nini noa huru

What does it feel like? Do you know? Of course it doesn't matter, so they have always said. Our whole life's a game, and yet we still choose to love, whether our feet are made raw by the coals underneath, we still tread forward despite, rebelling against that that we know to be true and daunting. We know not if the circle is real, but we laugh in the world's face, brash ignorance or great bravery, I do not know, but it might be both. We realize it is hopeless and yet all we do is hope. Perhaps this is great strength or great stupidity, but it guides us when the light is dim, allowing us always passage back out of the other end of darkness. The bugs may die, no matter how many there are, but we will live forever, you see. They can kill us all, but never can they really kill us, we them or them us. There is no dousing this human spirit within us, and no amount of mud can quench the soul's burning flame.

We will tie fronds together and swim if we need to. We are here miraculously, and we will stay miraculously. We have made ourselves great, we have tied ourselves together, swam ourselves across the sky, kept together by our love. The Gods showed us how to love, to keep our soft bodies safe with each other, and we showed the animals and the world how to love. Our great gift was love, we must not forget.

Do you remember our neighbors? Who cut down all their trees? Well, even they are not forgotten, yet they had forgotten themselves, angered the earth and the ground.

And We, We will not be forgotten.

Karioi Kanaenae is a native islander from the French Polynesian island of Mangareva. She studies English and Gender Studies at the University of Hawai'i Hilo, and is an active member of the university's local literature scene. She uses scenes from her homeland and fuses them with existentialist topics, told in a manner reminiscent of the oral tradition of her people, as well as titling all of her works with words from her native tongue, to truly fuse the Western literary tradition with the experience of Pacific Islanders.