Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Things to say instead of I Love you:

 I had a life 

unfolding before me

I almost missed the whole thing 

Suffering through the agony of loving

someone, who refused to love me back 

While refusing to let me go 


And this is how I learned: 

Whatever is not mine

Must be released 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Things to Say instead of I love you

 On the nights I dream of my daughter

I wake up thinking of all the imes 

I have wondered: 

“Am I worthy of love?”


I think of all the women 

who said: “Yes yes yes” 

Until it was the chorus 

I sang into my own healing 


I think of the woman I might fail 

To raise into her own bloom

If it weren’t for the fierce flowers 

Who surround me 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Notes on Surviving the End of the world, Again

On the morning you wake to the end of the world

take your body back to the kai

to the place our kūpuna taught us life began

first pō, then coral, then slime

then a whole universe fitting into a space smaller than a grain of sand

then Ea rising through the ocean 

pulling the tides that make mountains

valleys, and the rivers that cut through them

Remember our ʻāina

for all the ways that she has fed us 

in the quiet darkness 

before the blast

dive yourself back into the depth of creation 

recalling all the times your world has ended before:


Call out the names of all the violence that has come

While calling itself protection 

All the ways we have been left 

To gather the shattered pieces

Two island cities in the Eastern corner of the pacific 

Flattened to caricature 

Names rendered meaningless, 

Carved over and over again into the binding of our textbooks 

Just enough of their shape remains to call foul at our hubris

But does nothing to slow the arrogant push of “progress” 

In their toxic wake 

Came our “Imperial Lake” 

Our grand Moana Nui Cut wide open 


So on the morning you wake to the end of the world, 

Chant all of the names of our dead and dying

Refuse to forget: 

Kahoʻolawe, Mākua, Pōhakuloa, Mokoliʻi

 

And then look to the horizon

Call upon the memory of hundreds tests

Carried across our oceanic backs


Bikini and Ānewetak, 

Kiritimati and Kalama, 

Meralinga and Emu, 

Moruroa and Fang ata ufa

And all the unnamed caught choking downwind

Epili Hauʻofa’s beautiful Sea of Islands vison perverted into a sea of toxic waste 

The enduring gift from our American, British and French “protectorates” 


So on the morning you wake to the end of the world 

Remember,

we have lived this ending before 

Each bomb of history its own strike

The coming of ships

The spreading of death 

The taming of industry

The carving of land, crosses, and cultures

Until all that was left 

Is what could be packaged and sold back at a premium


All because the men with the plans called power 

Promised us “security” behind the barrel of a gun 

Cut a fortress out of a breadbasket and called it “productive” 

Warships, cannons, and Gatling guns pointed at the palace

Then fixed into the ʻiwi of our mountains 

For “protection”

None of it 

Will save us the violence that will continue to come

Bullets only beget more bullets

Bombs only beget bigger bombs

And in the end, all we are left with is this waste, 

Waiting.


And still all this death 

Is not enough to force our forgetting

Our water, our moana, has a memory 

And we are made in her image 

Together

Meaning 

we are 

intimately connected

and infinitely powerful 

so who but ourselves can hold us accountable?

When none of what has been built will save us

From what cannot be called back


Remember 

This moʻolelo: 

The ea of change is heat

The ea of life only rises from ʻāina and kai 

There is no part of you that is meant to survive

When the cost is this place

Perched up as collateral damage

America’s shining shield sitting in the heart of the pacific 

A warning blast calling for what’s next


Know this: 

On the morning you wake to the end of the world

your vision will be 20-20

so use it

as the men with the “plans” called power call out from behind their screens to tell you to take cover

see beyond the violence of their contradiction

the enduring waste of their direction 

call upon your own mana to make a change 


Choose to remember

Our ʻāina, this kai, these kuahiwi 

And all they have witnessed

Even more they have endured

And still stand to protect us, 

Follow their wisdom 

Come Armageddon or high water  

hold them close

Pull a pule from our naʻau 

Call out to your akua by name

And commit to live your life in their image 

Not matter what the consequence 

And maybe

Just maybe

The world may not have to end again

Tomorrow 




Friday, May 8, 2020

For Mauna Kea



Its been 300 days since I first laid in your arms

First felt the chill of your kiss on my skin 

You brought me to the thin line between life and death

Between frostbite and heat exhaustion 

You taught me balance

Patience

Compassion


And when you stretched your arms around us

You taught us safety

What it meant to create securities from our own bodies

Voices 

So for you 

I am every child who imagined someday you’d be free

I am every prayer laid at your feet


These days 

I am hundreds of miles away 

But you still visit me in my dreams

We share ceremony with Niolopua

And in that realm 

You keep all my secrets

All my fears 

All I am too afraid or ashamed to say out loud


For my fellow kiaʻi

Its been 300 days since we marked the boundaries

Lined our jurisdictions with the trembling tenor of our collective voice

Since we began to feed each other

In food

In spirit

In care


For you

I am everything that cannot be broken

I am your first pinky promise

I am the incoming swell

I am every bit of love you taught me to lay at her feet

I am songs between stories, between tears

I am the water we fought to protect

That we shared 

Together

In the bitter cold of night

When we worried

No one else was coming 


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

When i think of Ea

 One. 

