from issue #6: ‘Dear Jesus’ by R. Zamora Linmark

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DEAR JESUS by R. ZAMORA LINMARK

for Ku’ualoha Ho’omanawanui

Dear Jesus:

My worst nightmare is about to come true. Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor approved the same-sex marriage legislation bill. 20 to 4. And now it’s up to the House of Representatives to kill the bill. But what if they, too, flew over the cuckoo’s nest? That’s why I’m flying there tomorrow. I’m going to withdraw whatever money I have left in my checking account, take the first flight to Honolulu and give these loonies a piece of my mind. That’s right. Hold on, Jesus, I’m now on the line with a Hawaiian Airlines ticketing agent from, of all places, Philippines. Dear Lord, Honolulu is only half hour away by plane from here and I have to call someone in the Philippines to book it…. Just got off the phone. They’re charging me four arms and six thousand legs as if I’m Imelda Marcos. What a rip off. And they don’t offer Senior Citizen discount. So much for Aloha Spirit… Calm down, Marie, calm down… Screw it. I’m willing to overlook the astronomical cost of this ticket due to the gravity of the matter. Otherwise, I’d tell them too to go choke on my monthly SS! I’d rather go hungry for the next couple days than allow this bill to be passed. I don’t care if I have to testify three, four, five thousand times. I won’t stop until these so-called progressive legislators wake up and realize that they’re doing more harm than good. This is not in the best interest of the peoples of Hawaii. I know it. The majority knows it. Come tomorrow, they will know who Marie Machado is and what she stands for.

Marie Machado, Hana, Maui.

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 Dear Jesus:

I have two mommies. Am I greedy?

Alexander Rosales, 3rd grade, Kapalama Elementary.

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Dear Jesus:

Did I wake up in the wrong state? Is today Halloween, October 31, 2013? It is, right? All this talk of gay marriage makes me want to puke. That’s what I want to do right now. Puke the bowl of kim chi chigae I ate last night all over the grounds of State Capitol. This Senate Bill 1 makes me sick to the bone. I should call in sick. But I can’t afford to miss a day’s worth of work. I already got written up twice for being late. But this is more important than ushering losers to their seats or telling them to get their toe jams off the seats or picking up their trash or shining the flashlight on their faces to shut their snoring up. If that fat cow Shawna fires me, so be it. I’ll miss the free movies and fifty percent off of popcorn and hot dogs. Fuck it. This is not the only job in the world. There are a thousand more out there I can get fired from. My sick call is legit. It’s an act of sacrifice, me as the lamb willing to sacrifice his bread and butter just for you, Jesus, because I love and believe in you. All I ask is that you help me write the most convincing testimony, because I’d hate to make a fool of myself in public, especially since Olelo cable TV is live-streaming the entire hearing.

Charles Kwon, McCully.

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Dear Jesus:

My church says if gays free to marry in Hawaii, I going have to pee in one gender-neuter toilet. What that mean?

Jonathan, 8, Island Paradise Nursery.

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Dear Jesus:

Deep in my heart, despite my break from the Catholic faith at age twelve, a separation I attribute to this day to my parents who showed me step-by-step how to shatter love in fifty-plus ways, I still believe that you never really left me, that, through all these years of more downs than ups, you were here all this time to witness my faults and flaws, guiding me in your own peculiar way out of my bleakest hours and reminding me over and over how infinite and powerful love is, how it goes beyond borders and limitations regardless of who we choose to love and grow with.

Brendalyn Chadwick, née Brandon Terada, St. Louis High alumni, class of ‘86.

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Dear Jesus:

Same-sex marriage is not right. It’s not pono. It’s not Hawaiian. It’s pilau. I repeat: IT’S NOT PONO! It’s PILAU!

Joshua, Papakolea.

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Dear Jesus:

Why is Governor Abercrombie making such a big fuss over this bill? What’s the rush? Are we on fire? Why is he insisting on resurrecting a dead bill? This SB1 hearing is unconstitutional. It’s undemocratic. A similar bill was already passed, favoring civil union among same-sex couples, back in 1998. Senate Bill 232. It went into effect in 2011, February 23, to be exact. It was amended in 2012 by the House and, as Act 267, was signed into law by Abercrombie himself. July 6, to be exact. I know that date very well because that’s the birthday of my daughter Caprice. If this is what they really want, then they should open it to the public and let us, the people of Hawaii, decide.

Atty. Amy Chun-Goldstein, Kailua.

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Dear Jesus:

Tell the bitches to stand in line because once this bill passes, I’m proposing to Rep. Kaniela Ing. What a fox! What a babe! And what’s more—he’s a Christian!!! He had me when he quoted the great philosopher Macklemore. In case you were busy listening to the gang of dumb and dumber, this is what he said during the televised interview: “To me, this bill is about love and acceptance. In Hawaii, we call it aloha. One person in the audience stated that it’s the wrong love. I don’t agree. I agree with Macklemore: It’s the same love.” Triple sigh, Jesus. Lead the way, Kaniela. I’m right behind you.

Kendrick Shibata, Kapahulu.

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Dear Jesus:

Same-sex marriage in Hawaii? OMG, OMG. It’s going to happen, isn’t it? It better not. But it might, oh, shit, it might. Then again, I might be wrong. I still have an ounce of faith left in the local government, like my representative for Ewa Beach and Iroquois Housing, Mataele Mataele. But what if I’m right? What if they pass this godawful bill. Oh, Jesus, prove me wrong. I’ve been wrong many times. I’m a walking mistake, so let me be wrong again. Go give ‘em hell, Rep. Mataele. We got your back.

Kapono Lum, Ewa.

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Dear Jesus:

What more do they want? We’ve already included them in the Hawaii Civil Union Law. They already have the same rights, benefits, and protections granted to married couples in Hawaii. Talk about G-R-E-E-D-Y. No surprise, considering many of them are capitalists, hold several college degrees, and lead lascivious lifestyles. They’re not outcasts like you, Jesus. No, siree! They’re Sodom and Gomorrah in Mini Coopers and designer labels.

