Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not Today

by Lea Marie Taddonio

The tsunami alarm sounds off the first Tuesday of
each month.

Cane fields are stirring like water just before
wind.

The cat on the step ignoring.

The gecko pipes once.

A truck backfires up the canyon.

A cloud becomes turtle
then a dragon that eats the turtle
and it seems like such a waste of time to die.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Big Boat

by Lea Marie Taddonio

Where do boats come from?
Arriving as tiny miracles
We look up from the want ads
pause in the middle of polite conversations.

This boat is different.
It boasts about the horizon’s secret
loudly so you can’t miss hearing
the exact bulk of its bank account.

I had a lover who was bigger than this boat.
Every time I looked at my ocean
He was there, nodding on the waves.
Until finally
I created a hurricane.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Skullwalking

by Lea Marie Taddonio

Tourists at Ke‘e Beach pound over the skulls
of ancient ones.

Quietly urinate in thickets, spin tires in fine sand
groan about the clot of cars
trying to circulate out the parking lot at sundown.

The rhythm here is not the ocean
but a collective heartbeat

I am I am I am

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Paving of Paradise




by Jerry Von Schott

Dreams
covered in concrete.
Hardened reality
poured stony gray.
Hopes paved over
in flowing
unconciousness.
Paradise
gasps in darkness.
Crushed
under the weight
of cold slab.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Young Fruit

by Caleb Odam


Green is the smell of grass in my face
when I take a nap at the park

or the deep flavor of arugula.

Green is dancing dandelions, soft soccer fields
and sticky spirulina.

Green is young fruit

and the ferns that
crawled out of the ocean
at the beginning of the earth.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Come Alive Dream

[This is the final post from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green."]

by Craig Davies

First open your ears; now hear my plea.
Peace is a Dream that will come to be.

It all starts right here in our little home.
From this tiny island, Peace will be born.

Many have come here knowing not why.
The answers elude us; perhaps we should pry.

"Why are we here?" I ask of our Gods.
Surely They know why we do trod.

"To be an example”, They say to me,
"Of Love, of Peace and true Harmony".

“Energy of Ages has been given to you,
So that you may be leaders...you know what to do”.

To be a World model , that is our deed.
The spark of ignition, we will be the seed.

To feed all our people, no more need we seek.
We have fertile lands and the best of technique.

Self-sufficiency, the spirit is there.
We have all we need with plenty to share.

Alternative energy, so many options.
Wind, solar, hydro...without any toxins.

All said and done, great heights we’ll have soared.
The time has come to cut the cord.

Hawaiian sovereignty, a strong energy.
On this we must ride for then we will be...

A sovereign nation unto itself,
No need of war, guns on the shelf.

Peace we can have; Peace isn’t for sale.
So let's get to work, we must tip the scale.

The One Hundredth Monkey, have you heard of this?
If my vision is true...Kaua`i is it!

Awaken old souls, the time has arrived.
We've been called to Kaua`i to Come Alive.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kekaha Signal Light

[This is the sixth of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Juan Lugo

While traveling to Kokee with my grandchildren, driving past the small town of Kekaha, we came upon a broken and neglected signal light. One of the children asked, “Grandpa, that light is old, broken and not working. Why doesn’t someone remove it and take it to the dump? It could fall on a car and hurt someone or cause an accident.”

Memories flooded through me and I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I pulled off to the side of the road to compose my thoughts. The children must have thought they had said something wrong and after a few moments of silence, I decided to share with them a couple of stories of what the light meant to me and to those that grew up on the Island of Kauai. We stepped out of the car and I began to share my memories of the Kekaha Signal Light.

“This signal light on the road leading to Waimea Canyon represents the Marquesans, the first group of people to settle these islands. They introduced the sugar cane. They did not realize that this plant would attract a group of businessmen and cause the eventual overthrow of the unformed Hawaiian Monarchy. It represents the legacy of the sugar cane industry. This industry brought together a diversified group of people from all over the world. Each group being very proud of their rich ethnic culture and equally proud of their neighbor’s culture providing our Island of Kauai with an exotic flavor. It represents the agricultural greening of Kauai and of Hawaii. The light also reminds me of my childhood. This light was magical to me while growing up on this beautiful island of Kauai and it opened my heart and eyes to that magic.”

