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Three new poems by Yuko Otomo

Albers and Morandi: Never Finished

1. seeing

I prefer to see with the closed eyes.
– j. a.

To achieve understanding, it is necessary not to see many things,
but to look hard at what you see.
– g. m.

色即是空空色是色 color is void; void is color


with light=shadow passing
stillness asks no questions.

物自体 the existence of things
which do not breath
but are alive with(in) TIME.

I stand
face to face
with my ability
to see.

2. no words

squares; pitchers; bottles or vases
no need to say a word
to talk
about them.

here in this space
visible or invisible
audible or inaudible
with the gravity of the horizontal music
of silence,

poetry & philosophy

need no reasoning
to speak

just to be silent
to learn
“being silent”
does not mean

3. fiori/flowers

& sensuous

an opaque transparency of flowers
is not a contradiction
to their existence.

it is a muted claim of victory
over their eternal beauty they live.

4. music

soundless music
soundless tones
soundless vibrations

being alive


with no instruments or voices
supporting us.

the audible flowering
of singularity
of its own metaphysics

what we hear.

5. invitation

the everyday life of an artist

morning, day & night
one spring to another spring

the door is always open
for the ones
who look & listen
to see & to hear.

Male Nude (Michelangelo 1504)

An unintentional
slight twist
of the torso
boulders & forests
in his body.

The metamorphosis
of the world
underneath his skin
its own
logic & reason

A desire
to articulate
anything so firm & clean
an erotic subtext
at large.

Enigma (Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, 1503 – 1506)

in a riddle
of allusive obscure
puzzling mysteries


the air
in & around her

she does not invite
anyone’s desire
to know her

her biography or status
have nothing to do
with her

she sits & looks
(smiling or not)

just being there

at dawn
&/or at dusk

with an imaginary distant landscape
of mountains, winding paths, a bridge
with a familiar & unfamiliar breath
of Nature

behind her

she has
no words
no messages
no agenda

but a hint of
a good will
a sweet wish
a quiet hope
& an indescribable memory
of the past merging
into the future
to shine onto the present

she is
just here

what is an antonym of “happiness”?
what is an axiom of a “jovial revolution”?

how can you explain
& give oneself a solution
for the paradox of “Life=Time”
that does not have a synonym?

in a quandary
of an authentic secrecy
of intolerably lonely soliloquy

with a soft & meditative womanhood
for a fixed gaze
that might fall on her

the sitter
our constrained vision
to the moment
of impermanence

–Yuko Otomo


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