Posted by: Pucadyil | February 3, 2010

Point Loma

Overdressed in a pale yellow jacket and a reed hat
The Chinese gentleman smiled at us and said that
he was a volunteer with a sense of history
willing, if we had time, to tell us his story.

Time we had plenty, having spent half a day
looking at the ships and the city across the bay
from Cabrillo’s statue on the heights of Point Loma
and wondering how it looked a century ago

He opened an album of old pictures
collected with care from God knows where
and started his declaimer on the life and times
of the Chinese settlers in those distant times

In a sad toneless rant, he described the time
when these early settlers of the west coast
struggled for survival and subhuman existence
disowned by the east, dishonoured by the west

people like him, prisoners of a past
reliving the taunts and tortures best forgotten
make me often wonder whether time is a healer
or tormentor of souls, death’s slow dealer

driving back into the city, I realized
that the Chinese have indeed the last laugh
triumphing over the despair of the past
by sweat, blood and single minded purpose

and made the city of San Diego their own
dispersing dragons to guard what they own
shops small and big selling Shanghai’s revenge
trinkets and toys and the Chinese takeouts.


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