we walked north up

Kearny, then west

two blocks to Stockton and I

came as close to China as I

can get on this side of the

Pacific Ocean.


The street names are in

King's English, but the

street sounds are ancient and

not part of my memory.

At the Good Mong Kok Bakery

the line spills out the door

and into the street to

mingle with cigarette butts,

Almond Joy candy wrappers, the

strong scent of urine, and we

wait with faces unfamiliar for

Guy Bao, Shu My, Har Goa.

Once inside we're assigned the

server who speaks some English.

What else, she says, we smile, point,

this good, she says, what else, as she

stuffs pork buns, shrimp dumplings and

chubby meaty mounds of

indeterminate origin into

plastic containers.


Hungry after our first night in this city,

hungry after a night and morning of lovemaking,

we order enough food for eight, but the

bill only comes to eight dollars and

forty-seven cents, and believing we

robbed a bank we haul our bounty to a

nearby park.


We eat under a jade tree,

no shade, no breeze, and

red silk banners shimmer through

smoke from temple incense.

Children play with fire,

grandfathers in hats gather on

stoops fingering something like checkers,

drums and dragons fill the square.


Today I walked

ten blocks to China and

in this city where

time and space travel

seem possible

tomorrow I might walk to.......


Poetic Asides Prompt: Day 18

For today's prompt, take the phrase "To (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Some examples: "To the left, to the left," "To write or not to write," "To Kill a Hummingbird," "To the Doghouse," etc. There are so many possibilities.

Tip: Try writing a few possible titles down first until something clicks.

I hope today counts in this city by the bay.