Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Last Suppers

Last Suppers

If I will choose,

with a chance

before dying,

I will ask

for a taste

of sticky rice

of poi with chili pepper water, alaea and onion

of sourdough


of ripe raw strawberries

of olives

of lemon grass and coconut milk

of butterfish collar

of stilton and apple dumplings

of chawanmushi

of espresso, brown sugar and steamed milk

of pipi kaula

of chocolate chocolate


of mango

of dinuguan and pinakbet

of lilikoi malasadas

of minute chicken

cake noodle with piles of choi sum

of key lime pie

of poke with kukui, ogo and shoyu

of tears and sea

of wind and loving

wrapped around mountains

of sand and rain

of ghosts and spirits

myths and legends

of ancestors and legacy

of friendship and motherhood

of one look

at Olomana sleeping under trees in sun

after a storm.


Ancient woman, she was one tongue,

one speech, one spoken

on this earth one language

building towers that scraped


She could be



imagined universes

spinning on her fingers

she was the dream outside the first words


We were scattered across deserts and oceans,

mountains, and islands.

We found them homes.

Called them babel,

Words, tongues, speaking we could hear them

Can we hear them



when they are screaming themselves


Taproot branching

we are the speaking

deciphering cryptic time these are line

histories. Forgetting in optic cables and nano

digits copper, where are we! Can we

map out tacks on a timeline?

Is this geography? Is this geology? See

the sediment layers, can we dig to the first word?

Buried in cultural pre-tend hidden beneath

they could not see us past assuming.

we would be/could be

better off because we be

less than they be big men making big

plans with islands they can’t believe

we found


by ourselves.

accidental Mapping they called it

that way they could say

we didn’t deserve

to keep it.

Ancient woman, our one tongue she said

here are our stories.

how many ways can we say ocean going on

forever, she said

how many ways can we say water

how many ways

can we say sand

how many

ways can we say waves

bringing us

memories surfacing beautiful

breath breaking.

Here are our ribs broken back bones

we were spread blood eagle against

a story back drop history

she has no

moral compass, ancient woman

one tongue, she



she said water

she said sand

she said waves she said bones she said how many ways

can you say this

is home.



I do not want to know,
about sediment layers of substances
found in your quiet veins,
about spider scars coursing your thighs
the undersides of your arms,
about the awkward angled tilt of your head
signaling the severed cord,
about the blue smudged grey of your chilled skin
when they found you|
I do not want to know
what you were thinking,
as that last step
fell away
forgetting itself beneath your shifted tread|
I do not want to know
if the unquiet shrieking lost breath,
if the grotesque phantasms faded,
if you knew oblivion was sanctuary,
And they will not tell me|
Just in brief embarrassed hush
they will whisper, you
are finally
Safe and Silent|


I don’t want to remember the first time
you saw shadows in the peripheral|
You said they were fierce and demanding|
You said you could hear them,
you could not stop them talking urgent
at the back of your neck|
I don’t want to remember that I almost heard them
when I fell through the backs of your pupils,
dilated bled to black bordered blue|
I was inside of you drowning|
You begged me to listen to the constellation shades hovering
in your twilight|
You said if I was quiet
I would hear them screaming|


Do you remember
when we sailed off
the edge of the world,
passed sea serpents,
and sirens singing us to shores
we once dreamt into being/
Do you remember
how we plugged our ears
with blunt fingertips
immovable in our search
for gravity/
Do you remember
how I held your hand,
how you whispered,
Wished three Times that I
could save you
from falling/


Here is his atlas|
It is crumpled unfinished, tattered
at the edges|
Do you see here
in the island chain strung along the middle,
Here was his brilliance
burning his own body to ash|
Do you see this continent
at the bottom of the world/
This was his anchor
weighed with breakable regret
and half spoken desires|
Do you see this ocean
littered with dragons and poison/
This was his therapy swallowing continents
and islands
into startled voids|


