The Death of Charles Richardson


At nineteen, seeking
adventure and fortune, I
came ashore in old
Shanghai, learned the manifold
wiles of the Oriental.

Mannerless savages.
They cease not washing
ashore, like driftwood, of no
place, of no destination.
Their appetites are endless.

Set sail for Edo!
The hermit kingdom shelled,
ripe for the tasting.
Chanced on a chieftain’s parade,
bristling pagan finery.

I am Shimazu,
Daimyo of Satsuma-han.
Who dares interrupt?
Who flits around my horse’s
ass, waiting to eat my shit?

I shall never bend the knee!
Then we shall bend it for you.