.
The rice has run out. He bit down on a grain of rice on the floor. He had no food for tomorrow. Still, Jimmy knew he would not surrender. He thinks of his deceased predecessors who had taken care of him up to that point. I can see the sadness between the lines. My work and name have been erased, as I was told that this is not poetry.
There is no past glory for me. My index and middle fingers have cigarette stubs on them. Jimmy rises from his cigarette. Jimmy gets up, smoking a cigarette, „The only way to survive in this world is to get up, even if it’s at the bed of spears. You will wake up in the dark with nothing but nightmares. There is nowhere to run.
The kitchen smelled of grease. The lights and exhaust fan are still on. There were walls standing in our way. Jimmy, you’ve been down many times. But you only got up when you were down. You still took the stairs one step at a time. Remember who called out to you in this rock bottom life, Jimmy. Don’t surrender even if you don’t have tomorrow’s rice.
I attended a poetry meeting for the first time in a dozen years. I don’t remember which hall it was. There were many poets I had met in the past. Everyone looked older. It was hard to convince myself that this was also true of myself. The plump Jody had lost so much weight that I didn’t even recognize her at first.
„My life can’t be measured in spoonfuls,“ Jody joked as she poured an overflowing cup of sugar into her tea. Her arms were surprisingly thin. The cigarette never left her fingers. She smoked as if taking a deep breath. „I go to AA meetings“, she laughed as we parted.
That was the last time I saw Jody. I think about Jody now as I shine the light of my desk lamp on my keyboard. Maybe it was because of Jody’s influence that I started writing poetry. I think of the dreams and silly jokes we used to have together. I remember her single-minded, passionate and sharp eyes. I remember Jody, who is no longer with us.
A New Fire
There was an isolated island jutting out of the sea. After the idea of conquest, it became an impregnable fortress. Now it is in ruins again. What was the conquest for? What was it a fortress for? I can’t even look into the ancient books. For me, it was nothing more than a momentary hesitation of expression.
There were ruins. Some cracks in the daytime. The sound of bones cracking ran from inside and outside through these separate cracks. The wind rumbled in the cavity made of rock and steel. There was a complete triumph of formlessness surrounding the ruins.
The legendary rainbow that hung over this isolated island in ancient times. Now I picked it up like a savage sword and pruned away all the interpretations of this isolated island. I piled them up in a bundle. There was a moment of hesitation. After that, I dropped a new fire into it.