Happy Valley

1. RED STUDIO

The studio is Red
not on fire
just Red
Home is Lime Green
of glowing ember
of patience burnt out
Mustard tears combust in the air
Blood Yellow
not Red
gas, bullets
dissipating
over umbrellas

People who used to work seven to seven
to earn their roofs

Not Here.
Not in the Red studio.
in the cocktail swivel chair
not objects that flow around:
like the Matisse painting
books that help me think
to help come up with colorful solutions
definitely not the Vanilla orchid
watered, tenured
taking sunlight for granted
People fight freedom with yellow
and me, a cripple in the studio
indulge in red
spine grotesque and bare
I fuss with questions like:
“What is it gonna be? Chris Brown or Chopin?”

My Studio is Red
Not burning
Not. Yet.

 

2. INEXTRICABLE

The way to Happy Valley
starts from brushing against
the garçon in diner
the smoke arises from his shoulders

On my way to Happy Valley,
is to inhale the most violent dose of oxygen
her most flagrant potion

Halfway up
or down to Happy Valley,

is an inch of my rib cage
soaked polyester shirt where sweat drips for  flies
breathing with the jaded lung

the two hillside Persian cats bone doggystyle
churning the acrylic box
the lightbox jails feed them feeble frames
and secure their instinct from slipping

the last time I fucked was May
finished in the cleavage of happy valley

At the top or bottom of Happy Valley
I brush past
the new cable guy’s shoulder
he didn’t flinch
his old pitch
to brush past
one of us
to brush past
ninety seven
to brush past
giving a damn
to brush past
at brush past

Down or up a finished path to Happy Valley
is my hillside,
smoldered
in maternal silence

 

3. TEMPLE

Father lights up the incense
The same way he lights up a cigarette
His bony arm covered with silky cloth
horizontal to the tile
Thumb twitches

Father lights up the incense
Same way he lights up a cigarette
His bare arm stained with machine oil
horizontal to the asphalt highway
Thumb twitches

Clack!

His rugged jawbone heightens and crumbles
blows lotus of smoke out of window
hoping his ballast would follow
Another journey
ahead of him
and his loaded cargo

Clack!

Father lights up the incense
same way he lights up a cigarette
The sandalwood fog takes over
“May you  bring health and prosperity to this family….”

 

4. ONION AND OIL

I dive deep into the station tank
holds toxic sting to the nostril
another sniff of my most dirty secret
I will be on my way
away from the beef stew
mom broils with onion and oil
do not be afraid though—
every day
I witness the saliva
of this city devours
every rotten mango

for one thing: smell is the lesson
no one cares to teach
therefore it is intact
its most precious flower
lies miles deep in my skull

let’s begin the dig
inch by inch
into strawberry tunnel
some place between
headbone through chest
chest through headbone
and wish
we meet in the middle
and I will know you
through the turn of your shoulder
your sweat rose