Kohana Au (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

Where I’m From

by Diane

I am from rotary phones,
Best Foods and Aloha Shoyu.

I am from the hardwood floor.

I am from the gardenia bushes,
the pink and yellow plumeria.

I am from kanekapila
and loud laughter.

From Montgamory,
and Haʻo
and Leisner.

I am from warm hugs
and loving kisses.
From “you too friendly”
and “blood comes first.”

I am from catechism.
I’m from Hawaiian/German/Chinese
and beef stew and raw fish.

From Grandma’s music, the ukulele,
and the sound of her voice.
I am from a wooden house,
bunk beds, and crowded tables.

This poem was published in the Hawaiʻi Review Editor's Blog as part of an e-chapbook entitled WHEA YOU FROM…WHEA YOU GOING, which was produced by the residents of TJ Mahoney & Associates, a community reentry program in Honolulu.

Diane is from a family of eight. "Where I'm From" is the first poem she has ever written. She wrote it when she took a creative writing class at Ka Hale Hōala Hou No Nā Wahine, a residential transitional facility for women making the successful transition from prison back to our communities. She also learned how to be comfortable speaking in front of people through the class. Her dream is to be happy.


Drama Dance (Hula-ʻō-lapa)

by Kohana Au

Let us dance the lore of the sea currents and cloud-forms.
How they meet, move and separate.

Let us dance how the stars and waves appear,
and the course of the wind as it froths the waters.

Let us dance to the motions of the leaves and blossoms
swaying in a particular wind.

Let us move like dancing trees, swimming fish and shifting clouds.

Let us dance as filtered light, in the sea,

in the forests and the shadows that it casts.

Let us dance was we were told by Aliʻiwahineokamalo (The shadow on the moon.)

Let us dance the way of Kū and Hina.

Let us dance the way to tell the stories we were taught by Laʻamaikahiki, Maluaka, Kilinoe and Paliula.

Let us dance on the land and in the sea for all life and love.

Blow the conch…Play the kaeke drum, blow the flute, begin the kilu.

Come perform the Hula…let us dance.

Kohana Au has long been a writer associated with a number of projects throughout the Hawaiian Islands. A student and lover of all that is Polynesia–from New Zealand to Hawaiʻi–he shares his knowledge and understanding of these wonderful cultures. The poem is an excerpt from his book Tales of the Mermaids of Waiahuakua.

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