Hawaii Five-O With Grandfather

i.

Because he looked like Chin Ho, Papaw showed
Hawaii Five-O special reverence,
his championship bowling tournaments
over, and his lawn Bermuda mowed.
Mimosas in the virgin episode,
when stars commit a capital offense,
somewhat alleviate the sparse suspense
as McGarrett speeds a Honolulu road.
I never asked why that Hawaiian man—
his partner played by Zulu, known as Kono –
……resembled Uncle Teddy to the “T’s.”
I schemed to have, by some clean-handed plan,
his cute Korean doll in white kimono
……and tittered when the kids called me Chinese.

ii.

“He turned against his people and the land.”
Jack Lord is listening. “That side of Nate,”
the suspect spits, “is one I came to hate.”
The gritty talk grandfathers understand.
He’d pile the concrete where those mountains stand.
Chin Ho strides through the office, hasty, straight,
(like a thunder-stricken pahu), to relate
the coroner’s report held in his hand.
We will be strangers in our land, one day,
development from mountaintop to sky,
……the aphorisms of the elders say.
Commiseration dampens Papaw’s eye.
Compassion fails for those who could betray
……the Earth, and earn no sorrow when they die.

iii.

My Navajo best friend is now Hawaiian.
I see her when Kamahemeha’s cloak
is stolen by some students for a joke –
its yardage yellow as a dandelion.
This caper’s victim moves me. Not one ion
of pity from its captors as they smoke
offscreen, no anguish for the law they broke.
One of the thieves could pass for that king’s scion,
and had that cape draped Papaw underneath,
it then makes sense to me why Kono shames
……this culprit whose progenitors’ descent
has power to authentically bequeath
the shark’s-tooth necklace, strung with natal claims,
……whose very blood implores him to repent.

iv.

An episode of rarity which delves
deeply in the isle’s mythology,
I read in the official guide’s précis,
as archaeologists pick up the helves
to dig by layers dirt they lay in shelves—
Kamehameha’s grave a mystery
these scientists of Time expressly see
as correspondent chiefly to themselves.
But how it disappoints, these academics,
the culture socially correct in focus;
……the lava of cold theory, without scorches
to fire and scar those marvelous polemics
they tout beside the torn, imported crocus
……for leis, at this descending of the torches.

v.

Based on now-debunked, dramatic rumor
surrounding Frank Sinatra’s kidnapped son,
it’s South Pacific film noir, golden gun
the whole way, lacking anything of humor.
Sal Mineo – for the Elvis-crowd consumer—
lip-synchs at the beginning, and we’re won,
already ready for the sure rerun,
like tourists by the hula girls’ perfumer.
Who knew the clue for this misdeed would hinge
on Kono’s recognition of a song,
……a breezy standard strummed on ukulele?
Now, decades later, I am free to binge
on memories that I’ve suppressed so long
……their color’s dulled, that once were broadcast gayly.

Jennifer Reeser

Jennifer Reeser

Jennifer Reeser’s seventh collection, Strong Feather, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press, the sequel to INDIGENOUS, which was awarded “Best Poetry Book of 2019” by Englewood Review of Books. Her work appears in the anthology, "Christian Poetry in America Since 1940," edited by Micah Mattix and Sally Thomas, forthcoming from Paraclete Press. She is a bi-racial writer of European-Native American ancestry. Her website may be viewed at www.jenniferreeser.com
Jennifer Reeser

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Author: Jennifer Reeser

Jennifer Reeser’s seventh collection, Strong Feather, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press, the sequel to INDIGENOUS, which was awarded “Best Poetry Book of 2019” by Englewood Review of Books. Her work appears in the anthology, "Christian Poetry in America Since 1940," edited by Micah Mattix and Sally Thomas, forthcoming from Paraclete Press. She is a bi-racial writer of European-Native American ancestry. Her website may be viewed at www.jenniferreeser.com