Poem and Sonnets by Ken Yoshikawa

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The Struggle for Enough

A graveyard is a quiet place, so says the dust & cottonwood fluffs, the crows & age-wise butterflies.

Beneath the sunshine & the traffic & the birds:

the dead have not the noise of doubt that I do.

How much do you want to bet the party there is wild?

Sonnet I

Tis not by accident we speak our lines

But by commitment to a plan: a sail

That flies us ‘yond the doubt - by its designs

Demands we tie our ropes with trust, to scale

The mast despite our fears, and in the sight

Of all horizons rig with practised hands

Our tapestry of words. Work then is light,

Is play, to render here exotic lands,

Make old the younger, new the old, spell cast:

Mysterious the obvious becomes.

Once caught, the faithful winds of minds outlast -

In memory - the tabors & the drums.

With them on purpose heal our bitter sores,

While words deliver us to distant shores.


Sonnet II

Through days I struggle to believe the voice

That says “my dear you’re worth the good o’world”.

Sarcastic paste for thoughts, contempt for choice,

I reach not out but watch my love be curled.

There stuck in games of pride & vanity

I mewl pathetic quiet; such a fool,

For here come you to slap my sanity

With gentle space where I undo thoughts cruel

With rigorous play. We of the stage are made

And live between straight nothing & a dream:

So we together truth & treasure trade

To feed our state with love & fire as team.

Your passion for my ills is kind relief

For when we start the play so ends my grief.



It is alone I work my heart to rest

Fill gaps that gatewise laid my gold to knaves.

Fair love unfair ran wild the crapshoot test

Now wild & spent drives recompense from paves.

The ground is deep - Lake Mirror swift - where down

Beneath concrete & rubber lights my stone.

‘Li find it idle driven town to town,

Or ‘nesthetized by voice of thumb & phone?

I condescend myself if I don’t trust

My faults as road map, give the flight its wings

To dip in shadows, loose the sighs of dust

And go unbridled loud while silence sings

My harmony. I’m here. My hook is calm.

The verse is strong. My chorus’ stone in palm.



Ken Yoshikawa is a half-Japanese, quarter Italian, quarter Irish actor and spoken word poet from Portland, OR. He received his B.A in Theatre Arts from Reed College. A big fan of ensembles and Shakespeare, he has recently been into writing sonnets for fellow theatre artists. He likes spinach and soft cheese, chocolate and tea, spicy eggs and astrology. You can find him walking in parks while memorizing his lines, or eating tacos at any of the many Portland food cart pods.

Why not follow him on IG at @yoshakeawaken and at @backflip.jupiter!