we had dinner in
Old Town, San Diego the birthplace of California
for my fort/i/eth birthday
the mariachi band serenaded a “Happy Birthday, Paunchita”
as we walked into the courtyard.
my name for the evening was Paunchita, thereafter.
as the evening drew the lengths of moonlight
through the streets
i was gifted a sombrero
advertising the Acapulco Restaurant
which i wore on my head, tilted and proud
the streets of stores were lit
with $nineteen.ninety nine values of
dresses, ponchos and tunics
wears and wares, worn before
the tourism and made in china
cheapened a cultural heritage of diverse
tribes of people and senses.
i lift up the idea of honoring the Self
affirming and recomitting my loyalty
solidarity to my soul and soles
to this true Friend who will keep me
until my last breath on Earth.
i cultivate memory and its traditions
for my self/ my family
friendships and the fostered
young who rise;
participate as though there is an
intent gaze seeking them
from the others side
of the eye of the needle
in their passages of rites.
on my way to becoming an elder,
i love all my selves in age and sage
foolishness and foul odors.
will i be neglected
in my decay as i was
in my childhood/
will i be out of mind?
who will i be when i grow old?
who will i be when the world
does not look upon me
either as face or heart?
the invisibility of aging confirms
my right to privacy and expression
of heights and ranges not allowed
in the beautiful, the fertile, the good
i have enjoyed all these aspects
through a window in a different season
i have since opened some windows and doors
slept on grass and bathed in sun
out of a personae who once
thought herself “not an outdoorsy type”
come to find out,
mother nature holds space and beauty
for all of her creatures and children
with intended details in her flowers.
her unexpected songs from birds,
and the palpable hug that is offered
in every day with the willingness and play
from every, living, breathing soul.
Text copyright ©2011 by Hae Jung Kwon. All rights reserved.