Brautigan > June 30th, June 30th

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's poetry collection June 30th, June 30th. Published in 1978, this collection of seventy-seven poems was Brautigan's tenth published poetry book, and the last to be published before his death. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.


Publication information regarding Richard Brautigan's poetry collectio June 30th, June 30th.

First USA Edition

New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence
ISBN 0-385-28495-0; First printing 11 August 1978
5.75" x 8.25"; 99 pages
Hard Cover, blue paper-covered boards with white cloth spine, with pictorial dust jacket


Front dust jacket illustration by Walter Harper adapted from a photograph by Erik Weber of the Japanese immigration stamp in Brautigan's passport.
No back dust jacket illustration or photograph

Proof Copy

Uncorrected proof copies in yellow printed, perfect bound wrappers. Information about book appears on the inside front cover and front free endpaper.



Brautigan's June 30th, June 30th is a collection of seventy-seven poems. Dated from 13 May-30 June 1976, they form a poetic travel diary of Brautigan's relationship with Japan, which he first visited during this time period. The form of this book follows the Japanese tradition of haibun, a collection of haiku gathered into a story line. The book, Brautigan's tenth published poetry book, was largely ignored by critics.


This book is for Shiina Takako.
"my Japanese sister"
Calle de Eternidad


June 30th, June 30th is prefaced by a poem titled "Dickinson's Russian" by Hasegawa Shiro in which he mentions a visit by Brautigan to a Tokyo bar called The Cradle.
I ran into Richard Brautigan recently.
He was slumped against the wall
In the Roppongi bar Cradle.

The Cradle was a gathering place for writers and artists in Tokyo. It was owned by Shiina Takako (referred to in the Preface), to whom Brautigan dedicated this book. Several of the poems in this collection are dedicated to Takako as well.


In the introduction, titled "Farewell, Uncle Edward, and All the Uncle Edwards," Brautigan explained how his interest in and attachment to Japan developed following the death of his Uncle Edward, killed indirectly by injuries suffered when the Japanese bombed Midway Island just prior to America's entry into World War II in 1942. READ this introduction.



These are the seventy-seven poems collected in June 30th, June 30th in order of their appearance. Unless noted, these poems were first published in this volume in the order listed below.

Kitty Hawk Kimonos

Watching Japanese television,
two young women in kimonos
are standing beside a biplane.
     That's right:
     an old timey airplane.

A man is interviewing them.
They are having a very animated
and happy conversation.

I wish I knew Japanese because
I will never know why they are
     standing next
     to a biplane,

but they will stand there forever
in my mind, happy pilots
     in their kimonos,
     waiting to take off.
                    May 13, 1976

Textual References
"Kitty Hawk": Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first powered airplane flight in 1903.


This morning I was wondering
when I would see my first bird
     in Japan
I was betting my mental money
on a sparrow when I heard
     a rooster
from a backyard in the Shibuya District
     of Tokyo
and that took care of that.
                    May 14, 1976

Japanese Children

I just spent the last half-an-hour
watching a Japanese children's program
     on television
There are millions of us here in Tokyo.
     We know what we like.
                    May 14, 1976

Cat in Shinjuku

A brown cat lies
in front of a Chinese restaurant
in a very narrow lane
     in Shinjuku.*

The window of the restaurant is
filled with plastic models
of Chinese food that look good
     enough to eat.

The afternoon sun is pleasantly
     warm. The cat
     is enjoying it.

People walk by, very close to the cat
but the cat shows absolutely no fear.
     It does not move.
     I find this unusual.
     The cat is happy
     in front of plastic Chinese
     food with real food
     waiting just inside the door.
                    The middle of May, 1976

*a large district in Tokyo

The Hillary Express

I just ordered my first meal
     curry and rice
all by myself in a Japanese restaurant.
     What a triumph!
I feel like an infant taking its
     first faltering step.

     Watch out Mount Everest!
                    May 16, 1976

Textual References
"Hillary": Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), New Zealand explorer, who, with Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return.


A warm Sunday afternoon rainy
4 o'clock back street Ginza
     is closed.

Thousands of napping bars,
their signs are like brightly-colored

Wound ball-like narrow streets
and lanes are string.

     only a few people
     no wind
                    May 16, 1976

Japanese Model

Tall, slender
dressed in black
perfect features

She is the shadow
of another planet
being photographed
in a totally white room

Her face never changes
her page-boy hair
looks as if it were cut
from black surgical jade

Her lips are so red
they make blood
seem dull, a
useless pastime
                    May ?, 1976


I just spent fifteen seconds
staring at a Japanese fly:
     my first.

He was standing on a red brick
in the Mitsui Building Plaza,
enjoying the sun.

