Guest Writers: Volume 1

David F. Hoenigman and Huw Lloyd perform Naked Lunch (poetry/music)

David F. Hoenigman is the author of Burn your Belongings (2010 Jaded Ibis Press) and SQUEAL FOR JOY (2014 JIP). He’s the founder and organizer of PAINT YOUR TEETH, an avant-garde live performance event regularly held in Tokyo.

He’s an associate professor at Meikai University and also writes for The Japan Times. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he has lived in Japan since 1998. He’s currently working on his third novel Man Sees Demon.

Huw Lloyd is an improvising clarinettist, contrabass clarinettist, composer and actor based in Tokyo. He runs Lacy Foundation, a group dedicated to the repertoire of saxophonist Steve Lacy with whom he studied, and his own band, The PopJazz Circus, which combines improvised theatre and music.

Filmed by Alex Paillé. Please visit:

Music by Steve Lacy, text by William S. Burroughs

Shopping List / Street Scene / The Sound of Silence

by David R. Mellor

Shopping List




Some flour  

Someone to love me…




That girl on the train

A dozen eggs  



Washing powder   



Street Scene

That’s a tanning studio

That’s a chippy

That’s a tanning studio

That’s a hairdressers

Empty shop

Empty shop

Empty shop

That’s a smoke free Wetherspoons

That’s a closed pub

That’s a closed pub

That’s a closed pub

That’s a couple strapped

for cash

That’s a family next door

whose giro

couldn’t last

That’s a fake tan

That’s a discarded chip paper

That’s another fake tan

That’s just a street

come to the end

The Sound of Silence

I love the sounds of


its melting pot

spilling onto the streets

Its ability to fly in

no fly zones – its ability

to kill people who have

nothing to eat

I love the sounds of


setting souls on fire

its love of freedom

its pursuit of pain

all in God’s name

I love the sounds of America

echoed in Downing street

wherever you go I go

whatever you say I say

whenever you die I die

God bless America

land of the free

lighting up the world

Terrifying me

David was born in Liverpool (England) in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaging around various dead end jobs. He  then went  to college and university. In his 20’s he first discovered poetry, and starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. He has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

All above poems copyright © David R Mellor 2012-13

The Counterpart

by Laura Fitch

It would happen this way. Every evening, just when the sun was dripping honey into the horizon, I would walk down to the river near my village. This river was wide enough and had a strong enough current to need a bridge, but the one that had been there had been taken away and never replaced. Instead of a replacement came guards, whose backs faced the river on either side and whose faces held us in where we were. Every night I would walk down to the river, not to cross it, but to see if it were still so, if the guards were still there, if the bridge were still gone. Sometimes it seemed a dream, and in the dimness of twilight two worlds collided, what was and what should have been. If I were lucky, I thought, I might just step through a hole in the fabric and be able to cross that bridge again.

Every night I would pass the guards, those impassive faces turning to gargoyle granite with the fading of the sun. Every night I would see my counterpart on the other side of the river, doing the same as I. Our movements mirrored each other, we took the same steps, passed the guards at the same places, glanced at each other’s progress from time to time. As we walked together on opposite sides of the river, a knowing grew, reaching out across the broad band of moving green to meet in the middle. It was a bond, a shared experience of time and place. I relied on my counterpart’s presence each night as sign that there was still hope. I hoped strongly that one day I would be able to walk with my counterpart on both sides of the river, and not have to step out of the path to avoid the guards. I knew my counterpart felt the same.

By and by, slowly, there grew signals between us. A hand held to the mouth meant, “I’m tired, slow down.” A face lifted to the sky meant, “I’m happy to see you.” A hand placed over the stomach meant, “I’m hungry again.” And a hand over the heart meant another death. The guards seemed aware of our growing bond but did little to stop it. After all, how can two people become a threat if there is a river between them, and sentinels to hold them back?

