Brandon Shimoda

< Back | TOC | Next >


Hist Odres de Paradise

A rat is whispering
In my lap
The rat is large
An additional gravity

In the wet hairs of its stomach

Rises the feeling of
An earthquake

The earthquake knows its way
Through animal bodies
Especially human


From my legs to my mouth
For a second I mistook
A rat for a cricket

Distant threshing

Moves a little
I can feel it


The first bars
Garbage trucks bringing
Ice cream


In paper cups


What else is there to do?
What else is there undoing?
Japan occupied Taiwan for fifty years
That is what keeps me

In touch

A lush


Boat at the bottom
Of the South China Sea
The boat was torpedoed in 1942
By a United States submarine

The Africa Maru is the boat
On which my grandfather immigrated
Japan to the United States
He was eight, alone, 1919

Bad ease

Guileless evolution


I do not understand
Appears to be
An effort by the living
To keep from being


Earth disheveling the altar in
Spine and throat

On the bottom of the sea
I am
Prone to wrap a young boy around

The railing


Skin peeled from his hand
Wrapped for protection around another
To extract the tremor, however
Distant, coming to

Disclose the distance for
A swim down to the wreckage

Head that’s weed


Sky waving between
High, officious reeds
Embracing the white


Hot and tight like a child
To the death of its first senseless animal

The moon is purple


Drafts of light


Waters toss

Faces, I am certain

Mine will go
In the moment of seeing
Will I remember it better?


Let it release

An expanse of history

One ear to another, I speak
In a voice I do not recognize
Do you feel the lightning burn the city?
And still


Grow aftershocks?
When it is shockless
An earthquake begins
As premonition

To the underside of the earthquake’s
Ferry down to the wreckage


There will be mediumship
Clear feeling
But space

To transition
The island


The mind into
Coloring a feminine contour


And left

The great wind

Hopelessness is
Congenital? Lymph?

Only shadows, no one there
But if I see it clearly as
The beautiful island
I might have then

Forgotten, or forget
When translated what, of what
Threads the veins


Touches the foot Touch the foot


Ground nervously the silence

Blinding at

The curve


Hist Odres de Paradise

It’s raining in the museum of literature
The walls are atomized with scores

Day in, day out, is

Elating us, with
Or without literature


We could not be any more
And matter less than
All that matters

Reconstituting works of nature
Books of nature

Necrologies captivating hands


Up the rain, a woman wearing

A book of garlic
At an intersection

In a Karma wheelchair, riding
A motorbike in a gutter
Beside the museum of literature
Shaved head and saffron robe

Waving and sputtering
No! No! No!

Where nine brown-robed monks are
Droning, the sky is
A lesbian hyacinth



Hist Odres de Paradise

To pick a pork bun from a throng of pork buns
To pick a pork bun from a throng of mounded pork buns
To watch your hand grow longer
To watch your hand dissever

To achieve the architecture
You aspire to
Evolve in
The pork bun’s senselessness

Each pork bun motivating the mound
Collapsing is
The sound, dissevering
Fashions, each is

Natural. There is no mound
Unproduced behind
A wall where genus
Slackens into family


Until their ultimate confession
Should be their first confession
They did not want to live

Inside, but wanted to be
The dwelling for life
To live inside of family


Should be
Earth, what lives on
Earth should be what
Earth is now

The television’s on. A head is
Showering bright skin. There is
A face exposed
In liberal translation

When someone has a face, it is not common
To say that someone’s showing skin
But has a face, the head is
Speaking, concentrating

What it has to speak
Into the face
When all you see is
Liquid integument

Covered over when
Go out. See what that is
Making sound outside

The sun
Grazing faces of the family
Clocks or absent-minded

Bakeries in air, eating around
The orchidaceous scent
Rising from the pork bun to
The orchid implicated, it is

Warm and it smells good
It will be eaten or will not
The rind of earth, the momentary
Widening of a nostril


Brandon Shimoda is the author of several books, including Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions) and O Bon (Litmus Press). Recent writings, poetry and prose, have appeared in The Brooklyn RailThe Felt, HyperallergicThe Margins (AAWW), The New Inquiry, and No Tokens Journal. Hist Odres de Paradise were written in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where Brandon has spent the last six summers. He has lived most recently there, and elsewhere.