Braddah Billy Jo Cruz, Waianae.

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Dear Jesus:

Please, pretty please, pass the same-sex marriage bill already so my Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Arnold can get married. Twenty years they’ve been together. Don’t you think that’s long enough to be living in sin? Uncle Jimmy said that if Hawaii wakes up to equality, they will definitely move back from Glacier View, Alaska. Population: 249.

Carlton Cho, Roosevelt High, alumni of Bruno Mars.

P.S. I think I may be like my two uncles.

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Dear Jesus:

Please remind your homophobic believers that the Civil Union law that went into effect two years ago is a law that “makes same-sex AND OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES eligible for civil union recognition.” I put “AND OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES” in bold because I think you need to yell it into their deaf ears.

Iwalani Aweau, Waipahu.

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Dear Jesus:

If you love your children, you would make Governor Abercrombie stop being a hippie and see the light. Not broad daylight but the real light, like yours, you know, the kind that makes you blind but shine.

Sandra Watabayashi, Washington Middle School.

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Dear Jesus:

This whole legal is so complicated so confusing I no understand why anybody in their right state of mind like be one lawmaker. I watching these guys on TV right now and I feel like I watching one kung fu movie without subtitles or David Carradine in it. But I a curious human being. I like know what the heck is going on so these guys no can pull their wool over my eyes, you know what I mean? Plus I a responsible kamaaina. I voted in the last election. I even made my own bumper sticker. NOBAMA. Yup, that was me. Anyway, let me see if I understand what the heck is going on so far. Feel free to stop me if I wrong, okay? Okay….Yesterday, the state Senate approved the SB1 bill 20 YES to 4 NO. This bill is now in the hands of the House of Representatives. Apparently get all sorts of committees in the House, which I never knew until now but which also kinda make sense if you see these committees as bedrooms in one big house. So for this bill get two committees in charge—House Judiciary and House Finance. This part I not going even attempt to ask why them and not the other bedrooms. I figure these legislators know what they doing. I pray so. That’s why they on TV and I not. If the majority of the two committees vote NO, then it’s as good as a mongoose trapped in a highway of road rage drivers. If they pass this bill no mean it’s a done deal. The rest of the House members gotta vote, which is kinda like back to square one. It also give previous committee members a second chance to change their vote. If the majority of the House gets the YES vote, then the bill go back to the Senate, where it all started. So kinda like full circle, except circle not perfect, is never perfect.

Mako Tokioka, Haiku Valley.

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Dear Jesus:

My Uncle Russ is very good looking and can score any wahine he wants. But he wants a man. He said so himself. I’m gay, Cedric, he told me, gay as the rainbow on the U.H. football helmet. But hard to believe because he’s more butch than Auntie T.J. Yet he insists. Gay as a shoe-tapping senator in a toilet stall of a Minnesota airport, he said. Not European, not bisexual, not even Chinese or samurai, but gay, he said. Gay as a Brokeback shepherd. Confusing as it is, I have no choice but to believe him, because if he were into wahines or if he were European, bisexual, Chinese or samurai, I won’t be so confused with this prayer. Where was I?

You see?

Lost again, Cedric.

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Dear Jesus:

As you already know, my ancestors fought in the American Revolution. Most of them died for the sake of religious freedom. It was this war that led our forefathers to create the U.S. Constitution. And now, these so-called legislators are treating it as if it’s nothing, as if it’s inconsequential, irrelevant, and therefore, replaceable. Who are they, anyway? It’s not up to them to mess with our Bill of Rights. They are only representatives, not gods. Their job is to uphold it, not defy you.

Martha Dudley, Punahou.

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Dear Jesus:

Why are so many gorgeous guys gay? I thought you were on my side.

Lana Fukunaga, Sacred Hearts Academy.

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Dear Jesus:

Please procreate my mommy and daddy. They need it badly.

Love, Carver, 1st grade, Lanakila Elementary.

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Dear Jesus:

This bill is going to harm the Hawaiian people. This is only going to divide us further, like the Great Mahele. Divide and conquer. That’s what these lawmakers want to do to us Hawaiians. They already stole our aina, imprisoned our queen, ravaged our natural resources, desecrated our heiaus, our sacred temples. And now, they want to deprive us of our religious rights too? Hell, no.

Kawehi Aui-Johnson, Makakilo.

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Dear Jesus:

If not for you, my daddy will have no one to turn to after he black-and-blues my mommy. Thank you for being there.

Always, Melissa, Kindergarten, Queen Ka’ahumanu Elementary.

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Dear Jesus:

Some of these Representatives should be stand-up comics. They crack me up. The bestest one so far is Rep. Mataele Mataele. He said if the legislature insists on NOT letting the people vote on this issue, he’d have no option but to bring a riding whip, a bag of Purina, and Lysol spray to the State Capitol. “The riding whip and the dog food is for the dog and pony show we been made to participate in,” Rep. Mataele Mataele said. “And the Lysol spray is to kill the stink coming from this bill.”

Michael Maliglig, Lower Makiki.

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Dear Jesus:

We don’t need another Sin City. We already have Vegas, our ninth island. We practically fly there at least once a month. Given this fact of a matter, do we really need to bring our sins closer to home?

Ronald Hayashida, 67, Pearl City.

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Dear Jesus:

I would just like to enlighten my Hawaiian brothers and sisters, as well as the kama’ainas, Asian settlers, and Hawaiian wannabes on the topic of aikane, which is the Hawaiian word for today, Friday, November 1, 2013. Aikane is loosely, if not lazily, defined as the Western counterpart to a homosexual or bisexual. Native Hawaiian scholars, however, argue that, although aikane involved men engaging in same-sex or bisexual relations, this accepted ancient Hawaiian practice refers more to the power-and-class-based relationship rather than to sexual identity or activity. In such relationship, the aikane referred to the lover/beloved who belonged to the lower class or nobility ranking, while his lover/beloved was part of the ali’i, or nobility. A popular example of an aikani-based relationship is between that of Kamehameha the Great, our first king who was responsible for unifying the islands, and his aikane partner, the high chief Kuakini who also served as his important adviser. Aikane. The Other as the Lover/Beloved/Subject of Desire.

