The People's Poet Tony Robles–SF Art commission award winning Author of cool don't live here no more and fingerprints of a hunger strike

Beneath Me (For Toshio Mori)


Beneath me (For Toshio Mori)
By Tony Robles

I called an astrologer who
Told me I’d be working as
A security guard in the
Year 2008

I was charged 3.99 a minute
For this information which
Took a total of 30 minutes
Because the astrologer kept
Having to go to the bathroom

And Goddamn if it
Didn’t happen

The economy tanked and
Now I’m wearing a blue jacket,
Badge, keys and walkie talkie
That cling like crabs

The job is beneath me, sacred
Ground that I walk and patrol
Over but do not own
but owns me

I sit in the guard shack
At a desk putting
Pen to paper trying to
Give birth to stories and

I’m constantly interrupted by
The phone with tenants calling
About excessive noise or young
Guys jumping the fence and
Peeing in the pool

I kick their asses out of the
Pool and get back to
Pen and paper


And then I think of Toshio Mori
Who wrote “Yokohama, California”
In the late 30’s and early 40’s
A beautiful book that told
The story of a people
In a place that no one wanted
To hear about at the onset
Of World War II

Toshio Mori,
Sent to a concentration

His book was published
In 1949 after the war
And still, no one wanted to hear
About Yokohama, California

Toshio Mori kept
Writing every day but
Couldn’t get anything

Toshio Mori tended
To the flowers in his
Garden in San Leandro

30 years later he was rediscovered
by a group of aspiring writers who
found Yokohama, California selling
for a quarter in a used bookstore

They looked
Him up in the
Phone book

I sit in the guard shack
With his book and he introduces
Me to 1936 and to the woman
Who makes swell donuts

Toshio Mori’s flowers
Came into
Bloom beneath him

Its fragrance lifting
The mind beyond
Mere sentences

I inhale each

And then the
Phone rings

© 2010 Tony Robles