for my wife
and our unborn daughter [håga]
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
—T.S. Eliot from ‘The Dry Salvages’
filtered tap Brita Pitcher Plastic Water Filtration $24.99
fish eat ʻahi poke : $17.99 per lb at safeway in mānoa
preserved with carbon monoxide to promote color retention
because every 4-pack replacement filters $24.99
lv- e- s
before i first
visit [her] in
we eat ʻahi
limu poke at
we wash [our]
hands in salt
water and forage
the tide for
learn [our] body
i mistake trade
winds for her
[we] come against
close our eyes
to see what
darkness asks [us]
to let go—
before chickens crow
the sun rising—
before i knew
i would stay—
before vowels and
birthing [our] sea
of moving islands—
[she] is breathing—
at home under a muku moon—
every island is an end and a beginning—
we time the contractions—
neither ocean nor oceanless—
thirty minutes apart—
hacha hugua tulu fatfat lima—
“imagine each contraction is a wave”
says the voice on the hypno-birthing app—$9.99—
the alphabet is a collection of bone hooks—
neither arrival nor departure—
i place my hand on [her] darkened piko—
neither origin nor destination—
sounding lines measure night passing—
should [we] go to the hospital?
dear fu’una, first
mother, this is
my first prayer
to you, full
of questions: taotao
manu hao? where
are you from?
what made you
leave your first
home? war, disease,
rising tides? so
many of [us]
have left guåhan,
deployed to faraway
dispensa yu’, i
lost [our] first
language in transit,
first words become
first sister, what
did you carry
aboard the canoe?
hacha hugua tulu
carried my passport,
baseball cards, and
coin collection aboard
i batkon aire
to san francisco—
how did you
during RIMPAC 2014
Understory: in ecological studies, ‘understory’ refers to the plant life that grows beneath
the canopy of the forest, and consists of a diversity of shrubs, saplings, fungi, and seedlings.
Pō: In the Hawaiian belief system, Pō is the creative darkness from which all things emerged.
Fu’una: In the Chamorro belief system, Fu’una is the mother of creation that gave birth to the
Chamorro people. Worship of Fu’una was displaced by the missionization of Guam and replaced
by Catholic beliefs of creation.
Poke: Hawaiian dish made with raw fish.
I tinituhon: Chamorro for ‘The Beginning.’
Hacha hugua tulu fatfat lima: Chamorro for ‘one two three four five.’
Dispensa yu’: Chamorro for ‘forgive me.’
Piko: Hawaiian for ʻnavel.ʻ
Mākua: Hawaiian for ‘parent.
I batkon aire: Chamorro for ‘airplane’ (literally, ‘air boat’).
Hanom hanom hanom: Chamorro for ‘water water water’
DU munitions: DU stands for ‘Depleted Uranium.’
SINKEX: Military term that refers to a ‘Sink Exercise,’ in which an unmanned target ship is
used for torpedo or missile testing, sinking decommissioned warships in the Pacific.
RIMPAC: Military term for ‘Rim of the Pacific Exercise,’ the largest international maritime
wartime exercise that takes place biannually in the waters around Hawaiʻi. In 2014, the year
my daughter was born, twenty-two nations participated in RIMPAC.
For more on the territorisation of the ocean.
Various covers of Jeff McDougall’s song, ‘My Island Maui,’ can be listened to on YouTube.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones