The Revenge of the Flan~~Poetry

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


     Genie Nakano

                       September 7, 2021, word count 219

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on

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.


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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Looking Inside my husband’s brain

Sometimes I write for therapy as I did when I wrote this piece. Hideki my husband had a stroke and on his brain a hematoma. He was in the hospital. The hematoma was bleeding. Toto had just died and Bodhi was in the hospital with a rare blood disease IMHA in critical condition. I was all alone. Late at night I wrote this piece with eyes closed in automatic writing.
My prayer… December 2020

  A picture containing indoor

Description automatically generated

in December

my husband had two strokes

total eclipse…

Here we look inside my husband’s brain

a mandala a network of pathways interfacing in his head.

his brain is bleeding

a hematoma lies on top of the right hemisphere

yes, the brain is divided into right and left hemispheres

 completely different and divided by

I think he uses his mind too much

can we calm it down so he can live a little longer?

he is 80 years old but his heart is strong

he s lively and energetic strong-willed

dear god

give him a chance to live

he’s a good man

Right now, he is teeter tottering on life and death

so, they say– maybe this is not so true 

they don’t know how strong he is

leave him alone. He’s fine.

Something warm and tasty

that’s what the world needs right now

that’s what I need right now.

something savory that soothes my tummy

mom’s macaroni and cheese my favorite

childhood memories of Barbara and me

we wore our rainboots to school

we splashed in puddles

that was the happiest time of my life.

dad and mom were living together

in long beach

little did I know they weren’t happy.

teeter tottering

on life and death

doctors tell me

the solid truth

happiness is a bubble that protects you…Genie Nakano, August 24, 2021

Hideki in February 2021


The hematoma is gone.

The hematoma is gone, Feb. 2021 photo of MRI by Genie Nakano


Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

The first thing I notice
you are sprouting wings–
I once had huge flamingo pinks.
I traded them in for dragonfly wings.
They work just as well.

compact, discreet
–under clothes
no one knows
you can fly
anywhere, anytime

is smaller now lighter now
doesn't mean better
dewdrop wings
dewdrop worlds
But do as you please
fly to Texas toot big guns
howdy partner
come along cowboy
ride my bronco

Angel man
keep growing those wings
we'll fly out of here.

Genie Nakano, 2016--revised, August 17, 2021

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