My Lover's Pretty Mouth

My Lover's Pretty Mouth
click on the image to view the video


Cindy St. Onge, film-maker, writer, USA


My Lover's Pretty Mouth is the first in a series of Japanese/English poems that are part of a process that is reflective and purgative.


English - My Lover's Pretty Mouth

Your mouth, your beautiful lips, I love them.
Your Japanese - its elegant music lives there,
that secret sea cave of sound and thought, it's ancient.
Sharks swim from it - hunting, undulating in cold black currents.
Look! Unsuspecting seals glide to shore - too far away
and not fast enough - the sea is a blood broth now.
Death's echo in its wake, the shark
disappears, understood.

Japanese/Romaji - Koibito no Kirei Kuchi

Anata no kuchi, utskushii kuchibiru ga daisuki desu.
Anata no Nihongo no miyabi ongaku wa soko ni sunde iru,
are wa hitoshirezu umi no dokutsu no oto to shiko, kodaino desu.
Sore kara, same wa oyogu, samui kuroi no choryu ni kari to unette iru.
Mite! Utagao koto o shirimasen no azarashi wa teisen ni subete iru—
toi sugimasu, ju bun na hayasade wa arimasen—
ima, umi wa ketsueki no dashi desu.
Mizu no midare sore kara ni, shikyo no hibiki ga arimasu,
same wa usureru, wakata.

Cindy St. Onge on the project:

The Japanese/English poems that are coming through, are what I call 'telegraphed', in that there is little contrivance involved until the revision happens. The meaning of My Lover's Pretty Mouth wasn't clear to me until I had completed the videopoem.

The poems are rooted in my difficult relationship with Japanese culture, after being married to a Japanese man many years ago. The mystery, to me, is the sudden and spontaneous telegraphing. Honestly, I don't understand it. At this point, I'm just trying to be a good conduit for the poems, and if I get closure, even better.

As for the bilingual process, the poems were drafted in English with a smattering of Japanese, and I realized as I recited one of the poems that I loved how the Japanese sounded, how the word felt in my mouth, and determined to translate the whole poem - as an experiment. I haven't spoken Japanese in 25 years, so I had to research most of it, relearning the language, really. As the translation got underway, the Japanese shaped the English revision of the poems, so there was this back-and-forth construction happening. It's riling up memories, but it's very satisfying at the same time.

Source: Moving Poems

Cindy St. Onge
Cindy St. Onge


Cindy St. Onge is an award-winning multimedia poet based in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Her poems have been published in numerous print and online journals, adapted as lyrics, and her video poems have been screened at film festivals in the US and in Europe. She wishes to move people with her work, articulating feelings around loss, grief, depression, anxiety, obsession, life, death, and God. Cindy's video poems may be viewed at her Vimeo page.
For their contributions, advice and assistance, thanks to:
Alison Pridham, Aljaž Koprivnikar, Ari Raijas, Bill Mousoulis, Brendan Bonsack, Brian Short, Bronwen Manger, Caroline Rumley, Charles Olsen, Chris Luscri, Chris Windmill, Claudia Larose-Bell, Darko Duilo, Dave Bonta, David Quiles Guilló, Eduardo Yagüe, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Francesca Guiliani, Gemma Grist, Helen Dewbery, Ian Gibbins, Ivana Bojanić, Jackson, Jane Glennie, Jim Robson, Karen Dawson, Kathryn Darnell, James Meetze, Lino Mocerino, Liran Shachar, Lois P. Jones, Lori Ersolmaz, Lucia Sellars, Lucy English, Luigi Starace, Maria Vella, Marc Neys, Martin Kelly, Matt Hetherington, Matt Mullins, Mike Hoolboom, Nigel Wells, Pam Falkenberg, Paul Casey, R.W. Perkins, Sissy Doutsiou, Sylvia Toy St Louis, Vicky Mousoulis, the film-makers, writers and their collaborators.