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 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 


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, 


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 



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


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