Jazz Kahuna

Photo Credit: lulugal0870. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

Photo Credit: lulugal0870.
Licensed CC-BY-SA.


I heard
my friend Pa-ool
play jazz
guitar last night.

His hands
are a poet
with voice
as eloquent
as Lincoln’s—
in his own way,
of course.

Watching his
fingers move,
I move
across water
with him
on an outrigger
made of light.

He plays
moonlight.
In my chair
in the front row,
I have landed
a seat in heaven.

2
My friend
washes windows
and cleans houses
for a living.
As I understand it,
he came
to the mainland
for God. (It’s
a long story.)

I want
to ask him:
how
do you live
without letting
those hands speak
to people
every day, do
their hula
on the frets?

Isn’t your breathing
done through
the surfaces
of those fingers?

3
My friend
is a Kahuna.
He sits
in his chair
in his ski-hat,
guitar in arms

and tells stories
of his life
discovering music
in the islands.

He mentions
a great guitarist
he heard
long ago
on the beach,
then breaks into
“Arrivederci, Roma”,
the way
that mentor
played it.

My friend’s sons
are with him.
They smile
like suns.
He takes up
his ukulele and
they join him
in a song.

4.
Pa-ool,
You have found
something of great value
in this world
and brought
it with you
on your long
canoe ride
home

You have made it
your own.
It shines
diamond-bright,
diamond-hard
as you play.

It lights
the room,
and every
heart
in it.


(*Kahuna: Hawaiian, “Wise Man”.)