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Leza Lowitz-III

The Philosopher



Yesterday we went to the zoo in Ueno.

You wanted to see the famous gorilla,

though captivity depressed me,

you’d been coming to see him

for a decade or so

and were trying to change your life.


It was a full moon, early autumn, maple

leaves streaming from the trees,

lotus leaves blooming like giant platters

in the pond, rising from the muck,

swaying in the breeze.


You took me to see the one you loved.

You called him buruburu,

onomatopoeia for the way

he ate his banana slowly

without the peel, cupped the orange in his palm

rolled the cabbage on the ground

shook his body buruburu

& looked out at all the people

with impeccable indifference

& ate the next banana

slowly, as if this were

the greatest—

the only—

show on earth.

I could have looked at him forever.


And then you said

even Musashi Miyamoto*

never combed his hair

never took a bath

never married,

never owned a home

never fathered children

killed his first man at thirteen

& his last at twenty-nine—

even such a great master

didn’t find a job

until he was sixty.




*The famous samurai ronin known for his fighting techniques, as recorded in his masterpiece, The Book of Five Rings (1643).