Here is my memory
in flat palms up facing|
I offered this to alchemists and magicians begging
for wellness|
Here is the answer|
There is no cure|
For chasing phantoms and hallowed voices|
For not believing
in anything|


In white washes
I once stood next to him,
as he was stripped naked in blue jeans and a nameless shirt,
surrounded by doctors
metal bars and suicide watches|
I could not hear
over the sound
of my own breathing
thinking this is what breaking looks like|


Tell me Someday he will get better


I have been dreaming of road map directions,
and picture coded legends
with a clear line towards sanity|
The warehouses holding inconvenient and untreatable,
the factories building chemical composites of maybe
have dissolved into myths|


I know the dissolution of madness|
I remember your mind shrieking
against brittle smiles of indifference|
This is our inheritance
our foolish eyes wished blind by apathy|
We would do nothing but watch the drowning
sink below the surface,
watch the grasping waters close quiet around them dying|
I know this path of pretended beauty|
I know this cold face turning away|
I know the crosshairs fixed on unforgiven|
I know I walked away
when you were still trying to hold my hand/
when you were still dreaming of sirens calling us home|
I know tonight I will dream in topographical notes|
I will see you beside me breathing your next life
stripped of lunacy
Without half truths
Without lullabies
Without night terrors|
I know tomorrow I will remember
because I must know the tapestry weaving us together|
I must know the first breath of birth
the last gasp at the surface
and the struggled crawl at the center|
I must know there is not that much between us
small angles of separation|
Look, there in the window reflected,
we are almost
the same|

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


He was young and beautiful
A sliver quarter of a century
I flirted with his possibilities
When he said age does not matter
For a short time small enough to swallow
I believed
Because I am growing older
Where we place youth at the apex of existence
And he came packed in stacks of rigid competence
A glossy veneer stroked across his skin
He folded virility into the contours
Of our verbal banter

But I am old enough
To be wrong
Too old for absolutes
I traffic in ambiguity
Even when I look through a spyglass built to see futures

Somewhere in time I shed my prophetic flesh
Found an older face
Grown closer to the ground
My hands have grown porous
The sands are slipping faster
My soothsaying is less reliable

And he is still young enough for certainty
He holds life in unyielding fingers
Utters convictions with the assurance of an oracle
He must proselytize to his own choir
Even when he is alone

And he is too old to live with magic
While I am too old to live without it
Where he is dropping anchors to tie him to predictable
I am snapping cables binding me
Because few things I predicted have come to fruition
Or my future interpretations where so misshapen
I might have been looking at the wrong vision
Whereas he knows
He’s got it all figured out
He reminds me of the young boy he was
Only a few years ago
But with his arms folded across his chest
He is not asking questions to hear answers
He sees gravity as his ally
No longer an adversary
Keeping him from flying with stars

Expectation is his collaborator drawing his preferred path in a straight line
Through a crease in his hand
He wants to draw the same line in the palm of another
He is a fortuneteller trying to scribe a treasure map
Defining contours and ridges between my thumb and the tip of my little finger
His divined cartography denies the unexpected

His key is written in a dead language
I can’t read his directions

His beauty sits on surfaces unmarked
Flesh still plump with the sap of spring
Face untouched by the topography of living
When I look at him I cannot find his atlas to study
There is no road map here

But in this world where facial paralysis is preferred to time line sketches
Where death is an acceptable risk for a plastic rendition of adolescence
I am getting older
Watching writing scrawled along my own face
I can number the times in lines surprise grief laughter and rage
Have crossed the corners of my expression

And I remind myself there is beauty in the beginning
But those I’ve known who are the most exquisite
Wear life’s chronicle tracks mapped across their face
They did not shy from living

This is my covenant with time
Mark me well
Cover me with carvings
So anyone at a glance will guess
I have a story
It is worth telling
So come to me when you have worn rivulets of existence on your flesh
I will ask you questions
Please will you give me your stories