After Sharaku

Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2010, under


I bought this postcard
on the oak-flanked boulevard
at one lonely stand,
a frosty blanket  
across a car bonnet.

A man in Panama hat
in his mid-late thirties
is looking at a white frame.
Within a frame a woman
combing her carroty hair
in front of a theatrical mirror.
The mirror framed
by naked lightbulbs.
Some are burnt out.

In the bottom left
of the glinting mirror
sits a photograph.
I bought a loupe to see
of what or of whom.
It’s a mug-shot, signed,
three x-ed in lip-rouge,
perhaps a famous actor
who once shared the stage
before moving on
to brighter mirrors.

My postcard sits
in the bottom left
of the wall-poster
of Ōtani Oniji
the kabuki actor.
This tribute to Sharaku,
a replica ad infinitum,
is a plywood jigsaw puzzle
acquired from my ex-wife.
She’d been trying
to flog it for ages
after breaking with
this guy from Kent.
Not an actor.

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