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Nuclear

Poetry & Prose | March 5, 2018

I have learned work over thousands of years, across miles of seawater, from Yokohama farmers and Shikoku fishermen, Tokyo rickshaw pullers-turned powerful lawyers, artists and technocratic computer scientists. Work maintains stability, while dynamically shaping forms.

 

  1. Work equals

force times distance, a movement with intensity, a transfer of energy from one place or form to another. This was one equation my father taught me at night at the kitchen counter. He always made sure I understood them before I said goodnight.

In 1984, my father left Tokyo afternoons spent sneaking into bars and hacking arcade games for American boarding school. 可愛い子には旅をさせよ. “Send your cute child on a journey,” the proverb goes.

Speaking shaky English, he was one of few Asian students at a predominantly White institution. He built his mind like dominoes — one touch set the entire apparatus into motion. He didn’t make friends, opting to hide behind cold metal library bookshelves where he learned to balance variables and bury a language alive.

This work built a big grey house with a red door. Inside it, a father, a mother, a son and daughter. Four vertices with 360 degrees to share between us. A stable configuration.

 

  1. Homeostasis

refers to the processes that maintain a living form’s function.  Quietly, over years of death, living forms have accumulated methods to ensure survival and fitness. This is the chaotic work of harmony.

Born to two artists, my mother learned to draw friends, animals and landscapes until she reached art school in Tokyo. Her art concerned itself with human forms, the balance between morphology, colors and medium.

My mother learned an intimate knowledge of the body, its proportions, movement, drama, utilities; this knowledge required work. My mother has drawn thousands of nude figures. They are bright, healthy, rigidly maintained and functional.

But motherhood stole the brush; she stopped painting and drawing many years ago. Now most of her compositions are stored in the basement at home; some are kept thousands of miles away, discolored and forgotten.

This work built a big grey house with a red door. Inside it, a father, a mother, a son and daughter. Four vertices with 360 degrees to share between us. A stable configuration.