Thursday, August 26, 2021

The bird's nest at the end of the mind

26 August 2021

I say I like the lotus after it’s bloomed. The old man with a tall stick, dressed in emergency green vest and baseball cap, pulls down his black ear phones to tell me his grandfather grew acres of taro and lotus. He asked if I’d eaten haru. His two hands made a circle, where the lotus sat in that dish. A blonde woman pushed her blonde child uphill in a black stroller. She had no earphones, so I heard the doppler of right wing radio. We’d had words last Fall. The hoarder, whose stone Buddha nurses oranges beside the pink flamingos, paints his mailbox red. And then again the old man, the mother. Each walk a form. Remember each encounter like a line, each parting a break. Rush’s voice among the birds. Moses in the rushes couldn’t imagine Limbaugh, though at least he didn’t kill his “real” father to marry his “real” mother. He carried large tablets to tell his people how to behave, amounting to a list of what not to do. Park signs in Hawai`i are like that, crowded with nots and don’ts. Spell check doesn’t like those contractions rendered plural, but diminishment is often repetition, a collar pulled tight so the head cannot escape. The Afghan pull out meets right wing rage from the mainstream media. Everyone to their category, everyone their walking stick. I assumed he didn’t notice the lotus, but he saw me looking, remarked on its beauty. Brenda says she no longer falls back on judgment; it's unworkable. Like a garbage disposal, it only shreds, taking big garbage and crushing it into small. I’ve seen the sewers of Paris, but not those of Ahuimanu, though I smell sewage from the highway. Most of it’s traces, a diffuser in air or light broken pink at sunrise on cloud mountain. She says she doesn’t like sports. I tell her they're like mandalas, forming and deforming, an instant of beauty surrounded by a traffic jam of chaotic color. A young bird screeches from the palm outside. Not opinion but need, not talking point but desire. You ask what writers hate words. I want to know who loves them.

--for Brenda Kwon

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