When I think of ea

I think of music

The breath breaking off the roof of my fathers mouth

How its the softest broken i known 

I think of the makani

The way it must carry its own memory 

I think of the way both 

My father

The wind of his voice

How my first practice in visioning came through singing 

In the malu of my father’s mountain range shoulders

Under the breath of his waiʻōmaʻo winds

How I would do anything to protect him


Two. 

When I think of sacrifice

I think about led cut against its will 

I think of the bodies, something like a pōhaku

Forced into small shapes to paint death on my ʻāina

On my people

I think of the way Pōhakuloa sings her own song

In the dead of night

Shakes us awake in her trembling 


Three. 

When I think of ʻeha

I see his face again

In his  dark blues 

I think of the ocena that must still connect us 

But there are too many weapons between us to recognize our pilina

When i think of ʻeha 

I think of  

Clenched jaws and tears streaming like rivers 

Across skin the same tint as my own

I think of my voice 

Reaching out to him

“Brother,  stand with us”

I think, 

In another time

We stood on the same side

I think, 

Mauna a Wākea also casts her malu of protection on him

I think, 

That makes us family 

I believe,  

next time we will be facing the same direction


Four.    

When I think of trust 

I remember my mothers fingertips

Dancing across my back 

The way the shore break dances upon the sand

I think of all the ways

Love is a verb, a choice, a memory we hold on to 


When I think of trust

I think of my fists

And everything iʻve lost to them

All the sand, salt and promises that crept out from between long fingertips

How I am not so much like my mother

The grace of her open hands

That can hold so much without suffocating 

All the breath around her

How she never fails to make the wind dance


Five. 

When I think of ea 

I wonder 

What will I offer back to my lāhui

With fists full of rocks

All their breath, all squeezed out

With name im still learning to recall

Sunday, February 2, 2020

For Nā Koʻokoʻo and ʻUlupō

 In an empty church house 

We remembered 

Together 

All the abundance that never forgot us 

We sat as the night grew deeper around us

Until we could feel creation again


And when the morning arrived

With her heat

We gathered:  

Our courage 

Our kupuna, 

Our hopes, 

and inspirations

We honored these moments by singing 

Mele into an ʻĀina that never forgot our ea


And with our lima turned down 

And our moʻolelo churning between us 

We grew: 

Loʻi

ʻike, 

kaiāulu, 

AND each other 

Until we overflowed 

Mud between our toes and 

Laughter spilling over our lips


And when we were weak, 

unsure of our words and footing

We leaned into the unknown and each other 

Found aloha in the sturdy offering of a hand, a shoulder, 

a quiet, but reassuring sigh 


We brought the ʻulukoa back to the kai at oneawa 

Storming our bodies across kailua beach

Our brown skins simmering in the shore break

The sky opened itself above us 

Nodding in her approval 

Welcoming us back home


So when Malia asked us to 

Share a time we fell deeper in love with our lāhui

Each and everyone of us had too many examples that come to mind 

We scrubbed words on a whiteboard that taunted us in christian scripture 


And so today as we we remove our trace 

from the hale that held us 

We carefully wash every corner clean 

leaving only the verses of our aloha, inscribed

Color expo ink carving our memory into another white background 

Another kailua, waikīkī, University of Hawaiʻi, 

Another place that been transformed to insist we do not belong

That tells us that  we are too brash, 

our ʻike too native, 

our grief to deep,  

our joy too loud…

too strong, too kanaka to be right 


But today we practice the ancient resistance of staying

We leave our Moʻolelo 

A simple and insistent reminder 

that no one can ignore


We are still here 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

I still look for you


I still look for you

In some of those 

Old familiar  places 
And this is how I know 
You were more than smoke 
In my lungs 
You were something solid 
That got itself stuck 
In the cracks between who I was 
And who I’m meant to be now 

In case you’re wondering 

I still write about you 

From time to time 

Each and every line 

It’s own little ending 

It’s own small door 

Closing the space 

More secure between us 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

To live in two worlds


 To live in two worlds
As home 

Is to know

There is no leaving

No running 

Away 

Nothing is ever abandoned

Except maybe your sanity 

In your constant transit


There is only returning 

There is only coming home

Only picking yourself back up

Where you were left

Off 

Only finding your last finish line

And calling it morning

Again

Friday, August 23, 2019

On having to leave the the mauna for the first time: ⠀


I am here to tell you

That your very concept of aloha will shrink in the shadow casts by this mauna

so that when you are finally forced to leave her malu

After 42 days under her protection

It will bring every one of your kūpuna to the Surface of your skin

All your lepo

And all you Kai

will all come bubbling right through you

Until you are spilling

Spilling

Spilling over

At her ankles

And if you are lucky

You have a wahine

Who will turn her palms down to your ‘āina to hold you as you weep

If you are lucky

You will have a mauna

That you can watch from the rear view as

You shrink away from her

Until you are so small

That you have barely any voice left

If you are lucky

Your ‘iwi will remember all the mele your father taught you

So that you will still resonate

From the inside out in

If you are lucky you will remember the grace

Of the last 42 uninterrupted sunrises across her skin

You will know if you were ever truly a kia’i

Is was because you had the gift of being shaped in her image

If you are lucky you’ll have just enough breath to say 

Mahalo piha e ku’u aloha

For all the ways you loved and reshaped me

For all the ways learning to honor and stand for  you,

Saved me

If you are lucky

You will get to say

A Hui hou kāua

Knowing the exact weight of that phrase