He didn't care that I was looking at him
He was cleaning his face. Perhaps he had
     a date with a beautiful
     lady fly, his bride to be
     or maybe just good friends
     to have lunch a little later
in Mitsui Plaza
at noon.
                    May 17 or 18, 1976

Pachinko Samurai

I feel wonderful, exhilarated, child-like,

I just won two cans of crab meat*
and a locomotive**

What more could anyone ask for on May 18,
     1976 in Tokyo?

I played the game of pachinko
/ vertical pinball /
My blade was sharp.


Japan begins and ends
     with Japan.

Nobody else knows the

. . . Japanese dust
in the Milky Way.
                    May 18, 1976

Homage to the Japanese Haiku Poet Issa

Drunk in a Japanese
                    May 18, 1976

Dreams are like [the]"

Dreams are like the [the]
wind. They blow by. The
small ones are breezes,
but they go by, too.
                    May 20 or 26, 1976

Strawberry Haiku

. . . . .
. . . . . . .
The twelve red berries
                    May 22, 1976

A Mystery Story of Dashiell Hammett a la Mode

Every time I leave my hotel room
     here in Tokyo
I do the same four things:
     I make sure I have my passport
     my notebook
     a pen
     and my English—
     Japanese dictionary.

The rest of life is a total mystery.
                    May 26, 1976

Textual References
"Dashiell Hammett": American detective story writer (1894-1961).

A Short Study in Gone

When dreams wake
     life ends.
Then dreams are gone.
     Life is gone.
                    May 26, 1976

The 12,000,000

I'm depressed,
haunted by melancholy
that does not have a reflection
     nor cast a shadow.
12,000,000 people live here in Tokyo.
I know I'm not alone.
Others must feel the way
     I do.
                    May 26, 1976
                    1 P.M.

Shoes, Bicycle

Listening to the Japanese night,
the window is closed and the curtain pulled,
I think it is raining outside.
It's comforting. I love the rain.
I am in a city that I have never been before:
I think it is raining. Then I hear a storm begin.
     I'm slightly drunk:

     people walking by in the street,
     a bicycle.
                    May 26, 1976

A Study in Roads

All the possibilities of life,
all roads led here.

I was never going anyplace else,
     41 years of life:

Tacoma, Washington
Great Falls, Montana
Oaxaca, Mexico
London, England
Bee Caves, Texas
Victoria, British Columbia
Key West, Florida
San Francisco, California
Boulder, Colorado

all led here:

Having a drink by myself
in a bar in Tokyo before
wishing there was somebody to talk
                    May 28, 1976

Textual References
"Bee Caves": Bee Caves, Texas, a small town (population 50 in the 1970s when Brautigan visited) twelve miles west of Austin.

Floating Chandeliers

Sand is crystal
like the soul.
The wind blows
     it away.
                    May 28, 1976

Japanese Women

If there are any unattractive
     Japanese women
they must drown them at birth.
                    May 28, 1976

Taxi Drivers Look Different from Their Photographs

There is no difference
between Tokyo and New York.
These men do not look
like their photographs.
These are different men.
I'm not being fooled in the
least. Complete strangers drive
     these cabs.
                    May 28, 1976

Sunglasses Worn at Night in Japan

A Japanese woman
     age: 28

lives seeing darkness
     from eyes

that should see light
     at night.
                    May 30, 1976

Japanese Pop Music Concert

Don't ever ever forget
     the flowers
that were rejected, made
     fools of.

A very shy girl gives the
budding boy pop star a bouquet
     of beautiful

between songs. What courage
it took for her to walk up to
the stage and hand him the

He puts them garbage-like down
on the floor. They lie there.
She returns to her seat and watches
     her flowers lying there.
Then she can't take it any longer.

     She flees.
     She is gone
     but the music
     plays on.

     I promise.
     You promise, too
                    May 31, 1976


Ah, June 1, 1976
     12:01 A.M.

All those who live
after we are dead

We knew this moment
     we were here
                    June 1, 1976
                    12:01 A.M.


I am the only American in this bar.
Everybody else is Japanese.
     (reasonable / Tokyo)

I speak English.
They speak Japanese.
     (of course)

They try to speak English. It's hard.
I can't speak any Japanese. I can't help.
We talk for a while, trying.

Then they switch totally to Japanese
     for ten minutes.
They laugh. They are serious.
They pause between words.

