Weaved together by rims of fresh coconut-leaflet
We call it a fire fountain bag
An immeasurable depth
Bubu’s voice, a mixture of delight and pride
As she lovingly gifts to me my first home work (pun intended)
Like hot-stones, I felt the heat of every word flowing from her
"Na noke, the earth's bread
Na noke, the oyster's bed
Na noke, the resting place for our head"
Her soft voice and wrinkled smile enveloped with directions
Mo lai ca-buka,
Mo lai canuma mai na sasalu ni Waitui
Mo lai vili niu
I watched her bubu hands carry the noke for decades
She gently straps it on me,
Beautiful kesa designs printed on the sides
Memories-of and memories-from and a proverb guide
“the largeness of we in a tide is stronger than a tide in a we”
Like a basin, our noke, a storage for firewood, raw fish and family
Her pale grey hair and sleepy eyes laid to rest.
Our noke is heavy on my back
The fire fountain that keeps us warm
Is at war with the flame burning our feet
An unwelcome burst
An exhibition of forced injection
Wrapped in disconnection and deception
Dressed up as “special operations for human protection”
Bubu would say,
We look back to look forward
A home for living creation and their generations
A combination of determination and willful migration
A bit of context to the poem.
The noke to me was part of my existence; it's impossible for me to see a noke as separate from the ocean, land and the community because we all played a role and I saw this role as reciprocal. It's called a seafood basket but the extent of its role is more than its name and so I feel the same way about the ocean and land and its resources. When we think of the military exercise in Hawaii and its impact - it's more than Hawaii that's affected, it's more than the shared ocean, it's more than the shared cultural values and traditional knowledge. It's everything in and around us that's affected. The magnitude of erasure that's happening in our society is beyond what we see on the surface.