Samuel Beamer, Assoc. Professor in Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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Dear Jesus:

Aloha, J.C. It’s me, Chang Hae Park, 2nd generation Korean American Christian, as you can tell by my name. I’m 20 years old and currently attending University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Electrical Engineering. As a young and healthy heterosexual, I hope to someday marry and start a family. But if this bill passes, it won’t be healthy to bring up children in such an environment. I don’t want my children to think it’s OK to be lesbian or gay because it’s not. I don’t want my son to know about the birds and the bees before he hits puberty, or for my daughter to learn about pregnancy prevention before she has her first period. We are not in Canada!!!

Chang Hae Park, 20, Moi’ili’ili.

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Dear Jesus:

I blame all this trash talk of same-sex marriage on pop artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Just because homosexuals and lesbians were born that way doesn’t make two wrongs a right. Just because Katy’s “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It” is upbeat and easy to dance to doesn’t make lesbian sex something to roar about too. Why not light up our Top 40 lives again, Jesus, and bring back the one-hit wonders, like Debby Boone? I’ll take Amy Grant over Amy Winehouse any day.

Loretta de los Reyes, Kapalua, Maui.

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Dear Jesus:

It’s me, Marie Machado, remember me? Yes, the one and only Marie from Hana, Maui. Well, as you can see, I made it. I took the first flight out of Lahaina this morning, only to be turned away. That’s right, Jesus. I, Marie Machado of Hana, Maui, seventy-eight-years of age, and of Portuguese and Okinawan descent was denied her right as a tax-paying retiree to testify against same-sex marriage. Well, almost denied had I not put up a fight. The reason given to me was that I missed the midnight deadline. I told them how the heck was I supposed to know about the midnight deadline? I don’t live in Honolulu. I am from Hana. I spent my entire life savings to fly here so I can put a stop to this madness initiated by Abercrombie and Company. Luckily, Representative Sharon Har—a beautiful Hapa lady (who reminded me of myself when I was her age)—overheard my boiling words and came to my assistance. I explained to her my situation. She told me not to go anywhere, that she’d be right back. I told her I was staying put and solid as the statue of Father Damien outside the Capitol. She returned in a matter of minutes and told me she’d secured a two-minute slot for me to give my testimony. Bless her heart, I am testifier #4,786.

Marie Machado, still pissed off as Pele.

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Dear Jesus:

Same-sex couples are currently missing out on 1,100 Federal benefits by not being legally married. Need I say more?

Dominic Cortez, Lunalilo Heights.

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Dear Jesus:

On this Saturday morning, 2nd of November, I will open the day with a prayer to you, knowing the entire state is probably at this very minute doing the same, i.e., competing for your attention, telling you that their prayer is more unique and far from the usual boring ask-and-then-ignore-once-it’s-been-answered… Jesus, there are certain things about this SB1 bill that I think you should know, and that extremely anxious and religious parents and teachers are not telling you. Before I proceed, I want to give you a brief introduction about myself, just so you know where I’m coming from. I’m an educator for 27 years. I received my M.A. in Sociology from Berkeley and my doctorate in Education from the University of Hawaii of Manoa. Regarding the concerns many parents have surrounding this bill and its effects on public education, I’d like to inform you that: 1) there’s no portion in this bill that advocates for change in education curriculum. Such issues are handled by the Hawaii Board of Education and Department of Education, and their policy states that all curriculum must be standards based. 2) As for sex education, Hawaii is an abstinence-based state, meaning we teach our students about abstinence as the best prevention and protection from pregnancy, infections, and diseases. And 3), should this bill pass—and most likely it will—parents will have the option, as they do now, to have their children not participate in such class discussion.

Amalia Buenaventura, P.Ed, Leeward Community College.

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Dear Jesus:

“Love is an illusion created by lawyer-types to perpetuate another illusion called marriage to create the reality of divorce and the need of divorce lawyers.” Andrew McCarthy’s character in St. Elmo’s Fire.

Gordon Wong IV, a former Jehovah’s Witness.

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Dear Jesus:

The Hawaii Attorney General David Louie is for gay marriage. Twenty members of the State Senate are for it. The Department of Taxation and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission are for it. The Department of Health, under Director Loretta Fuddy, is ready to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Is the fight over? No, for outside the Capitol I hear the clamor of my brothers and sisters. “Let the people vote! Let the people vote!”

Charmaine Iwalani Vargas, Temple Valley.

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Dear Jesus:

I’m anxious about the future of Proverbs 22:6—”Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” If SB1 passes, there will be no way but to turn gay. Jesus, kill SB1 bill now before this gay plague kills us.

Sharlene Ogawa, Aiea.

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Dear Jesus:

Whether this bill gets passed or not, I cannot, I repeat, I cannot honor such law. I don’t care if they have to arrest me, Jesus, or fire me from my state job. I love my job. The records show I excel at it. I love the law. I protect the law. But over my dead body if I have to abide by one that is imposed on me and my children and nieces and nephews and grandchildren, a law that results to nothing except to disrespect and dishonor my Almighty Father in heaven.

Albert Broadbent, President, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

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Dear Jesus:

Why are there no lipstick lesbos or butchies with mullets or scandalous mahus in the Bible? Just whores, pricks, assholes and war-lovers. What happened to us being all equal in God’s eyes? Not fair. Not fair.

Trinity, homeless.

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Dear Jesus:

Knock knock?

Who’s there?

Ima.

Ima who?

Ah, you mahu.

I not mahu. Maybe you the one mahu.

I no suck dick.

That’s not what Kerwin tole me.

Bull-lie.

After school. Behind Portable C. Five times Kerwin said.

So? He wen’ suck me too.

See? I knew it.

Knew what?

Tell you tomorrow.

No. Tell me now.

Meet me behind Portable C. Five minutes.

Four minutes.

K.

