Jamaica Osorio Performs “Kumulipo” at the White House Poetry Jam: (6 of 8)


(applause) Ms. Osorio:
What happens to
the ones forgotten? The ones who shaped my
heart from their rib cages? I want to taste the
tears in their names, trace their souls unto my vocal
cords so that I can feel related again. But I have forgotten my father’s
own grandparents middle names, forgotten what color thread God
used to sew me together with. But there’s a culture, a people
somewhere beneath my skin that I’ve been searching for
since I landed here. But it’s hard to feel
sometimes, because at Stanford, we are innovative. The city of Macintosh
breeds thinkers of tomorrow. So I have forgotten
how to remember. But our roots cannot
remember themselves, will not remember how to dance,
unless we are chanting for them. And will not sing
unless we are listening. But our tongues feel too
foreign in our own mouth; we don’t dare to speak out loud. So we can’t even pronounce
our own parents’ names. And who will care to remember
mine if I don’t teach them? I want to teach my future
children how to spell family with my middle name,
Haiole-Melekalani, how to feel love
with Kamakawiwo’ole, how to taste the
culture in the Kumulipo. Please, do not
forget me, my mana. Do not forget my soul, my
father, Kamakawiwo’ole, who could not forget
his own, Leialoha. Do not forget what’s left
because this is all we have. And you won’t find
your roots online. We have no dances or chants
if we have no history. Just rants. No roots. Just tears. This is all I have of my
family history that’s real. And now it’s yours. OElroy Thomas Leialoha Osorio he kane O Clara Ku’ulei Kay he wahine Noho pu laua a hanau ia
o Jonathan Kamakawiwoole Kay Osorio he kane O Jonathan Kamakawiwoole
Kay Osorio he kane O Mary carol dun he wahine Noho pu laua a hanau ia o
Jamaica Heolimeleigalani Osorio he wahine Do not forget us. Mai poina (applause)

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