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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Who Says Bodhisattvas Can’t Have Fun?

by Cece Peri

Kuan Yin, Chinese deity who vowed
to postpone her entrance to paradise
until all become enlightened,

bypasses the stationary cars
on Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel
and chooses a swinging one

that dives into a sudden plunge
along snaky iron rails and shoots out
over the spandex-clad, hot dog eating crowds.
Her companion, Hale Makua, Hawaiian
shaman, relishes the salty air rushing
his face. From the Star People, he is

the one who steered the first canoe
to arrive in this world, and will leave
on the last one out.
Their next stop is the Cyclone where they’ll sit
in the coveted red front seat of the rickety,
wooden roller coaster, whose first drop

from starry heights has terrified and thrilled
riders for nearly a century. Today they are lucky,
the owner is offering free trips to anyone

brave enough to ride again.


—Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2017; first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, February 2018) and appears here with permissions from the publisher and the poet


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Cece Peri

is a poet and transplanted New Yorker who now calls the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains her home. She holds a doctorate in psychology from SUNY Stony Brook and, when not writing poems, she consults on academic and clinical research design. Her work has appeared in such journals as Askew; Capital & Main; Literary Alchemy; Luvina: The Los Angeles Issue; Malpais Review; NoirCon; San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly; and Speechless the Magazine; and in the anthologies, Beyond the Lyric Moment: Poetry Inspired by Workshops with David St. John (Tebot Bach, 2014); Master Class: The Poetry Mystique (Duende Books, 2015); Untangled: Stories & Poetry from the Women and Girls of WriteGirl (WriteGirl Publications, 2006); and Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books, Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015).

Peri’s work has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and she was selected to read at the ALOUD Newer Poets Series at the Downtown Los Angeles Public Library. She also received Speechless the Magazine’s first Anne Silver Poetry Award (Summer 2006, for her Shakespearean sonnet “Freud or Crick?”), as well as awards from NoirCon and the Arroyo Arts Collective.

Poet’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury