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believe me

By leilani portillo

Two full lines and one quarter line of black and white printed text that reads: Owai kou makuahine? O ka aina no! Owai kou kupunawahine? O ka aina no!

-- J. Nāwahī, 8 Iune 1895, Ke Aloha Aina

when i say
the land is my
ancestor
believe me.

when i say
the land is my
grandmother
believe me

when i say
the land is my
mother
believe me.

believe me when i say
my ancestors
are with me
mountains and all.


Image Description of Epigraph: Two full lines and one quarter line of black and white printed text that reads: "Owai kou makuahine? O ka aina no! Owai kou kupunawahine? O ka aina no!"


 

 

Listen as leilani portillo reads "believe me."

Added: Friday, July 31, 2020  /  Used with permission.
leilani portillo
Photo by Punahele.

leilani portillo (she/they) is a queer Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Hawaiian) poet, potter, and artist. They were born and raised on occupied Ohlone Territory and moved to Hawaiʻi in 2012. They have been exploring their kuleana (responsibility) as a Kanaka from the diaspora who has returned to their ancestral home(is)lands. Since learning about and getting involved with the Hawaiian independence movement, leilani has shifted from academia centered work to community centered work. Their work overall seeks to braid poetry, ʻIke Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian epistemologies), and hana noʻeau (art - Hawaiian and modern) breaking Western notions of genre and creating a vast ʻupena (net) to which we are all connected.

Other poems by this author