Tanka: Orale Pues

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genie nakano

By GENIE NAKANO

born in ELA barrios
I live in a world of dualities
in my tight skirt and sweater
I can cha cha ‘n hully gully down
but i don’t know who i am

I peroxide my hair red
rat it high, rat it high
pierce my ears with the catholic cross
orale pues—sansei
Buddhahead becomes a chola.

homeroom teacher
sends me to the back of the room
my hair is too high to see over
she calls me a disgrace
oye, better to nap in the back

black eyeliner, jade green shadow
I look older now don’t I
times going too slow
I want to get out of here
I am Maria of Westside Story

in my purple skirt
I twirl with amateur grace
round and round
and then again…
suddenly a balance

that’s it for me
dance sets me free
forget those guys,
those blackened eyes
Catch me in the Rye

while legs grow strong
my spine becomes a willow
time moves in rhythm
and everything makes sense
the world becomes a dance

keep on is all I say
you call me a show off now
I don’t care—cause I feel good
and don’t you wish you had my legs
orale pues, right on right on

Genie Nakano was born in East Los Angeles, California. She experiments with movement, dance and music when performing at open mics and spoken word events.  She is widely published in journals, and her recent haibun, tanka/tales book Enter the Stream is available on Amazon. Genie can be reached by email.

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