Monthly Archives: September 2014

Grey Fantasy: I felt ill–at ease in a suit, really?



A woman poses in front of a mirror in Hugo Boss
wool-blended, sharply tailored with trousers (not pants)
A ten-year-old girl stands on the other side of the mirror
She prefers riding swings at Booth Park
and catching crayfish in Nu’uanu Stream
Afterwards she’s polka-dotted a Mercurochrome red
Her legs can’t scoop blue skies and pump them behind her
while wearing these pants (trousers)
And she’s really really sorry for all the crayfish she tried to keep alive
in the Folgers’ coffee can
Even when everyone said, They not going make it
They (grown ups) lost their reds when their backs became fuzzy
and brownish and then a somewhat white
Dabbing them with tonic only made the water red and angry
Maybe if she could go back to Nu’uanu Stream
incant and release all the crayfish’s tiny souls:
before leptospirosis washed away her dreams
of taking her children’s children there
before dog kennel washings
before invading black fish
before it became never again
All thoughts evaporated as the woman slipped her arm in a red Armani
virgin wool, notched collar, with (flap) pockets

Containers of Misfortune

We used to resemble people, until we decided we were safer inside, where the air was always 73 degrees, and we never worried about money, only space. Purchases appeared on our desks whenever we woke up. For a time, the most popular commodity was Stuffed Trees©. Every time the store sold a billion Stuffed Trees© that oldies song, “Sinca-sigh-yo” would shoot out of the screen–didn’t matter if you were shopping at that store, didn’t matter what hour schedule you were syncopated for. After a while, someone bypassed their system and installed a complaint counter at the store. People began complaining just to see the numbers catch up with the sales.

The song stopped, and the trees continued to arrive in tinted browns and concrete whites; some no bigger than my nose. They didn’t really say or do anything. I’m guessing that’s what trees were like. In a blink of two, for some, maybe three generations, we lost our legs, but we were still happy. I read that the modern containments came with InstaVoice©. Soon some of us lost our index fingers, too. Of course, our arms went shortly thereafter. But those trees–what a mechanical genius!

Winter Lashing with its Tail



Brown spotted hands cracked in spring-less winter
Bent over skinfolds, hairier hair parts ripen with frostbite
Hunching over steering wheels on black black roads
While public restrooms whisper, hiding in mirror-full corridors

He tables her leaning, her elbow brittle and leafless
Stretched blue hospital gowns flap open and fluorescent
Her screaming white fingers wait under a thin sheet of ice
An oxygen leash trails into her nose–a horse stands in snow

Writer Can’t Read Her Own Notes

“Nothing says xxxxxxx like a chocolate boob.”

Did I write celibate or celebrate?


Seance: I Like to Think of Him as an Egg in its Carton Running in Reverse Utilization

I couldn’t find a box my size
a smaller bigger box because it’s Sunday
and all the owners of boxes are at church
sitting in rows of boxes in a gigantic box
Some of them are really thinking of their boxes inside their homes
more boxes in boxes
Some are dreaming of wondrous things to put in their boxes
a toy truck wheel, a black pocket comb,
a foot of nylon rope
Some are fretting over boxes too full
with corners torn off like a sleeve or a kneecap
skinned of formation

I want to secretly climb in their home
and squat myself inside their box
I want to rub my body with a golden tube of VO5
and spit smoke of an expensive cigar on the walls of their box
When the box owners return home
they will climb inside to sniff at my messy beautiful walls
When people at church come looking for the absentee box owners
they will all climb into our box:
the store keeper, the pilots, everyone except the postman
We’ll pass the golden tube and oil ourselves
and spit smoke of expensive cigars on the walls
No one would ever want to leave our box


Assignment: More Advice for the Student Writers

In preparation for my third residency, we were assigned with a welcoming task/event/gesture for the incoming MFA-ers.

1. Quote of advice: “I enjoy posting feedback because that was important to me when I started–before I knew faces, and families, and quirky quirks. We cared. We heard you. We encouraged and laughed. After we met, we laughed deeper and true.”

