Lantern Review Blog

Thad Higa

Text Translation: “From the Mountain”


Hi, my name is _____. What do you do? Well, I do walks at chiaroscuro, pictures of old brick walls, drunk ballets in the known mortality, bike rides on first dates, splashes of coffee on the cheek, and stand-up comedy in the middle of onset of pervasive depression.

[black on white text. Columns of question marks grouped in resemblance of a hand or a meteor trail towards a concentric square that poses: Where are you from?]

Where are you from?
Where are you?
Where are?
Womb. From equal parts sugarcane fields and big stumble city. Come from world wars and wars of worlds. I come from the crossovers and divergences of animans. I come from the earth-sky-air harbor. I come from the fires of invention, from the nothing-caverns of space and time. I come from the mountains of Korean tiger cigars and Genghis Khan’s popcorn chicken wrath, the hand+blood and Hajichi spirits of Okinawan obaasan. I come from the revolts and hammer and sickles of traditions and pioneers of poisoned mushrooms and buried shark flesh. I come from the devastation of the tongue and the book and flowers between generations. I come from the sweaty caress of cheeks between bullets and swords tickling guts under the flash and thundering black eyes. I come from the salt of Utah Bolivia Pacific sleeping in your eyes crying out yearround. I come from a man's violence on a woman and one history waging war against all others. I come—

[weight of black text black on white versus white-white, divided by marching column of question marks.]

—from the backwoodsbackbrain sussurus and all unspoken genocides. I come from the birth of morality and its fight against time, fight for time, fight with time. I come from the hushed forest gaze that gave way to hidden plateaus and baby’s breath and fungal fortunes packaged in a shopping bag. I come from the banality of the pavement and parking lots and cynicism of a condominium’s lifespan. I come from the carbon-toed kick-in-the-nuts for a psychic ig coupon and gourmet spam ticket vouchers. I come from the question without answer, from a dropped pen in the abandoned warehouse, from the dusty language of letters and address numbers and cardboarded jalousies. I come from blacktop dodgeball racism and sparkling eyes on the subway. I
Who u when u look at I?
Who I when I look at u?
Who u when you see eye?
Who I when u is the c?
Who I in you?
Who U w/o I?
Hoo u inside i?
Hoo I who U?
Hoo I w/ u?
Hoo u N i?
Hoo wee?
Woohoo! Where we go?
Ware we be when we goin?
Ware we be when we b there?
Ware wood eye b w/o u?
Ware did u go w/o i?!?
What do I do?
For work? For fu
N? What do I do
?? For boredom?
Today? Last wee
K? What have I
Done?? What ha
Ve I accompli

[Letters splitting and walking to meet other letters. On their path, letters become enunciatory, onomatopoetic, and geometric.]

Ohhh, no, I meant where are you FROM-from
(Show-me-your-papers face:
Alien bank statements,
passport pages to Canadaindigo and Ur-
anus, two mothers off-
icial land grrrrRRRRR-
ab certificate, green birth
official certified certifick-
your 267 bacon strips a week ID

[Letters on a playground slide feed into the revelation that: Race +/- location +/- time equals everyone other than me.]

O, mother.
O, father.
O, daughter.
O, lover.
O, friend.
O, son.
O, brother.

[Question marks sleet down upon a pillar of black hair. A face embedded below hair mast: brown-ish, yellow-ish, with tints pink and red. Male (?). Appears sleeping, dead, or otherwise unconscious and disembodied.]

—No. What’s your nationality?
—No, I mean what's your NASH-Iun-ality?
—Oh, so you're one of those aMeRiCaNs, huh?
—but I don’t feel American
—Well, well . . . What do you feel like then?
—Argentinian? Have you ever been there before?
—You’re starting to piss me off
—Welcome to my world
—Why don’t you feel whatever you are . . . what, Chinese?
—Korean, Okinawan
—Do you speak?
—Really? Let’s hear it. Say something.
—I have been. Everything about me speaks what I am
—I don’t know about that
—You don’t know jack shiii-

[Black type looms up from the horizon. An “a” with resemblance to a whale, a stomach, a cave, or a monument carved into a mountain, “a” as the promontory or summit, harboring a host of additional letters, words.]

From from from the access point
from from from
Language A+
Class A+
Race A+
Orientation A+
Ability A+
Minority A+
Religion A+
Region A+
Gender A+
Belief A+
Citizenship A+
from from from
the door the door
the locks and keys from
from from Education A+
Culture A+
Age A+
Nationality A+
Birth Sign A+
Personality A+
Profession A+
Relationship Status A+
Disease A+
Memory F-

[black column gives way to blue with textures of sea, aerial landscapes, herd of animals, hair, grass field.]


[Disembodied parts of body in blue: feet, ears, face, hair. Overwritten: what passes through these boundaries?]

frum a barrier. a vault and a sinkhole. a bridge and a bondbreaker. awareness & obscuration. knowing full/well. each. word. a glass, a resource, a fabricated measurement, a platform, a bullhorn, a mask & a telescope. each a tool & a bbbarrier. a vault and a sinkhole and a meaning. a bridge a meeting a passing, a dinner table the shape of a wheel and a match in the forest burning green-hot, ocean ablaze—

[Gravity takes hold of letters, distorting and dislocated from their intentions, immigrating to new forms.]

