19 September 2004

napo #23 -- Susan Mitchell

Today's poem sucks, completely a first draft and probably needs to be shot, so instead of reading it, check out my friend's new blog: Chris Mastin's Ad Nauseam.

napo #23 = after "Bus Trip" by Susan Mitchell:

Hawaiian Homies

Honolulu folks take Sundays at Ala Moana—
the beach park, not the shopping center.
They bring lawn chairs and lomi-lomi salmon

for an off-day sprawl, leave cars
at curbside, unload plastic bags
from Longs Drug and Times Supermarket—

local treats of Spam musubi, malasadas,
kalua pork, haupia and moshi,
above all rice. Beyond food, try umbrellas,

coolers of soda and beer, and for the kids,
those tropical fruit drinks—
lilikoi and orange strawberry guava mix.

They spend the day outside on blankets
under blue tarps and white bedspreads—
playing cards, making love, infants

nursing and children seeking comfort
from small waves or big brothers.
Gambling and cursing, talking story

in twenty different languages—
taking potluck with pidgin,
staring at tourists with hotel box lunches.

The park is a World War II memorial
built for community. Veterans power
wheelchairs, their grandsons ride bicycles,

teenagers flirt and rap, ukeleles play,
speeding skateboards, patrolling cops,
yapping dogs, pigeons—here to stay.

Everyone is family, everyone’s lived here
their whole life, even grownup children
come back for Sundays, for Mom and cold beer,

for Auntie Doris Ke‘eaumoku’s birthday—
nobody knows how old, two-hundred people
show up to party. From L.A.

and Seattle, Palolo Danny and Kalihi Kim,

he remembers her,
she him.

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