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Dear Jesus:

I was tired of being an astronaut, so I told my mother I wanted to be a lesbian, just like my Uncle J.R. So guess what she did? She took me straight to Fantastic Sam’s and ordered the barber to make a mullet out of me. I cried the whole day, Jesus. I looked so ugly, so white trash, like Miley Cyrus’s father—and I’m not even Haole. I’m Okinawan. I’m still crying, Jesus, and today is already the third day. I begged my mom to shave it off, just shave it off, please, Mom. She said no, because she said I looked good as a lesbian, especially with my mullet. Jesus, if you love me, please shave my head bald while I sleep. I promise I’m never going to wish to be a lesbian again. Ever.

Previn Higa, 9, Prince Kuhio Elementary.

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Dear Jesus:

Is Mercury in retrograde again? Or is Venus in Uranus?

Just kidding. Marty, Moanalua.

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Dear Jesus:

I open today’s Sunday paper to read about a teen who woke up covered in flames. He had dozed off on the school bus when his classmate, also sixteen, had set him on fire. When asked why, he said it was because the boy, after repeated warnings, continued to attend school in a skirt. Welcome to the future!

Julie Tadayashi, Kaimuki.

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Dear Jesus:

I don’t like the new blue M&M’s. Can we let the people of Hawaii vote to abolish it?

Kelly Pacheco.

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Dear Jesus:

In case the same-sex marriage equality bill no pass, can I, Bully Kupihea Jr., still be head cheerleader for the Kapa’a Warriors and wear my hot pants and do my Shakira-waka-waka dance routine during halftime?

Love u 4-eva, B.K.J., Kapa’a High.

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Dear Jesus:

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. SB1 is not about what gets taught in classrooms. It’s about the thousand-plus Federal benefits that, at present, are denied to same-sex couples. But since we’re back on the topic of pedagogy, students discussing gay and lesbian characters in novels and short fiction don’t turn them into raging fags and dykes, as someone argued in their testimony, just as learning about drugs won’t turn you into an addict or a prostitute.

Amalia Buenaventura, P.Ed, Leeward Community College.

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Dear Jesus:

Why don’t they listen to me? I’m a millennial. My opinion matters the most. I am the future—bright, promising, full of hope. But this bill, if it passes the House, is going to turn Hawaii into another Canada, where all public bathrooms are unisex. The thought of sharing toilets with the opposite sex is frightening. Worse, if it’s with the same sex. Oppose SB1 bill NOW and save Hawaii from becoming the next Canada.

Linda, New Hope, Farrington High.

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Dear Jesus:

When I grow up, I want to start my own ministry and be the first gay minister. I’ll call it “New & Improved Hope” or “Hopelessly Devoteds.”

Michael/Michelle, 14.

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Dear Jesus:

Okay. Here goes. Please no mine my grammer, Jesus. I jus like share wit you my testamoney dat I goin’ give at the State Capitol tomorrow. Like my Repretensative Mataele I only wen’ go up to Turd World edumacation. But dis mo impotant. Now, you know me, Jesus, you know I no mo nutting agenst gays. Lesbiyans I get plenny, but not mahus. Watever dey like do in da privasy of der own home, well, das der kuliana. I get plenny mahu freinds and I goin be a liar if I tole you I never explored der dark side of life. You alredy know dis I’m sure. My wife Marlene know too. As your Fada is my witnes, I no mo nutting for hide. My life just like one open book alredy. Stay short but true. If you read ‘em, everything goin be right der on da first page. Wat gets my goat is dat dem mahus and wahines who stay stiring up all dis cantroversy is sending one false mesage to our kekis. Dey argyu dat to be gay and lesbiyan is not a choise. I agree. Das why leopards get spots, yeah? I know hard for dem to be like dat. I know not easy for dem to put up wid discremanation. But wat I like know is if dey know dat alredy den why stoke da fire even more? Why even bring up kekis in dis world? Besides, the world alredy made in China! Dont dey know dat wats hard for dem going only be harder for der children? But dey no can see wat I see becuz dey not part of da lite. In regardless, dis dey should tink about real hard. Sending dem my prayurs, Jesus. Peace. Love.

Willy from Maunawili.

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Dear Jesus:

Shame on Mataele. Does he even know what “conscientious objectors” mean? Or is he just quoting phrases from the Constitution, Chapter 5, Verse 33.6? Didn’t he flat-out told the molecular biologist Dean Hamer that he should be spoken to in lay lingua because he’d only received a Third World education? Does he know—or is he even aware—of the repercussions of such remarks? Which Third World is he referring to? Hawaii? Brigham Young University? Or his worldview?

Kaipo Williams, Waimanalo.

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Dear Jesus:

I been waiting since Thursday to give my testimony. It’s now Monday, November 4. I already missed two days of work. Might not seem much to the average Joe Blow, but that’s still gas money to a North Shore guy like myself who has to drive 15 miles into town just so I can afford to eat at McDonald’s three times a day. And it’s not like I can just up and leave the State Capitol because if I’m not here when they call my number—3,405—they’ll just skip me as if I never paid my annual taxes, which means I’ll have to get another number and miss more days of work, and if that’s how it’s going to be, then the State should make up for my lost income because they’re the one who called this special session from out of the blue, I mean, everything was quiet on the North Shore front until they pulled this stupid stunt on us.

Marlon, Sunset Beach.

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Dear Jesus:

Janina here. Freshman lipstick lesbo from Kahuku High. Just found out Cover Girl discontinued their Bistro Burgundy line. SOS.

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Dear Jesus:

Did I hear it right? Did he or didn’t he—a cop AND the President of the Organization of Police Officers—just swore that if this bill gets passed, he is willing to lose his job, get arrested or be killed, as it would turn him from a law enforcer to a lawbreaker? Talk about shooting one’s self on the hoof!

Joni Chinen, Ala Moana

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Dear Jesus:

Many homos believe we at New Hope hate them. Please. The world doesn’t revolve around them. There are more crucial issues in this world than seeing two men or two women exchanging vows at the altar, like organ trafficking and global child prostitution. Plus, it’s not as if they were born-again yesterday! Spare us the melodrama.

