“from Salaryman (A Certain Sorrow)” by Michael Mejia

Michael Mejia


Adapted Haiga


A certain sorrow cannot bear this suit. Bowing politely,
it guides us home. It washes the body,
revealing the strokes of the luxurious kaimyō,
the final name of our exhaustion.

from Rattle #47, Spring 2015
Tribute to Japanese Forms

[download audio]


Michael Mejia: “Salaryman is a sequence of brief prose poems attached to candid photos of Japanese salarymen and -women I took during a recent trip to Tokyo, where I was researching a work of fiction. After a few days of watching these ubiquitous figures of contemporary Japanese business culture heading resolutely toward some destination or other at all hours, I began to envision a sequence of 36 views, echoing those of ukiyo-e artists Hokusai and Hiroshige, their images of Mount Fuji, bridges, and famous places in Edo. Though lineated, I conceived, and still think of the texts as prose. I didn’t intend these pieces to hold to the ‘rules’ of haiku. Rather, they appropriate the form’s concision and often its dicta concerning seasonal references.”

Rattle Logo