‘Hashima, the Ghost Island of Japan’ by Robert Flinn

The underwater coal mines closed in 1974,

but the tortured souls of Korean and Chinese slaves still linger like smoke among the tumbled apartments, tea rooms, and temples;

as I step over broken sake bottles and around an overturned tv,

I enter a schoolhouse and see a teacher’s faded name written on the blackboard;

in 2015 UNESCO designated this wasteland a world heritage site;

now charter boats of smiling tourists snap selfies from the board walk that imprisons this pernicious place;

I’m on my knees searching for a surviving bottle of sake and somewhere solemn to pray.


Poet’s Bio: Robert Flinn holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas USA. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Zaman University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he teaches English.

He is also the director of the university writing center. His poems travel across a wide spectrum of social commentary and popular culture and often speak to injustice and the under-represented. His previous poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including: The Asian Signature Review, Atom Mind, Microkosmos, The Beacon, and Vox, as well as on the debut CD of touring band ULU.

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