Teach the Youth: “Oral Lessons”

Beware of self-entitled Royalty claiming knowledge thru headwraps, quick to pass judgment, all the while color struck by their own rhetoric; Pay attention to those who actually walk regal with no adornment, collecting extensive libraries along the less glamorous path of historical Truths.

Beware of the white liberal yearning to teach us how to create the art WE invented, hands digging deep into the pockets of post affirmative action; but Pay attention to those that push out creativity in the form of melodic melodies using paint from the collective consciousness.

Beware of those lurking behind the safety of anonymous Internet, starting drama with quick strokes & a mean spirit, seemingly unaware that their bad karma is showing; do Pay attention to those who deal with confrontation directly, expressing by example what all healers instinctively know, that it’s better to expose the underbelly.

Beware of the noncustodial parent who plays games as if they are the child still in need of suckling, time outs and a stern spanking; Pay attention to those who pitch in to help raise the Tribe, overstanding that it takes a Village as they confidently walk their talk.

Beware of the vultures that love to consume POC identity by speaking pidgen, sporting bindis, matty locks and/or Frida beads, appropriating yet another culture; but Pay attention to those who never try to be anything they’re not because they understand that we are all Indigenous to our own personal ancestral land.

Beware of those in power embracing our children too intimately and then pimping them out for profit while labeling them deviant, ambivalent, dangerous as excuses to kill them; do Pay attention to the urgency of our Youth, forever in need of soft handed guidance that gives wiggle room for mistakes as WE grown ups repeat to THEM ‘you’re so talented’ ‘good job’ ‘I love you’ and witness them circle in tighter to us.

These are the progressions

the daily lessons behind the break beats

The How to’s so that our youth may recognize their elders

hidden in the drum circles that surround this movement while inventing yet another rhythmic possibilities through the ancient alchemy of oral lessons…


Teach the Youth: “Goddess Lessons 101″

I didn’t choose to be a single parent but I also didn’t wallow in the perceived sorrow of it. I stood up to the challenge and though everyday is a mini struggle, my daughter and I are fine. She is a goddess in training and I am the guidance that lights her way daily. I became a mother at the end of a relationship. And I have never regretted this decision.

Absent parent: A parent who does not live with their child but has financial responsibility for them. Also known as the non-custodial parent.

I recently finished a 10-month ordeal within the walls of Family Court. Interestingly, I began these proceedings when my daughter was 2yrs old. I opened the case of joint custody and visitation rights at a time when rose-colored glasses were still in. I know, it sounds crazy. On the one hand, I actually went through the effort to do this and on the other hand, he ignored my effort and forgot about us for the next decade.

Breath training is a basic tool with many uses, and children age four and up can learn and use breath effectively. Start by practicing these techniques through exercises yourself. When you’ve experienced the benefits and feel confident, it’s time to teach the children.

Once the actual court proceedings started, deep inside I was hopeful that in his absence he actually grew up and wanted to be a part of her life. I was elated and surprisingly, relieved. I was running out of excuses for him as my child aged and her questions became harder to answer. Unfortunately, on the first day of court I realized that he had not grown and was in fact trying to teach me a lesson by dragging us through embarrassing legal motions that I could never directly answer because of how he set it up.

Keeping children safe is a powerful primal urge. Our concern tinges every parting, just as our gratitude infuses every reunion. Fear’s presence is subtle but constant: the pause at their bedroom door to hear gentle breathing, the quick inventory of new friends’ homes for hazards.

Over the last year, I’ve watched him get overnight visits and then lose these privileges. I’ve watched him argue custody, citing that I’ve been blocking and then him not able to define blocking since that implies being present in our lives. I’ve watched him show up in court wearing brown suits with different women on his arm and then follow this up by contesting child support payments wearing old sweats and a backpack. All the while, I’ve listened to him regurgitate the same story from our daughter’s toddler days, not acknowledging the blooming woman who stood before him.

Take a walk after the rain and splash in puddles. Find a running gutter or tiny stream and float leaves or twigs out to sea. Water to clean and Water to feed.

