Monday, February 11, 2008

I Am From


I am from black sand beaches licked by warm purple seas, from stiff new Weejuns penny loafers and the Ko’olau Mountains wreathed in mists of the gods.

I am from picture posed houses, Daddy’s big squishy chair and the blue electric sizzle of termites greeting death in the bug light. From musty books and midnight rainstorms, ancient bullfrogs and proud roosters.

I am from the stiff lauhala tree, roots stacked like a bonfire, orange crepe paper ilima fashioned into lei, the rainbow halo of the full moon on a clear Hawaiian night. From creaking bamboo and the whisper of a carp tail breaking free from the water, buzzing mosquitoes and ducks nesting in trees.

I am from stockings before Mass on green Christmas mornings and too flat button noses. From Mollie and Kekaula and all the Kanamus, steadfast and prudent, holding tight to the land.

I am from the perfect family and secrets, in dark corners of basements. From hallways and pianos, frozen fragments of time, from lawnmower furrowed grass and tangerine trees.
I am from because I said so and troll hair unbound, dancing untamed. From a breath never exhaled and a prayer waiting to be granted.

I am from a crucifix strung from the rafters, incense jangled into smoke. From questions and white lace mantilla dusting brown braids pulled tight. I am from Our Father and dry wafers on moist tongues, alleluia and amen.
I am from ti leaf offerings of gin placed carefully to appease, from rocks stolen and returned, giving peace to a soul.

I'm from England and China, the Emerald Isle and the North American plains. I am from royalty of Hawai’i and Germany, lau lau and garlic crusted lamb chops.

I am from the Hawaiian boy in Boston on a corner in the snow, from the first and final stop of an adventure around the world, from the daughter left alone to wait for a miracle. I am from summers on the lake in Tennessee and kick the can in the dark of a neighborhood street. I am from chlorine and salt water, concrete and sand.

I am from the drumbeat of paddles on koa canoes and words stolen by strangers being reclaimed by fresh voices. I am from my grandfather, my grandchild, my inner child, my crone. I am from what has been and what is yet to come, from wisdom and faith.

Thank you Molly for the challenge.

15 comments:

Molly said...

This gave me goosebumps, and made me shiver, both at the beauty of the way you put the words together and at the myriad stories hinted at that you have yet to tell. You gave me a glimpse of a childhood, similar to, but also exotically different from my own. Thank you SO much for doing it! Now I'm off to dream up more assignments for you.....

Open Grove Claudia said...

I love this! How delicious! An "I'm from" - wow.

Hey I tagged you over at Everyday-kindness.com. Stop by for Random acts of kindness week!

CG said...

What a wonderful, evocative, thrilling piece of writing. i loved it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I loved this! You write with such beauty and wisdom, and your prose is always poetry.

The juxtaposition of Weejuns penny loafers and the Ko'olaus wreathed in mists of the gods is breathtaking.

I think that all your ancestors are smiling broadly that they created you.

meggie said...

This is truly exotic, & magic to read! I love they way you have written it all so beautifully.
Thankyou for giving us a glimpse of 'you'.

Wanda said...

I am speechless. I hope I can find the brains and heart to write like you do...in my own way, of course...when I grow up.

riseoutofme said...

Beautiful, evocative post.

Thank you.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Absolutely amazing. LOVE that challenge, and look how you rose to it! WOW!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Absolutely amazing. LOVE that challenge, and look how you rose to it! WOW!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Molly,
Thank you for the challenge. It really made me think and put my thoughts together in a different way.
I will follow where you lead, so just let me know my next destination.

Claudia,
Thank you. It was a fun exercise for me.

CG,
It was a new way of doing things. It seems that it worked out well.

Hearts,
WOW! beauty and wisdom. Thank you. The template that Molly provided was most helpful.

Meggie,
You're welcome. This was a nice way to get out my thoughts without being quite as "in your face" as some of my previous posts.

Wanda,
Speechless?! WOW! Perhaps I have arrived after all!

Rise,
You're welcome.

Carrie,
I've always been one to do the task that I have been assigned. This time, it proved to be more than worthwhile. Try it!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I just read this again so I could smell the velvety Hawaiian sea breeze with jasmine breath and see you dancing, troll hair flying wildly, once more.

It's been several hours -- your luscious writing withstands the test of time. :)

Nancy said...

This is so rich, I will read and re-read. Brilliant!

Michelle O'Neil said...

You are beauty.

Love.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Heart,
Thank you. I know you hold the bar high and I am honored that I have been able to reach it.

Nancy,
Thank you. It's amazing what one can do when one is challenged!

Michelle,
Right back atcha!

Yolanda said...

I really enjoyed this.