Hideko Sueoka

Scenes from a Bullet Train Journey, 2022

For a moment, all I see is ochre: a sequence
of amber rice fields and weeds.
After the harvest, everything
is waiting for the next season
before the descent of cool air at Mount Ibuki.

All persimmons are gone, all maples are gone.
The white train slithers across the emptiness
where watery mirrors reflect such verdant leaves.
White mist. A colder place.

Out of nowhere, flow and blend in my mind
short pieces of K-pop and J-hip-hop.
The mix of small tunes with train’s rattling rhythm.
Outside, the fleeting images of sheep.
Flowing scenery without scent or subtitles.

All I hear is the grating wheels.
Speckled spaces in foggy frames.
Abstract images move forward, losing
all previous meanings.

A quick shift of the subsequent view:
we are leaving the area of hard frost and edging closer
to mild air. We enter an unknown season.
No more snow-capped roofs and electricity towers.
Farewell, sudden snowy world: 銀世界.

The sun follows our train carriages as we travel past
the copper-colored bridge across the River Kamo.
We think of our friend on the platform waiting for us.
Imagine what a feeling to hug someone after three years.


Golden Pair

for John Skelton

Canary and curry
are yellow treasure
for the Indian diner.
Masala, this powder
as heavenly spice,
an addictive substance
like Pernod with ice.
Bird, your beak or
throat so hungers for
oat groats and fresh water.
Your clapper on standby for
a closer contender:
your pals; a rooster;
and a diner customer.
What a spirited
and social bird!
Your voice trained by
the chef as a chary guy
with Youtube via wifi.
His recipe of
spice mixes having clove,
coriander with love.
Red chili guiding
the tongue to an exciting
sense. Mesmerizing.
Your favorite is cannabis.
Your singing appearance
seems to be a trance.
Your body is syrinx
shaking as if with drinks.
With the menu and bird’s blinks,
chicken curry,
vegetable curry,
fish tikka and samosa.
Color of mimosa
so sparks. Paradise, Ah!


Hideko Sueoka is a Tokyo-based poet and translator born, raised in Japan. Her translation on photography, Shigeichi Nagano – Magazine Work 60s, was published in 2009. Her debut poetry chapbook, Untouched Landscape, was published from Clare Songbirds Publishing House (New York State, US) in 2018. Her poems were published in British magazines such as Stand Magazine, Porridge, Ink Sweat and Tears, etc., Canadian magazine long con mag, various anthologies and zines. She is now writing poems towards a debut full-length collection.