I pulled drinks and snacks from the cooler and gave them to the children. I continued my story. “In those days the trains would bring in the harvested sugar cane from the fields to the mill for processing. The method of harvesting was to set the fields on fire and after the fire died down, a dozer with a rake in the front would push the burning cane into rows. A crane with a grappling hook would load the burnt cane onto the train. Sometimes the dying embers would be re-ignited and a blazing inferno would occur. The train had to make it back to the mill very quickly. The light was installed to stop the little traffic that made its way up or down the Waimea Canyon.”

“The Kekaha Signal Light is a reminder of simpler times. We listened to nature’s whispers and to stories of our past. Today, it is the home of a family of Myna birds with the glass broken by those individuals that do not know of that time.”

Clearing my throat and fully immersed in the story, I continued, “I grew up in the Wailua Homestead on a Pineapple farm. Working in the fields was hard work and I hated it. My parents had a twenty-five acre farm and we grew pineapples as our main crop. We also had milk cows, pigs, chickens and vegetables to care for. Since the pineapple was our main source of revenue, my siblings and I had to work in the fields after school and on week-ends. We could not afford hiring outsiders.”


“So, when my father would announce on a Friday Evening that we would be going to Kekaha to watch the signal light change colors, we could hardly control our excitement! Not only would we be treated to an absolutely wonderful display of magic in seeing the lights change colors in the middle of nowhere, we would not have to work in the fields that week-end!”

“That night we would ready our surfboards, fishing poles, Hawaiian Slings and camping gear. These activities would be interspersed with talking about the magic of seeing the signal light change colors. I remember thinking that the changing colors were magic in the purest sense and it would send me spiraling off into the world of my imagination! We would talk late into the night and my mother would finally scold us and tell us to go to sleep.”

“Early, Saturday Morning we would finish our chores and then load up the back of our pick-up truck with the surfboards, fishing poles, Hawaiian Slings, food, drinks, guitars, ukuleles and camping equipment. We would be balanced precariously amidst all of the paraphernalia as we made our way to Kekaha from Wailua.”

“Once we reached Kekaha, we would set-up camp on the beach and then we would start doing everything we had talked about the previous evening. Whether it was board surfing, body surfing, fishing, spear diving, or simply lazing about and eating, whatever activity we were engaged in, would come to a halt, when we heard the sound of the whistle from the train as it made its way to the mill from the fields. We would run, helter-skelter through the small town of Kekaha and reach the light as it changed colors! I remember, jumping up and down, cheering, clapping my hands and joining in with my adult ohana and siblings as the train approached and the light would change colors! It was so incredible and I never tired of seeing the magic!”

“Later that evening, with my opu full, I would drift off to sleep listening to the gentle strumming of the guitars and ukuleles. I would listen to the songs and watch the dancing by the campfire. I would be lulled to sleep by the rhythmic pattern of the waves as they splashed upon the beach. I would look up at the sky and watch the moon and the stars play hide-n-seek behind the clouds. Many happy memories filled my memory banks. Happy memories, that I could make a withdrawal from, when my life was filled with strife and challenges. Those happy memories would see me through the troublesome times of my life.”

“And, that is why,” I whispered to my grandchildren, “I will always be grateful to the Kekaha Signal Light. It showed me how to believe in magic and to live my life open to daily miracles! A magical beauty that it is all around us! We only need to open our eyes and our hearts to see it.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Visit to Kaua'i

[This is the fifth of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Laurie Barton

Red was our first impression:
Martian soil, as if we'd landed
in a dream of Mars, spinning

around a very hot sun.
One mountain, like a man
or giant creature dozing

in a bed of wild sugarcane
greener than anything, ground
still wet from all the raining

that spilled into a commotion
of roosters. Nothing sounded
like home, there was nothing

alive in our dry imaginations
like the green tunnel we found:
leafy arch to Koloa, swaying

interlocked trees, shiny green
passage to history, to a town
of sugar-ghosts, humming

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Power of Peace

[This is the fourth of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Kimie Sadoyama

