Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
print version

the wild wild east

outside of the gates by camp george
summertime korean pop songs       fading in & out
channels changing to static of whistled
radio in the local toy store       today
just every note pausing to peaceful air
the ghosttown playground near a blind alley       in
my shoes       with my hand gripped
the bruised finger unlocking the safety
lost in myself in the wild wild east
minutes before
i stepped out of the arcade   caught in a game
of crooked korean boys who shoved down punched
fists of sandstone & on me       blood       bruised eye
behind slide & swings
minutes later       the band of bicycles
& tongues licked the most of their suckers
the pack of junior high boys
sleeves rolled-up       adults at work
the china-made luck of the mock bronze-buddha
statue sitting happy watched me
outside the jasmine greentea house door
my calm—everyone but me careful to step up—
the flash of my straps—them in the wild wild east—
who cares now       not meĀ 
in my torn leather jacket
with brand new guns       coming back
for the afternoon of guiltless payback
strapped with an m-16       a pumping shotgun
& a smith and wesson pistol       meters from the police station
i asked in korean fluently       am i a monkey now
my serious shiner       the large circle
teenagers surrounded the ground       there the black student
brave from plastic sidearm i smiled
whispered they had messed with the wrong kid & showed them
hammer pulled by thumb       their lips
surprised like those lollipop sticks dropped to the ground
i dash sideways into the position for the sun’s glare
& buck & blast & riddle ratatatat       in the wild wild east
i ducked quick screamed die       on the scene dust kicking up
everybody ran for cover       sure is the hate
as the large billed crow
called around me       what i remember
the three chinese magpies sang my ballad
the satisfaction deepened around drowning out       loaded
b.b. pellets of airsoft spraying away       semi-automatic
can’t control it & they saw safety in the torn
slit opening the doorway of the chainlinked fenceĀ 
the shadow of the clouds’ thunder
retreat out of the way of dented walls
my childhood       this completing day
recoiling scorn & anger       the heart to fight
someone had to suffer       someone had to flee
their short unsteady breaths
grabbing onto their own n.y. yankees t-shirts & losing
one of their fake reeboks & sock in the raining
battlefield playground
someone had to trip first & eat it facefirst
seconds to rest & run once more
their flight       out the wind-hushed street
where the skin had to be broken    

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