—is way to broaden ways too broad. Way too broad to live in a country of demagratistics/the center has no foundation/the center should not hold/ the center breaks us all/the center askew any center/there is no

[Blue creep from disembodied body parts pillar interacts with stability of letters speaking.]

Frumterms are not inherently ableist, but may become so in context:
Albino American
Autistic American
Barren American
Bipolar American
Borderline American
Deluded American
Delusional American
Depressed American
Impaired American
Manic American
Multiple American
Narcisssistic American
OCD American
Phobic American
Schizo American
Etc American.

[Line drawing of face with football teeth in assembly line with various seeing-eye glasses.]

World architect
World logician
World commander
World debater
World advocate
World mediator
World protagonist
World campaigner
World logistician
World defender
World executive
World consul
World virtuoso
World adventurer
World entrepreneur
World entertainer
World extraverted sensing
World thinking perceiving feeling judging World
introverted aries taurus gemini cancer virgo rising over yer ass world
sagittarius aquarius tiger-mom-n-poppa wheelie world
rabbit moon dragon rooster two
three five six
seven eleven world

[Comma, apostrophe, okina fallen on a column of words bent under its weight.]

from-FROM rarified socks for eyes,
molds that will change
the way we receive each o-
ther / ears for bodies, sound of your heart
whispers to me in step /
the I is ne
gotiable & I
am walking /
through a room
thee fucking stanza /
Times of no
thing, times of color and
times I’m under the influenza
of a steady sweat of worlds worlds worlds
worlds words words

[Enunciations as accumulation or debris, or sediment.]

(fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffrom a word
from the world but not of a wordddddd?
of a word but not subjugated beneath it?)

[Spine of a grey Stegosaurus rises and covers the background.]

I AM NOT THE WORDS: I identify as a “between-8-to-10-am-cry-baby”
I AM NOT THE WORDS: I am not myself when you are breathing down my neck asking me if I am or
AM NOT THE WORDS: I am not who I was yesterday hashtag growing pains
I AM NOT THE WORDS: Holy freegan shit yo, that limited edish genmaicha icecream tho??
I AM NOT THE WORDS: The number four is best expressed as the energy that gets things done and
brings projects to completion. If there is any negative aspect to the energy of the number four, it is when
its hard working nature becomes overly conservative. At this point, fours may become critical, irascible
and difficult to work with.

[Phantasm hand overlaid on hand on word highrises on grey.]

I can’t remember
in my sleep or (I am everything)
in my daydreams or (I am everything)
in my unconscious. Yet, could I be?
in my past life I am everything, and
in my future I was everything.
Therefore, in my now I am me and you
standing in front of me and you.


[Cut to black. Layers of legs.]


[Bricolage of a shin, knee, thigh, groin, type “Z” jointed at the hip, torso halved by chest of words.]


[Words in white, floating in black. Full human body bricolaged on black]

a new language a new dance,
a surge of instantaneous beauty,
a new way to the oldest feeling,
an inhalation of air handwrit with
a new language a new dance,
a way to travel time and teleport and
plant stars in the earth,
a moon that shivers upon the waters,
a moment that tumbles and remembers the sacred past by
a new language a new dance,
the lust for transexistence by wanderroot,
choreographed by syllabic gestures of feets and
hips that will carve out a new language a new dance,
the edge of the mountain knife pilloring up from
the depths of the sea to the tip of the mind,
a flower between two lips that crack
open to reveal a new language a new dance,
the tense of bones of humanimals,
what was a simmering under/for a new tongue of a

[Fermata over semicolon-tassled nips, arm outstretched, down, reaching, hand tipped in blue]


[Yellow line scribble of a head, winking or crumpling. Ribbon of words undulates from the temple, reaching a text block in bloom: I am everything]

a m wha t
wa s ta
 ken fr om m
e.I am wha t w
ill hap pen t
  o m e. I am
wha t has     .
t h e map of to
mor ro w, the pe
op le who h ave cha
 nged me, cr ossed me,
marked me. I am tho se w
ho have shown me, o pened
to var iance. I am t he peop le an
d the join ts of mem ory, in the fash
ion of tim e . I am the mom ents of clari
fied ______ fo r yo u, the stre t ch of ro ad
Betwe en air bet ween cities and t owns and
cult ures and in sti tutions. The waiting room, t
armac, wooden silence be tween our meetings, the ocean’s script from miles up.

[An orb colored in neon ochre suspended over text marquees like cellular structures, fronds, highways.]

I am everything but
destiny. Not the prescriptions of to be
or not to be, rather, trying a to be re or be not
ascribed by anti-completeness, rather, touch the breakage
of lostness into shards of fortitude; kintsugi. See,
know: in between versus there/hereness, the indefinite fullness.

