City of Refuge
by James Schwartz

On my last day on the Big Island,
I visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau,
The City of Refuge…

In the following morning,
I’ll be thousands of miles away,
Opening a door in Olympia…

Mark Twain was here too,
Walking through the onyx opening,
Held together by the mana…

Once this was a sanctuary,
All crimes were absolved,
If you made it through the entry…

The ancient gods are here too,
Alive in this world of legends,
That we like to call modern…

In the tropical sunshine,
I walk into the sacred refuge alive,
Beside the ghosts of warriors…


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After three years of living in Hawai’i, I closed one door and opened another, in the Pacific northwest. This poem documenting the last “doorway” I entered, poetically at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, known as the Place of Refuge, or “City of Refuge.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Schwartz s a poet, writer, slam performer, and author of five poetry collections, including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in AmericaVisit him at his blog and on Twitter @queeraspoetry.