My counterpart and I shared much. We saw the night shadows bleed over the land, heard the birds shout and parry, felt the grass shift and sigh. We saw the guards change, listened to the river speak, saw the endlessness of the universe and the vastness of the folly that was being repeated in front of our eyes. Our hunger, the deaths, our situations, we understood and through this understanding my counterpart became my sibling, even though we had never spoken, had never touched. My counterpart became someone I could lose my life for, without regret. Sometimes my counterpart would step down to the bank of the river, where the soft mud melted into the tea-colored water. The guards would twitch, watching carefully, waiting for the move to jump in, to cross. I would stop and wait. But my counterpart only cupped both hands and splashed water to the face.

Once, a piece of cork was furtively dropped, and it carried on the current, spinning, to my side of the barrier. I found it the next evening’s walk. I wondered briefly if my counterpart knew it had reached the other side. Any gesture to inform would be too much of a risk, I decided. I kept the piece in my pocket and held it loosely in my hand through these walks. It was a physical connection, something we had both touched. Soon it became smooth, rubbed to a shine like a stone.

One evening, I sensed there was something different. My counterpart’s gait did not match mine in the manner it had. It was stunted, wrong. I felt sad knowing that my counterpart was hurting, but was unable to console, or to help. I placed my hand over my heart and lifted up my head in question, but my counterpart’s head shook in a negative reply. The sorrow leaking from my counterpart’s eyes told me it was beyond our rudimentary hand signals. The pain had exceeded simple, had become a complex network of origin and result.

After that night, my counterpart began to visibly reduce. It happened in small increments, noticeable only to one who had been attentive. But the reductions grew and built upon each other, like a slow-moving avalanche that threatened to swallow us both. The shoulders began to bend, the back to hunch. The once-firm gait became unsure and shuffling, and I felt my own spirit struggle.

I watched as it happened, night after night. As I saw my counterpart crumble, so I saw the guards become taller, broader. They seemed to grow with the shadows, stretching like inhuman beings, silent and grim. Fear began to thread through my heart with a cold needle, pinching and anaesthizing. I could not stop it.

I began to fantasize, a dangerous thing in controlled circumstances. Nightly, thoughts snaked into my dreams. Images of running and catching, of bodies falling through the sky like dead birds. Of myself running through the carnage, arms spread, thinking that if I just ran fast enough I could lift myself off this fallen place. My counterpart’s presence was there, and I knew if our hands could touch, I would wake from this dream having stumbled through that hole in space and time, and I would wake in a different world, where what should have been could be.

I would start from these dreams with the feeling of being crushed. My chest tight. My breath harsh. And I would think about trying to escape. I would imagine sneaking into the river, floating with it until I was out of this place. I saw myself in the most implausible of schemes, knocking out a guard and stealing his uniform, running along the road at midnight, not stopping ever.

I don’t remember the last time I saw my counterpart. The disappearance was quick, a razorblade sever. I wondered if we had ever seen each other at all, or if my counterpart was just a trick of light I had fashioned into a companion. I went to the river. I knew that my counterpart was gone. The knowing was no longer there.

I continued along our usual route, hoping my intuition was wrong, that my counterpart had only been delayed. I slowed my steps. I stopped. I waited.

A glint tugged at the corner of my eye – a shining thing trapped in an eddy on the bank of the river. Carefully, secretly, I stepped down and picked it up with the water I used to splash my face.

It was a vial, and inside a note. As I walked, I fingered the cork still in my pocket. I waited until I was back in my village, in my quarters alone, before extracting the piece of paper.

Laura Fitch is a skilled linguist, a cunning wordsmith and a general practitioner of good living. She’s been in Asia since 2000, and lordy, does she miss home. Check out her writing and photography at

The Daylight Clock / The Portrait / First in Green Light

by Brian A. Blake

The Daylight Clock

Remember the work of the Daylight Clock:

The time he keeps must be perfect,

For we tune our lives to his ticking.

In his forgotten corner he complains:

“I have gear-clicks and whirling springs,

And my face can tell the phase of the moon

In mother-of-pearl. What do they see,

Before they see me?”

We do not see.

We do not see.

