Three Poems

By Gina Valdés

Artwork by Tadashi Hayakawa

 Tadashi Hayakawa,  Mu (Nothing) , 2017. Mixed media, 60 in.x48 in. Courtesy the artist. Inspired by the poem "Ashes" (below). 

Tadashi Hayakawa, Mu (Nothing), 2017. Mixed media, 60 in.x48 in. Courtesy the artist. Inspired by the poem "Ashes" (below). 

Ashes

Tadashi remembers running with all

the strength of his four-year-old legs,

his mother Shizuko brushing sparks

and ashes from his hair.

 

He remembers fleeing flames

with neighbors toward charred building,

the one-legged soldier on crutches

bellowing,  Not here! To hillside!

 

He remembers in dreams

the ashen silence of their return,

misty rain falling on matsu trees,

the half-burned face of a neighbor.

 

He remembers, remembers

all the houses rubble and ashes,

his home—to his relief and dismay—

the only one standing.

 

                                 In memory of the 100,000, and the not counted,

                                 who perished, March 10, 1945, in

                                 the U.S. bombardment of Tokyo.
 

 Tadashi Hayakawa,  Spirit of Sumi #3 , 2015. Sumi/oil, 48x48 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Hayakawa's  Spirit of Sumi  series served as inspiration for the poem "Sumi-e" (below).  

Tadashi Hayakawa, Spirit of Sumi #3, 2015. Sumi/oil, 48x48 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Hayakawa's Spirit of Sumi series served as inspiration for the poem "Sumi-e" (below).  

 

Sumi-e

We walk into an ink painting

in shades of gray, an old ryokan

at dusk in a farming village,

far from the clutter and clatter

of Tokyo.

 

My heart flutters awake

as he steps into our room

in a gray yukata,

his body damp from a steam bath

and drizzle.

 

The warmest color in this sumi-e:

our flushed skin.

 

 

Unframed

Master artist

observes form

space

 

light and shadow

 

play in his eyes

in mine

 

as he speaks

of chiaroscuro afternoons

expressionist nights

 

tells me

my skin reflects light

like wine

 

reaches for

paper    charcoal

 

I am an unclad image

in a sketchbook

 

a nude painting

 

a naked woman

 

unframed


Gina Valdés’ poetry has been published in journals and anthologies in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Recent work appeared in Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Spillway, Huizache, and Mizna.

 

Tadashi Hayakawa is an internationally known artist who works in mixed media with an emphasis on abstract oil painting. His work has been exhibited in many galleries in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. He recently had a solo exhibition in Tokyo, and took part in an ekphrastic exhibition in Parker, Colorado with his "Mu" painting inspired by the poem "Ashes."