Thursday, November 30, 2006

Homeward Bound

[Eds. note: This is the 12th of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Carrie Rautmann

Kolea sees the rising of Orion's Belt,
And follows the belt
Into Dawn's day.
He spent his winter
On green pastures of Kauai
Nourished by rain waters
Which have fallen from
Wai'ale ale to swell into rivers and land.

Plumage changes, reminding him
Of his return to the Alaskan tundra.
How can he know this path
Of 3,000 miles across ocean
To ancient nesting grounds
His grandmother has used?
What faith does he need
To ride through currents of air
Across vast waters
To reach land?

He arrives in open tundra,
And finds his feathered
Brothers and sisters.
Seeking his mate,
They find each other
Build their nest.
Eggs laid, they wait patiently.
Hatching, the young ones
Feed well, and grow strong
For the journey home.
They watch the sky,
For the sign to return.

Some seekers who have
Called him papakolea
Follow him now in double hulled
Canoes, praying to the night sky
While papakolea listens for the
Whisper of the dragon thrashing
Across dark skies.
In the middle of the ocean
He rides on dragon's breath
To find a pasture on an island
Where he had fed a year ago.

Paddling canoes
Tracing after stardust from papakolea,
They reach the shores
And reunite to land.
In this way,
Seabirds and seekers
Find reunion.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Morning Dew

[Eds. note: This is the eleventh of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Carrie Rautmann

Taro leaf cradles morning dew
Sunlight scattering
Silver tones into garden patch
Casting notions of fertility
And vitality into day.
Outward bound,
Yet held in pregnant pause,
Female water,
Round and full upon leaf,
Speaks of muted heart shape green
And ancient purple lineage
Of Mother taro.
How can one drop be held
In such Reverent Suspension?
Separate, yet offered as gift
In a hungry moment
To thirsty tongues who may drink
From this leaf,
Or to the wind, who may
Cast this water onto Earth in one shake.
What journey can this dew drop begin?

And inside the light of Dawn
Streams onto the faces
Of Two who have woven in embrace.
One drop of Essence reaches egg.
In female waters,
Life begins in womb,
Eggs multiplying again and again.
Innocence, born from Passion,
Becomes alive from this Union

And outside, the morning dew
Dances its belly dance
Upon leaf, like a heartbeat
Drumming itself into life,
And when the drop falls to Earth,
It innocently begins
The journey again,
Drinking upon Earth,
To river to ocean to cloud,
To fall to Earth again, and
Again, and again and again.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Blessing

[Eds. note: This is the tenth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Rocky Riedel

A rock spoke to me. It was in the stream up there in Kapahi, at the little bridge near the end of the road. I was leaning over the white wooden railing, watching the water glisten as it danced down the stream. The water and I were both reflecting.

I was there for a while when a rock, its nose jutting up just above the happy water, started speaking to me. I could barely see its mouth but it was definitely gurgling and burbling, asking me to listen as the water washed over its face.

I can’t repeat what it said because it didn’t use specific words. It was more as if crystal droplets of language leapt from the rock’s lips, landed on my skin and soaked straight through to my heart. Suddenly full of unspeakable knowing, my heart brimmed over. Grace anointed my very soul like a rich soothing oil.

I don’t remember how much time passed and I don’t remember what I was thinking or if people walked by or even if it rained. I can only tell you this: I was healed and I was loved.

After a while I knew it was time for me to leave. I bowed low to the rock, humbly thanking it for its glorious blessing. And then I crossed the bridge to the other side.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Returning To My Island Home

[Eds. note: This is the ninth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Coral Miles

Longings soon to be fulfilled
Doors fall open, my heart leaps,
Inhaling deeply, memories awake
Sweet fragrance fills the air
But then, other odors linger there

Chant: Welcoming home… Welcoming home…
Welcoming home…

Seeking again visions of my youth
Waking to compelling truth
Quiet retreats, unfilled shore
Once were mine, but now no more

Chant: Searchin’… Searchin’… Searchin’…
Searchin’… Searchin’… Searchin’…

Crawling traffic, multiplied lights
Why can’t I see the stars at night?
Crossing fields, traversing lanes
Finding barred with fence and chains

Chant: Kapu, Keep-out… Kapu, Keep-out…
Kapu, Keep-out…

We must gain we must prosper
Keep it coming, growing faster
Pursuing hope in ancient places
Metal bird in air erases

Chant: Aloha compromising, another building rising… Aloha compromising, another building rising...

