Kirby Wright

Kirby Wright was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu and the University of California at San Diego. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Wright has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a past recipient of the Ann Fields Poetry Prizethe Academy of American Poets AwardThe Browning Society Award for Dramatic Monologue, and Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowships in Poetry and The NovelBEFORE THE CITY, his first book of poetry, took First Place at the 2003 San Diego Book Awards. Wright is also the author of the companion novels PUNAHOU BLUES and MOLOKA’I NUI AHINA, both set in Hawaii. He was a Visiting Writer at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii and lectured with poet Gary Snyder. He was a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and also the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic.



Song for the Joy Luck Club Waitress of Kowloon Tong

Sihk faahn,” you giggled, serving shrimp dim sum with congee porridge.  In the restaurant you read my fortune: “Yat geuk dap leung syun,” then scrawled name and email on a paper napkin.

You live off Festival Walk on the 60th floor with your parents. “Lang do pow kang,” boasted your mother. We sit on a bench beside the light rail track. Smog unfurls over the mountain like a bone-white flag as your shiny black hair rivers through me. \ Lips taste of peanuts from dragon beard candy. I summon the boy in me hidden for decades. “Ngoh oi nei,” I stammer. Your eyes say you don’t believe.

I search for our future as my train passes.



sihk faahn:  bon appetit

yat geuk dap leung syun:  1 foot on 2 boats (beware of cheating in a relationship)

lang do pow kang:  so pretty the mirror breaks

ngoh oi neih:  I love you

Sound Effects in Vista
Boom-ah-boom-ah-boom-boom. The walls and tables quiver. The F-18s are at it again, practice bombing the Whiskey and Zulu regions of neighboring Camp Pendleton.  They carpet bomb while I’m stretched out on the carpet. Fluffy the cat folds her ears, scrambles for cover. They bomb through Letterman’s monologue—I pretend the jerk next door is banging his drums. The windows rattle like hippie tambourines.  Newborn hawks in the Torrey Pine scream at the planets and stars.