Moses Cabral, Moanalua.

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Dear Jesus:

Do you think James P. Kealoha who sits behind me in Algebra and copies my homework is bi-curious? If you think so, tell him my over-the-shoulder-look means that I think he’s jalapeño-hot and that I wouldn’t mind losing my divine virginity to him. Tell him I can host from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., which is when my mom comes home from her second job. Jesus, if only I had a va-j-jay.

Anonymous, 13, Damien High.

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Dear Jesus:

Tell Hawaii to hurry it up. Illinois just beat us as the fifteenth state to legalize gay marriage. Plus General Motors is extending marriage benefits to spouses of same-sex employees. Not that I’m gonna quit my City & County job as liquor commissioner and go work for GM in Michigan or wherever their factory is. I’m not gay, lesbian, transsexual, or bi-curious. I can’t even recall the last time I had sex. And this is not by choice either. Sad face to be placed here.

Peace, Nolan Kimura, C&C of Honolulu, Liquor Commissioner.

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Dear Jesus:

Kauikeaouli, or Kamehameha the III, who was the son of King Kamehameha I, also had several aikanes. From what I hear, he and his lovers, like Kaomi and Keoniana, put the cowboys in Bareback Mountain to shame. The king was so taken by Kaomi’s good looks—he was part-Tahitian and part-Hawaiian, that he was willing to make him co-rule his kingdom. Chief Kaomi died suddenly—cause: unknown—shortly before their conjugal governance could be realized. Another lover of King Kamehameha III was Keoniana—or John Young II—whose father, John Young I, was a Scottish military advisor who also happened to be an aikane of Kamehameha I. Talk about a lineage of kings and their male lovers. Irony of ironies: although King Kamehameha III practiced aikane-ship, he was the first king in the Hawaiian monarchy to reject polygamy and follow the Christian tradition of marriage to only one woman.

Mililani Silva, curator, Bishop Museum.

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Dear Jesus:

I am a girl who loves other girls but the commercial with you in it says it’s wrong. What if I ask for another vagina? One for the right reason and the other for the wrong. That way, it’s fair and square, as my teacher says. So please give me another vagina. I’ll be waiting by the Likelike overpass.

Yours truly, Sam(antha), 3rd grade, Kalihi Elementary School.

 

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Dear Jesus:

Kindly convince the seven UNDECIDED legislators to vote YES to same-sex marriage so that my Aunt R.J. can finally marry Tita M.C. who’s living in the U.S. illegally. They’ve been together for five years. Tita M.C. is Aunt R.J.’s caregiver. Yup, they’re old but not old enough to, you know, enjoy each other, if you know what I mean. Anyway, five years of togetherness is more than all the years of marriages combined in our family. If this law doesn’t get passed and if this prayer winds up with INS, then Tita M.C. will most likely be deported back to the Third World. Turd World, that’s what she calls the Philippines. I don’t know. I’ve never been there. But if you end Third World now, then it will be okay, I guess, for Tita M.C. to be deported, though it would mean breaking her and Aunt R.J. up and you don’t want to be called a homewrecker, right? Thought so.

Lois Cabradilla, Hilo High.

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Dear Jesus:

My traditional parents change religion faster than their underwear. In one month, we went from New Hopeless to Word of Lifeless. Then we switched to Catholicism b/c my mother found out from my Auntie Eileen that the new pope wears Prada and Gucci, then we switched to Pentecostal because my parents think they can sing and faint at the same time. Now, my father wants to be a Mormon b/c, he says, a traditional father should have five desperate wives per household. Vote YES to traditional family.

Jonah Asuncion.

*

Dear Jesus:

Why they picking on my cop cousin, calling him any kind names, like his brain is one major pain in the ass. Excuse me, anatomically speaking, the brain stay way at the top, while the pain is a bottom. And for your information, dumb and dumber are two people, my cop uncle, who heads the union, get only one mind and one body! Besides, everyone is entitled to his and her opinion, right? My cop uncle/union leader only exercising his. To those who don’t like it, I say: WHATEVS!

Princess, La’ie.

*

Dear Jesus:

I so embarrassed, so humilahated. My faddah wen’ State Capitol yesterday and gave his testimony. He waited 11 days cuz he was number 10,348, which was an exaggeration. He a member of New Life in Leeward. Before that, New Word in Windward. And before that—he was incarcerated at OCCC. 2 years for aggravated assault and chronic road rage. He said he not proud of that but he said everybody get skeletons. If gays have their walk-in closets why shouldn’t he. He told all this on Olelo LIVE STREAMING. He also said he pro-traditional family. He told the legislators he been w/ my maddah for 16 happily years. He was in 11th grade and she, 8th. That they been happily married for 7 years since they joined New Life. That he get three happy children ages 16 (me), 13 (brother), and 12 (sister). Jesus, do the math; it ain’t gonna add up. That means my maddah is not my maddah and the maddah I have now got pregnant soon after she met my faddah.

Diane Carvalho, Kapahulu.

*

Dear Jesus:

I failed you. I’m sorry. After waiting for what seemed like hours, I was finally asked by Rep. Sylvia Luke to approach the mic and begin my two-minute testimony. “Aloha,” I said. “Aloha,” the committee members answered back. Next thing I knew—nothing. I couldn’t get a word out. It was as if my tongue had been chopped off. A minute went by and not a single sound or syllable. I held my palm out. I tried to tell the committee members through my facial expression that something was happening to me, that the god of scissors had entered my body and cut off my voice. Look at me! Can’t you tell something is wrong? my face was shouting at them. But I got no reaction. They probably thought that I was just another lolo old lady who’d gone to the State Capitol to waste two minutes of their time, like the woman who used up her time shouting “Let the people vote!” or the Born-Again singing “Amazing Grace.” It was not until tonight, when I tuned in to watch the news and saw myself as one of the highlights from today’s testimonies. Apparently, I could not only muster a sound out of my big Portuguese mouth, but I was also denied the right to emote. On my face was a huge blank, like I had been injected with a gallon of Botox. Only after my two-minute was up was I able to hear my voice and make all sorts of faces. That was when I lost it. I started shouting uncontrollably “Maluhia, maluhia”—which means “peace.” I was so far gone that I had to be escorted out of the building by three bodyguards to the jeers of my Christian brothers and sisters.