Youth with smiles, lilting laughter
Aunties, tutus, running after
Now empire feet and belly things
Beeping sounds and smoky rings

Chant: We like ta-ttoos… We like ta-ttoos… We
like ta-ttoos…

Once proudly worn your teeming reef
Now dying rock and crowded beach
Still the water warm and clear
The sun still warms my shoulders
Is it just that I am older?

Chant: Paddle hut… Paddle ho… Paddle hut…
Paddle ho…

Lei circling my neck, fast fading flowers
Regaining paradise, hope in measured hours
Though our island keeps on giving
Growth with pain, pain with living

Chant: Tourist in jeep... Tourist in jeep...
Tourist in jeep...

Returning to my island home
You and I have surely grown
Heaven’s touch still surrounds
Your velvet peaks, your radiant ocean
Inspiring our divine emotion

Chant: Terra healing, God revealing… Terra healing, God revealing…

Questioning what I must do
How can I give back to you?
A willing sacrifice I pledge
I will sow... I will seed
Endeavoring to fill the need

Strains of: “Aloha Oe”

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Walking Trail

[Eds. note: This is the eighth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Charles Looney

It is a walking trail.
It offers
a lungful of plumeria air,
a chat with the broke winged nene,
a glimpse of heron blue predator
rippling the green lagoon waters
with wings to an island, an egg, a fish,
and silly white-masked Coots
or red-masked Moorhens
who talk like geese
who walk on tiny stilts
who want to but can’t be
ducks at all.

It is to be assaulted
with the usual machines
for the usual reasons.
Some will survive the
carbon monoxide
and the ripping of the earth.
Some will collapse
into history.
Some will linger
to remember,
a poison tree on a poison hill.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wild Sea

[Eds. note: This is the seventh of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Mary Hunter Leach

Surf is up! The wild sea is calling,
calling all who hear, calling even me (one who does not surf).
This is not a day to be indoors, to be contained,
I tell my friend. We must go out! And so we leave
our smaller, undone things, called by the wild sea.

How high they are, these waves--huge, unconquerable, salt-spraying waves--
crashing over lava rock and shoreline,
ten, no twenty feet high: glorious!
Breaking, spraying, breaking
again and again,
rhythm unseen, rhythm nevertheless.
Giant waves rush onto shore, take the beach that we know,
claiming the sand we stand on, loose branches, seaweed, so many shells.
All moves seaward, even the eyes of scattering tourists,
who find no resting places in the sun. Not today!
This is ocean, nothing less will rule!

We enter her, slowly at first, aware of danger.
Soon we are swimming out, rolling in, carried farther and farther out
each time, though we are still near shore.
I long to roll past all this, take the highest wave and soar,
but even our strongest strokes are no match
for ocean’s sweeping song.
I hear my fear, taste the salt of it, asking
how far into this wildness will I be thrown?
Will I return, still be alive?
No answer from the huge waves crashing, no
letting up, no stopping this wild sea. She is alive!

My friend’s gentle voice, laughing, relaxes me
until I become the water: I am the sea,
flowing in and out toward shore, trusting the unseen
rhythm, all that wildness flowing into
something I can bear.

Later that night, I still cannot contain myself.
I must see your face, must bring you this wild sea.
You are covered in duty, I interrupt you, yet you let me,
smiling. “I can smell it,” you say. You know the surf is up.
“Yes,” I say. I know you do, as I look at you,
calling to your own unseen wild seas.

I know you know the wild sea.

Friday, November 24, 2006


[Eds. note: This is the sixth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Kimberly Kirk

Thursday, November 23, 2006


[Eds. note: This is the fifth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Suzanna Kennedy

I surrender to the coconuts that fall unto my roof and wake me up at night
I surrender to the roosters that crow before dawn
I surrender to the mangos too numerous to harvest, that litter my yard, fermenting
I surrender to gecko poop on my furniture
I surrender to the mold that belies the moist salt air
I surrender to you, Kauai
You have stripped me naked of all
my armor and weapons
You’ve struck down my defenses against love
Defenses against vulnerability
Against intimacy
And authenticity
I’ve done battle with you, Kauai
Trying to keep your abundance at bay
To preserve my illusion of order
Trying to squeeze your love into shapes and
forms that where familiar
But why?
Those forms never worked for me anyway
Those forms were my prison
Why cling?
Why fight?
Why force and push?
Why labor at all?
I surrender to you, Kauai
You win
Go ahead and love me, anyway you want

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


[Eds. note: This is the fourth of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

