Journal » Trout 16 » One Night, On The Wall Of A Chinese Restaurant [Eric Birkeland]
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One Night, on the Wall of a Chinese Restaurant

Eric Birkeland

This is the story of when we were standing outside
the Chinese restaurant and I was digesting
and Wayne and Asia were smoking cigarettes
when Asia turned
and we saw her grandfather
there on the wall.

This is the story of long drives in January
to the far sides of a small island
and screaming into the wind
to keep off the cold.

This is the story of when Marina found a secret beach
and she brought her friends to it
even though they would ruin its silence.

This is the story of sitting in a concrete backyard
in Mo'ili'ili at dusk
on a couch eaten away by rain, watching the building
across from us, the wall of windows lighted or desolate
and the silhouette of a boy
pressed up against the glass five stories up
waving to us
while Blaine chanted about her grandmother
and avocados, and I felt something inside me like falling.

This is the story of when John made a vagina
with his leg fat
and I snapped a photo of it
and how people slowed
when they passed it on the wall inside the photo lab.

This is the story of all golden words
written on any wall, stone, papered,
and how those who see that gleam
clink at their plates and laugh all the harder.
This is the story of throwing ourselves into the force
of the waves and losing sight in that power
and being crushed into the sand
and calling that ecstasy.

This is the story of how every moth we saw
was Asia's grandfather.

This is the story of every moment
          this island has ever known.

This is the story of seeing the history of the islands
on the back of the 'aumakua of a friend's grandfather
one night between pillars of smoke and neon
on the wall outside a Chinese restaurant.


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© Copyright 2010 Eric Birkeland & Trout.