Sans soleil

People have their pictures taken in front of the ditch.
Across from it souvenir lighters are sold shaped like grenades.
On Hayao's machine war resembles letters being burned,
shredded in a frame of fire.

The code name for Pearl Harbor was Tora, Tora, Tora,
the name of the cat the couple in Gokokuji was praying for.

So all of this will have begun with the name of a cat pronounced three times.
Off Okinawa kamikaze dived on the American fleet;
they would become a legend.

They were likelier material for it obviously than the special units
who exposed their prisoners to the bitter frost of Manchuria

and then to hot water so as to see
how fast flesh separates from the bone.

One would have to read their last letters to learn
that the kamikaze weren't all volunteers,

nor were they all swashbuckling samurai.
Before drinking his last cup of saké Ryoji Uebara had written:
"I have always thought that Japan must live free in order to live eternally.
It may seem idiotic to say that today, under a totalitarian regime.
We kamikaze pilots are machines, we have nothing to say,
except to beg our compatriots to make Japan the great country of our dreams.

In the plane I am a machine, a bit of magnetized metal
that will plaster itself against an aircraft carrier.

But once on the ground I am a human being
with feelings and passions.

Please excuse these disorganized thoughts.
I'm leaving you a rather melancholy picture,
but in the depths of my heart I am happy.

I have spoken frankly, forgive me."