We are, in the night, foam-fraught,

Prurient tides, beneath the face we ignore,

And we would drown or rust the clock

If we knew him.

Remember the work of the Daylight Clock:

Awake, we affixed his face

With drift-wood hands, and the gems in his gears

Are green sea-glass, and his pendulum: falling sand.

The Portrait

There, at this point, the place is set outside,

Set in a yellow place with thin, white leaves.

You’ll notice too that there are boys

And I am one and he is too.

Mother and father made us we. That was a softly day.

That was a point of place,

Squared away, though all was round. The lake rolled.

The hand that rested was the heart that sang.

So I am a manly man.

First in Green Light

First in green light snared,

And then in pink or orange washed

Her proud face, unlined,

Still remains still in there.

Her mother runs the wholesale store,

Sells tiny gifts: Plastic belts

And the latest rip-off purse design.

I may not shop there, but I bought

A hat once in the street for ten,

That she sells in bulk for one.

I may not shop there, but I may

And do look through the window

Now and then.

Last night, the girl:

She left the cash drawer out.

Of course the cash is gone today.

Through the picture window,

First in green light snared,

And then in pink or orange washed

Her still face remains still in there.

We Hang Our Nights 

by Lance Winston

We hang our nights
In our minds’ museums
Like an aspiring artist might do,
Each new work belonging with
And exalting the rest,
Occasionally surpassing
All the others.

Lance is a man of bold words and action. He currently resides in his spiritual homeland of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Beirut / The Spiders / 3.11 Earthquake (Shinjuku, Tokyo) / U.F.O.s Give Me a Boner

By Frank Spignese



Did you know that Jesus was a carpenter?

Most people do.

But did you know that my cousin Scott is a custodian at St. Joseph’s Parish?

In Maplewood Square, Malden, Massachusetts,

not far from Lebanon – the street, not the country.

But wouldn’t that be something? Working near Lebanon.

Working in Syria, washing dishes, waiting on Ramadan

when we wouldn’t have to work so fast.

Letting the plates dry naturally, freeing our hands to pursue ourselves.

Delivering pizza in Jordan.

Hold the bacon.

Hold the sausage.

Hold the door open as I fish though my pockets for change.

Hopefully I’ll get a tip.

Hopefully that pipe bomb under the driver’s seat

won’t blow until after I’ve dropped my wife off at the station.

At one time Beirut was known as the Athens of the Middle East

the Seville of Barbarino, the Cincinnati of Upper Sahara.

It was quite the town.

Now it’s a place that we associate with complete destruction.

A temple of gloom.


Which brings us back to the Oklahoma City bombing.

To quote a man, who quoted a man, who quoted a man,

who quoted that days newscast: “Downtown Oklahoma City looks like downtown Beirut!”

And I’m sure it did.

Dustcloud covering the city, baby boy arms,

baby girl legs littering the streets.

A prelude to the true end of the twentieth century.

It looked like downtown Beirut.

What they failed to mention

was that while downtown Oklahoma City had been transformed into Beirut,

Beirut itself still looked very much like Beirut.

And to boot, my cousin Scott’s hours at St. Joe’s have just been cut back

thanks to the eighty-five million dollars that the Boston Archdiocese has to pay out because Father Buntel couldn’t keep his Roman candles in his pants.

Though these priests cannot be blamed for their actions.

For if you look closely at the Ten Commandments

you’ll see that it does not include

“Thou shall not fuck little boys in the ass”

amongst its rules and regulations.

And I can relate to the insanity that not getting laid can contribute to.

After one legendary afternoon in 1989 I actually contemplated

spreading peanut butter all over my dick

and letting my neighbor’s dog lick it off.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Desperate men, who are willing to do anything

to empty their testicles,

overthrow their governments,

throw themselves empty out into the empty streets below

because God had no use for them


The Spiders

As a child

my mother would summon me

whenever there was a spider in the bathroom.

And it was my duty to kill it

with a rolled up copy of Woman’s Day in my right hand,

my sisters standing in the hallway

peering over my shoulder,

with my mother screaming as my first attack didn’t hit.

