UNDER THE CANOE

Tonight standing under the canoe purchased

from a resort did it ever touch water this

ceremonial waʻa long enough for ten people

to sit inside I came for the music a wild

skillful pianist who plays boogie Rachmaninov

a cool sax player in shades Ricardo on guitar

lead wearing a porkpie hat and a drummer

well the subtleties and innuendoes were flying

and many were nodding their heads keeping

time I don’t know what made me look up

and study the straps their stitching a loose thread

at the kanaka end the stout screw eyes seated

snug to the beams lines taut bowline on the bite

kanaka and lupe a beautiful canoe butterfly

inlay and lacquered thick heavy as a tree

long as an unfinished song I’ve been here

before standing beneath this canoe hula practices

or kanikapila this canoe’s suspended overhead

tonight’s no different it’s frozen in time although

outside a thin curve of light called kūkolu moon

stirs my blood I poured the rest of my red wine

out on the ʻāina consider it an offering or

a blessing I wish us well with our undertakings

I’m glad I came out tonight the news still

warm on the home screen I think to myself

refugees aren’t the problem it’s refuge a place

to do what the piano player said tonight

come together for songs of love and loss

hanging on or letting go burning up or freezing

moving on or staying behind I left early

walked out beneath that long moon handle

opened up the night and walked in while

the songs were still fresh they say half

full or half empty I say standing under

that canoe the music rises up and keeps us

afloat not just up there defying gravity but

moving out there island to island looking

for new shorelines and answers to this

restlessness some of us call home

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