Motel Hong Kong Part One
by Lori Huskey

In Korea, beer is sold in pitcher-size bottles.
the motel rooms come with tacky, mismatched
glasses and there’s a metal ashtray next to the
toilet.  there are no colors of you here.  I’ve
been smoking and taking the elevator instead
of the stairs.  from 9pm to 5am the porn shows
come on.  the man and woman fake nothing and
never look at each other.  their eyes often go to the
camera and their loneliness makes me think of you.

I watch with my warm glass of beer, mosquitoes
coming through the window with hot air, one
hand between my legs.  the fornication, the
movement on the screen makes me think
this is what we don’t have.

When I wake up, the sweaty Korean man is
vacuuming the hallway and re-filling the
condom machines.  some people come here
on secret affairs from miles away.  some drop in
from the rural highway for a cup of coffee
and forget to leave.  I came here with my heart
full of you and found that cheap hospital sheets
and dim payphones can numb me just enough
to forget why I ever had you on my mind.

by Lori Huskey

I call you from the broken payphone in a dusty,
run-down restaurant.
when you answer you’re taking a cab home.
a man passes by with an umbrella and talks to me,
persistently, in Korean.
Back in my room I take pictures of myself in the bathtub
and practice lighting matches with one hand.
wind pushes rain through the broken window screen.

A man and woman across the hall checked in without luggage.
she was wearing a red blouse
and walking the dim hallway
and swinging her clutch flirtatiously.
when they shut the door I could hear the thump of his
wallet hitting the bed.

I don’t know what else to do so I take more pictures.
I arrange my food in the minifridge in sexy poses.
the fan starts to sputter.
I take a walk toward the only streetlight for miles.
when I arrive there is a gas station and a lonely
woman sitting inside at a desk.
nothing is for sale except gas.
I look at my footprint in the soft mud.


A native Oregonian,
Lori Huskey lives in Portland, where she
works as an arts administrator.  She has a BA from San Francisco
State University and is finishing her master’s at Portland State

On “Motel Hong Kong Part One” and “Motel Hong Kong Part Two”:
For a month, I lived among rural tea farmers in a remote Korean
village.  The most shocking detail of this country was its love
motels.  Love motels were designed solely for sex, and even the
word “motel” rather than “hotel” raised eyebrows.  I found the
Koreans to be staggeringly shy when it came to their sexual
culture.  All things carnal were boxed up, private, cryptic—and
stuffed into a love motel.  I became fascinated by the way
humans overcompensate for what they lack.  The most important
aspect of these poems is the tone.  Written in a quiet setting in
a strange land, the sonic body of the poems feels quiet as well.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 1
(Spring 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Motel Hong Kong Part Two