Posted by: marilynmendoza | June 21, 2016

IN MEMORY OF UNCLE JIMMY


As he shuffles in, I sigh, time-worn  Hawaiian hands

Healing my sciatica, when he seems to have more ailments than I

But in one light moment, I’m convinced that I’m mistaken

He leaves the area of pain, after kneading it a bit

And then as if he were one of the navigators of the Hokulea, with only stars as implements.

He manipulates my head, stretching, and pressing every nerve

instinctively knowing that my trouble lies there

I close my eyes and hear our breathing, a duet of sound

As his strong, thick fingers, like the branch of a Koa tree

press like nails of iron against the root of my problem,

Without the need of Enya, I am free as the Nene bird

He slathers and pats down liniments sent to him by the ancient healers of his craft

as if to  coerce the spirit of his ancestors’ gods to heal me.

How did he know it was my head that held the secret to my pain; that the mess was an inside job?

Holistic helper, gently pummeling my scalp, muscle by muscle, I relax

My mind wanders to the Polynesian Voyaging Society, considered by government officials not in the know, to be just an earmark, not just a slim concession to a proud, royal culture, stripped of their land, their language, their hula–Auwe!  Alas!

Yet, I am light as air and in that canoe,  musing or praying that I am with the first Hawaiians

learning that Lomi-Lomi massage is as honorable as voyaging by moonlight

I want to see the island where Uncle Jimmy and his equally talented wife are from

Molokai, the friendly isle, where they told me, the sky is  vast and low

yet closer to Heaven than anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Beautiful, beautiful piece, Maya.

    • Thank you, love, I just found out he passed away when I went for a massage. His wife Helen is also great

  2. Maya is a lovely poet and as well as a fantastic prose writer. I love the line: “How did he know it was my head that held the secret of my pain? That the mess was an inside job…” – honest, poignant and funny – as ever. Great stuff Maya!

    • Thank you Alan. I appreciate your words. Aloha


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