Artist Statement: I was really glad to hear that my poem “Sounds” was accepted. This is my first piece written in English. I am exchange student from Japan and English is my second language, so it was hard for me to write a poem in English. I did not have any confidence in my English. The poem “Sounds” represents my complex about my English and my identity as a foreigner. For me, natural pronunciation from native speakers sounds very beautiful just like note from a musical instrument. I am always worried about my English because I cannot speak fluently like others, but this is me who speak with a strong accent and broken grammar. I put such a feeling of complex and pride into the poem.
I would like to express special thanks to my teacher and classmates who gave me lots of advices about my first little piece. They also helped me gain confidence in my English, my poem, and myself.


Keiko Tomioka

---Tuning up---
Sounds echo back in the empty room.
Sounds from everyone
Floating into my veins
Sinking into my organs
Ringing in my empty chambers.
Mourning from the brass winds
Murmuring from the woodwinds
Singing, dinging, chatting, chanting
Voices from the fiddles and horns
Jumping, bumping, fusing, fading.
They’re wonderful, beautiful, and peaceful.
They’re not like me.
I am here, stage left.
My part is coming soon.
Still I’m wallowing in the air of their piece-full sounds
It will be only I who shatters the peace of symphony
I cannot be a part of their harmony.
My part is very small.
I am alone, extra…but special perhaps?
I will not leave the stage
Even if I make a crashing noise.

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