Failure Marie Machado from Hana, Maui.

*

Dear Jesus:

Feels like day 357 of same-sex equality debate. Shet, this freakin’ bill feels like a trial that’s taking longer than O.J. Simpson’s and Roe Versus Wade’s put together. Even Jeffrey Dahmer’s case was shorter than this, only two weeks. And by the way it’s going, it might go unresolved, like the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. I just hope that the HPD is going to be there again, not just for body count but peace of mind as well. That they’re there to protect the people and maybe, this time, step up and arrest those disturbing the legal proceedings. Would like to see that Samoan cop doing his job, too, that is, protecting everyone, including those law-abiding same-sex loving tax-paying citizens he abhors, who are helping pay his salary.

‘Til Tomorrow, Lex.

*

Dear Jesus:

Today, Tuesday, November 5th, has got to be the most depressing day of the year. The joint House committee just voted 18-12 in favor of this same-sex marriage bill. I don’t know how these 18 legislators can go to sleep tonight, knowing the majority of the people are against this bill. Now, this bill goes to the rest of the House to vote.

Richard, Maile.

*

Dear Jesus:

No let this stupid bill pass. I no like be edumacated about mahus and lesbos. Get enough of them on TV, like Kirk and that black tranny on Glee. Neil Patrick Harris, the Doogie Howser guy, I know he gay in real life but he okay because he play straight guy and one womanizer in How I Met Your Mother, plus he get one star on the Hollywood sidewalk. So, yea, no allow teachers for edumacate us about Adam and Steve in the classroom. And about Eve and Liv too. Mahalo.

J.T., Hawaii Baptist Academy.

*

Dear Jesus:

My testimony was short and simple. I just wen’ read them my tattoo on my right arm. Leviticus 18:22. “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

Jeremy, Papakolea.

*

Dear Jesus:

Before we continue our relationship, I only want one thing cleared up. Exactly which side of hope are you? Are you with New Hope or the old one, because if you converted to the new one, then I want to know what was wrong with the old one? Because if the old hope is no good because it’s old, then that means that, sooner or later, this new one will eventually be no good too, right? And if this is the case, then are you telling me that hope is like a loaf of bread: it has an expiration date? That once it expires, it will grow moldy, rot, disintegrate, etcetera—and then what? Newer Hope? Redux Hope? Get back to me soon because I would still like to be hopelessly devoted to you.

Alice Pacheco.

*

Dear Jesus:

Representative Sam Knight, who is part of the Finance committee and who, as everyone in West Oahu and Club Rose knows, is an out-and-proud lesbian (if her mullet isn’t a dead giveaway then I don’t know what is). Anyway, she voted NO on this bill. I repeat: a lesbian lawmaker voting against gay marriage. Isn’t that saying something? There is hope at the end of the rainbow.

Jesus loves you Rep Sam no matter who you are.

Virgie Lacaran, Waianae.

*

Dear Jesus:

My name Xian Lim. I Chinese defective now living in Hawaii five years. In Guangdong, China, where I from, we no allow this kind marriage between same sex. If civet cats, okay, because they full of SARS, but not humans, especially lady to lady. It’s not right. I not hateful type, but it’s not Christian. Peace Always.

*

Dear Jesus:

Can you please tell those brainiacs like that chromosologist from Harvard for stop picking on Representative Mataele and making him look like one laughing stock? He ain’t one baboon, babooze, he one human being! So what if he only went to a third world community college and you gotta talk to him in 3rd grade layman-Pidgin for explain that homosexuality is hiding in the genes? My pastor disagrees, ergo I disagree with him. Of course, a gay can be an ex-gay if he like. It’s called “choice” people, and it’s nothing but one gift from heaven, and they come in A, B, C, D, or E. That’s why it’s called “multiple”! Hello?! At least now, he representative of Iroquois Housing, which he wen’ achieve through hard work, perseveration, and prayers. Remind them that, Jesus. Choice before institution.

Braddah Al, Ewa Beach & Iroquois Housing.

*

Dear Jesus:

When you get a chance, please pass this message on to that man who read a Leviticus verse from his shoulder. Leviticus 19:28: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”

Rabih Nassir, Salt Lake.

*

Dear Jesus:

For days, Mary, I was at the State Capitol today for check out the drama. Mary, was so nails, like one C-rated camp. But guess who I saw making all that “Let the People Vote” noise pollution and disturbing Father Damien’s statue? Efren Lopez, the biggest Filipino bakla in the history of Waipahu High. I remember Muffyrella used to wear choke obake cosmetics and went around saying he hapa. Well, I guess he had a bad case of epiphany because he was acting all straight at the State Capitol (more like scared-straight). He was so convincing I almost never recognized him if not for the facial-induced craters. He was tongue-twisting with the other drama-sci-fi-comedy queens. For days. For real kind, Mary. If that’s what tickles his okole, then let him. I just waiting for that day when all these self-hating mahus come out of the closet. This island probably going sink. So maybe they better not, yeah?

Trixie, Hotel St/Bethel.

*

 

Dear Jesus:

We have one more chance to kill this bill. Please persuade the remaining twenty-one representatives to vote NO on this bill tomorrow, which is Wednesday. The pro-gay marriage only needs 26; they already got 18. That’s only 8 votes shy from making our nightmare their reality. Jesus, time to walk on water.

Kenneth Pang, Kalama Valley.

