First fiction

We were alone
in the darkness
on the top deck
of the ferry
coming back
from Shikoku,
the two
of us wrapped
in a single windbreaker,
me thinking
about the ex-governor
who had sailed
a thousand
years before
into this same
rocked & buffeted,
who for some
reason envisioned
a woman in
his stead —
the log she
would keep,
the songs & poems
she would salt
it with —
& she, whose name
signified safety,
place of refuge,

thinking perhaps
that I was proving
more difficult
than she had

“the log she would keep”: The Tosa nikki is the first work of fiction in Japanese (see here for a typo-laden version of an abridged translation). It describes in the voice of a female aristocrat a sea voyage the author himself took, from Tosa in southern Shikoku back to the capital, Kyoto. Ki no Tsurayuki , c.872-945, was the preeminent poet of his day, and authored in addition the first work of Japanese literary criticism, the preface to the Kokinshu.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


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