b'The poem Slant/Sockeyes, however, wonders whether slanteyesa normallyof a desire for return, birds as metaphors for transcendence, and rabbits as disparaging term for Asians but perhaps used here with the affectionate prerog- representations of the vulnerable. ative of an insidercan migrate as successfully as sockeye salmon. They tagged and released us / after four years / in a USA reeducation camp, the speakerThe poem Desert Sports recalls the image of a young rabbit crouching in the begins. Incarceration, understood in these lines as reeducation, refers to thecorner of the print Listening for Pillow Talk of Escape (fig. 37). Written after 1990, fact that the War Relocation Authority designed the carceral experience to dis- according to Makuuchis footnote, this poem refers to the practice of rounding up connect second-generation Japanese Americans from their immigrant parentsjackrabbits that threatened Midwestern crops. The speaker expresses sympathy, culture and instead encourage them to be 110% American, according tohowever, for the vulnerable animals: Do whats been done to us? / God forbid! psychologist Amy Mass. 17As a result, Only a few are reaching / the headwatersThis sympathy makes sense in light of Japanese American removal and incarcer-/ anymore. Makuuchi compares Japanese Americans unfavorably with Africanation but gains contemporary significance when we understand the context of the Americans and Latinos. His speaker says that dominant Americans tried topoems postscript, which reads, Rumor has it, they are passing out chrome filled drum out / the drums of the Afro/Americans but implies that they failed, and heyellow plastic bats(!) in Detroit, and buttonsI am not a Jap again . In 1982, celebrates that the Latino still speak / and eat the Spanish / 500 years later.two white men used a baseball bat to murder Vincent Chin, a Chinese American engineer, whom they took to be a Japanese competitor to the US auto industry, One could argue that change is inevitable. For instance, the writer Marilynbased in Detroit. One might see this as a case of mistaken ethnic identity, but Chin insists, the vector goes in only one direction, the homing geese must findmore accurately, it was an anti-Asian hate crime. Makuuchis defiant vision in their new nest, the ten thousand diasporas will never coagulate. 18Yet Makuuchithis poem connects past and present: the racism that led to the incarceration of held out hope for something essential. He may have sought this when he traveledJapanese Americans during World War II was still active in the 1980s.to Africa to teach and make art at Adeyemi College and the University of Ife in Nigeria. The poem Pounded Yam and Rice attests to his desire for a commonWhile Makuuchi connected notions of vulnerability with rabbits and migration connection. Here the speaker juxtaposes rice and yam pounding: with salmon, he often represented freedom and transcendence with bird imagery. The poem High Flyers uses gentle humor to this end:In Japan for New Years they pound rice with huge wooden hammers . . . Sitting at the bottom of a bird cageIn Africa yam with heavy wooden poles . . . one learns to fly high,far and fast . . .He goes on to celebrate not only these parallel food-processing activities but also the cultures common commitment to the performing arts: Both write praiseThe Golden Eagle, he explains in a poem by that title, Is my spirit bird / . . . / songs. Ultimately food production and art creation have their roots in sexuality,I soar from the incense smoke. Hence, Makuuchi imaginatively employs as the speaker reflects on this act of fertility / the movements and sounds. Inanimals of earth, air, and water to propel his poetry of protest and prophecy. this, Makuuchi may have been influenced by the Beat poets, who also believed in,If Makuuchi was a prophet, he was also a shaman. As he reflected in his MFA according to Franca Bellarsi, a form of hybrid mysticism in which the integrationthesis, I see myself as a man walking with one foot thick in primordial mud, of desire, pleasure, and sexual energy was part and parcel of the search for athe other in the ethereal sky. 21more authentic consciousness than the one molded by mass media conditioning, or in Makuuchis case, USA reeducation. 19 Makuuchis formative encounter with mud, of course, took place when he was a child P.O.W. In a poem early in the volume, Lake Minidoka, Makuuchi writes Beat influences also may have underwritten Makuuchis use of animal imagerywryly of the name incarcerees gave to the camps cesspool, his own attempts to represent aspects of humanity. As Bellarsi explains, Beat poets were com- at playing on its frozen surface, and an accident during which he fell through, pelled by the notion of primitivism and . . . the concept of wilderness, defined asemerging covered with waste. His poetic reflection on this event recounts his the untamed part of Nature of which both our flesh and psyche partake. 20Hence,transformation into a monster, a Proto-Godzilla, poisoned and strengthened in his prints and poetry, Makuuchi employed animals like salmon as symbolsby his environment. 124 125'