*

Dear Jesus:

Oh, my god, what is happening to our dyke from Waianae? Has she gone back to the closet? Hope not. We have our reasons, but we hope our sister Sam will change her mind and vote YES tomorrow. Jesus, please do not let her make the wrong decision that will affect her future relationship with the gay and lesbian community in Hawaii, especially with the 500 active members of LOVE, Lesbians Organizing Vanguards of Eros, which she is a part of. Guide her, oh Lord, in these next twenty-four hours as she re-evaluates her position on this crucial bill and remind her to base her decision not just on whom she is representing but on what she stands for and believes in. We pray she will reverse her NO to a YES. Hoping, 500 members of LOVE.

*

Dear Jesus:

We did it. The House just voted 30-18 in favor of Senate Bill 1. Three abstained because they want to be re-elected by their constituents. Tomorrow, the House is taking a day off from the public, then resume on Friday for the final history-making vote. But I shall always remember today, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 as the first step to a history worth making. I don’t know if you have anything to do with this victory, but thank you anyway. Sorry to take up so much of your time. I’m sure you’re up to your neck with prayers and complaints.

Maxwell, Waikiki.

*

Dear Jesus:

Tell your ministers they got no business meddling in the same-sex marriage bill because their churches aren’t paying taxes. In fact, they’re abusing their non-profit status. Bad enough they’re holding their ministries in public school grounds, where Church and State should not be coupling. And until they start paying taxes, like the rest of us citizens, including those who have been denied rights that should be afforded to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and race, then these religious organizations have no say in this bill nor in any legislative bill, for that matter. We gays and lesbians have put up with bullying from your (make) believers for too long and are tired of being victims and sacrificial lambs. No more. Discriminate us, don’t marry us in your churches, we don’t care. Push comes to shove, we all know money will speak faster than faith.

Isaac, Makiki.

*

Dear Jesus:

If Hawaii becomes the next state to legalize same-sex marriage, terrible consequences will follow such as global warming, widespread meth use, more power plant explosions such as that in Fukushima, extinction of endangered species, killer viruses, etc. etc.

Pastor Paolo, Whitmore Village.

*

Dear Jesus:

Another major dilemma-rama. For tomorrow’s big event at the Capitol: 6-inch stilettos or slippers? Slippers, yeah? Easier for kill the roaches. But for sure, I going wear my Kermit-the-frog-rainbow-connection-inspired tube top and the jurassic organic hibiscus I bought for choke dollars at Wholefoods that going be tucked behind my left ear cuz I already taken. I going force myself back into my 35-year-old Calvin Klein jeans cuz I no like nothing come between me and my you-know-what, except Russell (and maybe Shawn). I going decorate my kino with body glitter for that Lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds effect. And, last but not the leastest, Love’s Baby Soft perfume cuz innocence is sexier than you think (unless you getting harrassed on the bus by freakin’ psychos and etes). Going be so retro, going be so all about aloha and ohana tomorrow. Cannot wait.

Heavenly yours, Janice Kawehionalani Lee.

*

Dear Jesus:

Who cares about the final vote on Friday, the 8th? The end of the world is already here, and it’s heading towards the Philippines. Forget us, Jesus, we can manage. They need you there more.

Librado Encarnacion, Waihawa.

*

Dear Jesus:

If you’re not going to let the Representatives let us, the people, vote, then we’re not going to pray for you. Fair? Deal? The Mob-ettes outside the Capitol.

*

Dear Jesus:

“Let the people vote! Let the people vote!” Uhm, they already did, and they’re called general and primary elections. What a bunch of nimcompoops! This is an issue of minority civil rights. It cannot be decided by the majority. If it were up to them, U.S. History would be a blank slate. Women wouldn’t be voting right now. Schools and public restrooms would remain segregated. Rosa Parks would still be riding at the back of the bus. African American slaves would, well, still be praying someday for their freedom. Inter-racial marriages would be banned. So, yes, let the people vote and let’s return history back to the black hole.

Gary Kurishege, History Professor, U.H. Community College, Diamond Head Campus.

*

Dear Jesus:

First, I just want to tell You how truly remarkable You are for putting up with all the BS and other blasphemous things that are being said about You lately, especially from the other camp. I wish I had Your patience and tolerance. Second, You are probably aware of this individual (local? Haole?) who is currently collecting letters addressed to you and posting in on his (her?) FB page. His/Her FB page is “Dear Jesus.” It’s the one with the profile pic of a Hawaiian monk seal. These letters, notes, and messages are either in support of or against same-sex marriage. According to him/her, no alteration was done, that they were posted immediately upon receipt. I don’t know what his/her objective is but, to me, these postings achieve nothing except to mock those who are fighting to protect their faith and their constitutional right to freedom of speech. I am also concerned with his/her inclusion of letters from children, many of them expressing their pro-stand on the issue. These children are lost, Jesus. They have fallen out of touch with You. They will grow up on the margins of society, be cast aside and treated like lepers, even prostitutes, addicts, and terrorists. They will lead undesirable lifestyles, participating in unhealthy activities that will certainly lead to their demise. Guide them back to Your temple, Jesus. Let them know hope is inextinguishable. It’s not too late. It’s never too late.

Sincerely, Anna D.

P.S. I have a strong suspicion that this letter collector is a disgruntled kamaaina (Haole?) who used to be a minister or an active member of our ministry.

*

Dear Jesus del Mar:

I am a stovepipe sponge of the phylum porifera, meaning “pore bearer”. To the majority of sea creatures, we are nothing but pores and channels and have been repeatedly accused of making waves because of our phallic shape: thick, long, and open to whatever the tide brings. I am praying because I have fallen in love with a Portuguese from Waimanalo, a man-of-war, that is, also asexual like myself and could reproduce. But I am afraid that the majority of sponges and jellyfishes who have converted to the Kingdom Hall of Animalia are against such union and will want to rob us of our sea-given right. Please do not let them decide.

Praying and poring, S, off of Hanauma Bay.

