A Whole Foods in Hawai‘i

I dreamed of you tonight, Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, as I walked down on the sidewalk under plumeria trees with a vog headache looking at the Māhealani moon.

In my need fo’ grindz, and hungry fo’ modernity, I stumbled into the gentrified lights of Whole Foods, dreaming of your manifestos!
    What pineapples and what papayas! Busloads of tourists shopping at night! Bulk aisle full of hippies! Millennials in the kale! Settlers in the Kona coffee! And you, Richard Hamasaki, what were you doing kissing the ripe mangos?

I saw you, Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, broomless, ghostly janitor, sampling the poke in the seafood section and eyeing the smoked fish.
    I heard you ask questions of each: Who butchered the mahimahi? What price opah belly? Are you my ‘aumakua?
    I wandered in and out of the canned goods aisle following you, and followed in my imagination by Sir Spamalot.
    In our bourgeois fancy we strolled through the cooked foods 
section tasting hand-churned cheese, possessing every imported delicacy, and whispering to the cashier, “Go fuck yourself.”

Where are we going, Wayne Kaumualii Westlake? The doors of perception close in an hour. Which way does your pakalōlō point 
tonight?
    (I touch your book and dream of our huaka‘i in Whole Foods and feel dādā.)
    Will we sail all night through Honolulu streets? The coconut trees no have nuts, tarps up for the homeless, we’ll both be lonely.
    Will we cruise witnessing the ruined empire of America, past pink mopeds in driveways, home to our overpriced apartments?
    Ah, dear uncle, Buddhahead, ghostly poetry teacher, what Hawai‘i did you have when TheBus quit turning its wheels and you arrived in Waikīkī and stood watching the canoes disappear on the murky waters of the Ala Wai?

More Poems by Craig Santos Perez