Five Poems by Daryl Muranaka

soft cartel april 2018

A Toilet of Unusual Proportions

I stand in a restroom
built for tiny giants
with long legs
and short torsos.
This is a room
of remarkable form
when sober
and terrifying
when drunk.

Who’s Inside

The window sign
in bold, bright red letters:
Is this an invitation
or is there
a Primp Polish Groom
Who can tell which
is sitting in the dark?

Generation Gap

There is something amusing
knowing that what he sees
when hearing “The Monkees”
is so joyfully divorced
from my reality
and my enduring disappointment.

The Appropriated Man

I am so tired of all this ninja shit.
I am waiting for it to be done.
But it will never be over. I will never be
free of everyone looking for
the supernatural in the dirt, the dust.
Everybody wants something
they cannot hold on to, believe in,
never bothering with that thing
that is sitting in their hand,
the thing that is real and warm
and useful. Because that isn’t
useful at all when one is looking
for something bigger to be a part
of. So why am I doing this?
Standing here in ancient gear
and explaining this shit to you?
I think about Hayashi-sensei,
standing half naked in the window,
dressing for class as the train
passes below him. Open to world.
And now I am trying to be
like him, naked to all,
being what I was before
I was even born.

Winter Magic

A woman huddles
on the corner
scarf pulled tight
around her head,
shoulders bent in
from the weight
of the cold. She is
as dry as the unlit
cigarette shaking
in her hand. Winter
has pulled years
from her fragile skin.

Daryl Muranaka lives in Boston with his family. In his spare time, he enjoys aikido and taijiquan and exploring his children’s dual heritages. His work can be found at and you can follow him on Twitter at @dmuran1