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  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

My mother lived in the waters here, Chocolate brown as she could be On the edge of Public's Beach She grew up in a caretaker's cottage,

The youngest, naughtiest, spoiledest of four

Her stories live with me now, My gichan with his wooden cigar boxes stuffed with the day's earnings My baban busy at the concession stand, the Mae West of her time with smooth porcelain skin even into her 90's going for her early morning swims in her strand of pearls, Jackie O sunglasses

and a wide brimmed hat.

Images of my mother swimming in the night Panties glowing in moonlight threatened with the belt for refusing to come in-- I imagine she refuses still flashing her willful stubbornness, sticking out her tongue she cried remembering how her brother offered to take her spankings for her remembering how the water was her best friend, remembering her papa, and the beachboys giving her a wicked nickname she laughed as she confessed it remembering the sweetness like it was yesterday, remembering. -j. a. hongo

  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

17,807 days

how many times is too many times to begin again? who is the accountant keeping track of my failures? is there really a tally of shame, like a prisoner's calendar on a brick wall somewhere?

get over yourself. no.

so then, you can begin again however many times you want,

how. ever. many. times. it. takes,

did you hear me?

a thousand times a day if you must.

so will you?

as of today i have been breathing for 17,807 days and i have been alive for a scant part of those days, and i want more—

more life in my days, more depth, more time, more goodness, starting with this mulligan,

and then— ten thousand more.

-j. a. hongo

  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

I sat and listened to the hum of the fans this morning. Fat raindrops like a can of marbles, splattering off the eaves of this old house. Rain water flooding the sidewalk outside my north window, the one with the rotting sash. With scribbled lines across this new journal, I spread out like a man on a crowded train and melted into this open space, oblivious to the piles of work around me. “So this is what it is like to be in love,” I think to myself. My only mind was to still myself. I listened feverishly to the fresh sounds of morning. There was so much life calling to me the bird with her melody and tremor, the clapping of the rain pelting the ground, the spreading glow of this new day.

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