Tuesday, March 12, 2013

He Has Superpowers by Daren Kamali

(for Munro te Whata)

He’s an unsung superhero
in the village

He can fly
breathe underwater
walk on hot lovo stones

No one knows his secret
except his soulmate
Grandmother Eel
who lives on the reef

He visits Duna on moonlit nights
when everyone is sound asleep
he swims out to sea

They talanoa about ancestors
and Vū
good and evil
ancient times

He wished he lived in those days
he would use his superpowers
to save his people from intruders
he’d fly over their islands
and drop hot lovo rocks like bombs
from the heavens
and cause tsunamis to drown their villages

It’s too late now
those times are long gone
he has no use for these powers nowadays

Bored with life
doesn’t even need food or water
eats and drinks anyway
hasn’t been sick in 20 years
still acts sick sometimes
so people think he’s human

15 years pass
still no one knows his secret
Duna is growing old
he’s getting younger
Soon people will question
how come he has no wrinkles?
No grey hairs after decades

His mother says:
“We going overseas next year son”
for a better future
more opportunities
all that jazz

What about Duna
he thinks to himself

That full moon night
he visits Grandmother Eel
with a heavy heart
he starts to explain what lies ahead

Mama says:
“We going overseas next year son”
He says:
“I wanna be with you, nana”
In a bubbly voice, Duna says:
“You must go my child
Do not worry about me, my time is drawing near”

Grandmother Eel is dying
Must help her
Needs to transfer his superpowers soon
but doesn’t know how?
Wishes someone could help him
Someone could show him how
he just might
swim into the deep blue
with Grandmother Eel
find a safe place
where they can dwell
far from everything
far from humans
who don’t respect her dying body
Just Duna and him
till he figures out how to save her from dying
Who knows?
It may be
for eternity
he needs to decide

                                       Editor: Robert Sullivan 

This oceanic poem comes from Daren Kamali’s first book Tales Poems and Songs from the Underwater World (Anahera Press). It is reproduced here with the poet’s permission.

I admire Kamali’s oceanic poetic relationships, reminding us of the many connections we have with all creation. His next book will be published by Honolulu-based Ala Press. Daren Kamali was the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer in Residence last year at the University of Hawaii. He is also one of the co-founders of the South Auckland Poets’ Collective.

This week's editor, Robert Sullivan, is of Nga Puhi, Kai Tahu and Irish descent, and is a poet and academic. He has lived and worked in Hawai'i but is back in NZ teaching at the School of Creative Writing MIT, Auckland. His latest book is Cassino: City of Martyrs (Huia 2010). He blogs at Manu Korero: Talking Birds. 

Once you've read the hub poem, please look to the sidebar and find another Tuesday Poem to read by or chosen by one of our thirty poets. 


Claire Beynon said...

This 'oceanic' poem - yes.

It carries - and reads like - the tides. And more.

Thanks to you both.

Rethabile said...

I enjoyed this poem because it took me away and set me down someplace else. I think that ability is one that all good poems should be able to do. Thanks for posting it.

Ben Hur said...

Thank you for posting this, Robert. As an ocean lover myself, albeit a palagi one, it had a great resonance.