March 8, 2016 / Amalia Bueno
At Cebu Pool Hall
When Mrs. Sato says our shorts too boy-crazy tight, we
cruise Hotel Street anyway and sway in front the manongs, the real
men muscled brown arms in undershirts keeping cool.
The gold-toothed one winks and I pretend not to see as we
turn and stare at starched white shirts. We sway left
at a Navy man whose liquor breath whispers to school
girl me and I blush at his hey beautiful drawl. We
pull into the pool hall. They drink, then lurk
for the gambling happening day and night, late.
Mommy asks you want in now, or what? We
hold the front down, the pool balls strike
red white blue they all hit straight.
Mommy leaves Bill Haley and the Comets so we
rock round the clock and let me go, lover. We sing
our hearts, we cash our dreams, we sell our island sin.
We wanna salute statehood and dance off this rock. We
do the honi honi, talk good English, make aloha sexy body thin.
Whistling between pointy yellow teeth, the ensign slips me some gin.
He say he take me away see the wide, wide world. We
laugh at “how wide do you like it, sailor.” I’m jazz-
ing his ukulele strumming his A major cool as a pina colada in June.
We talk, we walk, we drink, da-drink-a-drink-a-drink, until it’s time we
swoon at Aloha Tower moon, ride a high tide life, and I tell him I’m dy-
ing, stuck on this rock, flippin’ on men, gonna shrivel up soon, real soon.
Copyright © Amalia Bueno, originally published here.
Curator's Notes: Allison Hedge Coke
Amalia Bueno spins us into scene, swaying us in sensuous musicality, sultry and deep. Cracking the lens with flirtatious rise, the keyhole peek afforded the reader opens wide letting time sync out. Bueno's deft control is evident in this great poem influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks and Terrance Hayes.
Amalia Bueno writes poetry and fiction. Her work has been published in various journals, anthologies and magazines, including Tinfish, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Bamboo Ridge, TAYO and Cha. Her poetry chapbook, Home Remedies, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. She is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, where she teaches composition and creative writing. "Moringa Oreifera" was recently published by Bamboo Ridge