One of my life-time obsessions since I was nine years old is Egypt; especially, I loved mimicking hieroglyphs. My grandparents visited Egypt and got me a souvenir papyrus that showed some of their translated alphabet, so I started writing my sister’s and my names. Later, she went to Egypt (for a younger sister’s competitive reason) and got me a hieroglyphic nameplate without a queen title; apparently, it costed a fortune, even just to add two tiny symbols.
“Spaceflight Sonata P” has elements of Egyptian culture and history. P also stands for papyrus, but I used toilet paper, ultra-soft & strong. I have been creating graphic poems inspired by the Japanese Emaki (picture-scroll) story telling method. “Spaceflight Sonata P” is a new challenge because the original poem is about fifteen pages long (“Spaceflight Sonata Vol.1 & 2 were first published in the Seattle Review). I have been translating my longer poems into graphic poems using the Emaki style and my project theme, “Graphic Poetry = Trans. Sensory”.
Writing a poem on toilet paper was thrilling; especially on a strip more than five meters long. The roll became crumbed and shredded, as if I cleaned a spill with it; perhaps, any droplets including sneezes; (the fuzzy surface irritates my nostrils) though, I think that human history may as well be written on toilet paper—frequently flushed away—before we learn from our decisions, despite how horrifying some were.
Naoko Fujimoto’s recent publications are forthcoming in POETRY, Kenyon Review, the Seattle Review, Diode Poetry Journal, PANK, Cream City Review, Prairie Schooner, and many others. Currently she is a Rhino associate editor. www.naokofujimoto.com