[Mound of words with letters pulling away from each other.]

Who the hell?
Eating tonsils all day self (NoSo Buddhist worldview)
Multiple new moles self
Secrets moving through the family self
Vignettes of black eyes self (Christlim/Muslistian worldview)
Enlarging enlarging enlarging into
Selfless (Hindulist worldview)
Lessself (Boba Kalbi/Bobi worldview)
Socialself (Weastern/Centrist worldview)
Allself (Worldview worldview)
Noself (One/no worldview)

[Words into letters, into pillars upholding the words, falling and rising]

See: recycle words, rehash, reconstitute.
With tongue found the border felt the loop.
So what, reincarnation? We was not free, we historic.
We was han. I seeing in English, feeling in Hangul.
Conoceme en Español. Overboard in Mandarin. Heart looking
to the whiteness, burning,
not on Earth but on the question Who the hell do you think you are?
O Lord O Lord O Lord O Lord
How to turn every wall like a big square doorknob?
Every glyph, ear, serif, smelt to key
to open affliction, open agency, fortune, open
freedom, open furniture shop, nail salon, open future open
sky, open duty and transformation, open orchid bud.
Turn the fist from travesties into wrinkled lilikoʻi, into
air, tributes, tonsils, weeping seeing knowing feeling
everything everything am I—


O, multi
dimensional hum
an, O human to multiplicities!
O human multiplitous, O multitudinous
human, O human of the dimension!
O human of tomorrow, O yesterday-body-
Tomorrow-mind! O,
Peoplevoluition, destultification,
Mystifamanicalnation! O siderealosiphicator!
O, existantmultiplicantatoriution!
O, exigenesity, multifatudinous, multi
plicitanaety, O identiplicitous, selfascribatorious,
obliquaterritoriality! O, saliensclusivity!


Who is (   ) a part, a lone, a way, a fter, a home? When
(   ) is not working scrambling, hustling, prepping, hun
gry, sick, putting on fighting supporting studying, when
the night is young, floral, duplicitous, thickening? When
(   ) doesn’t want to go out, when (   ) is not tired, when
(   ) phone is dead, when (   ) finished eating? / When
(   ) is sitting still. When the day drained away, when
(   ) has forgotten (   ) body and (   ) face.


Does (   ) give (   ) time to be still in nothing, does
(   ) long for space jammed or unfilled, does (   )
run from that heavy midnight silence, is it
feathery, fluffy, charged, barbed? Is (   ) a mon
ster in the closet, is it a fire in the basement, a
highway through the (   )? Or a room of substant
iation, blood of music?
In (   ) solitude, does (   ) feel
(   ) aloneness? or a greater soak of together?
Is it a crushing space or a propelling distance? Does
(   ) feel (   ) passions misaligned with the world around
(   ), with (   ) friends, (   ) family, (   ) work, (   ) city,
(   ) skin, (   ) language, even (   ) own playtime, (   ) hobbies, everything
so completely not (   ) but all at once (   ) completely, all,
all that (   ) has come into and made for (   ), so has (   )
shaped this island, this bridge, this planet of (   )
And is (   ) joyful, does (   ) thrive in (   ) comfort, discomfort?
Does (   ) sadnesses investigate (   ) mirth, ennui, despair, aban
don, silliness? Does (   ) touch (   ), is it in boredom or circumstance,
is it because of a growing, tiered desire seeded from that morning letter,
the (   ) in line at lunch with whitewater eyes, the story (   ) watched earlier
in the week, the memory of (   )? Does (   ) dance by (   ), does (   ) drink
alone, does (   ) get imaginary and entertain (   ) multiple ghost lives?
Who is (   ) on the other side of, without
clothes, in the morning, in the dead wind
sun, in the middle of protest, night, train, dust, when
(   ) is trying to wake up but dreams still caught in (   ) hair?
In the hour upon hour doldrums, between employment,
when (   ) is awake and without words?
In the (   ), is (   ) thinking of (   )? Do (   ) leave
(   ) thoughts the moment (   ) leaves (   ), or do (   )
linger within (   )? Is (   ) at the seat of (   ) stomach,
just beneath (   ) breast, or am (   ) in (   ) eyes as (   )
looks at the things that surround (   )? Do (   ) expand (   )
love for others, for (   ), or do (   ) deter it, distract, warp?
Will (   ) live through    ), make spirit, move city, hold
cinder, dig holes, dip in ink or pass through part by part?
Will (   ) tell (   )? Will (   ) make it known, can (   ),
will (   ), do (   )? When? Will (   ) and how? To (   ), to (   )?
Will (   ) to (   )? To (   ), (   ), (   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   ) or (   ),
(   ), (   ), (   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   )?
(   )? (   ), (   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   )? (   )? (   ),
(   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   )? (   )? (   ), (   ), (   )? (
), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (    )-(   )? (   ), (   )? (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ),
(   ), (   )? (   )? (   ), (   ), (   )(   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   ), (   )?

[Type “n” cratered in mountain of typewritten “always”]

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