Amy Uyematsu’s poem, inspired by Juan Felipe Herrera’s “Fuzzy Equations,” is a powerful litany of expressions that get to the heart of our modern age.

Amy Uyematsu reads “Juggling Excess and Imbalance in a Time of Drones.”

Juggling Excess and Imbalance in a Time of Drones

Amy Uyematsu

— after Juan Felipe Herrera, “Fuzzy Equationsâ€

Pilotless warplanes + nonstop surveillance – Al Queda targets = innocent civilians + American hostages

Forgiving Bush for making an illegal war on Iraq > forgiving Obama for being black

Spyware + a pair of sneakers purchased on my Visa = tsunami of ads on my iMac screen

No talent Kim Kardashian + cocky Kanye West = reward + punishment for a brainless American public

People who know the names of “American Idol†judges > people who can name 1 American Poet Laureate

Bigger classes + underpaid teachers + corrupt bureaucrats + over-testing = kids who can’t frickin read or write

California’s water supply – agribusiness usage – oil company fracking = homeowners who better cut back

2 lumpectomies + 31 days of radiation = 1 more breast cancer survivor

Leftover rice + bacon + green onion + egg + soy sauce + salsa = Japanese lunch for my Chicano husband

Restaurant table of 7 friends ÷ 7 cell phones = 1 pitifully lonely meal

3 e-mails + 2 voice messages + 1 text = no guarantee that a Gen X child will call back

Khaled Said memorial page on Facebook = 400,000 followers + uprising in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Freddie Gray – 6 Baltimore cops = Michael Brown – 1 Ferguson policeman = Eric Garner – 2 NYPD officers

Tents + shopping cart closets + makeshift car motels = 44,000 homeless in LA county alone

WALK sign x impatient driver who looks me straight in the eye = pedestrian suicide

The # of cars crawling south on the 405 from 6 AM to 10 AM = routinely diabolical City of the Angels procession

Suffering + courage + forgiveness = heart

Truth + imagination + hope = art

Amy Uyematsu is a sansei poet and teacher who lives in Los Angeles. “Juggling Excess and Imbalance in a Time of Drones” is from her new manuscript, “Basic Vocabulary.” She has four published poetry collections, including “The Yellow Door” (2015). She taught high school math for over 30 years and now directs a writing workshop for the Little Tokyo Service Center.


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