I am alone again. I've been there before
in Japan, America, everywhere when you
don't understand what somebody is
     talking about.
                    June 1, 1976


A beautiful Japanese woman
     / age 42

the energy that separates
     spring from summer

     (depending on June)
     20 or 21
—so they say—

Her voice singing sounds
just like an angelic chainsaw
     cutting through
                    June 1, 1976

Day for Night

The cab takes me home
through the Tokyo dawn.
I have been awake all night.
I will be asleep before the sun
I will sleep all day.
The cab is a pillow,
the streets are blankets,
the dawn is my bed.
The cab rests my head.
I'm on my way to dreams.
                    June 1, 1976

Cobalt Necessity

It's just one of those things.
When you need cobalt
     nothing else will
                    June 2, 1976

Real Estate

I have emotions
that are like newspapers that
     read themselves.

I go for days at a time
trapped in the want ads.

I feel as if I am an ad
for the sale of a haunted house:

     18 rooms
     I'm yours
     ghosts and all.
                    June 2, 1976

The Alps

One word

waiting . . .

leads to an
of other words

if you are

waiting . . .

for a woman
                    June 2, 1976

Japan Minus Frogs

                    For Guy de la Valdène

Looking casually
through my English-Japanese dictionary
I can't find the word frog.
     It's not there.
Does that mean that Japan has no frogs?
                    June 4, 1976

Textual References
"Guy de la Valdène": writer and filmmaker, part of the "Montana Gang" to whom Brautigan dedicated The Hawkline Monster.

On the Elevator Going Down

A Caucasian gets on at
     the 17th floor.
He is old, fat, and expensively
I say hello / I'm friendly.
     He says, "Hi."

Then he looks very carefully at
     my clothes.

I'm not expensively dressed.
I think his left shoe costs more
than everything I am wearing.

He doesn't want to talk to me
     any more.

I think that he is not totally aware
that we are really going down
and there are no clothes after you have
been dead for a few thousand years.

He thinks as we silently travel
down and get off at the bottom
that we are going separate
                    June 4, 1976

First Published
Quest/77, Nov./Dec. 1977, p. 108.

A Young Japanese Woman Playing a Grand Piano in an Expensive and Very Fancy Cocktail Lounge

Everything shines like black jade:

     The piano (invented
     Her long hair (severe
     Her obvious disinterest (in the music
          she is playing.

Her mind, distant from her fingers,
is a million miles away shining

     like black
                    June 4, 1976

A Small Boat on the Voyage of Archaeology

A warm thunder and lightning storm
tonight in Tokyo with lots of rain and umbrellas
     around 10 P.M.
This is a small detail right now
but it could be very important
a million years from now when archaeologists
sift through our ruins, trying to figure us
                    June 5, 1976

American Bar in Tokyo

I'm here in a bar filled with
young conservative snobbish
     American men,
drinking and trying to pick up
     Japanese women
who want to sleep with the likes
     of these men.
It is very hard to find any poetry
as this poem bears witness.
                    June 5, 1976

Ego Orgy on a Rainy Night in Tokyo with Nobody to Make Love to

                    The night is now
                    half-gone; youth
                    goes: I am

                    in bed alone

My books have been translated
Norwegian, French, Danish, Romanian,
Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Swedish,
Italian, German, Finnish, Hebrew
     and published in England

I will sleep alone tonight in Tokyo
                    June 5, 1976

Textual References
"Sappho": Greek poet of the 7th-6th centuries B.C.; these lines (as acknowledged on the copyright page) are from Mary Barnard's Sappho: A New Translation (University of California Press, 1958).


The distances of loneliness
make the fourth dimension
seem like three hungry crows
looking at a worm in a famine.
                     June 6, 1976

Things to Do on a Boring Tokyo Night in a Hotel

1. Have dinner by yourself.
That's always a lot of fun.

2. Wander aimlessly around the hotel.
This is a huge hotel, so there's lots of space
to wander aimlessly around.

3. Go up and down the elevator for no reason
     at all.
The people going up are going to their rooms.
     I'm not.
Those going down are going out.
     I'm not.

4. I seriously think about the house phone
and calling my room 3003 and letting it ring
for a very long time. Then wondering where
I'm at and when I will return. Should I leave
a message at the desk saying that when I return
     I should call myself?
                    June 6, 1976

Traveling toward Osaka on the Freeway from Tokyo

I look out the car window
at 100 kilometers an hour
     (62 miles)
and see a man peddling
a bicycle very carefully
down a narrow path between
     rice paddies.
He's gone in a few seconds.
I have only his memory now.
He has been changed into
a 100 kilometer-an-hour
memory ink rubbing.
                    June 7, 1976

After the Performance of the Black Tent Theater Group on the Shores of the Nagara River

The actresses without their makeup,
their costumes, their roles
are returned to being mortals.
I watch them eat quietly in a small inn.
They have no illusions, almost plain
     like saints
     perfect in their
                    June 7, 1976

Fragment #1

Speaking is speaking
when you (The next word is unintelligible,
written on a drunken scrap of paper.)

speak any more.
                    Perhaps a day in early June

Lazarus on the Bullet Train

For Tagawa Tadasu

     The Bullet Train is the famous Japanese express train that travels 120 miles an hour. Lazarus is an old stand-by.

