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Four Voices in Renshi: Revisiting the Massie Affair

Gave it all away

Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:28 PM
  
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Gave it all away

Posted by pleopard
Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:28 PM



Wearing a white kikepa to the stand
The prosecution found it necessary
Objections from the defense
The judge nodded for her to do so

The prosecution found it necessary
Asked how many children she had
The judge nodded for her to do so
No one in the courtroom moved

Asked how many children she had
Two dead, two alive- Joseph and Lillian
No one in the courtroom moved
as his mother gave it all away

Two dead, two alive- Joseph and Lillian
"Is Joseph alive?" a faint wail
as his mother gave it all away
The jurors strained to hear

"Is Joseph alive?" a faint wail
the bloodstained shirt displayed
The jurors strained to hear
last washed and mended the night before

The bloodstained shirt displayed
Voice steeled as she lifted her head
last washed and mended the night before
What mothers do for their sons

Voice steeled as she lifted her head
The prosecution rests
What mothers do for their sons
Wearing a white kikepa to the stand


To the Stand

Posted by Ann Inoshita
Friday, June 01, 2012 10:14 AM



Clarence Darrow called
Thomas Massie to the stand
to show how his wife’s assault
and related events thereafter affected
his mental state and resulted
in Kahahawai’s death.

Psychiatric authorities testified,
and Thalia testified on how
her circumstances affected Tommie.

Darrow pondered during his closing argument:
What would anyone do in this situation?
What if you were the husband or mother of Thalia?

For the prosecution, John Kelley’s closing argument was simple:
A man was murdered.
What if you were the mother of Joseph Kahahawai?


What If You Were the Mother?

Posted by Jujube
Sunday, June 10, 2012 4:35 AM




Of Joseph Kahahawai:

I would grieve all my life.
Though the grieving would change over the years,
the angry shark of it that attacked my gut,
lessening its hold on me in time.

But I can guarantee you one thing.
Every morning when I wake up,
it would be back at my doorstep
like the old familiar neighborhood stray cat
let in to curl at my side for the rest of the day.

And this grief would well up
at odd moments in my life.
When I see the face of a child at the window
looking out, or a boy on his bike,
cards between the spokes
making sounds in the wind.

Or, at a sudden rain, splattering
its droplets
upon the roof of my memory.

It would serve as a memento—
the stone I carry in my pocket,
the golden locket I hang around my neck.

This grief would rise up in me
when I see a rainbow or the setting sun,
or when I smell his shirt still hanging
in the closet, and, once in a while take
up to my face. Be overcome.
By his scent I would drop to my knees
and fall to the floor and slap
the hard dark wood with my hands.
While I would scold myself: "Don't do this!"
I would never stop.

I wouldn't be able to help myself,
grief the only way to be closest to him.


Of Thalia Massie:

Looking back at this mess
as an old woman,
I can tell you that my pain and
suffering never ceased,
for retribution comes one way
or another. I learned this
too late,
despite my triumphant release,
the commutation, the one-hour sentence,
I spent drinking champagne.
In triumph? Perhaps. In the end, however,
I endured a greater sentence--
a life sentence of regret and remorse
not for killing Kahahawai.
I still have a cold heart where he's concerned,
for I believe he was the perpetrator.
But the pain I felt was for my daughter
as I watched her plummet
as if from the cliffs of the Pali,
becoming an alcoholic, a drug addict,
and at the end, someone who tried
to commit suicide once, twice,
succeeding on the second try,
her body found in some cheap hotel room.

I have to admit. I shared the same
grief as Joseph Kahahawai's mother,
for I was as passionate a mother as she
where Thalia was concerned when she was brutalized.
Wasn't that the thrust of Tommie's and my
wanting to murder her son in the first place?

Thalia's suffering, my suffering,
Thalia's pain, my pain,
her death, my death.
I was heartbroken when I went to collect
her body and bury her in the cold
hard ground so far away from your angry
shores where the ripples
of outrage
continue through the years.



Through the Years

Posted by Jean Toyama
Saturday, June 23, 2012 2:31 PM




Through the years

we’ll forget the dates and details of the alleged rape;

we’ll forget the green silk dress, the names of the accused, Tin Can Alley, the make of the car;

we’ll forget the who of the defense, the why of the prosecution, the headlines, the dirty accusations, the howling retorts;

we’ll forget the hung jury, the cowboy admiral, the kidnap car, the make of the gun (what gun?), the mother’s smirk (you know which one).

We’ve forgotten President Hoover who refused to declare martial law and Governor Judd who commuted the ten year sentence required by law to an hour drinking champage for the killers; but

tell me
what must we remember?




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