The little grey monster scurried down the wall

past the mirror

where my killer refection reflected my killer face

hopping onto the soap dish

my father’s razor

and finally finding safety on my mother’s toothbrush

which sent her into higher hysterics than she was already at.

And swat!

Dead spider on my mother’s




Stocking-stuffer toothbrush.

And I remember the joy of picking up the dead spider

by one of its remaining legs

and chasing my sisters around the house,

threatening to make them eat it,

as my mother chased me from room to room

trying to knock the spider out of my hand

with a dirty green dust broom.

How quickly the tables could turn:

the savior is sent away

the angel has fallen from the sky

to be treated like a degenerate leper

peeping tom pushed back down into the alley below.

And I always regretted killing those spiders

—as I later learned from Mr. Giordano

—-that spiders are our friends.

Unless of course

you’re camping in the Mojave Desert

and wake up with one your forehead.


the arachnid family is constantly catching mosquitoes

stopping flies from flying

keeping our precious blue blood

in our very own precious blue veins.

And reminding us

to redecorate every once in awhile.

How hard can it be to put up some curtains?

Paint the kitchen?

Hang some pictures?

When the spider abandons his home and builds a new one

without the assistance of thumbs


or real estate agents.

Forgive me for the bloodshed of my youth.

I never took any pleasure.

Not like the gypsy moths that we used to catch and put in the microwave

—or the frogs that we used to release at the Pierce Street intersection.

Waiting for them to be squashed

—-by couldn’t-care-less

——Lincoln Town Cars.


3.11 Earthquake (Shinjuku, Tokyo)

— – 

There was a shake, a rattle and I rolled out the door,

Kinda smiling at my neighbor who I had never smiled at before,

saying nothing to each other

but almost feeling like brothers who never met

like you never ever do in Shinjuku.

Here in Shinjuku.

Shinjuku, Tokyo.

The two of us on the verge of almost holding hands

watching the big silver-black buildings

sway like sick snakes in the sky.

We are all gonna die.

We are all gonna die.

Well understood that death must happen someday,

But no, not now and not here

Out on the street, barefoot and not wearing any underwear.

Here in Tokyo town, with my feet planted firmly on the un-firm ground

That swayed and swooned and made me feel like a good dancer.

I don’t wanna die in an earthquake.

I wanna die from cancer.

I wanna be eaten by a rabid polar bear, all dressed in white like your mother

on her wedding night if she hadn’t been fucked before.

I wanna have a barracuda jump into my boat

As I vacation in the Bahamas

And encourage it to eat off my face.

I wanna die in outer space, attacked by aliens

Who are technically not aliens as they live there

And I would in fact be the alien, the outsider, the gaijin, the intruder.

I wanna be murdered as I try to break up a fight between the Crips and the Bloods.

I wanna be shoved in front of the 6 pm Yamanote train, full of love, as I wait in vain.

I followed her to the station, because I’m a stalker.

I wanna be shot behind the Alamo by Walker Texas Ranger.

I wanna be killed on the beach like that Arab in The Stranger.

I wanna die in a massive house fire, hopefully similar to the 1976 Disco Inferno single

As we all go up in polyester flames with bell bottoms and Afros and hoops earrings

that somehow make even the ugliest girls seems gorgeous.

I wanna die on the fifth of the July, midnight as the fireworks start to fade.

I wanna die on Easter Sunday, big fat honey ham heavy in my stomach.

I wanna ache from arthritis.

I wanna bake from being burnt up in the Death Valley sun.

I wanna rake with the reaper, scooping up the lost souls

that stole my milk money back in September of 1983.

I wanna die like Martin Luther King with visions of mountain tops and children

and sugarplum fairies dancing in my head.

I wanna die and stay dead.

Cuz if I came back as a zombie I might have to eat my friends’ brains,

And that would leave me hungry.

I don’t wanna die from Lou Gehrig disease, fuck the Yankees.

I wanna die from Ted Williams’ Disease or Jackie Robinson’s Disease,

or Roberto Clemente’s disease.