You listened to the ranting and raving drunken
American writer on the Bullet Train from Nagoya
as I blamed you for everything that ever went
wrong in this world, including the grotesque
event that occurred that night in Gifu while
     you slept.

Of course, you had done nothing but be my good
friend. At one point I told you to consider me
dead, that I was dead for you from that moment on.
I took your hand and touched my hand with it.
I told you that my flesh was now cold to you:

You silently nodded your head, eyes filled
with sadness. I even forbid you to ever read
one of my books again because I knew how much
you loved them and again you nodded your head
and you didn't say anything. The sadness in your
eyes did all the speaking.
The Bullet Train continued travelling at 120
miles an hour back to Tokyo as I ranted and raved
     at you.

You didn't say a word.
Your sadness filled the Bullet Train
with two hundred extra passengers.
They were all reading newspapers
that had no words printed on them,
only the dried tears of the dead.

By the time the train reached Tokyo Station,
my anger had turned slowly and was headed in all
directions toward a deserved oblivion.
I took your hand and touched my hand again.
"I'm alive for you," I said. "The warmth has
     returned to my flesh."

You nodded silently again,
never having said a word.
The two hundred extra passengers
remained on the train,
though it was the end of the line.
They will stay there forever riding
back and forth until they are dust.
We stepped out into the early Tokyo morning
     friends again.

Oh, thank you, Tagawa Tadasu,
O beautiful human being for sharing
and understanding my death
and return from the dead
on the Bullet Train between Nagoya
     and Tokyo the morning of June 8, 1976.

Later in the evening I called you
on the telephone. Your first
words were: "Are you fine?"
     "Yes, I am fine."
                    June 9, 1976

Textual References
"Lazarus": See John 11-12.
"Tagawa Tadasu": Japanese music critic and writer. He and Brautigan met at The Cradle bar in Tokyo. Tadasu invited Brautigan to travel with him to Osaka, where they attended a performance by the Black Tent Theater Group. That night, Brautigan was drunk and apparently something happened between he and Tadasu. The events of the next day, on the bullet train back to Tokyo, are recounted in Brautigan's poem (William Hjortsberg 569).

Visiting a Friend at the Hospital"

I just visited Kazuko at the hospital.
She seemed tired. She was operated on
     six days ago.
She ate her dinner slowly, painfully.
It was sad to watch her eat. She was
very tired. I wish that I could have
eaten in her place and she to receive
     the nutriment.
                    June 9, 1976

Textual References
"Kazuko": A possible reference to Kazuko Fujimoto, the female translator of Brautigan's books into Japanese.

Eternal Lag

Before flying to Japan
I was worried about jet lag.

"My" airplane would leave
San Francisco at 1 P.M.
and 10 hours and 45 minutes later
would land in Tokyo at 4 P.M.
     the next day:

I was worried about that,
forgetting that because I suffer
from severe insomnia I have
     eternal jet lag.
                    June 9, 1976

The American in Tokyo with a Broken Clock

                    For Shiina Takako

People stare at me—
There are millions of them.
Why is this strange American
walking the streets of early night
     carrying a broken clock
     in his hands?
Is he for real or is he just an illusion?
How the clock got broken is not important.
     Clocks break.
     Everything breaks.
People stare at me and the broken clock
     that I carry like a dream

     in my hands.
                    June 10, 1976

Textual References
"Shiina Takako": owner of The Cradle, a bar, gathering place for artists in Tokyo. Several poems in this collection are dedicated to her.

The American Fool

A few weeks ago a middle-aged taxi driver
started talking to me in English. His English
     was very good.
I asked him if he had ever been to America.
Wordlessly, poignantly he made a motion
with his hand that was not driving the streets
     of Tokyo
at his face that suddenly looked very sad.
The gesture meant that he was a poor man
and would never be able to afford to go to America.
We didn't talk much after that.
                    June 11, 1976

The American Carrying a Broken Clock in Tokyo Again

                    For Shiina Takako

It is amazing how many people
you meet when you are carrying
a broken clock around in Tokyo.

Today I was carrying the broken clock
around again, trying to get an exact
     replacement for it.
     The clock was far beyond repair.

All sorts of people were interested
in the clock. Total strangers came up to me
and inquired about the clock in Japanese
     of course
and I nodded my head: Yes, I have a broken clock.

