Kohana Au (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

As I Was Passing Kaheka Street

by G. M. LaRiviere

The dapper Japanese tourist was
walking on the sidewalk
when death swished by him
and stopped short of his grave.

The dude must have felt the air rush by
as the hanging palm frond dropped
from the sky that close to his head,

a hefty stalk made deadlier by
the towering height from which it shed
halting his stride and blocking his path.

Just one step forward a half-second sooner
and his vacation in Hawaii might have ended.

His face strained for composure but I
could see the veiled terror move
across his orbs, glazing them over,
his skin blanching whiter,
still he kept it together his look
now pensive, replaying the grisly scene
with his nerves shredded. I saw

that his near miss was mine also,
and I wondered which saint he prayed to.

G. M. LaRiviere has lived in NYC, L.A., Monterey, and Japan as well as in Hawaii, her home. Her poems, which have won awards in poetry competitions, are mainly Hawaii poems. Late in life, after her father's death, LaRiviere learned of their descent from a samurai family. Coincidentally, research on a YA samurai novel which she had put on hold has been spurred on by this knowledge. Her completed ethnic novel, FROM NEW YORK TO WEST TOLUCA LAKE VIA HAWAII, took ten years to write. Look for an excerpt to be published in the forthcoming 2014 NWA Honolulu Chapter's anthology.


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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