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CHANGING THE GAME

CHANGING THE GAME

I was looking through an old poetry journal of mine, looking for something to use in a post.  I found a folded sheet with a poem by a dear friend who died recently, Pat Masumoto.  The poem was dated September 10, 2015.

I remembered that Pat asked me to read this poem for her at a Maui Live Poets gathering she wasn’t able to attend because of conflicts in her hectic schedule.

Memories came flooding back and I was missing my dear friend.   Poems have that ability to speak for you when you’re gone, it seems.

Aloha no, my ‘aikane…aloha no….

Here’s the poem:


CHANGING THE GAME

(to be read with a perfectly straight face)

 

Self control.  It works.

 

When I feel hurt by rude insensitivity

I talk a lot and sometimes shout.

If I’m not heard, I walk away,

            even when I want to choke someone

            until he turns a putrid green.

 

When I feel alarmed by injustice

I stand up against it,

And if I can’t get anywhere, I read about heroes…

            instead of spitting at people’s faces.

            and I don’t like using guns either.

 

When I find myself in fear,

I might compose a poem…or two.

I won’t cross my arms and crouch and I absolutely

            will not growl and bite anyone coming near.

 

As I become stronger and tougher,

I’ll do a silly giggle and laugh like crazy.

If you want to know what else, I’m aching to

            get down on all fours and

            howl at the moon, but I won’t.

 

When I’m gladdened by kindness,

By patience and generosity, I smile and grin.

I don’t get naked and

             run amuck in the streets,

            arms raised and hands open, screaming with joy.

 

(visibly take a breath)

 

After exercising self-control for my whole life, I’m now bored with it.

I want to change the game.


Header picture credit:  “Maui Sunset” by Bernard Spragg, NZ via Flickr.  [CC0 1.0 – Public Domain]

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MAMA MINE

MAMA MINE

A few years ago, I was dragooned (tricked!) into participating in a theater production of the “Mama Monologues,” an evening of dramatic readings and performances by assorted creative folks on Maui that was put together by a friend of mine, Pat Masumoto.

Pat, who was a force of nature, strong-armed all of her friends to participate in this annual production that she organized and produced at the ‘Iao Theater in old Wailuku town.  It was actually a part of a national effort and she managed to keep pulling it off with the help of her loyal crew of fans and friends for a number of years.

The “Mama Monologues” thing was one of the ways Pat dealt with being the primary caregiver for her mom, Florence, who was another force of nature.  Florence was a feisty, sharp cookie who was pushing on 100 years old and still going strong at the time this took place.

Talk about “Living Out Loud”!  Pat was one of those who literally made productions out of all of her issues!

There was a poem I had written about my own grandmother who raised me and about our running argument that lasted until she died. (That argument still continues in my head.)

Pat liked it and she spent weeks wearing down my resistance to the whole scary concept of standing up on a stage in front of a for-real theater full of people and reading a poem to them.

We did it!  It was good.

Pat died about a year ago, a few months after her mother’s death at 104.  I still miss the ladies.

Here’s the poem:


MAMA USED TO TELL ME

Mama used to always tell me

“If you want the rainbows,

You gotta put up with the rain.”

“To get to the glory,” she said,

“You slog through the pain.”

 

Me, I’m just a silly git,

But I’m not at all sure

Mama had the right of it.

 

I’ve been thinking:

Rainbows also need the beaming sun,

And glory may be the price we pay

For this goofy race we run.

Smiles are frowns turned right-side-up…

Then, laughter bubbles over…

Foaming from a too-full soda cup.

 

It occurs to me:

In this illusory world of mists and dreams,

Nothing is really all it seems. 

So…come on now…let’s go!

We’ll dance through all the changes – ho!

 

And…

I just remembered something:

 

Mama sure did like dancing and prancing.

She knew:

The music grabs your feet and pulls you out of bed

And, always, there’s the magic

That tingles in your head.

 

Smart woman, my Mama.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  ‘Iao Theater, Wailuku by 293 xx.xxx.xx (own work) via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

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