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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


This month’s column gave two writers the theme of “transformation.” One set of poetry was submitted in Spanish, by Rey Fukuda Salinas, born in Japan and raised internationally in places including Japan, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. One submission came in English, by Candace Kita, born and raised in Chicago and currently based in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

- traci kato-kiriyama

* * * * *

Candace Kita is an arts and cultural worker weaving multidisciplinary art practice, social justice organizing, and nonprofit administration. Currently, Candace serves as the Cultural Work Manager at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). She also co-founded grassroots collective Arts Workers for Equity, worked in development, marketing, and programs for the Portland Art Museum and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, and served as Visual Art Curator for Asian American art and community space Tuesday Night Project.

Candace received her BA in Studio Art from Scripps College. She has called Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland home. In her spare time, Candace studies astrology, dances, and eats lots of onigiri.

Uranus Enters Taurus

the bull’s in the china shop--
in a flash--horns hooves heaving--
--ton teeth cracking--
--shrieking glass shattering--
perfect wild porcelain
reduced into powder

four stomachs don’t give a fuck

Dust settles
the bull’s munching
broken blue and white
fields of breakdown
taste so crisp and divine

the china shop’s in the bull--
exploded cups digested
into strange pearls
oh satisfied mess,
oh Taurus,
you’ve had the best meal of
your life and the pasture will
never look the same

* This poem was copyrighted by Candace Kita (2018)


* * * * *

Rey Fukuda Salinas was born in Japan and is Japanese and Paraguayan. He grew up internationally in places like Japan, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. Fortunate to have discovered writing music to express emotions as a bi-racial transgender queer young person, music kept Rey going during times of being closeted and growing up in an emotionally unstable home. Rey is self taught in guitar and an original song writer inspired by many artists including Frank Ocean, Sia, Nina Simone, Incubus, and Natalia Lafourcade. He writes songs about long distance & chosen family, love, immigration, prisons, freedom but also just random realizations.


voy buscando alguna foto
de ti
       (15 años de pintar tu cara con mi pocas memorias)
y todo lo que encuentro
es la ovejita
   del campo.
La foto de mi mamá
cargando a elle
tan fuerte
   como si fuera su propio bebé.

Quizás es el imágen justo para dar mis respetos a ti.


Casi 1 año y medio de hormonas
Y creció mi cuerpo corporal
mis piernas , mis brazos, mi panza
cada día un poco más como un osito
el peluche marron,
con ojos tiernos
que me regaló mi amorcito de kinder


crecí pensando mucho
crecí dibujando caras de mis compañerxs, vecinxs
papel y lápiz
leyendo y observando
los momentos
el movimiento
entre las palabras
los acentos
el tono…
Qué me estarás diciendo
Y como te lo digo
   Cuál es la palabra
Cómo lo descubro
   La manera de conectar
         a mi

* These poems are copyrighted by Rey Fukuda Salinas (2018)


© 2018 Rey Fukuda Salinas; Candace Kita

Nikkei Uncovered poet poetry transformation

About this series

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column is a space for the Nikkei community to share stories through diverse writings on culture, history, and personal experience. The column will feature a wide variety of poetic form and subject matter with themes that include history, roots, identity; history—past into the present; food as ritual, celebration, and legacy; ritual and assumptions of tradition; place, location, and community; and love.

We’ve invited author, performer, and poet traci kato-kiriyama to curate this monthly poetry column, where we will publish one to two poets on the third Thursday of each month—from senior or young writers new to poetry, to published authors from around the country. We hope to uncover a web of voices linked through myriad differences and connected experience.