A Portal in Paia


This is something I wrote over two years ago. Sometimes her voice visits my dreams.

Originally posted on Cadence4life Imprints:

Paia door

My daughter, be patient while I remember
for I have seen this door before
and my memory is but sporadic happenstance
a forgotten love letter tucked among my photos
on paper creased by old promises
that only time can caress

It might be the door of our tiny plantation cottage
where my sister Minnie and I jumped rope in red dirt
that we washed off in the kitchen sink before Mama braided our hair
and put us to bed next to our baby brothers
near the wood stove still warm from dinner

It might be the door that brought Papa into his nightly haven
from the ubiquitous cane that sweetened the tea of the luna’s wife
in a tropical parlor that overlooks a landscape checkerboard
of fire-blackened squares and green patches of seedlings
tended by sun-ripened men paid a dollar a day

My daughter, take me away from here
The vestige…

View original 47 more words

And the beat goes on

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth
–  from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Me August 1954                Marco April 1981           Rocco February 2015
Kodak Brownie                      Nikon F3                           IPhone                  

Three generations.  Each baby is less than a month old.  Even cameras are generational!

When Next We Meet

Your eyes dance
oh yes they do 

you struggle to sit still
as little boys are taught
to mind your manners
to learn your lessons
to say nice things
and don’t be crazy

But I know the cadence in your heart
makes your feet tap and your fingers thrum
your veins pulse
to twirl and twitch
to leap and lunge
to resonate wih rhythms
that soothe primordial urges
of wind whirls and drums
and string waves and voice

When I see you again
I promise I shall dance with you

Yes we shall dance


for Roman Axel, a gift of a grandson

Me Blood Runs Green Today


From kindergarten through eighth grade, I attended St. Patrick’s School in Kaimuki, imagesOahu, Hawaii.  Its environs never changed. It is abutted by an all-girls private Catholic school on the north, a public elementary school on the west, and old time wooden single family residences on the south and east. I later attended the all-girls school.

My father was a Filipino immigrant and a staunch Roman Catholic.  He held two jobs, as a housekeeper and a waiter, so that I could get a good education.  We lived about a mile away in the infamous Palolo Public Housing.

As you see from the photographs below, our classes were quite overcrowded by today’s standards.  My teachers were mostly nuns of the Sacred Hearts order. They hailed from Belgium, France, and various small communities in Hawaii.  They were strict, uncompromising disciplinarians and I had my share of spankings.  In eighth grade, Sister Georgene slapped me hard across my shoulders because I let a fellow student copy my homework.  The handful of lay female teachers was a breath of fresh air.

Catechism was ingrained in my psyche and I imagined saints and ways I could be a modern day martyr.  We went to mass every week, and the ubiquitous smell of incense graced the parish church doors..  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.  That, I remember well.

Our playgrounds were asphalt parking lots.  The girls wore green jumpers, and later green skirts, and starched white blouses. The boys wore khaki pants and white shirts. I still keep in touch with a few classmates.

I remember those days fondly and don’t care that the St. Patrick was never really canonized.  Today, my blood runs green with the Irish legacy of St. Patrick.

Grade 2-B in 1961


Grade 8-A in 1968