Monday, August 26, 2019


The old haole man in maroon shorts and white tank top undershirt hobbles out of his townhouse, holding a broom, a red fly swatter and a large can masked by a damp paper towel. He heads to his seat by the mailboxes to sit underneath a "Work Order" sign. Fly swatter in left hand, he scratches his back.

The 30-something year old Asian man passes Lilith and me on our way toward the highway. He has an earring in each lobe, wears blue swim trunks and an off-white shirt. He looks at Lilith but not at me, though we're close. His gait is stiff, arms rigid at his sides. He walks to the light to cross over to the shopping area.

On our way back down Kahekili I see a young man in swim trunks, dancing at the light; his movements awkward, head bobbing up and down. I also see someone with long brown legs carrying a large black plastic bag, a black piece of luggage and an umbrella.

We follow the person with the garbage bag; she stops half-way to Hui Kelu to attend to this precarious load. I ask her if a hand is needed to the next block. She turns to say no, has on red lipstick, her face framed by dark black hair, appears transgender. Starts to cross the street soon after, examines something on the street with her slipper, heads toward a dumpster by the road. Garbage day.

Lilith and I walk around the cemetery building where we picked up Brad's ashes a week ago. The parking stalls are full. Scent of incense.

"Marie, Marie hold on tight" had nothing to do with a waste land, but with dear Marie, who just relaxed her grip on this earth. Nothing to do with loss except record it. Hold onto the rails until the shaking stops for a time. Take another nap.

We had no sooner entered our Travelodge room in Tacoma than we heard a boom and sparks flew outside the window. An earth mover had ripped a line off the pole. Later, a large square of yellow tape appeared between two poles and the back of the motel. Men came out to point up.

Attention to detail involves either the shrinking of history or the inventory of what is still in front of us, bulk item couches and mountains and teenagers practicing their parallel parking on the hills. The embrace of what has yet to mean anything. There's comfort in that. The dull object that has no word for you. It's only after you pass that you realize it was the prompt for a cultural studies essay, like the side by side photos of Snitch (black as a tire) and (brown) Kwan Yin, index finger folded over to touch thumb. We read that the figure is male, but can also be rendered as female. One is on a pedestal, the other on a stair, but you are not allowed to touch either of them.

Farther down in the gallery, another Buddha sports a curled mustache, like one of the Three Musketeers. Barry remarks on the embodiment of spirit, which is at once neither, both.

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