By David Keali‘i

What of the time I prayed out loud?
Called the names of Gods and kupuna;
felt the shiver run the length of
my spine, asked them to guide me.
Placed my life in their waiting hands.
Was this a trick of the music?
No. I never felt this in church.

Legacies (revisited)
By David Keali‘i

Long before words incarnated clay,
we started in a period of swirled activity.
A time of gods and voyages;
the cultivation of dynasties,
and people who birthed genealogy in islands.

These generations of history
span past biblical proportion,
and if mo‘olelo must have
a start point, it is the Intense Night:


and as we name the Dark so we name
the Day, assured this naming does not conquer,
but rather provides balance:

when ancestors sprouted from the soil,
the Waters of Life flowed,
and the Sun was snared.

In balance a seed must have been planted
to help us survive the renaming,
the decimation, the loss
so that when others began to tell
our stories for us,
we could at last say, “no”.
We speak for ourselves.

This is nothing new.
Once, deep in the homeland
someone’s voice shook the mountains
with chant
and history’s contours

When bodies lay dying
writing became the source of salvation.
record – the composition
                toward endurance.

People found their voices in print
even as others started to speak for them.

So who said we could not speak?

As if there was no record

behind us
before us

As if we did not know a multitude of ways
to cherish
this breath we pass on.

The truth is this:

                we have never prayed alone
                into Pō.

                As long as we exist we have
                thousands of ancestors in front of us
                and we will be ancestors
                to generations after.

                our prayers
                our stories
                from our own mouths and hands,
                through Night and Day.

David Keali‘i is a poet who was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts/Pocomtuc territory, he spent the last three years in Worcester/the heart of Nipmuc territory. The author of the poetry chapbooks, Kaonohiokala: The Eyeball of The Sun; Komohanaokala: Entering In of The Sun; Rust and Faded Columns; and Kahikinaokala: The Rising of the Sun. He represented Worcester at the 2009 National Poetry Slam. His work also appears in ‘Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, and Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English (Whetu Moana, Volume II). He is a Master’s of Library and Information Science candidate at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.