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 

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Simple Disruption


 Such a simple disruption 
When you say home 

And I am not at all sure 

What that even means anymore 

Such a transformation 

When you realize 

Your whole orientation 

To aina 

To self 

Has changed 

All in the 

Shadow of a mountain 

You were so recently a stranger to 


And now

What aina have forgotten you 

What oceans and ridgelines 

No longer hold the sacred song of your name

In your absence 

What of you is lost forever 

In your abandonment 

When you left to protect 

What you couldn’t afford to lose 

Did you know 

That the wahi pana that raised you 

Fed you

Grew you in her waters 

Would have to pay the price of your forgetting 

How that weight would be a debt you could never pay back 


What is this trauma 

Of knowing 

The precarity or your own personhood 

That at any moment you could become 

Estranged from your self 

That you might even already be so


Will you ever recover 

Will you ever be ready 

To face a mirror you don’t even recognize 

Anymore 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Keaukaha: For Uncle Ahlun

 Keaukaha 

We sit across the table 

Mele about Maunakea play over the radio 

and like always we begin by trading moʻolelo 

then move on to trading Mahalo 

For standing, for holding, for being 

I am full 


When he thanks me for our sacrifice 

I tell uncle its such a beautiful time 

to be Hawaiian

And I watch a smile skim across his face 

But then the winds change

and uncle’s somber makani get caught in the back of his sail

“Yes, 

I remember a time when it was hard to be Hawaiian,”

He says 

And the whole ocean builds behind his eyes

And the stars he navigated across our largest oceans under come shimmering to the surface

And before the water can sweep him under

Her turns away, takes the ocean with him out the door 


And I remember 

Again  

Again 

And again 

Why this fight is so important

Thursday, August 15, 2019

In your Malu

 Lay in me the valley 
Between your summits 
Let me be 
The flow of ā connecting you 
The pele that is always moving and growing 
In your stillness 


Lay me down here

Learning the quiet 

Of a breath that isn’t rushed 

Isn’t coerced 

Isn’t afraid 


Lay me down here 

And allow me the privilege 

Of being the ordinary at the feet of your magic 


Lay me down here 

And I will give my every voice 

For the occasion that is your stoic stance 

Teach me the patience that comes 

From being pulled full and at once 

From the depth of the sea 


Because I am looking for answers 

In the ways I’m supposed to be 

I am looking for reasons 

Not to run 

From this person I’ve spent my whole life becoming 

Because today I am a body full of questions 

Slow moving magma making a mark I’m not so sure of 


And you 

you are gods reaching your ridge line into our every sky

You are answers sketching yourself into the skyline 

You are every way the wind moves me entirely and 

Exactly at the right time 


So lay me down 

Under the cover of your prayer 

Watch the way I can’t help but shutter 

Under your protection