All the Hours of the Day and Night

I don’t know which of the 12 hours I love more,
the half that’s a.m., or the half that’s p.m.
I’d always been a night owl, until my working life cut in,
my final and longest held job curtailing that way of life quite a bit.

Now that I’m retired, I’m back to my old ways,
the midnight oil being burned, as is the candle at both ends.
It’s odd, though, how I still wake up early,
something I never did when I was a creature of the night,
also a hangover from those employment years,
but it must be true how in your older years you need less sleep.

I still night-owled it when I first started my last job,
and one day my boss asked me to come into her office,
sat me down to strongly suggest I needed get my ass to my desk
a good deal earlier than bankers do.
Not only did I immediately begin arriving before the sun rose,
but I would often be there an hour and a half or two before the office opened.
Amazing, how much I could get done before students began to come see me in the a.m.
Sometimes I miss those daylight hours of advising students,
watching and helping them move toward their degrees,
the feeling that I’d actually done something worthwhile with my life.
No matter how early I came in, I almost never left the office before dark.
My office had very small windows at the top; I hardly saw the sun, like a vampire.
We were located in the basement of the University Student Services Building,
officially the Queen Lili‘uokalani Student Services Center,
named for the last Hawaiian monarch,
deposed illegally and by force, a victim of outsiders who wanted to steal Hawai‘i from its people.

They succeeded in wresting power, and we’ve all paid the price ever since.
If you want to know the real foundation of the so-called “price of living in paradise,”
you can give great thanks to these original and dynastically, down to today, insidious monsters.

As I say, I’m retired now, and my hours are spent counting down the days.
Every day I’m writing, walking, doing yard work, and playing music,
the four things that sustain me,
now that the fifth, travel, has been fucked by the pandemic.

Those foreigners brought all kinds of diseases to the Hawaiian Islands,
nearly wiping out the native population with little concern.
They were a pandemic unto themselves,
as were foreign invaders everywhere,
lusting for money, land, and power down through the ages.

The Queen wrote songs, her most famous being “Aloha ‘Oe.”
It’s known around the world, but if you’re not familiar with it,
watch the Korean zombie movie, wonderfully done, called Train to Busan.
The very last thing you see is a little girl singing “Aloha ‘Oe.”
A chilling moment for anyone from Hawai ‘i, I would think.
It has the same riveting effect on me every time I watch the movie.

I see this bit of rough drafting has been a rambler.
I didn’t know this would happen, won’t touch it anymore.
Billy Collins says it’s the poems you touch the least that you tend to keep.
I love the time I spend writing every day, try to make whatever time I have left count.

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