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Raenette ‘Ānela Fujikawa-Marino

Ka‘ū, Hawaiʻi

Raenette ‘Ānela Fujikawa-Marino

I did not know that I was supposed to be ashamed of being Native Hawaiian or Japanese or Haole until I moved away from the home my great grandfather built in rural Ka‘ū on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi where everyone hunted, fished, either worked on the plantation or ranch, and, up until recently, left their doors unlocked. Nor did I know that I was supposed to eradicate my language and Ka‘ū-ness the way one douses insecticide on a cockroach. When I did know, I drowned in shame—until I became a writer.

Influenced by other writers, such as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Charles Baudelaire, Rubén Darío, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Gwendolyn Brooks, I use language, including what Sterling Brown calls "common, racy, living speech"; I employ the sounds and images I grew up with to express the unspoken and often willfully ignored truth in Hawaiʻi. And, like my ancestors who embraced the Portuguese machete and transformed it into the Hawaiian_‘ukulele,_ I embrace poetic form and have made it, for me, Hawaiian.

Excerpt from Making Waves

Photo of Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls)
Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls), Photo: S. Luangphinith
View of Boiling Pots waterfall
Boiling Pots; Photo: S. Luangphinith


Awakened by Sun's golden caress
the emerald water seems to shimmer like pearls
as the sweet scent of the _Alahe‘e
_ kisses Dawn's misty, breezeless breath.

But when Morning loses her blush
and Fragrance becomes a pungent perfume,
Water, where the Wailuku cascades,
emboldens all in its ebony room.

Then Mo‘o, swollen with love and lust,
entices Hina, as she bathes, with his sleek sheen,
entwines himself around her unwary limbs,
and thrusts his watery, blood-blazing arc between them.

Beautiful and naked, she claws and screams
until her cries fly and die in dismay
while Ānuenue frowns above
as prying, paying eyes see but turn away.