I took it to a restaurant and people gathered
around. I recommend carrying a broken clock
with you at all times if you want to meet new
friends. I think it would work anyplace in the

     If you want to got to Iceland
     and meet the people, take
     a broken clock with you.
     They will gather around like flies.
                    June 11, 1976

Textual References
"Shiina Takako": owner of The Cradle, a bar, gathering place for artists in Tokyo. Several poems in this collection are dedicated to her.

The Nagara, the Yellowstone

Fish rise in the early summer evenings
on the Nagara River at Gifu. I am back in Tokyo.
I will never fish the Nagara. The fish
will rise there forever but the Yellowstone River
south of Livingston, Montana, that is another
                    June 11, 1976

Writing Poetry in Public Places, Cafes, Bars, etc.

Alone in a place full of strangers
I sing as if I'm in the center
     of a heavenly choir

     —my tongue a cloud of honey—

Sometimes I think I'm weird.
                    June 11, 1976


The young Japanese woman cashier,
     who doesnt like me
     I don't know why
     I've done nothing to her except exist,
uses a calculator to add up the checks
at a speed that approaches light—

     she adds up her dislike
          for me.
                    June 11, 1976

Tokyo/June 11, 1976

I have the five poems
that I wrote earlier today
     in a notebook
in the same pocket that
I carry my passport. They
are the same thing.

Meiji Comedians

                    For Shiina Takako

     Meiji Shrine is Japan's most famous shrine. Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shôken are enshrined there. The grounds occupy 175 acres of gardens, museums and stadiums.

Meiji Shrine was closed.
We snuck in the hour before dawn.
We were drunk like comedians
climbing over stone walls and falling down.
We were funny to watch.
Fortunately, the police did not discover us
     and take us away.
It was beautiful there and we staggered
around in the trees and bushes until light started.
We were very funny and then
we were lying sprawled in a small meadow
of gentle green grass that was sweet
     to the touch of our bodies.
I put my hand on her breast and started kissing
her. She kissed me back and that's all the love
we made. We didn't go any further, but it was
perfect in the early light of Meiji Shrine
with the Emperor Meiji
and his consort Shôken
somewhere near us.
                    June 12, 1976

Textual References
"Shiina Takako": owner of The Cradle, a bar, gathering place for artists in Tokyo. Several poems in this collection are dedicated to her.

Meiji Shoes Size 12

                    For Shiina Takako

I woke up in the middle of the afternoon, alone,
our love-making did not lead to going to bed
together and that was OK, I guess.

Beside the bed were my shoes covered with Meiji
mud. I looked at them and felt very good.
It's funny what the sight of dried mud can do
     to your mind.
                    June 12, 1976

Textual References
"Shiina Takako": owner of The Cradle, a bar, gathering place for artists in Tokyo. Several poems in this collection are dedicated to her.


Starting just a single world

start (start) v.i. 1, begin or enter upon an action, etc; set out.

to end with.
                    June 12, 1976

Passing to Where?

Sometimes I take out my passport,
look at the photograph of myself
     (not very good, etc.)

     just to see if I exist
                    June 12, 1976

Tokyo/June 13, 1976

I have sixteen more days left in Japan.
I leave on the 29th back across the Pacific.
Five days after that I will be in Montana,
sitting in the stands of the Park County

watching the Livingston Roundup
     on the Fourth of July,
     cheering the cowboys on,

     Japan gone.

The Airplane

of the bad things about staying at a hotel
is the thin walls. They are a problem
that does not go away. I was trying to get
some sleep this afternoon but the people
in the next room took that opportunity to
     fuck their brains out.
Their bed sounded like an old airplane
     warming up to take off.
I lay there a few feet away, trying to get
some sleep while their bed taxied down the
                    June 14, 1976

Orson Welles

     Orson Welles does whisky commercials on
Japanese television. It's strange to see him
here on television in Tokyo, recommending that the
Japanese people buy G & G Nikka whisky.

     I always watch him with total fascination.
Last night I dreamt that I directed one of the
commercials. There were six black horses in the

     The horses were arranged in such a position
that upon seeing them and Orson Welles
together, people would rush out of their homes
and buy G & G whisky.

     It was not an easy commercial to film. It
had to be perfect. It took many takes. Mr. Welles
was very patient with an understanding sense of

     "Please, Mr. Welles," I would say. "Stand a
little closer to the horses."

     He would smile and move a little closer
to the horses.

     "How's this?"

     "Just fine, Mr. Welles, perfect."
                    June 14, 1976

Textual References
"Orson Welles": American actor and director (1915-1985) best know for the movie Citizen Kane and the radio dramatization of H. G. Wells' novel, The War of the Worlds (1938).

