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Ted Nielsen

Two poems

hibiya lines

under the city (superfrog saved tokyo) you embrace
today’s plenitude & missing persons your diet
would kill a horse lately construction workers
have the best pants & i walk up the hill from shibuya
my pronunciation slipping each gesture somehow studied
everything is B5 & gorgeous stationery the new
software modifies your architecture the sound
of a truck announcing it’s gonna turn a corner
how poignant you square your shoulders & point
your big foreign nose at the atmosphere
revising your sins of omission now it’s lucky
you didn’t get that tattoo i’m happy & enjoy
punk rock summer’s barbeques form an orderly line
then later meet for coffee & spend the afternoon
looking for defunct bookshops ask yourself what would
michael farrell do you go home & start hacking
at last count a thousand reasons to be grateful &
your andy warhol t-shirt in the wash


i. ego renovation project

flatlined & omnidirectional the sedatives
you take your chances in mural world
or call a meeting all your friends turn up
you talk to yourself like masking absence
paper not quite covering the cracks & catch
the 10.03 local to yutenji where you can’t
find the lesson it’s almost instructive
10.45 in the year of parrot fashion what
you worked for you threw away now you spring
leaks & interfere with the television no
pressure no nothing you can’t speak english anymore
forget metaphor a promising forgery now
you know everything looks like a showroom
last year’s model appraised from afar
avoid your skin eyes play over you
that dream & naked in yamate dori
the largest the most exclusive the paralysis
goodbye goodbye hello or the phone rings
& anxiously it’s easy you remember crying it’s
saturday may 29 all you are you were
begin again

ii. koko desu

meanwhile at the end of the world
gender studies prototypes hit the limits of relativism
wait wait just a minute mr postman parents of tokyo
your teenagers are alive & well & shopping
retail crisis unnoticed by two americans arguing
outside gas panic from hachiko the superlisa’s
illegible in the afternoon sun but someone keeps pushing
the pixels & your feelings follow the exhaust
& fumes recalibrating each tenuous success
or lost in tokyu hands for hours almost
going to sleep with quandariness & relaxing
on a wave of comparative biography then
you find the design supplies kill the headlights
& put it in neutral completely dusty springfield
this is your brain on unemployment if that guy
in the corner of the coffeeplex with the ibook
was any more stylish you could beg for his shoes
which wouldn’t fit here’s the flux & the flow
a seven nation army couldn’t hold me back
those beautiful pencil cases & more notebooks
than you could carry now listen honey

iii. so

reliving the metric system your plans
& open you gasp you order coffee you
buy stamps as if it’s a challenge watch
then retire to a corner table & practice
one or many mantras the resource issue
everything’s possible you guess so & fold
your accent neatly tear up another resume
go to sleep for a year that is staring
at the ceiling for beginners to intermediate level
or maybe consulting pass the time sniffling
you big baby you atmosphere other gaijin
you speak no french it’s funny nowhere else
you’d rather be outside the confessional
tokyo goes to work you examine the menu
& choose a mood you empty classroom
the blue sky & weather incessant good fortune
& nature of monkey then release the names
of your heart people are so kind you’re
awkward but visit the shrine anyway you build
each tentative ritual you listen you walk
see how you go just so

iv. freshness burger 9.45

still skulking about the scene of writing
hammer time & pass the lime spider
record temperatures invent your soaring arse
you simpleton & reflection grinning that
shop window makes you look fat so what
& gracious every single day you giggle
as distance learning beckons imagine
wireless access now the spontaneous network
collapses the proof you check your ID
new spam sandwich boing! deploy
the platitudes an airbag saved my life
you shake all over make the style or
the stylesheet request a catalogue you don’t
buy anything (you’re gonna) reap just what you sow
the sun goes behind clouds it reappears
your specific arms & pattern recognition
soda campaign blue canary in the outlet
by the lightswitch who watches over you
g’day transcendence the whole morning
waits to see which way you jump now love
now unfinished sympathy hey hey (hey hey)

Ted Nielsen

Ted Nielsen

Ted Nielsen lives in Tokyo. He has previously lived in Townsville and Sydney. His poems have appeared in various magazines and he has published two small books, search engine (Five Islands Press 1999) and wet robot (Vagabond Press, 2001) His web site can be found at

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