There are fish, the symbol for Jesus
and the Japanese, floating through my mind.
I have been watching “The Yakusa”
and I can remember being in an Osaka basement
pissing next to a broken-toothed local boy
so full of muscles he looked unlikely.

He smiled his gums at me as we both looked
sideways without use of our hands.
With a swarm of others waiting for our two urinals
he spat an invitation to have sex and laughed at my little

No thank-you.”

Amongst two thousand Japanese teenagers
I was by then the only obvious European
trapped by my own choosing into a marathon dance
of reggae and three o’clock swaying.

I remember looking out across the heads
thinking that this I would never forget.
After a while, so tired, I felt surprised
they didn’t make good on their chances to attack.

I could’ve been swallowed.

Later, in a small windowless van,
we found our way home,
the saboteurs and their girlfriends
who’d adopted me.
By a shopping center close to my hotel
I had them let me off
and I walked the last quarter mile
in an attempt to clear my head.
Stopped at a coffee machine on the streetside
and drank a warm canful.

I made it back and even though my room
seemed hardly longer than my body,
I felt safe and at home.