Our last day in court found me on the stand articulating truth that only a parent who has been present the entire time could. With no hate, no ulterior motive, only the health of my daughter foremost in my brain. And when judgment fell in my favor, it felt like an enormous weight lifted off my back. All these months of confusion, depression, increased blood pressure, evaporated.  But even as I left, his shame couldn’t stop his hateful tongue to lash out at me. He shared no blessings to the one human that has poured unconditional love around his child. No apology. No head bowed.  No thank you escaped from his lips.

No ritual can do as much to teach children to love nature as a friendship with a real tree. Nature teaches a wonderful lesson about the mystery of life: that everything changes and everything stays the same.

I share this to help in the healing process of many single parents. It is not acceptable to be Missing In Action. It is not okay to be a deadbeat.  If your ‘adult’ decision is that you will not step up to the plate, then step off. It doesn’t make it easier on the tribe to have you reappear when you think you’re ready. That reasoning is not only selfish but a disservice to your child.

I am thankful that the men that I’ve chosen to surround her with have earned her respect. Words are powerful and I believe in their mana. I also believe that action speaks louder than words and that our children are always watching…

“Coit Tower” by TuffGyal 808



“goddess speak”

She who must climb to attain purity of self
is operating from the essence of wholeness
for hibiscus bloom all around Her

She hints that the finest thing in the world
is knowing how to belong to yourself
and I bond with the Goddess Spirit who dwells in the glowing lava

I watch Her support the moon on Her back teaching me
that all forms reflect forever and it appears fate has stepped in leading me
to the sacred well fed by underground rivers and waterfalls

I watch Her spirit announce rage to all those
who would not listen to her quieter messages
then heals with black stone of obsidian

butterfly medicine defines me
buffalo medicine defends me
but Yemaya, the mermaid, She ends it
perhaps the seed planted was liberation…

“Poi Dog Teachings”

Quick clarity moment:
Just because you live(d) in Hawai’i does not make you Native Hawaiian. I don’t care if you resided there for 1 month or 10 generations. Native Hawaiian is a culture of people, just like Italians, Nigerians, Japanese, etc. Native Hawaiians are nothing like being from a state (Californian, New Yorker, Texan, etc) because numerous cultures can reside in a state and not lose their heritage. Again, Native Hawaiian is an actual Nation of Brown Indigenous people that lived on the Islands of Hawai’i hundreds of years before haoles accidentally found us and began their illegal land grab that has never stopped. With that said, Native Hawaiians or Kanaka Maoli can reside ANYWHERE on this globe and still be Native Hawaiians


I am a poi dog embracing my lineage
She who eats her children but let’s one survive
The ‘cultural imprint’ of Haumea, Earth Mother

I am the box where you check ‘other’
The perseverance needed to survive here on Turtle Island
because the Natives are indeed restless

I am the creation chant of the Hanai mother
Black Hawaiian Chinese Filipina Native American mother
fighting the pilikia for self-determination

I am the mixed girl unafraid of the injustices placed at my feet
And I choose to decolonize the mental teachings
As I maneuver this sacred dance to cleanse the ‘aina

intuition is my guide to the path of basic Freedom poured into the molten lava of thick molasses that echoes my profound sadness to what genocide truly means

I am the Kapa maker, the Lau Hala weaver
Preferring to protect my mana behind the clouds
As I plant bits of my heart in kalo fields to feed my soul

I am so many cultures blending
Searching for my home
in the face of your indifference to my identity… apparent

I am not here to be an exotic vision of fantasy
For I look the way I do because of the choices my ancestors made and I make no apology

I am the oral tradition so don’t speak for me
My voice is clear if you listen
Besides you don’t really learn anything unless you feel it…


“always romanticized”

Intro borrowed from the book, ‘Light in the Crevice Never Seen’ by Haunani Kay Trask. What follows is truth, not normally spoken on, let alone acknowledged by the mainstream.

My people have lived in the Hawaiian Islands since the time of Papa –Earth Mother and Wakea –Sky Father… Our culture depended on a careful relationship with the land, our ancestor, who nurtured us in body and spirit.

For over one hundred generations, we tended the earth. Then, in 1778, white people arrived on our shores… They brought violence: the violence of first contact, the violence of plague and death, and the violence of dispossession.