C. 2005, Dawn Fraser Kawahara

By the heiau a cloud envelops me
obscuring the river, obscuring the sea,
a rainbow rises, shimmer bridge
from the Hundley Hill pines
to Kalepa ridge
and the plum trees
at the edge where Raymond took his life.
The road drops down to a leaden river,
a tarnished sea, how could it be
that he had had enough
at twenty-five. . .
His name in the roll book
ten years ago comes alive–
the boyish grin, intelligent eyes,
well liked, well grounded,
attends to his work, no trouble
even to a substitute.
After school we’d see him
hefting his golf bag,
power drive, two putts
topping his good short game--
Raymond Napoleon.
Met him again in Waipouli
friendly as ever
white apron wrapping his waist,
his family, he said, was fine.
And Raymond? Fine, just fine,
not much time for golf
working Aloha Diner.
Same grin–the likeable boy
now a likeable man.

On the way to golf
one summer afternoon
we saw a car parked
by the trees that cling to the ledge,
wondered who might have stopped
to look toward O`ahu,
nap on the heiau’s edge.
The next day’s obituary–shock!
as we remembered Raymond.
Later we learned
he’d looped the noose
on a branch of those same trees.
We lash ourselves, so unaware,
oblivious to his pain,
how could we pass so close to his last stand
unknowing, unable
to reach out, hold him
to the promise of his life,
stop our former student friend
from following his dead-end plan.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mourning the Bougainvillea

[Eds. note: This is the third of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Keahi Felix

They are fallen warriors, now assigned to unknown graves. One day these warriors of beauty and goodness stood at their posts as they had done for years on end. The next they were gone.

They demanded nothing of us, not wages, not shelter, not even food. They were friends of nature and nature took care of them.

Who will remember them now? We know not where they are buried. We, some of us, rather many of us who benefited, recall the blessing of riotous color they gave us, Red, Pink, Yellow, Purple, Orange when, by divine instinct, they answered the prompting of the seasons. Was this the crime they were accused of and for which they died?

Their posts empty; left like scars on an abstract painting whose form still remains intact. Those who wait at the bus stop stare unbelievingly. The tourists who took pictures beneath their arbor like branches will not recognize the spots as the same ones they took home with them in their photo albums from their vacation on Kaua`i.

We, many of us, mourn the absence of the bougainvillea gateway that was meant mostly for those who live on the Garden Island. Now our hearts are taxed beyond repair.

In a parking lot in the center of the government, cultural, and business district lived one generation of our bloodline. We will not be able to grow a substitute of a like spirit of self-giving, unless we ourselves are willing to help nature nurture nature.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Hems of Her Skirts

[Eds. note: This is the second of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Kerith Edwards

When we come to Kauai to live, she gives us a gift. Or she does not. She is a living intelligence, a biological and spiritual force of her own, like a woman who is so large that we cannot quite see her with our eyes, but whose will nonetheless moves the air, the ocean, the land, and our own air- and water-filled bodies. According to her sensibilities, we are either allowed to stay and prosper or not. How many people have I met here who say, “Ah, well, Kauai either embraces you or spits you out.” The land, sea, and air are charged with an intelligent mana, and when we are ready to listen and respond, we are given a graceful, peaceful life within the embrace of Kauai’s strong and loving arms. Those of us who love and honor this place know how sweet and kind that embrace can be.

Sadly, what I have seen in my time here, is that those who are charged with the official protection and preservation of this massive, sacred and powerful “woman”—the Island of Kauai—have allowed her to become increasingly burdened and distressed. It is as if the hems and ruffles of her skirts, all around the periphery of the island, are becoming ripped and soiled, tugged upon by disrespectful and self-serving children. The restless tourist overload; the development of resorts, big homes, and commercial centers; the all-day traffic jams, and the heavy American corporate presence; all of these create stress not only in people who make this home, but in the lands and waters we depend upon for our well-being and peace of mind. How many residents have I heard softly remarking, “Ah, well, maybe we will get another hurricane and get rid of all these tourists and developers. We need a radical change.” What is happening when people aim their hopes for relief and change at a potential hurricane? Perhaps they feel things are out of control.

Kauai’s well-being is a sacred purpose shared by those who love, cherish, care for and honor this island, and we all know that something must change, and soon. When I get sick after swimming in the ocean and break out with infections across my skin, even after scrubbing hard and long, I think, “Something must change, and soon.” When I go to town to buy food, collect mail, meet a friend, and then end up in a seething bumper-to-bumper traffic jam for 45 minutes just to get back home, I say to myself, “Something must change, and soon.” When I take my hard-earned and hard-saved money and look for agriculturally zoned land to buy so that I can start a small farm, and then find that much of the good agricultural land has been illegally developed and is now unaffordable for working people like me, I think, “Something must change, and soon.”

