Friday, August 26, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Like This

Seppuku with ritual attire and second
Source: p.85 of The Gist of Japan - The Islands, Their People, And Missions, Rev. R. B. Peery, A.M., Ph.D. © 1897 Fleming H. Revell Company

Christopher: "I have never really been suicidal. However, I have always understood, understood both the serious act and the tangled cry for help that it might be. In Japan there was honor in seppuku, or hara kiri."

Wiki says: Seppuku ("stomach-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture), or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion.

Seppuku is also known as harakiri ("cutting the belly") and is written with the same kanji as seppuku, but in reverse order with an okurigana. In Japanese, the more formal seppuku, a Chinese on'yomi reading, is typically used in writing, while harakiri, a native kun'yomi reading, is used in speech. Ross notes,
"It is commonly pointed out that hara-kiri is a vulgarism, but this is a misunderstanding. Hara-kiri is a Japanese reading or Kun-yomi of the characters; as it became customary to prefer Chinese readings in official announcements, only the term seppuku was ever used in writing. So hara-kiri is a spoken term and seppuku a written term for the same act."

The practice of committing seppuku at the death of one's master, known as oibara, the kun'yomi or Japanese reading or tsuifuku, the on'yomi or Chinese reading, follows a similar ritual.

The first recorded act of seppuku was performed by Minamoto no Yorimasa during the Battle of Uji in the year 1180. Seppuku eventually became a key part of bushido, the code of the samurai warriors; it was used by warriors to avoid falling into enemy hands, and to attenuate shame and avoid possible torture. Samurai could also be ordered by their daimyo (feudal lords) to carry out seppuku. Later, disgraced warriors were sometimes allowed to carry out seppuku rather than be executed in the normal manner. The most common form of seppuku for men was composed of the cutting of the abdomen, and when the samurai was finished, he stretched out his neck for an assistant to decapitate him. Since the main point of the act was to restore or protect one's honor as a warrior, those who did not belong to the samurai caste were never ordered or expected to carry out seppuku. Samurai generally could carry out the act only with permission.

Maybe not today but

Sometimes It's Just Like This

That's the way it twists,
Twisting in, ripping up, then
you pull it out to
the light that reddens
through the shroud that was your shirt.
And there is not yet
any fucking pain.
Indeed, that's the way it twists,
handle slick with blood.

August 26, 2011 8:34 PM

And really, just for shits and giggles, this might not be about suicide at all...

This looks like creating my own misery to me. It is just possible it is allegory for that part of my experience:

As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states:
"We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a veil of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear we made our own misery. God didn't do it. Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence."
I must say, that cheerful part has always been difficult for me.


  1. Certainly, we are the ones who can cause ourselves the most pain, as often as not...

  2. Twisting its way
    Inside my outsides
    Parting the skin
    Skipping off bone
    Elk horn worn
    Slick from skin and sweat
    Damascus folded
    Steels my breath
    With one F.I.N.E. thrust

    Have a good day my friend!

  3. oh, i'm so relieved the cheerful part is difficult for you. happiness is not the goal, is it? there is so much room for failure in this. i think, this might be the exact reason why people fall victim to absolute depression (other than biochemical reasons, of course). how easy it is to be disappointed if the goal is happiness! happiness is but a temporary state we enjoy in equal relation to pain. my god, to want to be happy all the time is rather revolting, isn't it?

    what might god want of us, if he wants anything at all? to try, to try, to not remain in any one state, to be a gear, to move onward, perhaps towards light(?) but what if god does not want anything, but just is, and we just are? this does not release us from anything but perhaps (for me) underscores the need even further to try, to try, to move onward, perhaps towards light.

    suicide - i was just thinking of it last night. ha! and that sounds so desperate. it was not. in fact, it was the antithesis of desperate. so odd.


  4. Jinsky, it is very good to know that, isn't it?

    Mr. Ment, you have written for the small crowd who know what F.I.N.E. means. Probably most people do not know. It is true though that this way you get also the "fine" in it.

    I had a good day and I will have another, I hope.

    Erin, my love, you are so right that this thing is not about being happy. I say it is about making a difference, finding something that means something even if I have to make it up, carrying my burdens with some grace in all senses of the word, that is, knowing I cannot without fundamental backup, being well placed in my own life and able to speak from there. Something like that is summed up in saying I seek wisdom and a life with depth and weight. I think "happy" happens far more easily once I get this, but I also don't care that much about it by then.

  5. Something is going on, Christopher? I love that you are writing now, and with such intensity, though it grieves me to see the pain in these new poems.

  6. It is more what is happening to people I love and who love me. It need not be so directly about me.

    Thank you for asking, good poet friend. Loving you.

    I am living with ever more challenges of the old age nature but none of them are anywhere near devastating yet. Nearby, however, people I care for are living difficult lives.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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