Used to be the worlds biggest, the real Number One, Top of the Pops until ten million scavenger squatters surrounded Rio, poured into Jakarta, cardboarded Mexico City. Still pretty big, slipsliding over tectonic chalk lines, where morning millions jam evening millions, everybody stoneface coldshouldered ignoring ignorers, juiced hustling crisscross dozing on middleman shoulders, zeros sleepwalk into zombie sidemen, blood pressure pumping cancer stress exhaustion, everybody tunneling through distressed cosmic tubing, gliding along all you can eat heart attack siren subways. Tobacco smoke rises over purple towers, swirls around overdrawn electric food banks, tickles nervous plaster lions, obscures eyeglass duffers driving dimpled Toyota turnovers against supermarket walls of pinstripe marbled beefcake, chokes smooth butterscotch pandas sipping spiked bamboo wallbangers inside plastic capsule hotspots. Round and round the Yamanote goes, where it stops nobody nose, so navyblue salarymen look west, see shaving creamed Fuji, venerable volcano rots alongside last nights just in time rotating sushi, everybody drains jockeys sloshes sake, redfaced karaoke blares out slippery My Way microphones, shudders blowfish war dead shrines where honorable ancestors assist blacktie dango bidriggers donate kickback lean production to high carb Diet sumo warriors. Diesel rain splashes aboard homeless blue plastic gravy boat, pings bearded hometown waterworkers, splotches teriyaki highpitched makeup ladies revolving in out mirrored divine department heads, hits humpbacked Minnesota hostesses whaling beside snake skin toupeed pachinko heroes hurling marble riceballs across midnight driving ranges versus liver damage pork and bean Kurosawa swordsmen. Manic belly laugh crazy Osaka. Yawping away in Osaka Kansai ben. Chew potato fry. Inhale white liquor. Unsmiling airtight Kyoto. Sniffing unwashed untouchable. Making Kyoto invitations with merchant smile, dont bother coming. Or Nagoya. Nippons industrial armpit without Mickey deodorant. Then theres the paddy watering seaweed toothed country husbandman. Everybody close to the state of nature subsidized rice bag, three bucolic ballots for one city x. Ive opted for indifferent blankfaced automation, detached cataton rushing about Edo. Better to be unknown invisible, a meat puppet lost in mass modernity, a pounded down nail, Mr. No see em. Better to make it new, make it a double, make it without being seen in this mechanized self consciousness whirlwinded conurbation than die the Chinese torture death ten thousand cuts slow boredom washing the car lawn mower life insurance ginger ale purgatory.

Tokyo Mon 10/30/00