I love the great woman that is Kauai, and change must come--soon. No one and nothing should be permitted to further soil and disturb her shimmering skirts, her glittering jewels, her wild flowing hair, her full mothering breasts, her rounded pregnant belly, her beautifully textured skin, her glinting (and sometimes bared) teeth, her long curving arms, and her warm, fresh breath. So, lovers of this precious Woman, what should be done? Bring on the hurricane? Or make one of our own?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Party Dress

[Eds. note: This is the first of 14 runner-up posts from the recent Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition.]

by Richard Diamond

“Am I going to die, Richard?”

I sit quietly, as always, staying with the Presence. I have felt the Presence as awareness, reflecting “isness,” or the “I Am.” Lately, though, the Presence has been filled with light; it is Light. As I remain in the stillness, I experience the Light as the I Am. This Light is the threshold . . . a gateway to that which lies beyond all form . . . all language and all metaphor. I love this Light. It is mySelf.

“Yes, mom, you’re going to die.” I respond.

She closes her eyes and “bounces” her head on the pillow nervously in a kind of circular motion, a habit of hers that helps her release the contraction of fear.

“We are all going to die,” I add. “You are not alone here. Everyone goes.”

“I’m afraid, Richard.”

“I know, Mom. That is why I am here.”

“Why are you here?” a question, she has asked me countless times before.

“I am here to help you let go of your fear.”

“It will never happen,” she responds. “I will always be afraid.”

“Perhaps, mom. But I am here anyway; I am the part of your mind that reflects back to you the peace that lies beyond all fear.”

She closes her eyes again, . . . . and bounces.

Suddenly she stills a bit and opens her eyes. She glances at the closet in her room and asks, “Is my party dress there?”

“Party dress?” I reply, wondering, looking towards the closet.

“Yes, I need my party dress for my party. Can you get me my party dress?”

“Yes,” I reply, of course.

When I am with my mother, I don’t speak to her as a 91 year old suffering from dementia, but prefer to keep the interchange “across the board” and simply be available for whatever comes up. In short, I approach the interaction like an exchange I might have with anyone.

“What color would you like?” I ask her.

“I would like a dark color?”

“Like blue? or green?”

“Yes,” she replies. “Blue or green.”

And with that Mom bounces again, closing her eyes.

“I’m afraid, Richard,” Mom repeats her mantra again.

“Yes, Mom, I know,” I follow suit, my response completing this short dialogue that we have had now . . . hundreds of times. “That is why I am here.”

Friday, November 17, 2006


(Eds. note: This is the fourth post of four winners in the 2006 Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition. Each will post in successive days followed by the 14 runners up, so be sure to make daily visits to]

by Kimie Sadoyama

Hard working people
with rivers running down their faces
Skin so shiny
It holds the sun

And hands
Hands as twisted as the roots of the earth
Sobering in their powers
to predict the weather
plant their seeds

And even at the gambling tables
hidden from the law
their hands tell tales
Stories of Cockfights and poverty
Relatives in a foreign land
and nature in the raw

Hard days
Days when men and women
cut nine foot sugarcane by hand

Long slashing caneknives
All hacking away at vast fields
Like ants at a raid

And the sweat that stung their eyes
and salted their lips was like a whip

So they did not even mind
the buzzing of mosquitos
'neath the halo of kerosene lamps
nor the squirming of children
all stuffed on one bed
like logs on a fire

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Misty Pali

(Eds. note: This is the third post of four winners in the 2006 Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition. Each will post in successive days followed by the 14 runners up, so be sure to make daily visits to]

by Mary Hunter Leach

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Hitch-Hiker in Old Lihue Town

(Eds. note: This is the second post of four winners in the 2006 Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition. Each will post in successive days followed by the 14 runners up, so be sure to make daily visits to]

by Juan Lugo

She was hitch-hiking along Rice Street in old Lihue Town.
No, she appeared to be floating with her thumb and arm held high.
Long, black shiny, wind tossed hair, and midriff exposed.
Her jutting breasts were covered by a fiery red blouse.
Tight fitting jeans masquerading as skin,
...her face a study of arrogance and anger within.

Cars passed without stopping. She looked at them with an intense hateful stare.
Then, she would turn and face down the next, with a long scathing glare.
She would wipe the sweat from her face and brush back her hair.
She opened her mouth as if uttering a curse,
...I don't know if she spoke, I was too far away.

