Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Name freewrite

At my first school we showcased Hawaiian names like tan lines
Maps compiled to show where we have been
And where we are going
A process of decolonization
We thought

We hid our americaness
Those of us who weren’t “pure”
Begged the teacher not to divulge our scars to the classroom
I told everyone
My name is Heolimeleikalani
My father, a musician
Named me after the instinct to become song
To be sent heavily in voice

When my classmates discovered my given name was Jamaica
My brownness turned a set of shades lighter
No longer Hawaiian, I thought
Everyone would always notice
The English I carried in the corner of my birth certificate
I wanted to crape the consonants of my skin like a disease
I beat up boys older than me for uttering the syllable in public

In highschool I learned to love my name
It brought me song
“Jamaica Jamaica” sung from the corners of a kapālama hallway
it was as if my two names would be linked in the instinct to sing
I should mention
Jamaica, the name, also comes from song
It’s a song about this guy meeting a girl name Jamaica and playing her.
Really romatic.

Thanks dad.

In any case,
I have learned to approach names differently these days
There is still a part of me scared by the absence of being given my family name
Kamakawiwoʻole o Kamehameha
The unwavering eyes of Kamehameha
But I have started to realize that
My name
Doesn’t make me any more or less Kanaka
Just like my tan
Both temporary
Physical reminders for others
The real issues
Is to convince yourself of who you are
And be so

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I am fire (in response to Noʻu Revilla's, "I am Reptile")

I am fire.
Heat personified

I am center of earth. Land beginning.
I make the wet in you
Rise to steam
Leaving a reminder
A sign to those close enough to hear the sizzle whisper
of your skin to my burning surface

I welcome your intrigue
And wait for our rupture
As you come close
I compose a kindling song
to warm your icy veins

I wonder
How to cool this flame
To a tinder
How to soften myself
My heat
To hold you

I envy the hard edges of pōhaku
The ones swept under your slime
I know, one without edges
Like me
Cannot be touched for long

I try to make a deal with the ʻiliʻili at the base of your pond
I am an impersonation of solid matter
Under you
Heavy. Mortal like.
As you begin to rise
I Imagine a fire that could
melt itself into solid body

But I cannot be anything other than this boundless passion
for you

You can learn to swim
In fire

Saturday, January 18, 2014

To wait for you

You slide your soft into the sea
I watch from the shore,
hoping you notice the way your body curling into the crest of a wave calls my smile past the surface
Patience has become a new acquaintance
We tell jokes while we count the seconds til your return

And in the moments I am blessed enough to have you
Pressed against my story of a body
To inhale the lining of your lungs
your scent recalls a rhythm once forgotten
Reminding my heart of its beat
And I cant help but think
That to wait for you

Is the sweetest calling

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How i love salt

Emerging from earth
Just after the landscape's skin has cracked and dried over
she never leaves
I have found her stubborn saliva dried over in the curves of earths body

But i think you might be ocean
A sister to the steady stay of salt
the one who eroded her own roots to give herself room to move

You must be 
Everything I love of her
everything I fear
salted skin
Pressed close against mine
I will not forget the taste of you
Even long after you have left
my whole body falling in the drown of your departure

I have witnessed the millennia oceans spend split between shore lovers
A woman promised in two halves
And though I know my side of this current
The edges of you sprawling towards lands miles away from me
Will never be mine

Your tidal gravity has not changed
The pattern of you remains the same
Your body gives only one promise
that i will be incapable of holding you
you will always leave
pulling so viciously
my ankles are ripped from under me
only the scar of your erosion to stay

And I will be left with the inadequacy of human hands
With cracks I never noticed
They seem to be the size of valleys
As you fall through me

Monday, January 6, 2014


The first time
I saw a lie caught behind your eyes
I covered my skin in silence
Told myself the quiet words
Psalms that bring restless sleep
How many nights have I sung this swan song to my body
Hoping you’d stop me
How many mornings would I wake to kiss your skin
The most honest movement I could give
To be met with this sliding scale of reality

Who knew a promise could bend
Only if met by ocean
And scaled skin
Who knew this body would allow all this black
this night a place to rest
Inside of me
Who knew an idea had so many hands
that iʻd let her close enough to take hold

How quickly iʻve become a parking lot to your late night stumble
Home is the name I called my palms
When I inhaled you under me
But I was wrong

My Body is just a forgetful promise
My love
Just nickels lost under the lint of your pocket
Your smile
A tattoo covering up the reality of a late night mistake and unsteady hands
My breath
Caught in the gaps between your teeth
Our promises
The only lies bold enough to try to hold me