By the arrival of the first missionaries in Hawai’i in 1820, more than half the estimated one million Hawaiians present in 1778 were dead from foreign, epidemic diseases. Within another twenty years, the population had halved again.

In 1893, the American military invaded Hawai’i, overthrew our chiefly government, and put an all-white puppet government in its place. We were forcibly annexed to the United States in 1898. Hawai’i has been an occupied country ever since.

‘Iolani Palace (corner room of imprisonment for beloved Queen Liliu’okalani) photo by TuffGyal 808

always romanticized

sweet messages filled with local style bits of poi    fish    rice
and I was so moved by the million of stars looking down on me when evil yelled from a moving truck, ‘go back to where you came from!’
imagine this haole man telling me   a native   Hawaiian
to go back to where I came from…
too much negative attitude and false pride
it’s time to clean house   clean out the Islands
Her sacred pools call out my name
and I drive upcountry through Kula to answer Her
in full counter-clockwise   I leave the lushness of the rolling green
to enter the land of the old lava flow
passing the sovereignty headquarters to the right
Pukana o’Kanialama is my family crest
exposing ancient knowledge growing kalo to give my mana back
i sit outside listening to auntie play her slack key guitar
beautiful Hawaiian melodies soothing
my ‘too long on the mainland’ blues
occasionally interrupted by those damn mynah birds
tip toe clanking on top of tin roofs
but this deep cleansing is bringing clarity to my thoughts…
Fast Forward:
a woman tourist I pass on King Street
looked so happy to be here
that her ‘paradise’ mentality took me a bit by surprise
not wanting her here and yet experiencing her joy
that’s the bittersweet
because of this I lash out to those around me
who are only appreciating the dignity of my origin
Thoughts Interrupted By The Same Tourist
Who Now Wants To Take My Picture
And This Pisses Me Off
my partner tells me to let it go because they’re here and that’s that
except it’s not that easy to just  let   it   go
and so I ignore his outlook and search for my own outlet
taking in the beauty of the Kanaka Maoli
yet watered down features of so many cultures blending
and still the Hawaiian odyssey is ongoing…
Hawaiian blood dripping to deep African roots
frustrated by ‘others’ claiming their right to the land
No Hawaiian Blood   No Polynesian Blood
but claiming so   as if it’s real hip to be Hawaiian
did you know that there will be no such thing as 100% Hawaiian?
my own daughter will not know ONE when she is an elder
recognizable genocide of yet another Indigenous Nation
and you think its hip to claim “Hawaiian”
the only link to my mother’s ancestors soon to be forever lost
got me daydreaming of a justifiable homicide
finding my own healing aspirations through
Brothas and Sistas within the Diaspora
Brown on Black   no crime
just uplifting souls who know we can’t be stopped
please challenge us   challenge our pulse
then become aware of the wind from our collective breath
embracing you as it whispers move forward
I mua   and I move forward…


smells of sweetness lead me to my past

as powerful music enters my soul

it helps   almost pushes   kindly forces me to create

movement and gesture combined with perfect faith

full moon pushed along passion

as a Brown Woman in red soaks in china rain at midnight

she presses play on a random tape   3 or 4 shades of Mingus roll off her breath

and i too am looking for the flowers that bloom

empowerment wrapped in that sheet of music

while the Black butterflies emerge taking flight on the Underground Railroad

we all need time.   we all need truth.

funk. soul. jazz. love.   it’s all relative.

it turned out not to be a session of free form improvisation

but set pieces perfectly performed

a lyrical interlude transformed by passion

leads me to my knowledge of self

you can see forever when you reap what you sow

there’s a profound eroticism in such a freedom

it brings divine suppleness and strength

i am when all is fierce

rebirth of incense and gardenias

i gather the stories of the sacred circle

and they tell me to turn around and go home to the waking of your soul

once there i find that the land is still giving birth in the silences

images float by on a dragonfly

forcing me to embrace the power of language and it is deep

like the moving sea between shores remind me

that nothing is worth more than today.

Mingus Amungus @Monterey Jazz Festival 95-96
dancers (Malia Connor, Tricia Perkins, Laila Jenkins-Perez) performing a yanvalou, photo by Jaan Jap