Let us give peace the power of a seed
With the potential of a tree
Let us have peace spread
And grow like a weed, grass or wildflowers
Let us give peace the power to be fruitful as grapes
Hearty in its vines clinging unto rocks
Even in times of drought
It can produce the finest of wines
Aged to perfection and medicinal in its cure
Of hatred, anger, fear, stress and aggression
Let us spread this seed of peace as if it will take
hold
And heal this planet and its atmosphere
And its ozone and its universe
And let all the beings and ants and soil
And planetary heavens straight up to God rejoice
In its pure seed of peace and love and healing
Green, green, greenness
So full of earth and joy and fruits
And leaves and seeds and stems and roots
And peace and peace and growth and love and joy
That we can plant in our hearts and soul
Forever for eternity for my Keiki*
Let us plant in our hearts this seed of peace
So that we can breathe
So we can love
So we can dance, so we can live
So we can be free to fly like a bee
Let us give peace the power of the seed
The power of the weed
The power of the wildflower, the power of the tree
Let us be free to be at peace like the tree
Like the wind in the leaves of the forest
Clapping its hands to the wonders of the wind
The wonders of the wild
The wonders of the stars
The wonders of the universal me
The universal we, the universal us
The universe of peace
Let us give peace the power of love
The power of We, the power of free
The power to be
Let us be
And live in peace

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mother Taro

[This is the third of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Carrie Rautmann

I met Mother Taro once,
In the greenery of
John Pia's Taro Patch.
She was more plant than woman,
And yet more root than wing--
Though her heart shaped wings
Repelled water as well
As any albatross or nene.
A rare bird in spirit
She shared her plight to me
Of time after time
Watching the changes
In the faces of human kind.
She remembers being a Goddess
And providing for all the people
In a time where She
Would travel with the people
Over waters near and far
To share her spirit
With new families.
And now, She feels like a story
Told and retold by the elders
Alive more in the memories
And less on the land.
As she spoke, the message
Became more and more clear.
When might and power and speed and money
Seem of more value than
Root, wing, earth and pluck
We must take the time, take the time
To tend each keiki and tend with care
So they may multiply
In healthy soil, water and air
So We the Living
Can live into eternity.
For the winds of time
Will spite the might,
Power, speed and money
She said.
Seize this time
And take the time,
Take the time
To tend
We the living.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Living on Island

[This is the second of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Risa Kaparo

Through the sea of soft tissue I call my body
liquid landscapes pulsing
I sense the heartbeat this blue planet
the vigorous yes green
longing itself toward light.
Here where rolling water
and upright water meet
where I call home.
Here things of the world crash
like my own relentless chatter
as waves upon the shore.
For a moment
I disenthrall from the turbulence.
I am
an ocean reconciled
depth to surface.


I am brought into remembering --
waves of time atop the formless.
Brought to freedom
by obedience,
listening choicelessly,
the way monks abide the monastery bell.

Brought here by devotion,
brought here as a parent.
The chimes—
blood insistence of children.
The discipline—
each purpose giving way.


(“Living on Island ” was originally published in the book “Embrace” by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2002.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Heart Chakra Symphony

[This is the first of seven runners-up from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning and runner-up entry will post on successive days, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com.]

by Sharon Douglas

Sunday morning KKCR classics
And I, in our timber home
Tucked on a Kalaheo hill
Gaze out on a symphony of green
Seeing sacred sound.

Members of the tree orchestra
From darkest emerald
To vivid, vibrant
Yellow infused chartreuse and lime,
Together creating harmonies of green

Ferns join the
Green sonata heart soaked song
furl and fray their leaves
Their many fingered hands of green
Playing the wind
Faster faster

Then drop away
Play a background tune

So now we see

Trees silently sing
their chlorophyll saturated songs
eucalyptus, mango, hau, albizia -
Iron wood too.

Breathing in
Their lungs and hearts expand

And from the background beat of green
Lillikoi lullaby,
Rainbow shower ruckus
Mass of pink-white butterfly petals
Softly settling raucous song of joy
Building crescendo
Pele’s Poinssiena posies
Passion exploding scarlet

All Harmonizing with
life giving, transformative
vitality of green

And off to the side
a tree trio
Sway, dip, bow
Rise, swoop, sweep
throw up green leafed arms
Celebrating the green grand finale

Friday, October 19, 2007

I am from

[This is the fifth--our student winner--of five winners from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning entry will post on successive days followed by the seven runners-up, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com over the next couple weeks.]

by Katie Ceria-Johnson

I am from the busy roads on Kauai.

I am from my mom’s lectures and my father’s unseen face,
From days of my brothers being too protective;
From surviving life’s problems, and getting stronger every day.
From hearing “think before you talk.”
I am from a place of a different kind where today is only borrowed ‘cause you’re not promised tomorrow.