I wanna die in a forest fire, where I catch Smoky the Bear puffing on a cigarette.

I wanna be murdered by Tony the Tiger or Captain Crunch or Snap, Crackle and Pop.

Cuz I respect cereal killers.

I wanna die from Facebook disease, where a woman shoves a book up her cunt

and sits on your face until you can’t breathe.

I wanna die from War and Peace

I wanna die from Slaughterhouse Five

I wanna die from Mexico City Blues

and as the books fell off my bookshelf and hit me on the head, I was thinking

“Damn, I’m glad I’m not dead” but also,

I should have gone to Blue Parrot bookstore last week to get rid of all this shit,

but that place makes me claustrophobic and you know it and I know it.

We don’t wanna die in an earthquake.

We don’t wanna die in an earthquake.

For God’s sake, God takes, God leaves,

Leave us bereaved.

I wanna die a block from where my mother was born.

I wanna die surrounded by the ones I love the most.

I wanna die with my head on a pillow and my angel on earth holding my hand.

I don’t wanna die from Alzheimer’s or diarrhea or hemorrhoids or eczema

cuz those words are hard to spell.

Thought I wouldn’t mind dying from AIDS,

Cuz AIDS is easy to spell.





We love AIDS the best.

I wanna die on my baby’s chest.

I wanna die listening to Paul’s Boutique or Astral Weeks.

I wanna die like Jesus Christ, so nice, so naked, so handsome, so righteous.

Just like us, the Tokyoites.

We Tokyoites.

Thee Tokyoites.

As a fool once said

“This country may not be my country

But this neighborhood is most definitely my neighborhood.”


When the earthquake first hit Tokyo I didn’t believe that

It was an actual earthquake.

I thought it was one big practical joke

Cuz I have epilepsy and I thought that the whole city was making fun of me.

You bastards, you bitches

You punks, you whores.

Lord up above.

What is all this earth shaking for?

U.F.O.s Give Me a Boner


I like the way she looks when she steps out of the shower.

Her hair wet and no makeup yet,

the hint of a one-day baby belly

and the beads of water rolling southbound down her back.

I like the way Sunday always feels like Sunday.

You could wake up on a deserted island with amnesia, Alzheimer’s and half your frontal lobe lying on the road.

But still know (still know!) that it was a Sunday.

I like your mother, she cooked for me one time.

I like crime, I respect the rebellious and the utterly ridiculous who have no desire to actually work.

I like having a job, the regimentation and crystalline precision setting a man into motion.

I like fat people, the make me feel healthy.

I like being back in Boston for Christmas and shoveling snow first thing in the morning

and there is nobody else around and not a sound, no cars driving down the streets and no voices neither,

my own heartbeat almost stilled by the snow.

Sometimes I like to be alone.

A lone wolf, a loner

And it can’t be denied

U.F.O.s give me a boner.

I like animals, they’re delicious.

I like Thursday.

Most people would vote for Friday or Saturday.

But the weekend can be a letdown, expecting too much of the few days that we have to be free.

But Thursday is full of the unknown, the anticipation of what might happen.

One more day to go and who knows what we will ingest

or on whose chest we will awake, wondering weary eyed “where am I”?

I like Lake Titicaca.

I’ve never been there and I’m not exactly sure where it is.

But in my junior high school geography class, its existence brought great joy to my life.

I like your father, he got me drunk when you and your sisters were in the kitchen,

cooking and cleaning and wondering when I was gonna propose.

I like clothes, they keep the aesthetically unsightly from illegally walking the streets naked.

But I don’t like buying clothes, I’d rather borrow or steal or inherit them from long-lost uncles.

I like the night before Christmas (very promising),

so much more enjoyable than the day after Christmas (less promising).

I like black people, they invented the greatest music the world has ever known.

I like white people, they invented Silly Putty, Pop Tarts, Crazy Glue, the Internet and lots of other useful shit.

Of course, I like your wife.

