Ksana-Kai: Volume I

I coined the name Ksana-Kai during the poetry I wrote during the 1990's. The name was coined before I understood its meaning. I was simply toying around, thinking up a "cool" name with "K's" in it. Ksana is a Russian name, which means praise be to God. And Kai means willow tree in Navajo. Back then I spent a lot of time writing as a catharsis-- self-medication through poetry is a great way to release pent up emotions. Ksana-Kai became the gender neutral, imagined anime character, that came to represent my poetic expression at the time. My daughter, Shannan was born in 1994 and in 2014 we were shocked to learn that she had developed a brain tumor. Weeks later, Shannan successfully underwent a life-saving operation. I wrote a Haiku poem to Shannan during her stay in the hospital and this became the basis for the poetic story book, Ksana-Kai. And so, the name KsanaKai, finally manifested its identity in my daughter, Shannan. Shannan says she's nothing like the character, KsanaKai; however, I believe they both share the traits of being adventurous and courageous. From Papo to Princess: KsanaKai Origins will be an upcoming project featuring the first poems written by Papo, the father of Ksana-Kai, to his Princess. Below are three selected poems from the book, Ksana-Kai Volume I.

Papo's Notes:


I believe poetry is in the eyes of the interpreter. The poet had a visual intent and meaning of an event he wanted to share; however, the enigmatic inclination of poetry lends itself to interpretation. So in my "cliffnotes" here I am sharing my intent, despite the fact that my poems may be interpreted differently depending upon the reader. Ksana-Kai is a story told in poems after all and so some things have to be concrete. For example, the character died or the character didn't die. Concrete events determine the plot and the story develops characters and situations, builds to a climax, there is resolution, and an ending. My "cliffnotes" will be short. I'm attempting to give you the concrete intent of each poem and maybe additional details, such as who is speaking.. Enjoy the art of the riddle and try to figure out the poems for yourself before you read the "spoilers."


Ksana-Kai volume I


Episode 1: Ksana-Kai bids a tearful farewell to her boyfriend, Kaji, who is on a plane headed to California.


Episode 2: A flashback of how Ksana-Kai and Kaji first met on the beach.


Episode 3: Kaji is celebrating in rhyme and song how much he loves to run; however, he is affected by stirrings of love for Ksana-Kai


Episode 4: Ksana-Kai yearns that Kaji's love for her is genuine.


Episode 5: Ksana-Kai and Kaji make a promise to love each other eternally.


Episode 6: Ksana expresses her desire to be intimate with Kaji.


Episode 7: Kaji envisions Ksana-Kai as a Princess


Episode 8: Kaji and Ksana-Kai playfully personify themselves respectfully as a trellis and a grapvine.


Episode 9: Ksana-Kai experiences a state of "deja vue" in which she envisions a former life before Kaji.


Episode 10: Kaji is in a state of emotional chaos, frustrated by Ksana-Kai's perplexing behavior.


Episode 11: Ksana-Kai describes her illness, her source of "deja vue."


Episode 12: Ksana-Kai uses her "deja vue" experience as a ruse for a lie.


Episode 13: Ksana-Kai bids farewell to Kaji. See episode 1.


Episode 14: Kaji reminisces through a nightmare his longing to be with Ksana-Kai.


Episode 15: Kaji personifies himself as an abandoned planet, enchanted by a moon's light, which turns out to a star that destroys him.


Episode 16: Kaji occupies himself with his former love, running, only to imagine he sees a vision of Ksana-Kai.


Episode 17: The mirage turns out to be, Taigi, a childhood friend.


Episode 18: Taigi tries to entice Kaji at a cafe; however, Kaji wants to keep their relationship platonic.


Episode 19: Kaji is tempted to start a new relationship with Taigi.


Episode 20: Papo writes a poem to Ksana-Kai while she is in her recovery room/ post-operative surgery. Kai sings a song before surgery; Papo describes a dream of being free from her illness, like a butterfly; she is given a watch; and hears people/ visitors talk as she rests; the roots of her illness are broken, which frees her expression; she dreams of snow that melts into tears affected by the sun.


Episode 21: Following her successful surgery. Ksana-Kai plans to travel to California and re-unite with Kaji.


Episode 22: Ksana-Kai finds Kaji at the beach, but Kaji is with Taigi.


Episode 23: Kaji gives Ksana-Kai a poetic reproof and bids Ksana-Kai farewell.


Episode 24: Ksana-Kai resigns herself to the reality that her relationship with Kaji is finished.


Episode 25: Ksana-Kai struggles to cut her psychological ties to "Fred," the remnant remains of her brain tumor.


Episode 26: An angel like "blue winged shadow" whisks Ksana-Kai away from her anxieties only to drop her into an abyss of tears.


Episode 27: Ksana-Kai's intimate visions of Kaji begin to fade.


Episode 28: Despite being haunted by phantoms of "Fred," Ksana-Kai is resolved to move forward with her life.


Episode 29: Kaya, Ksana-Kai's sister, depicts Kaji as a poison arrow that infects Kai's well-being.


Episode 30: The narrator, Papo, reflects on how we yearn for yesterday despite the pain, but best to live in the present.


Episode 31: Taigi realizes Kaji's soul is present with her, but his heart and mind is still with Ksana-Kai.


Episode 32: Taigi realizes all these years she's been deluding herself about a possible relationship with Kaji.


Episode 33: Kaji prays to God that Ksana-Kai find peace and happiness. He wishes to say goodbye one last time.


Episode 34: Kaji envisions Ksana walking aimlessly upon the beach.  He is helplessly intertwined in his love for Ksana-Kai.


Episode 35: Ksana-Kai sings one last song to Kaji as she walks into the ocean to drown herself.


Episode 36: Kaji saves Ksana-Kai from drowning herself. The meaning of Ksana-Kai's name is revealed.


Episode 37: Ksana-Kai and Kaji exchange sonnets of how their souls may have communicated over the waves of the sea.


Episode 38: Ksana-Kai explains how the "thorns of circumstance" could not suffocate their true love.


Episode 39: Kaji pledges his intentions to marry Ksana-Kai.


Episode 40: Ksana-Kai poetically shares her first intimate moments with Kaji after their marriage.


Episode 41: This poem entertains the possibility of everlasting love despite the pain of their journey thus far.




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