Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Haupu Mountain

Lois Ann Yamanaka
from Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre

My madda she very mad at me today
because I answer her back with a sassy mouth.
She punch um with her big ring
so she no need hear me talk no mo.
And she say, Get the hell outta this house
and don't eva come back. Beat it.
Pack up your stuff
or I going send um to Salvation Army
so somebody can appreciate
all the nice shit you get.
Get outta my fuckin' sight.
That's why I here so early today, Bernie,
'cause I couldn't think of where else to go.

And Bernie, he close his taxidermy shop
and say, Business slow today anyways.
He take my small bag and carry um for me.
How come you get oranges in this bag? he tell.
I tell him that when my madda say beat it
out of this house, I neva know if I need food
or clothes so I grab some food from the icebox
in case I gotta sleep outside someplace
and I get hungry.

Bernie tell his wife make some musubi
and Vienna sausage. He tell her
we going hike up Haupu mountain.
If she like go, he tell, she can.
I hear them talking soft kine.
Then she say, No need take me, Bernard.
I gotta go graveyard today put flowas.
You two guys go.
I put your bag in the back bedroom, okay?
And I cook a special spare ribs dinner for you.
You watch. You going come back
and feel better, okay?

Bernie and me, we no talk too much today.
My face was getting real so-wa
so he put a bag of ice in a towel
and tell me put um on my face as we walk
through the big cow pasture.
It surround with ohia log fence and barb wire.
The grass is green and tall
like amber wave of grain, 'cept green.
The grass grow out of the eye socket of a cow skull.
Get bones and skulls all over.
Some cows and horses, they follow us
and I getting kinda scared, but Bernie,
he shoo um away, No sked, he tell.

Here, he say, we go sit under this tree.
This one pandanus tree.

I look up through the leaves and see some blue sky.
Bernie dust the ground for me.
Look. See how small the camp look from here.
He take out one musubi wrap in wax paper
from his knapsack and give um to me.
Then he take out the Vienna sausage and orange.
His wife had slice up the orange
I had in my bag for us eat.
Bernie pour some ice tea
from one long thermos for him and me share.

There my house, he say. There the shop.
Over there the Catholic church.
Where your house? There. Way over there.

I put the musubi on the wax paper in my lap.
And I look down at our camp and my house. Real small.
So small, I cover everything with my hands
and no see nothing at all.
If you haven't read Lois Ann Yamanaka, you really should. Saturday Nights is her best book in my opinion.

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