The Red Chair

I saw a decadent gothic Japanese movie
this evening. It went so far beyond any
decadence that I have ever seen before
that I was transformed into a child learning
     for the first time
     that shadows are not always friendly,
     that houses are haunted,
that people sometimes have thoughts
made out of snake skin that crawl
toward the innocence of sleeping babies.

The movie took place in Tokyo
just before the earthquake on September 1, 1923.
In a gothic Japanese house a man was hiding
inside a large stuffed red chair while a beautiful
woman wearing exotic costumes made love
to other men sitting in the chair.
The men did not know that somebody was hiding
     inside the chair,
feeling, voyeuring every detail of their passion.
It took a long time in the movie
before I realized that there was a man inside the

The film went on and on into decadence
after decadence like a rainbow of perversion.
I can't describe them all.
You would have trouble believing them.
The red chair was only a beginning.

I sat there transfixed
with a hundred Japanese men.
It was as if we were the orgasm
of spiders fucking in dried human
                    June 15, 1976

The Silence of Language

sitting here awkwardly alone in a bar
with a very intelligent Japanese movie director
who can't speak English and I no Japanese.

We know each other but there is nobody here
to translate for us. We've talked before.
Now we pretend to be interested in other things.

He is listening to some music on the phonograph
with his eyes closed. I am writing this down.
It's time to go home. He leaves first.
                    June 15, 1976

It's Time to Wake Up

I set the alarm for 9 A.M.
but it wasn't necessary.
The earthquake at 7:30 woke
     me up.

From the middle of a dream
I was suddenly lying there
feeling the hotel shake,
wondering if room 3003
would soon be a Shinjuku
     30 floors below.

It sure beats the hell
out of an alarm clock.
                    June 16, 1976

Fragment #2/Having

I found the word having written sideways,
     all by itself
on a piece of notebook paper.
I have no idea why I wrote it
or what its ultimate destination was,
but I wrote the word having carefully

     and then stopped

                    June perhaps, 1976

Looking at My Bed/3 A.M.

Sleep without sleep
then to sleep again
                    June 17, 1976

Taxi Driver

I like this taxi driver,
racing through the dark streets
     of Tokyo
as if life had no meaning.
I feel the same way.
                    June 17, 1976
                    10 P.M.

Taking No Chances

I am a part of it. No,
I am the total but there
is also a possibility
that I am only a fraction
     of it.

I am that which begins
but has no beginning.
I am also full of shit
right up to my ears.
                    June 17, 1976

Tokyo/June 24, 1976

As these poems progress
can you guess June 24, 1976?

I was born January 30, 1935
in Tacoma, Washington.

What will happen next?
If only I could see June 24,
                June 18, 1976

What Makes Reality Real

Waiting for her . . .
Nothing to do but write a poem.
She is now 5 minutes late.

I have a feeling that she will be at least
     15 minutes late.
It is now 6 minutes after 9 P.M.
     in Tokyo.

—NOW exactly NOW—
the doorbell rang.

She is at the door:
6 minutes after 9 P.M.
     in Tokyo

nothing has changed
except that she is here.
                    June 19, 1976

Unrequited Love

Stop in /
write a morose poem /
leave / if only
life were that easy
                    June 19, 1976

The Past Cannot Be Returned

The umbilical cord
cannot be refastened
and life flow through it

Our tears never totally

Our first kiss is now a ghost,
haunting our mouths as they
     fade toward
                    June 19, 1976
                    with a few words
                    added in Montana
                    July 12, 1976

Fragment #3

speaking is speaking

We repeat
what we speak
and then we are
speaking again and that
speaking is speaking.
                    June sometime, 1976

Two Women

     / 1

Travelling along
a freeway in Tokyo
I saw a woman's face
reflected back to us
from a small circular mirror
on the passenger side
of the car in front of us.
The car had a regular
rearview mirror in the center
of the front window.

I wondered what the
circular mirror was doing
on the passenger side of the car.
Her face was in it. She was directly
in front of us. She had a beautiful
face, floating in an
unreal mirror on a Tokyo

Her face stayed there for a while
and then floated off
forever in the changing traffic.

     / 2

She moves like a ghost.
She is not alive any more.
She must be in her late sixties.
She is short and squat
like a Japanese stereotype.

