often likened
to a maiden’s nipples
the grapes
piled in a heap
so very close to me

I’m not physically exhausted after the gym/sports this time, (the whole point of the series) but mentally I’m a broken cobweb thanks to job searches, so that’ll do. After ten minutes looking at a job as a mortician and imagining myself in a house which doesn’t exist, wearing a black suit which I don’t own, consoling the non-existent family of a fictitious dead person I realised I needed a nipple break.

The first thing Saito Mokichi’s poem reminds me of is Donald Trump’s transparent “a lot of people are saying” technique. Are these grapes “often likened” to nipples? Really? How often? What kind of a degenerate, sex starved town of perverts does Mokichi want us to think he lives in? Maybe I should visit. A lot of people are saying I’m due a holiday. Trump comes to mind again with his tweet/poem:

Barney Frank looked disgusting
nipples protruding
in his blue shirt before Congress.
Very very disrespectful.

Barney may’ve smuggled a couple of grapes into Congress, we don’t know. Innocently sat here in my blue shirt I Googled, “nipple grapes.” I don’t advise that search. But good or bad, I have learned a little more. Mokichi mentioning that the grapes are “so very close” to him is quite sad. I thought the poem could be about loneliness, but then I found a companion piece by Mokichi. This one is a bit like putting a grape in Jeff Goldblum’s machine in The Fly and having a nipple pop out on the other side:

from where
a red tomato
lies rotting
I am only
a few steps away

Once again Mokichi mentions food and his proximity to it. A strange theme. When I was a child my Mum would remind me during horror films that they use tomato ketchup for blood. Is this poem partly about proximity to death? Red gives the tomato visceral energy and life as it rots away. Red is a warning. Once again, the danger with tanka is to read too much into it. Ripe tomatoes happen to be red. As my friend Kanerva said: “Colours signify nothing.”