2. A visual piece: my abstract of a journey and family/ familiarity/inclusion. Toes reveal a lot about a person–where they’ve been or where they’re going, personal priorities, definitely personality, and definitely a heightened perspective of one’s future writing goals. (I am the fourth generation to inherit a hooked left ring toe…is there a ring toe? You know, like if someone were to get it totally wrong and place an engagement ring on your toe, yeah, it’d be that one.) I think my point was toes:  journey, starts with the first step, individually not much, but together you could evoke a deep humpphh from Michael Ballent when you landed the perfect kickball in his stomach during the second grade.IMG_0512



Writing Assignment: Describe What Indian Summer Means to You

I don’t know what it is or
what do you do with it
Maybe your stomach pitches
like hearing the intro to Otomi-san song
When you say hot is it
like a melanin platter of Duk Lee’s look fun rolls

We eat yamaimo (shaved) over nato beans on hot nights

I cover my inhibitions with nasal gurgling
and a plunking shaminsen
I dance
It’s winter and 85 degrees
It’s summer and 85
My mother re-plays Lionel Richie’s CD
one of her better days this week
I cry
Obon kimonos sway and pitch
sherbet foam skimmed from a punchbowl
It never quenches
the green flash at 6:35 PM tonight

What the hell is Indian Summer?

Why I Don’t Enter Contests

It’s karma, you know.
The reason behind me not winning anything–ever.
Unless you count the red chicken suit
from the office’s secret santa.

It’s the syllogism behind every speeding ticket,
a shattered champagne flute,
and why Micah Ballent broke my heart
in the second grade.

Because I’m short tempered with incompetent waiters
who serve hair in my parmigiana
or salesclerks who can’t accept emailed coupons
that’s not printed on a tree.
Because I refuse to let merging cars merge in front me.
Because I don’t like cats or babies
or men in Star Trek uniforms.
I detest letters with upside-down stamps
or Mother’s Day flowers
and partners who snore with sleep apnea
(which makes me afraid of waking up
next to a dead body).

I should go to church, maybe take pilates, or self-medicate with an acai bowl, in order to be a better person.

I am karma-tically predisposed never to win the lottery.

Unavailable: Birding Outing on the 22nd Floor of the First Hawaiian Center

Unavailable: Birding Outing on the 22nd Floor of the First Hawaiian Center


Tuesday, 12:05pm
She never leaves her office for lunch on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Always on Mondays, she leaves late, around 1230. Wednesdays later, but never past 1:15.

Wednesday, 12:55pm
It’s power-suit Wednesday red. And she’ll sit in the shade nibbling her sandwich like a mouse and pretend saving the world with her swift email replies—except when she needs both hands for her yogurt cup. It’s a silent tradition of unpacking empty cups and bags in front of her kitchen sink late at night. Later tonight, I’ll call red haired Nicki and we’ll go a few a rounds before I send her to the corner mart for a bottle of vodka.

Thursday, 2:25pm
Shoes off, hair up, tightly hunched over. I used my binocs once, but damn if the people in the photos didn’t look like them models when you first purchase those frames. Even the golden retriever was smiling.

Thursday, 5:28pm
Wed Nicki, Thursday Kari. Usually Monday or Tuesday Nicki will roll around after her husband’s sleeping. I can always count on egg rolls and beer with Nicki. Kari brings blindfolds and cigarette burn marks. Shoes off, hair up, tightly hunched over. Still.

Soma(tics) While Living Among Others: If a woman eats an entire shark, what does she become?

Birds' Nests

Birds’ Nests

Sharks’ Fins

Dried Abalone






 First 20-minute decoction
My stomach curls around my back pulling you taut
stringent you—my umbilical cord—
dusted with ginseng
my ocean tongue salivates
peddle faster to the tornado of blue birds
Second 20-minute decoction
There’s a knocking at the back of my head
bleached bones reaching out, scooping me silver
Exhale—pass over me
We’re beautiful hush now
Third 20-minute decoction
My nostrils inhale you frayed
you—turgid and propped against the wall
Together we count your ribs: yellow, two, three, epsilon
I made you wave hi with your bleeding cheeks
Final decoction:
A catheter instead of a cock
dried sea glass blue and non-orgasmic:
a soup of ashes and cucumber floods my bed sheets
a million threads short trimmed, swimming free

 Soma(tic) inspired poem. See CA Conrad’s blog.

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