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Come Together/symmetry

Posted by JEAN TOYAMA
Saturday, January 28, 2012 9:57 PM


This was the most difficult link for me to write because I knew what I had to do but no idea on how to do it. I knew what I had to do because of the symmetry in this series: first there's Thalia’s voice, then her mother’s voice, followed by Joe's mother's voice. Joe's voice had to follow.

Another difficulty is that we poets had decided to try to do our link in one week. Christy, Ann and Juliet each took only one week. Although Juliet said I could take the three, I was challenged!

At first I wanted to take the "We all come together" that Juliet gave me and make it ironic. I imagined the kidnappers and murderers coming together to do their evil deeds. Juliet's words are positive, an expression of the community that developed among the different ethnic groups in Hawaii at the time of the trial.

My "come together" was to be an expression of the Fortescue/Massie group coming together to "right a wrong", to "do justice" when justice was undone by a hung jury. Thoroughtly ironic.

I had a friend of mine read it and none of this came through. Even after having read the whole poem she didn't realize that someone had been killed in the end. Her comments were essential in my effort to make clearer what what happening, but I still wanted to maintain some kind of tension so that the whole story wouldn't be given up from the beginning. I hope I succeeded.

I hope, dear reader, that you realized that someone was losing consciousness and able to hear only snippets of conversation. This conversation is based on what was being written in the newspapers. Cries of injustice because of the hung jury; calls for martial law in Hawaii because of false accounts that rape was rampant in Hawaii.

I asked another friend, who is a teacher of Hawaiian and Hawaiian culture, what a mother might call her son, if his name were Joseph. He suggested Joey as a show of affection. Also if the mother were angry or wanted to speak with authority, she might say Joseph. I knew that Kalani was Joe Kahahawai's nickname but that might have been confusing. So I went with Joey and Joseph.


(The title "Come Together" also also expresses how these voices came together.)

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