Sun Flower

photo Sun Flowers: Raphael photographer
Sun Flowers
my mother was a painter, my father a poet, I danced into life...

I have 
a painting in the kitchen
unsigned, undated,
said to be my mother's

the flowers 
are big   bold   free
unlike her style
yet Auntie says...
"for sure, it's your mother's"

I stare
into their bright yellowness
Four   Bright   Suns
in a blue vase
makes me smile

I was twelve
when Mom left Dad and I
a young poet-man
lured her far away
1960--a brave choice back then

before she died
she told me she regretted
her decision...
the sun flowers tell
a different story

Genie Nakano, December 2, 2019

Obsession — Daughter of the Moon

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

my daughter
the old man said
you are pale
and need more yang
earth between your toes

Obsessed, Daughter stays in her room. She opens the windows and stares out at the sky. Her black hair streaked by moonlight, glistens. Her skin casts an ephemeral blue. Chanting deep into the night, her eyes grow dark and somber.

in a never ending
stream of consciousness
she tries
to grab
the winter moon

She chants for days and nights, breath upon breath, whispers in the air. Is this a dream—that soon will end with the melting snow. No, it’s too late.  Her hair becomes midnight, her face radiant.  She can’t be stopped. Father must let her go.

Out from the window she ascends making the legend come true. The young daughter twirling in moonlight—spiraling on mist—grabs a slice of enlightenment and never comes back again.

          The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

Genie Nakano,
September 14, 2021

First Rain

Raindrops . . .

Embryos of life flowing from the sky. . .

Implanting into Earth’s womb.

Earth is ecstatic today . . .

Twins bounce, triplets play, quadruplets march in 4/4 time

Faster and faster until we cannot count the meter. . .

Oh, Heaven and Earth unite today. . .

Marry and penetrate your seed deep inside Earth’s womb. She’s been waiting far too long. . .

Desperately yearning for your touch. . .

Please don’t stop, be relentless. . .

Rain on, rain on. . .

For days and nights, and weeks, for many, many moons. . .

Flow deep into the valleys.

And mount the highest peak.

Implant every crevice. . .

Moisture from above glistening over Earth’s brown skin.

Ahhhh the petrichor of rich wet Earth.

Rain. . .Oh rain. . .

Come again, come again, and again, and again, and again.

Genie Nakano, 1993

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com


He came in an autumn wind and stayed

This is my man

through crashes and bashes

drama and flight

it hasn’t always been a delight

but somehow, we make it

shake it and bake it

I have no books

no rules of the game

I’m a child from a broken home

I’m a dreamer

who watched the silver screens

no one told me

there’s more than the kiss

there’s doldrums and mold on the floor

sweep it up, keep it up

I promise it’s a deal

we’ve learned bliss is real

I don’t want to listen

to doctors’ advice

he’s only got a few more years

we live for the day

watch the sun taking glory

our little dog wag no tail

we hold hands in the dark

take walks in the park

listen to tales of beyond

I love this man

with little wings growing

a dragon who floats all around

Today is all I have

 that’s what he has to say

The world’s going to end anyway

the world’s going to end anyway

But I don’t agree

because you see

nothing ever stays the same

light into darkness and

form unto form

Once a macho man

now he understands

you do the dishes

I’ll make more wishes

it keeps going on this way

                                       Genie Nakano,

                                              September 16, 2021

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Baby Bengal

I revised this Tanka prose. Always something new.

Genie Nakano

Photo by Thomas B. on Pexels.com

Harry is singing his song in a parking lot, of an elementary school–somewhere in a midwestern state. He has a full band backing him. His voice beautiful resounding over the whole black top. Kathy is trying to get money to fund him.

He deserves it, she says. So do I, I say under my breath feeling rather empty inside.

I run to an open field of grass some of the blades are yellowing but it is pure space under blue skies and sunshine. Uncanny for this time of year in a midwestern state.

Three men running behind me with a baby Bengal tiger at their side. One of the men has blood dripping down his face. The baby Bengal unleashes and bolts towards me–his mouth wide open in a smile is about to knock me over.