There was a haughty manner about her, demanding fear or respect.
Her shoulders were thrown back, head inclined to one side.
She had a devil-may-care attitude and obvious disdain.
She reminded me of Pele. Fire-Goddess: radiant and proud.
...cloaked in mystery from a forgotten land and a forgotten time.

She would challenge the passing cars with open contempt.
Then, she would turn around and continue her journey.
I wanted to offer her water, a soda or a place just to rest.
But, I was afraid. Afraid of her glare and afraid of her quest,
...I didn't know why and I was too scared to ask.

She marched away proudly, disgusted with those who had denied her a ride.
She knew what she wanted and didn't care what they thought.
She suddenly stopped, turned, and stared directly at me.
She smiled, winked, and filled my soul with peace.
Then she disappeared, floating, hitch-hiking,
...and walking along Rice Street in Old Lihue Town.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Makauwahi Cave

[Eds. note: This is the first post of four winners in the 2006 Kauai on My Mind Creative Competition. Each will post in successive days followed by the 14 runners up, so be sure to make daily visits to]

by Lois Ann Ell

“Where are we going again?” I asked, new to this place, new to this man, new to this life. “You’ll see,” he grinned, flashing his dark eyes at mine and then away, back to the road. The road was a dusty one, with patches of old asphalt our tires tried to link together. It soon turned to all hard red dirt, with potholes causing the rusty Ford pickup to rattle and shake, our beers foaming up inside the bottles.

We slowly drove out of familiar surroundings: passing the outskirts of the hotel golf course, passing the stables with docile trail horses tied up to fence posts, passing one abandoned cane field after another with rusted open gates. A little nervous, I otherwise felt safe with him. We finally stopped at a dead end, the dirt road suddenly swallowed up by buffalo grass. “Come on”, he whispered. We got out and started walking through the tall grass, its tiny hairs scraping my freshly shaven legs. Finally the blue ocean emerged, peeking out through the green. To the left was beach extending on with the high sun heating the sand and sparkling the sea. To the right was a large rocky cliff which the waves beat white fury into, and dark clouds hung heavily above the rocks. We headed right.

Walking along the beach with no one but ourselves to be seen, I followed him. Hopping over dead reef, trudging through a sandy stream, stepping right where he had stepped, we fell in to a rhythm—until I bumped into him, stopped still at a huge rock formation with a small opening in front of us. “Be quiet, and don’t think bad thoughts”, he said, and crawled inside the cave.

Inside was a dark dome covered in sharp, crystal stalagmites. The ground was cold and sandy and flat. “Are there bats in here?” I asked, and immediately remembered I was supposed to be quiet. He just kept going, silently slipping through another small opening to the right of the cave. This one led us into a larger cave, but revealed an open ceiling, pouring hazy sunlight in and freeing up my tight chest. A large rock was centered in the middle of the dome, with dried lei scattered upon it. I suddenly became quiet, looking around me, but I didn’t know why. We stood there for a while, silent.

Ryan told me later about Makauwahi cave at Maha’ulepu Beach, and it has since become an archeological hot spot, home now to scientists who excitedly explore it every few years. I wonder if they are quiet while they are in there.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Readings at Small Town Coffee

More than 40 people filled Small Town Coffee Company on Monday, November 13 to hear winners and runners up read their entries in our 2006 Creative Competition. It was an inspiring night. Thanks to everyone who showed up and a big mahalo to the more than 60 who submitted entries in the contest. We'll do it again next year. First, though, watch for a student competition in early 2007.

Thanks, as well, to our sponsors: Small Town Coffee Company, Kauai Pasta and Blossoming Lotus.

And starting tomorrow, we'll post our winning and running up entries, one a day. So, keep checking back.

Love Poems from a Tall Island

by Gae Rusk

I. seeking love

my land is a star
my land is lime and ocher forming
pointing to a beleaguered heart
my land has edges shaping me
glowing runway blue in my dark

I began complete
I reached land anchored
my answers sought questions but
gave up
so I remain alone
surveying my details
measuring my days
forming the cartography of me

I will find you
studying this atlas
you are out there
on my globe somewhere
and I pray
you have learned
to read maps

gae rusk copyright 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Got Tail?

by Richard Pettigrew

Lobster tails sway side to side
Under ocean rhythms.

A heat wave current
Excites the swaying tails
To swing and shimmer a loud mating siren.

Agitated shellac bodies thrust and
Crackle towards receptive ledges.

Tails on the prowl.

Using a ray of suggestive light
The lobster undulates a full body arch
Sparking a water scent.

In the gushing of tidal flow
She holds tight the quivering tail.

Crying out.

Butter me.
Butter me, now!!!