Current Occupation: Poet/Editor
Former Occupation: Reference Services Assistant, Wells Library, Indiana University Bloomington
Contact Information: Hiromi Yoshida has worked in academic libraries throughout most of her graduate student career. Winner of multiple Indiana University Writers' Conference awards, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Asian American Literary Review; Indiana Voice Journal; The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society; Evergreen Review; and Bathtub Gin. She enjoys the challenges of sketching and life drawing.
Straining optical nerves beyond limits of the [immediately] visible—the life drawing model is
squarely positioned before her like an immobile granite sphinx of luminous flesh—a challenging
assignment—every fiber of the artist’s body pulsates outwards from beneath
skin’s thick epithelial lining and its pointillistic pores—steadily guiding the disciplined hand wielding a 4B pencil stub, converting molecules of lead into curvilinear lineaments on the unsullied
sketchbook page… [She feels the thin film of grey scum already seeping out of her pores, already
coating her tense body straining toward that unblinking fleshy sphinx].
She draws the lines, then, blurs and smears them (again and again);
dragging shadows into their proper places; always trying to maintain perspective without undue manipulation [of things that aren’t even part of the frame she is working within].
So tentative at first, and then so boldly obvious with stroke upon stroke accumulating
layers of charcoal grey emphasis—covering the same ground.
The figure emerges from the sheet of paper as though it were always
meant to be there exactly, a tentative smudge boldly outlined—a grey voluptuous shadow—
projected outward from the artist’s own body perspiring scum pointillistically.
The Exotic Dancer
She undulates a cocaine dream,
psychopomp of dry-iced cocktail
splendor on salted
tered chandelier nights.
She draws rhinestone accolades—
sticky shot glass
overstuffed dollars from hoodwinked
snakeskin wallets in crinkled
peek-a-boo booths of
beaded curtain tricks spilling
champagne buckets &
plexiglass coffins &
She spits pomegranate
tiny porcelain teeth at
ogling painted caravans &
copping a coptic
shedding flimsy wrap-
around skirts &
polyester lace bra
straps to a mere
G-string of scaly gorgon eyes
twisting a tourniquet of
trapeze tulle &
tight fishnet round &
round a flaccid drum
tilting a dizzy
high-rise axis toward a
levity of gyrating
beneath disenchanted moons
drifting in smog—
her calculated striptease
catalyzes a litany of
ex-communicated mater dolorosas
dungeon damsels with dagger eyes &
Queen of orgiastic limbo,
she staggers into flickering
flourescence at Grand Central Station—
craving styrofoam deli food
with uroboric hunger.
The Life Drawing Model
The life drawing model emerged from the page
quite literally, and at the artist’s new workplace, no less—like a popup blowup doll,
jack-in-the-box sphinx—a pointillistic joke, wearing the same green
designated workplace uniform T-shirt as the artist and the other store employees. The artist discovered that this new co-worker (aka former life drawing model) actually had a name, a life, an employee ID number—and that she was in fact, even more diminutive than the artist.
One afternoon, she instructed the artist to restock the bottled beverage refrigerators according to the convoluted system the store managers devised (as though they had nothing better to do than give us a hard time). “I’m going to flip out if you don’t go away now,” she suddenly declared to the artist during this instruction session that was literally quite cold.
The artist’s proud masterwork had emerged from the
sullied sketchbook page—no longer the granite sphinx
of luminous flesh, but instead, a spectral
imp grinning and chirping, “Hello” to store customers at the liminal
threshold of the cash register circulating sketchy currency—threatening to morph into the
artist’s ironic symptom of neurosis, begging for oblivion (not permanence)—receding into the
distance quite pointillistically.