Church on the Boulevard

written on 26 November 2021 by Nat Iwata

Art by Nat Iwata

It started with pews
rows of dust soaked seats stapled to worn wood
the organ lady, a four-legged octopus behind a half wall.
Mustachioed men with brown suits
bifocals and stocking feet
standing on holy ground.
The world war 2 vet who greeted us,
crippled in a Japanese POW camp
my father, born to nuclear
internment in the Arizona desert
grasped each other’s hands like sisters.
A stationary circus of oddities
complete with a bearded lady, strong men, and dwarves
awash in a sea of junkyard grace
adorned with a wooden pulpit, false-wall cross
and lukewarm baptismal
occupied by eager 9-year-olds
and dead daddy long leg floaters.
Echoes in the gym, skateboards on the curb
pickup truck jacuzzis and someone finally saying
that sex was fun.
Named for the street it sat on
double doors and single mothers
hyperactive Christmas goats prancing near cliffsides
‘Fall off and you’re dead.’
A cataclysmic cacophony of monotony
rhythm backed by an exhibitionist bassist
and a heretical preacher
darkened hallways lit only by the green glow
of an exit sign.