Remind me to phone her

So that I call and can tell her

U.F.O.s give me a boner.

I like Jesus, he was the man. Too bad about that Christianity shit.

I don’t really care for tits.  If they’re there, fine, but one day they’re gone, because gravity ruins everything.

I like my friends, most of them have tits.

I like your cousin, he worked at a donut shop and taught me the meaning of a baker’s dozen.

I like the Japanese, they leave me alone for the most part and never talk to me.

I like the Chinese, though I would have to agree with my more jingoistic Nihonjin brothers and sisters

when I say, “Damn, those Chinese are noisy!”

I like the Koreans, the North, not the South, very entertaining.

I like nicknames, growing up in Boston everybody had nicknames lending us a heightened sense of fraternity.

And some of them were quite inventive.

We had Spider, he was named Spider because in kindergarten

when the teacher asked him what he wanted to become when he grew up answered, “I wanna be a Spider”.

He regretted that the rest of his life.

Then there was Crusty, he was named Crusty because he had eczema.

Then here was Eggroll, he was named Eggroll because he was half-Chinese.

And there was Orca, Sparksy, Logman, Stupid, Birdman, Mick Jagger,

Gibby G-String, Assface, Sully, Sully, Sully, Sully, Sully and Sully.

I like the fact that I am not in the military, I’m no good at talking orders.

If I spontaneously combusted and somebody yelled, “Frank, quick jump in the ocean!”

I probably wouldn’t do it, as I hadn’t thought of it myself.

I like to be free, to be me and run naked down the street, climb every tree

And sing to the squirrels about wide-open spaces and the places we could go and go and roam and roam and be alone,

leave home and never return but run wild and be free, doing what we like, whenever we like.

Your mother’s a crackhead.

Your sister’s a stoner.

But I’m not perfect either.

Cuz UFOs give a boner.

I like Asian Americans.

I live in Asia and I am American and whenever I go back to America and see some Asian guy, I think to myself

“What’s up dude? I know where you’re coming from.

I’m hip.  I’m down. I’m groovy.

Sixteen Candles, that was a racist movie.”

I like Jewish people, they’ve been through a lot of tough times, but they still, historically, make the best comedians.

I like Australians, I find it easy to connect with them and think they get my sense of humor.

But I don’t like the Australian flag. Why is the Union Jack superimposed onto the Australian flag?

That’s like being raped and then putting a Polaroid of the rapist on your refrigerator

so you can look at their smiling face every day.

I like the English, in the 1960s they inadvertently reminded White Americans

that they should take more interest in coming from a land

that was responsible for birthing the greatest music the world has ever known.

I like Canadians.

Why? I have no idea,

but I’m crazy about them.

I like the fact that we are all gonna die someday.

Sometimes I like to go the hospital, make my way to the maternity ward,

press face against the big window, look at all the newborn babies.

And then I whisper softly, “you are all gonna die”.

Because it’s true, death is The Great Equalizer.

Me, you, some dude living in the desert, Bill Gates, we’re all gonna meet the same fate.

A friend of mine used to say that cocaine was The Great Equalizer,

but he was a cocaine dealer, so his view on cocaine’s ability to equalize people

was undoubtedly influenced by his occupation.

Benjamin Franklin once said that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes.

But I’m not sure if I agree with that.

Last week I was walking down the street, I saw a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk.

As I looked at this poor soul wasting away in his own piss and shit,

I wasn’t thinking to myself, “taxpayer”.

But I was definitely thinking “death”, probably sometime between December and February.

I like not being homeless, snug as a bug as night creeps across the city.

I like paying rent, hell bent on not sleeping in the street.

I like the beat of her heart and the way she smiles in her sleep.

I like her teeth, they are useful for chewing food and sometimes biting the back of my neck.

I like her chest, I like her best, the way she steps out the shower and asks me for a towel.

I like a soft voice,

I like a moaner, a groaner.

Girl you know it’s true.

UFOs give me a boner.

Frank Spignese lives in Shinjuku, Tokyo. His first book, The Great Flood, was published in 2010.

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