Hiromi Yoshida, 11/23/2015

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.



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

rocks &


  tered chandelier nights.


She draws rhinestone accolades—

sticky shot glass

pennies &

overstuffed dollars from hoodwinked

  snakeskin wallets in crinkled


Armani pants,

lapdancing private

peek-a-boo booths of

beaded curtain tricks spilling

champagne buckets &

mirrored silver—


automechanical doll

showcased in

plexiglass coffins &


wax museums.


She spits pomegranate

seeds between

tiny porcelain teeth at

gargoyle stevedores

ogling painted caravans &

copping a coptic



shedding flimsy wrap-

  around skirts &

  polyester lace bra     


             straps to a mere


G-string of scaly gorgon eyes

 glittering hard


    at tassled




twisting a tourniquet of

trapeze tulle &

tight fishnet round &

round a flaccid drum



spinning acrobatic,

tilting a dizzy

high-rise axis toward a

levity of gyrating



Castaway snake

goddess, she

writhes hieroglyphically


beneath disenchanted moons

drifting in smog—


her calculated striptease

catalyzes a litany of


Village junkies

plastic saints  

ex-communicated mater dolorosas

nymphomaniacal hermaphrodites

dungeon damsels with dagger eyes &

bearded hipsters.


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.  


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