Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Three Poems, by Alan Botsford Saitoh.


             the future of science & technology

taking the measure of nature's suffering,
what despair looks like (like waitin'
on the levy for your ship to come in, in a sea that died)--
Power Rangers, toxic avengers, poetry generators,
spiritual janitors, and old and new language-agers' long overdue
for a reality check, show
their feelings about lawless opportunities
turning memory
into travesty,
a sorry mess (touch this nerve).
yes, man's inhumanity
is brutal. death
takes no holiday in this
cautionary tale in which the peace
you've found within says, "it is my ambition to help you write
the bleakest and blackest crime ever"

so it's time, you think, to get involved,
for "why is this an issue of emergency management?
it's an accident, isn't it?" just won't wash.

sure, the unknown is speaking: read
its intentions (big surprise awaits experience!)
but as for inspirational comebacks, how's
"I look at myself and see you"? or
"if you save my life, you'll owe me yours."?

meanwhile, seeds
continue exodus...

--letting go, never easy



                  a mamaist (role) model

Caught up in the moment is not a place to be
Feeling like forever but it’s for real,
For you’re still here, being none
Other than who you (think you) are
Or (thought you) were, paying no mind
To the boom or bust anywhere but here,
Sponsored by nobody while everybody
Is breathing life into who you are
Pressing the flesh of this text into,
Not sinking to any depths but showing
You belong in a motion that blows
Its horn on moral terms, hitting
The right notes for that elusive return
To ambivalence which comes out
To take you by surprise, like a draft
Of history rewritten one word at a time,
And which enables you to speak with an edge,
Converting energy into business drummed up,
Or dreamed up, on the catwalk of time.



                        a mamaist effort

Out-of-sorts peace rebel (how much proof will be enough?) choosing to reduce his life to essentials--the people he loves, and music--practices the spooky art of trading places (Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay for the wedding)in which where you’d least expect it silence is linked in memory to the rebirth that binds
humanity and gives peace new meaning (What chance does one have here, he wonders, of convincing doubters?). But still, liking what he sees in a landscape of solitude, where playing up the role of little guy doing time in the mirror (Turnaround not yet at hand) is another steamy love story that doesn’t end, like the fairy tale, except with the words ‘Just married’ being a thankless but necessary effort worth an honest try.



Alan Botsford Saitoh is co-editor (since 2003) of Poetry Kanto, Japan's leading bicultural, bilingual poetry magazine. He received his MFA from Columbia University and has published two books of poetry-- mamaist: learning a new language (Minato No Hito, 2002) and A Book of Shadows (Katydid Books, 2003), while his third, a book of essays entitled Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore, is forthcoming in 2009. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in online & print journals such as Umbrella, Istanbul Literary Review, eKleksographia, River Styx, Yemassee Literary Journal, Mickle Street Review, Confrontation Magazine, American Writing: A Magazine and others.

To see more of his work, visit: Poetry Kanto:

He lives in Japan with his wife and son and teaches at Kanto Gakuin University. You can reach him at


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