I wake up to find Bodhi, my little…

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No Green Tea–the Nisei Luncheon Club~~Poetry

Nisei Luncheon Club

They look me over

all conversation stops as I enter the room.

refusing to meet my eyes

they surmise

she’s different than us

cluck cluck tsk tsk

she can’t even speak Japanese

don’t serve her any green tea.

A very quiet crowd (I think)

I make small talk desperately

they answer reluctantly —

all in Japanese

what does she eat

they sniff and snoop

what is in her bento box

no steamed white rice, no pickled plums

what kind of girl is this

who brings lunch in a paper bag?

Weeks pass by its always the same

the silence is choking my air

so today I plan to bring my sweet flan

to soften their scaly hides.

As I stand outside the luncheon door

the laughter, the sharing, the laughter

are they talking about me?

her husband is Puerto Rican, Reiko says

she smells of garlic and black beans

why is she here

she’s hybrid trash

their words recoil round the room

as I open the door

my flan flies across the floor

splattering everywhere

on the chairs on their hair

on their Nisei frosted faces

on their age old, yellowed pearls

they cried and gasped

and I laughed,

and I laughed

                   Alone       I cry.

     Genie Nakano

                       September 7, 2021, word count 219

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

Beautiful Bento lunch with white steamed rice and one pickled plum on top.

Nisei: Second generation Japanese who immigrated before WW2 to America and other countries. In this poem–America.

Orale Pues

Orale Pues….

The back story…

For a long time, I wished I was a Chicana. I wanted beautiful dark eyes with long thick lashes like Maria Duran. I wanted to hully gully like Theresa Navarro. I guess you could call it ‘identity issues. At thirteen I started smoking and wanted to be grown up. My 9th grade English teacher, Miss Brandes encouraged me to write—she liked my story ‘The Lion’ and told the counselor Mr. Kirkland I didn’t belong in the flunky classes. He transferred me to college prep.During this time I joined the “Modernettes” a modern dance club and the rest is history. My grades soared. Unfortunately, I had a cigarette jones and smoked for many many years. Dance was my savior. Then I had to give it up when my hips wore out and in 2008, got a hip replacement. That’s when poetry became my savior.

 During Covid 20 my blog kept the light shining.

The Tanka Prose, Orales Pues is a tongue in cheek but true story of my teenage years in East L. A……

I like

 my Japanese American eyes

it took me a long time.

August 29, 2021

Orale Pues    

Photo: Genie Nakano

born in ELA barrios

I live in a world of dualities

in my tight skirt and sweater

I  can cha cha ‘n hully gully down

but I don’t know who I am

I peroxide my hair red

rat it high, rat it high

pierce my ears with the catholic cross

orale pues*—sansei*

Buddhahead becomes a chola.*

homeroom teacher

sends me to the back of the room

my hair is too high to see over

she calls me a disgrace

oye, better to nap in the back

black eyeliner, jade green shadow

I look older now

times going too slow

I want to get out of here

I am Maria of Westside Story

in my purple skirt

I twirl with amateur grace

round and round

and then again…

suddenly a balance

that’s it for me

dance sets me free

forget those guys,

those blackened eyes

Catch me in the Rye

while legs grow strong

my spine becomes a willow

time moves in rhythm

and everything makes sense

the world becomes a dance

keep on is all I say

you call me a show off now

I don’t care—cause I feel good

and don’t you wish you had my legs

orale pues, right on right on.

Originally published in Atlas Poetica, editor M. Kei. (thank you M. Kei you started me on this tanka path.!!!)

*Sensei..third generation,

*chola gangster girl,

*orales pues, right on,

*Rat, backcombing the hair,

*Huly gully, shimmy shoulder dance.


Photo by Genie Nakano

we have to push through
the clouds
to see the sky
and feel the sun

Genie Nakano
Originally published in Spillwords

Genie Nakano

we need to push
through the clouds
to feel the sun
and touch the sky

photo: Genie Nakano

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