She takes care of the lobby
of the hotel. She empties
the ashtrays. She dusts
and mops things. She moves
like a ghost. She has no human
A few days ago I was standing
beside three Japanese businessmen
peeing in the lavatory.
We each had our own urinal.
She walked in like a ghost and started
mopping the toilet floor around us.
She was totally unaware of us,
standing there urinating.
She was truly a ghost
and we were suddenly ghost pee-ers
     as she mopped on
                    June 21, 1976

Fragment #4

in a garden of
     500 mossy, lichen
     green Buddhas

a sunny day

     these Buddhas
     know the answer
     to all five
     hundred other Buddhas.
                    Never finished
                    outside of Tokyo
                    June 23, 1976
                    except for the word
                    other added at
                    Pine Creek, Montana,
                    on July 23, 1976

Illicit Love

We did not play the game.
We played the rules perfectly,
no violations, no penalties.

     The game is over
     or is it just
                    June 28, 1976

Age: 41

Playing games

playing games, I

guess I never

really stopped

being a child

playing games

playing games
                    June 28, 1976

Two Versions of the Same Poem"

     Love / 1

The water
in the river
flows over
and under

It knows
what to do,
flowing on.

     Love / 2

The water
in the river
flows over
and under

It knows
what to do,
flowing on.

The bed never touches bottom.
                    June 28, 1976

Stone (real)

I guess I moved to Texas:
Bee Caves on the map.
The map means nothing
to you sitting here watching
                    June 29, 1976
                    Very drunk
                    with Shiina
                    Takako watching

Textual References
"Bee Caves": Bee Caves, Texas, a small town (population 50 in the 1970s when Brautigan visited) twelve miles west of Austin.
"Shiina Takako": owner of The Cradle, a bar, gathering place for artists in Tokyo. Several poems in this collection are dedicated to her.

Land of the Rising Sun


Flying from Japanese night,
we left Haneda Airport in Tokyo
four hours ago at 9:30 P.M.
     June 30th
and now we are flying into the sunrise
over the Pacific that is on its way
     to Japan
where darkness lies upon the land
and the sun is hours away.
I greet the sunrise of July 1st
for my Japanese friends,
wishing them a pleasant day.
The sun is on its

June 30th again
above the Pacific
across the international date line
heading home to America
with part of my heart
     in Japan



Reviews for June 30th, June 30th are detailed below. See also reviews of Brautigan's collected works, and General Reviews for commentary about Brautigan's work and his place in American literature.

Anonymous. "Brautigan, Richard." Kirkus Reviews, 1 July 1978, p. 743.

The full text of this review reads, "In his fiction Brautigan always seems to know more than turns out to be the case; in his poetry, less. And in poetry the chips, slivers, childishly innocent statements, and obvious repetitions of the style don't cloy as much as they do in the prose. In his journal of a trip to Japan, Brautigan wrote a poem almost every day. They're very short (two of the longer ones, 'Japanese Pop Music' and 'Lazarus on the Bullet Train,' happen to be the best in the book) and strictly parceled-out: one minor-key feeling to each. Brautigan was lonely, moony, lost, self-sorry, in love—it's all here in diary-fashion. Most are dreadful ('If there are any unattractive/ Japanese women/ they must drown them at birth'—complete poem) and ephemeral; but some, given natural welcome by the delicacy of the very short poem, are very effective. 'Her lips are so red/ they make blood/ seem dull, a/ useless pastime.' If you can get past the first impression (which isn't easy), that this is a book of work so tiny that only a popular writer could get it between boards—if you can get past that, there is every once in a while a testament to the variety and flexibility of poetry that's very refreshing."

Anonymous. "New in Paperbacks." Washington Post Book World, 1 Oct. 1978, p. E2.

Reviews several new paperback books with one sentence each. The review of Brautigan reads, "On June 30th, 1976 the poet left Japan with this collection of limpid, haiku-like poems."

Anonymous. "Brautigan, Richard." Choice, Dec. 1978, pp. 1364-1365.

Notes the desperate quality of the poems and suggests that this is "an often good book" that will be "served well by the winnowing process that will eventually take place." The full text of this review reads, "These poems represent a verse scrapbook of Richard Brautigan's 1976 trip to Japan, and, as such, contain pieces that—as the author is good enough to admit—do not deserve publication, but which serve to flesh out, pad, and complete this slim volume. To the traveler used to Brautigan's offhand style, or familiar with the scenes he depicts, these glimpses of another country will at times prove hauntingly accurate; to others, perhaps, the book will seem a bore not worth its price. The major theme here—not surprisingly, since Brautigan knows no Japanese—is loneliness, and the book is darkened by an advance nostalgia contributed by the fact of a known departure date. That date, the book's title, is part of the custom's stamp from a page of Brautigan's passport that forms the cover design. Loss and absence are never far from the poet's thoughts. This is, in summary, an often good book, one that would be served well by the winnowing process that will eventually take place. Right now, it is fare for the ardent fan, primarily."

Bokinsky, Caroline J. "Richard Brautigan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 5: American Poets Since World War II. Edited by Donald J. Greiner. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 96-99.

