Joan Colby

The Japanese Culture of Suicide
by Joan Colby

If you fling yourself from a high-rise,
Attempt to avoid falling on passers-by.
If your fraudulent or criminal pursuits come to light
It is only right to disembowel yourself—
A feat with its own aesthetic. Mishima said
Seppuku saves one from being ridiculous.

At Okinawa, on the ship The Franklin, a 19-year-old
Irish boy from South Chicago
Was assigned a role in a ritual sacrifice.
A Kamikazi pilot demonstrated
Moral integrity. Hot flash of patriotic fervor.

Caught in an alien tradition
That boy standing in the ship’s kitchen
Simply died.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.

Joan ColbyJoan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest books from FutureCycle Press, Dead Horses and Selected Poems. Selected Poems” received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize. A chapbook “Bittersweet” is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in 2014.

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