Kakaʻako Dreams

Inspired by the trigger: “some dreams are just that, dreams” from ‘Mango Lessons,’ by Michael Little

Tutu grew up in Kakaʻako.
Did you know?
When it was more residential, less warehouse.
More neighborhood, less development.
More village root, less urban veneer.
When it was more da kine and less hip—ster.

Her memories map a place we can only imagine.
Of a Portuguese girl marching in the Holy Ghost parade
making all the other Podagee girls jealous
(by the way, it’s *Portuguese*, not Podagee).
All the Podagee houses were more mauka than makai
Because the Podagees had status, she says,
or mostly cuz the shore was a swamp.

Walking through the alleys of her childhood,
Tutu grips her recollections like a vice.
There was a Japanese grocery store here,
nice husband and wife.
But then Tutu is lost and turned around because
Kakaʻako has lost its shape.
Its face stretched botox thin.
Its bones crushed by glimmering new glass and steel.
No rusty skeleton, no wrinkled, sunken flesh worn
like a badge of honor.
Just gone like a revenant, a ghost, a whisper.

“What street is this?” Tutu wonders.
It’s smooth and shiny like granite counter tops and marble floors.
Another part of Hawaii in disguise.
Another part of Hawaii made modern for us
…nah, not really for US.

Luxury isn’t having tangible heritage,
it is ample parking and a 24 hour concierge.
Didn’t you know?
It is half a million dollars
one bedroom and no lanai.
It is contemporary and we should be happy.
Thankful that Kakaʻako is “residential” once more.

Tutu says there was a rock wall by the water pumping station…
They used to play tag, all the kids, everybody together
until the sunset made the air hazy.
She remembers Kakaʻako best in dreams of the past
And in dreams of a future where her descendants might live there too.
But sometimes a dream is just that, a dream.

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