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  • Rough Draft TX Team

The Personhood Project Episode 17: James Fujinami Moore

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

This month, The Personhood Project welcomes poet James Fujinami Moore to speak with our host, Aaron Tyler Hand. In this episode, the two discuss Moore's debut collection, Indecent Hours, from Four Way Books. Additionally, they speak on reflections of violence within our culture and how being a firsthand witness to violence can change us. Moore speaks on the power of poetry to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, as well as the ways poetry can help one break through mental loops.

James Fujinami Moore:

I like poetry because it doesn’t have to have an answer. Poetry deals with ambiguity better than any other medium.



Whether I can’t see or feel

but only hear and smell

we are stuck n a room all day

as we wait for that tapping

on the windowsill from the

sweet smelling rain. Rain

we can only smell through

vents in the ceiling. I like

to close my eyes and pretend

I’m home. While thunder

rumbles and rain pours. It frees

me for a little while and the

sun comes back and the

clouds roll away. I wait

for the rain to come another day.


Brrrrr - cold

not really

wishful thinking

Try anything

to trick my mind

to believe its not hot

so hot

can’t believe

hard to breathe

the end is near


here in hays kounty

it’s extremely kold

during the days

we ask for the air

off & the guards tell

us no. sometimes it

gets to hot & we

lay in bed with our

bras & shorts to kool



Walkin to work

in snow above your knees

Slipping and sliding on the

ice along the way

The snow melts into

a lovely little creek or spring

Flowers bloom and blossom

sprinkled into the fields

and forests

Sitting in the hot summer days

in the sprinkler, fighting the sun.


It gets so cold it hurts my face

from house to car to store I race

I pray for weather warm to come

but moved to Texas – I’m not dumb.

The Change of Weather

While sitting in the back seat –

handcuffed and shackled –

Heading the direction

of the start of an almost home –

Sat in a dog pound

4 hours – weather shifting

As I walk in a dorm – white

is the color, huge fans blowing

Sweating everywhere –

Baths – Constantly –

This is just the beginning

But it shall pass –

Soon home

Homeless in Snow

You lie in one spot buried with blankets

trying not to move

when you awake and come out it's like a

fairy tale with sheets of white snow

as white as a dove but colder than

iced hell.


Sitting in the driver seat

I go go go

looking back reaching to tickle

my son’s feet.

He doesn’t know mom’s


Stopping at the store down

the street

it feels as if we can’t go



Mommy gets her son out

of the carseat, he’s happy full

of joy.

Cold AC from the time we hit

the door getting a spray bottle.

Pour the water in and

drink, then we can spray spray spray

on the go.


one two three four

I’m stuck behind these doors

and when night falls

I’m inside these walls

I toss and I turn in my bed

I can’t sleep so I pray

for got to


with me

another day sun is out

I’m still here behind

these doors

Get Ready to Burn

This year is gonna be a hot summer. Get ready

to burn. Every day we at the pool. Every day

police lights. No fire trucks. Too many people

in the house can cause el Nino. Two bedrooms

nine people. Sleep with the freezer open

the food will be okay. Ice cream saved up

only until the last scoop.

Writing Prompts:

  1. James Fujinami Moore uses his poem “in El Nino” to speak on what it is like to survive the summer heat. Ending with the line “promising / it’d never be this hot again”, it hints that the poem is also used as a commentary on climate change and unrelenting heat that comes along with it. With this in mind, share what extreme weather conditions mean for you. How do you maintain yourself during bouts of extreme heat or extreme cold? What worries do you have about future extreme weather?

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