MISFIT DOC: True facts or lies my old Japanese teacher liked to tell to mess with his students?

Want to break your mother’s heart? Perfect, sit
in the corner of the table and you shall never get married. People
who dream of having false teeth are more likely to solve
a persistent problem. Most men experience unlucky years
at the ages 25, 42 and 61, while women encounter hardship aged 19,
33 and 37. Inevitably, people who sleep facing north
die sooner and when a raven comes near a sick person, it means
that person won’t recover. The scent Ambra
is won from whale vomit. Never cut your nails at night,
or you’ll get injured. Plants catch a fever sometimes and herrings
communicate using farts. You’ll probably get into a fight
if you feel your palms itch. Eat cheese whenever you want strange
dreams. For nightmares, I recommend changing beddings
on a Friday night. Speaking of nightmares, bats either have large
brains or large testicles, never both and heartburn during
pregnancy is a tell-tale sign of a hairy newborn. Pigs can’t sweat.
If the sky is cherry red, the following day will bring mild
weather. Children who play with fire before nighttime will end
up wetting the bed and those who bite their tongues at dinner
just gave away the fact that they told a life. Use the same pen you
prepped with, to increase your likelihood of passing exams and
be sure to refrain from whistling in the dark, unless you wish
to summon thieves – and a snake.


This is a found poem made of true facts and lies my old Japanese teacher liked to tell to mess with his students. In fact most lies are popular Japanese superstitions so in a way he was teaching us an important part of Japanese culture and history. For instance, whistling at night during the age of samurai was a bad idea, bc it attracted ninjas, thieves and other unwanted visitors. The following facts are true: The scent Ambra is won from whale vomit; Bats either have large brains or large testicles; Plants can get a fever; Herrings communicate using their farts; Pigs can’t sweat; Heartburn during pregnancy means the baby will be hairy; If the sky is red at night, it’s a sign that the weather will be mild the following day; Eating cheese before sleep has been proven to cause strange dreams.
A.P., who resides in Zurich, is a photographer and writer. One of her dreams is to move to an island and take underwater photographs of sharks and jellyfish all day. Previous publications include A-Minor Magazine, Wilderness House, Red Fez and Citron Review. 

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