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Tag: poems as memories



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:


(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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Melinda Gohn is a co-founder of the Maui Live Poets Society.  She is also “Ocean Tutu” (Grandma) to her grandson Montgomery.  One summer, eleven years ago, she was able to steal him away all for her own self.  It was a memorable time for both of them and this poem came out of the experience.

Montgomery’s all grown now, but his little-boy self lives on in this poem.



Cruising into my life this July

you look so much like your daddy my

heart sometimes catches and

my throat fills – as


I watch your boy strong body

stretch all its eleven years onto 

surfboards and boogie boards and

skim boards –


now you’re so cool that if the surf’s

under two feet you look disappointed

and I know your step will be

sure now  – and your shoulders strong


I listen to your treble voice eagerly

questioning why the rogue waves are so

big  – and  – if they will come into

Lahaina ?? –  and watch your tangled brown hair


and agate-bright eyes wonder at

the endless ocean –  as snorkeling, we stalk

brightly colored reef-fish and oddly friendly turtles. At night,

we mimic the geckos stalking the ceiling


above the small bed you use in my

den, occupied by poems and books and blankets

and the old TV – and we talk story as the

summer moon crosses again over this old cottage roof


and we live here by the sea – you and me

like a dream from long ago  – preparing your small feet 

for your life travel – feet – so like my mother’s-

growing longer with each footstep.

  [July 21, 2005, Lahaina House], © Melinda Gohn, 2005

Picture credit:  Footprints In the Sand by Chad Goddard via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]


PLEASE NOTE:  If you’d like to share a poem, please check out the Guest Poet Portal page.  There’s a form you can use to submit one of yours….

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