Critical comments on The Return of the Rivers, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Lay the Marble Tea, The Octopus Frontier, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt, Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork, and June 30th, June 30th. Also provides some biographical and bibliographical information. Says June 30th, June 30th "is the most unified of Brautigan's volumes not only because the poems pertain to a single experience [time spent in Japan] but because the speaker of all the poems is Brautigan himself examining his reactions to this experience. For the first time, Brautigan is a confessional poet, lost and alone in a strange land, unable to communicate." READ this review.

Harrison, Jim. Quoted on the back cover of the Delta Editon (1978).

What can I say? It is your work that has touched me the most deeply, the least mannered and most exact in its insistent nakedness. It is not a succession of lyrics but finally ONE BOOK. A long poem that offers us its bounty in fragments. It is saturated with the 'otherness' we know to be our most honest state and the true state of poetry. It offers itself in perhaps the unconscious but ancient fabled form of the voyage. It is about the stately courage and loneliness of this voyage into a strange land which is both Japan and the true self of the poet, where there are no barriers to admitting and singing all. It is about love and exhaustion and permanent transition, so fatal that it is beyond the poet's comprehension. I love the book because it is a true song, owning no auspices other than its own; owning the purity we think we aim at on this bloody journey."

Knowles, Carrie J. "Brautigan, Richard." The Booklist, 15 Sep. 1978, p. 147.

The full text of this review reads, "Clearly a case of terminal poetic pretentiousness, Brautigan drags his reader through the dullness of his impressions of Japan. A potentially delicious and fine subject matter, Brautigan manages to boil the Japanese broth to such a pitch that the ingredients are unrecognizable. Too bad he was so carefully dissecting each thin thought that he forgot to look at the beauty of the Japanese countryside. On reading June 30th, June 30th, one begins to wonder why he bothered to make the trip; 90 percent of the poems could have been written in the privacy of his bedroom closet. For devoted readers only."

Petticoffer, Dennis. "Brautigan, Richard." Library Journal, vol. 103, no. 4, 15 Feb. 1978, p. 465.

The full text of this review reads, "Brautigan insists that this is a 'different' collection of poetry. Written in diary form, it contains impressions of his seven-week tour of Japan in 1976. There are poems about kimonos and kits, black jade and broken clocks; there are odes to cats, roosters, and flies; there are endless lines in praise of Japanese women. Taken individually, many of these poems do not hold up well. Brautigan himself concedes that the collection is 'uneven.' Taken together, it portrays a mood of alienation and loneliness, as might be expected when a poet finds himself immersed in an alien culture, unable to communicate with, or be understood by, the world around him. But 'Japan' is not necessarily on the other side of the world—it can be just across the street. The book's prime appeal will be to college audiences, but it may prove less enticing than Brautigan's earlier works."

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Edited by Dedria Bryfonski. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 57-74.
The Library Journal Book Review 1978. Edited by Janet Fletcher. R.R. Bowker Company, 1979, p. 314.

Schuster, Arian. "Brautigan, Richard." Young Adult Cooperative Book Review Group of Massachusetts, Dec. 1978, p. 18.

The full text of this review reads, "A collection of eighty brief poems, several just fragments—written from May 13 to June 30th on a visit Brautigan made to Japan, somewhat in the spirit of a memorial or journey for the Japanese and American war dead. In a forward, Brautigan describes the death of a young uncle at Pearl Harbor, his early anti-Japanese attitude and subsequent awakening to things Japanese as the partial promptings for the visit which brought forth the book of poetry. Like so many literary journeys, it becomes a point of departure for an exploration of the self in relation to the world of the nonself. The Brautigan wit is fleetingly present, but there is a haunting feeling of loneliness in the poetry—a sense of a stranger in a strange land—that ultimately makes Japan seem like a metaphor for alienation. Brautigan fans may like this; but he has moved away from the concerns of the young adult, and if one already has Brautigan books, skip this one."

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Edited by Dedria Bryfonski. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 57-74.

Stuttaford, Genevieve. "Brautigan, Richard." Publishers Weekly, 23 Jan. 1978, p. 371.

The full text of this review reads, "On a visit to Japan for one month in spring of 1976, Richard Brautigan decided to write a journal of his voyage in verse. Almost every day, weary, sober or hungover, he wrote something about what it felt like being a lonely, if world-famous, American tourist in the hotels, restaurants, cabs, bars of a strange city. Meant to be an intimate record, the book is merely haphazard. Brautigan devotees, remembering Trout Fishing, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Watermelon Sugar and several collections of quirky poety will wince and wonder at this decline in Brautigan's talent."

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