*

Dear Jesus:

We are now officially back in pre-1954 segregation era. At the Capitol, the mauka or mountainside of the rotunda is for supporters of same-sex marriage; on the makai or seaside is for opponents. Along Beretania Street, supporters can wave at motorists from the left half of the Father Damien statue towards Downtown; the anti from the right half of the Molokai saint’s statue towards Punchbowl. Both sides also have their own entrances to the gallery, as well as separate elevators, Fire Exits, water fountains, and soda vending machines. Likewise for trash cans. Those painted with pink triangles are for pro-equality, and those against it are marked with crosses. During recess, McDonald’s have been kind enough to accommodate both sides. Those in support can dine at the McDonald’s in Fort Street Mall, and those against it can go to the one on Beretania, past Honolulu Academy of Arts. As for parking, those in favor of same-sex marriage can use any metered parking along Richard Street and those opposing it along Punchbowl. Metered parking along South King Street is on a first-come first-serve basis. Do not park at the post office or at the State Building as meters there tend to be unreliable and your cars will be towed. Sadly yours, Dominic Corpuz.

*

Dear Jesus:

2 much H8 n da 808. Peace. Luke.

*

Dear Jesus:

So many frigging drama queens on this island. Old and new, out of and in the closet. Feels like a bad soap opera without a cliffhanger, like Dynasty without Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter. No wonder none of this is televised on MSNBC. With all this drama, bordering on B-rated, we should all take a box of Dramamine (or Ambien) with Kool-Aid and give our legislators a break for once. If Rep. Gene Ward can equate the passing of this bill to 9/11, saying Hawaii would never be the same just as the U.S. was never the same again after 9/11, then I can compare this exhaustive drama to the Jim Jones Guyana tragedy, except we’ll be RIP just for couple days. The one good thing is that we can give our beloved officials some peace and quiet and open air to duke it out amongst themselves. After all, we elected them for this very reason. Who knows? By the time we wake up from our deep slumber, Hawaii might be in for a big surprise. Or not. Marty, Mililani Mauka.

*

Dear Jesus: Kindly thank Speaker Emeritus for taking us on a meandering excursion to Jerusalem, the doctrines of Jesus, the bus stop of silence that’s been installed specifically for him. Mahalo.

*

Dear Jesus:

Just requested Rep. Chris Lee (hunk times ten, and those six-pack abs!) to be my friend on FB. Hope he confirms.

Charlene Kobayashi, 35.

*

Dear Jesus:

Are you behind—or an accomplice to—the creation of some of these Hawaii representatives? Please say no. Some of them make the twisted characters in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, and John Waters’ early flicks starring Divine sane and saner. One just out-channeled Ann Coulter, another used the platform to poorly imitate Glenn Close in Damages. Then there’s the wonder duo who should just deactivate: the Hawaiian version of Palin and the Pacific Islander who “received a Third-World education” (his exact words, not mine) who confused democracy with anarchy. Not to forget the legislator who sounds as if he was born out of a bar in Koreamoku. Please say you had no role in their genetic and psychological make-up. Awaiting your YES or NO reply, Allan (two “L’s” followed by an “A.” Allan, not Allen. Allen is Woody, mine is African-American, like Allan Houston, no relation to Whitney, no relation to Eli. The world is small but we’re not all related, you know).

*

Dear Jesus:

Regarding Representative Lulu Mae Kahele from the Big Island. First, teach her the proper use of symbolism or metaphor. Her use of a bag of rice to signify a Hawaiian cultural staple is just wrong and an insult to the Hawaiian people she claims to belong to. Shouldn’t it be a bag of poi, kalua pork, pipikaula? And, correct me if I’m wrong, Jesus, but isn’t this bill about same-sex marriage equality? What theft for the Hawaiians is she talking about? Is she operating on Hawaii Standard Time or still trapped in the vog zone of Kona? If my friend Ku’ualoha, who is Hawaiian, goes into convulsions because of Rep. Lulu Mae Kahele’s convoluted definition of Hawaiian culture and identity, I’m going to blame it on her. Also, remind her to stop saying she supports equality and the LGBT community, because, obviously, she doesn’t. And if I can just make one last suggestion, remind her she is a representative in Hawaii State Capitol and not at the Kodak Theater attending an Academy Awards ceremony. She turned her argument into a tireless Oscar “thank you” speech. Was she even nominated? For what film? “A Day in the Life of Sam, the Spam?”

Just my two cents, Lucky Machado, Ph.D, English Renaissance Lit.

*

Dear Jesus:

Please take Representative Sam Judas with you. Each and every silver strand of her mullet. We never asked her to be our poster child. Instead, she has turned her back on us to favor what she calls her “conscience”. Did her conscience tell her to deny people like us equal rights, too? Obviously and, obviously, she was trying to cater to the hysterical group disrupting the legal proceedings from outside the Capitol. Well, we don’t need her, and people like her, in our community and in our struggle for equality. So wish her the best of luck from us, as she starts her equality-robbing existence in her new community. She can rest assure she won’t be invited to any of our ceremonies, celebrations, and cookouts.

Signed, 500 members of LOVE, Lesbians Organizing Vanguards of Eros.

*

Dear Jesus:

END OF THE WORLD x 2, 30 YES’s, 19 NO’s, 2 CHICKEN SHITs.

Lala Bushwell, E.R., Queen’s Medical Center.

*

Dear Jesus:

I have been up since midnight, watching and listening to lawmakers vote yes or against a bill that will determine a part of my future. It is disturbing and infuriating to have what should’ve been my right in the first place be questioned, weighed, supported, divided, even manipulated. Fortunately, there were more than enough representatives who voted (a few with reservations) to grant me that right for the first time tonight. It is now 3:30 in the morning. There is still time left to pick up the remains of a dream and let it roam with other mysteries before it returns back to me to whisper, “There, there, almost there, you and I.” Goodnight for now.

Yours Truly.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

zamora linmark

R. ZAMORA LINMARK‘s latest poetry collection, Pop Verite, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press. He has just completed his third novel titled These Books Belong to Ken Z. He is the Distinguished Visiting Associate Professor in Creative Writing at University of Miami and is currently working on a sequel to his first novel Rolling The R’s which, in 2016, will be twenty years old.

[Header Photo: ‘Aloha’ (CC) Robert Couse-Baker / @ Flickr]

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