Dream of Wheels and Lights



Dream of Wheels and Lights

Bells clang in the night. The lamp post belted
by mist offers little comfort. A stone’s
toss away junipers curved like melted
spoons shudder silently. There are no phones
in this place. A thought sneaks into your mind
quietly, like a straw piercing the oak’s
armor in a bad wind. You turn and grind
the thought with your heel. A wheel rolls by, spokes
flashing like scythes. Crouching by a puddle
a man studies his face. He looks at you
and cries: “All I want is to be subtle.”
You think you know him, but you’re not sure who
he used to be. You throw a rock and shout
at him. The wheel slows and the light burns out.


Originally published in Amelia, in 1985, and posted here in March 2015. I remember writing this, but it still puzzles me.



23 thoughts on “Dream of Wheels and Lights

  1. You, the wheel(s) and the overall scenario are poetry itself. The fact that you are puzzled by it all means you were puzzled by it all, the secondary it being how to advance in La Vie Métaphorique, the “metaphorical life” in which the poet enters via the gate of inspiration. You must bring the symbols and feelings into harmony, and this (dream) disharmony is your subconscious dealing with your desires as a poet as yet honed into the current Okaji we see before us.

    You entered your own metaphorical Tivoli Gardens before they had strung up the lights and prepared the kiosk snacks…

    Liked by 3 people

      • The snack you missed, and the one I have forgotten, is this kind of doughnut ball with a bit of chocolate injected into it. Then you can smear strawberry jam and powdered sugar on the outside. I had them at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen years ago (on my first roll through the Nordic countries) and they were absolutely delightful.

        What you (and I!) are REALLY missing is something they serve in Sweden called Janssons Frestelse (“Jansson’s Temptation”): julienned potatoes, cream, diced onions, bread crumbs, and fillet of sprat (a small herring-like fish). It is insanely delicious… kind of like a gourmet hash brown casserole! The cream and the potatoes create a fantastic texture in the mouth: firm yet surprisingly light for something so rich. AND… wash it down with a saffron beer like Lusse Lelle: saffron and two different wild yeasts made it super sour on its own, but a perfect match with the sprat (or any other anchovy/herring dish you might eat in Sweden). I drank the Lusse Lelle with herring served with basil and lime… delicious! I had a sparkling French wine as an aperitif, and a small glass of Barbeito port as a digestif since I didn’t have dessert. The port was nice… nice “porty” taste with orange and almond hiding in the aftertaste.

        God, I am so pretentious. Wine, saffron beer, and port with Janssons Frestelse! LOL. I blame it on Japan. So much quality stuff while I lived there, I seek it high and low!

        Liked by 1 person

          • I’ll bet it will be a home cooked meal spent with wine and new friends. There is a kind of rustic mise-en-scène (cozy dining room with even cozier living room) that provides the right mood for even the simplest dishes, adding a soul-flavor where actual flavor occurs too. Takoyaki is delicious, but no more delicious than when eaten under the dimly lit awning of an old laundromat in a fat night-time rain, while old Japanese men huddle, smoke, and gossip nearby. There is a saying in Japan that “hunger is the best sauce.” Well, I will go one step further: “Japan is the best sauce.”

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yesterday’s lunch might qualify. A friend driving through town stopped by to visit. I prepared nikujaga for the occasion, and we ate this simple dish, with water and coffee as our beverages. A good dish made tastier and more memorable by the circumstances.

              Liked by 2 people

              • ohhh… sweet sweet nikujaga! Now THAT is a dish from heaven. I am not a stew or stew-like food fan, BUT nikujaga is soul food. That sweet soy sauce just lights up the dish like a lighthouse on a dark night. You have very good taste (pardon the pun) if you are a maker of nikujaga for friends. Simple, humble food with a sudden gourmet flavor, so perfectly Okaji-sensei: perfection in simplicity.

                Liked by 2 people

                • The combination of sweet and salty, with a simple yet complex-tasting dashi base, makes nikujaga irresistible to me. There was a time when I loved preparing complicated dishes. Now I lean toward simply prepared food. Of course simply prepared doesn’t necessarily mean quick. But it should mean tasty!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That sweet/salty continuum is what really showcases the range of flavors of nikujaga depending on where you live. It is what I like about it. I lived only a couple of hours away from Kure City (Hiroshima) when they started claiming nikujaga was “theirs.” Either way, no winter day is complete without nikujaga or at least a belly full of miso soup.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I enjoy the ritual of making it, starting with the dashi. It’s calming, peaceful. I haven’t made miso soup in quite a while, but will probably do so before too long, since you inserted the idea into my head.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • If you get the dashi right, then the umami is satisfying right done into the soul, a kind of “soul warming” effect. Hot, thick mushroom soup does that for me, or any kind of savory mushroom sauce. I had these amazing little braised black mushrooms in China one time. I don’t know what they were finished in, but DAMN! they were deeply satisfying. Like chunks of spongy meat in gravy-like butter. Food is amazing when one allows themselves to forget materialism and focus on just being alive.


  2. This triggers multiple inner curiosities! To throw a rock into a vision, dispersing its message into bits dissolving in the puddle [sea] of identity … how many times is this exactly what we do when confronted by our own reality? The 1985 me would have run away from who I am now whether or not throwing the rock first. Reflecting always so much easier than visualizing forward! Value in tracking patterns of inner changes … a sign of maturing to now know we’re all ever-changing?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.