I don’t want to read this story.
Don’t want to know their names, imagine their faces.
I catch my breath as the words surface;
Tin Can Alley, barefeet football,
brown skinned boys wearing white silk shirts.
See them behind the wheel- immortal for the night;
hear the ease in their laughter
stronger than daylight and the poor.
Too close to home.
It is my father’s stories of his Hawaii.
There were few comforts, but
there were dances at the Ala Wai Club,
Violet’s in Kalihi- stew bowl for 25 cents,
there were beatings, Japs, Haoles, Blahlaz, and curfew;
dirty cops way too willing, rats that climbed up
tin gutters, girls with nice legs who gave it up
easy, and if you were lucky, real lucky,
a job at the shipyard
Was different back den Chris
no can believe, was so hard. But we work
go drink, talk story, forget for little while
This is not Michener’s Hawaii.
I skip to the end where she commits suicide-
and like a child burning ants, feel
a false sense of power. The end gathers me up
for the journey back.
This story is the unwanted family heirloom
the ugly vase,
the chipped china,
the bastard child everyone whispers about,
but no one calls by name.