The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday, HP, Canal Turtles

I Got Heaven...
By Garrett Hongo

I swear that, in Gardena, on a moonlit suburban street,
There are souls that twirl like kites lashed to the wrists of the living
And spirits who tumble in a solemn limbo between 164th
And the long river of stars to Amida's Paradise in the West.

As though I belonged, I've come from my life of papers and exile
To walk among these penitents at the Festival of the Dead,
The booths full of sellers hawking rice cakes and candied plums,
All around us the rhythmic chant of min'yo bursting through loudspeakers,
Calling out the mimes and changes to all who dance.

I stop at a booth and watch a man, deeply tanned from work outdoors,
Pitch bright, fresh quarters into blue plastic bowls.
He wins a porcelain cat, a fishnet bag of marbles,
Then a bottle of shōyu, and a rattle shaped like tam-tam he gives to a child.

I hear the words of a Motown tune carry through the gaudy air sunshine on a cloudy the month of May...
As he turns from the booth and re-enters the River of Heaven—
These dancers winding in brocades and silk sleeves,
A faithlit circle briefly as warm in the summer night.


My Tuesday was not quite as exciting as my Monday with the kittens, though I got to have lunch with Adam at Lebanese Taverna, so that was nice -- it was our reward for having spent more than an hour in the bike store waiting to talk to the mechanic about what needed to be repaired, ordering and paying for replacement parts, renewing the service contract, etc. So I had hummus and lebneh, and I got to start catching up on mail, photos, and other things neglected over the weekend and during the kitten interlude. Hey, Daisy and Cinnamon are still recovering too!

Tuesday night's movie was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is my second favorite of the series -- it has Helena and Emma and Imelda as well as Jason, David, Maggie, et al, and it has my two favorite brief Alan line readings ("Obviously" and "No idea"). We turned it off just in time to watch the Nationals try very hard to blow it in the ninth before pulling off a win that the local announcers attempted to define as the start of a streak, which I thought had to consist of more than one win in a row. Some of the many turtles in the C&O Canal the weekend before last:


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