I am from warm “Smores” over the campfire,
Loud fireworks, laughs and giggles at Grandma Ursula’s house on New Years Eve.
From sweet “Korean Chicken” and tasty “Chicken Papaya,” and
the satisfaction of a cold “Berry Delight” on a hot summer day.

I am from sun-kissed faces and red-faced pictures on a blue-skied, clear-water day.
From believing that friends and smiles are all you need to be happy.

I am from a difficult background, faced with stupid boys and tracks of tears rolling down my face.
From days of hoping for a better tomorrow.

I am from missing the warmth and touch of a dad and his daughter;
Where a memory is the only thing that lingers on.
I am from reminiscing the past and living for the future...
Where the story never ends and bumps on the road come from nowhere.

I am from understanding that everyone deserves a second chance and from believing that everyone is just trying to get by, and experiencing that God and me are the only ones that know the truth.

I am from...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Obake Bite You

[This is the fourth of five winners from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning entry will post on successive days followed by the seven runners-up, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com over the next couple weeks.]

by Kimie Sadoyama

She used to say, "Obake bite you." She was one strong woman, who made everything from scratch, even the long string lines full of tin plates hanging in a row, to chase the birds when the wind blew. JoAnn was so small, she always looked up to this big strong obake woman, as if she could scare anybody off her small plot of land, so full of everything. Not only did she have pigs and ducks, but she had all kind fruit trees and vegetables, some Hawaiian fruits not everybody had. But the most precious thing to this big obake lady, although you wouldn't think to look at her, was the cascading blue jade flower that only blooms every once-in-a-while. So you can see she did have a gentle heart. And JoAnn, so small and skinny, would follow her around as if she too would grow up to be as big and strong as her obachan. But no way. And every night when JoAnn would say, in the dark before she go sleep, "Good night Obachan," her obachan would only say back, "Obake bite you..."

When JoAnn was old enough to drive, her mother, she tell JoAnn, "Your obachan, she dress in all kind rags, I shame take her go shopping," So JoAnn, she tell her obachan, "I take you go shopping." When JoAnn went to pick her obachan up she was shocked to see her in a nice blue muumuu. So JoAnn, she figure, this obake woman, she just trying to teach my high-class mother a lesson. In fact, JoAnn, she always smiles when she sees her obachan walking around in public looking like the raw earth of her back-yard or a scarecrow she once made for her garden. For the clamor of tin plates, the quacking of ducks, and a greenhouse full of flowers and red earth was a world her obachan always carried with her whether she was in public or not.

When JoAnn went to college, her obachan, she feel so lonesome in a real Japanese way, so sabushi, that when she found out that JoAnn was coming home she would get into her nicest dress and sit on the chair outside her porch. And when someone walking by asks her how come she dressed up, she would just say, "JoAnn's coming home." For two weeks straight, everyday till dinnertime and even after the sun would go down, she would sit and wait for JoAnn to come home.

This obake lady, she not so strong no more, and the days, they all stretch together like birthdays and summers until JoAnn comes home. For she always sees inside this little runt JoAnn, the big obake lady she once was.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SKEPTICS: The Green Flash

[This is the third of five winners from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning entry will post on successive days followed by the seven runners-up, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com over the next couple weeks.]

by Dawn Kawahara

Sandals sliding along
the sloping mat of grass
toward the curve of sand,
warm, your hand in mine,
salt breeze rumples our hair, chills our skin
as the sun falls out of a winter solstice day--
last of the century.
We do not hurry toward sunset.
The spangled sea splashes foam,
dashes, lays bare
walls of buried sandstone.
High waves launch a steady assault
against the black and jagged cliff
that marks the end of the beach.
Cloud veils sift, the sun bounces once,
rays stabbing the line of cool blue at the western edge,
settles, slims to a narrow disk,
thin
and thinner still--a fiery slice
slipping,
slipped below horizon,
transformed, becomes an emerald prism.
We blink and stare
held by the spell of that slow jeweled wink,
stand vesper still,
then lift our arms, whoop, giddily spin,
splashing along the silver fringe
of the cove’s dusk roll and tumble of velvet purple.
When colors merge to gray on gray
your fingers lace through mine,
leading me home slowly.
As if at a signal
we both glance back toward the darkened portal
of that iridescent green flash
we’ve longed to see
but half-believed as myth
and only, now, perceive as lucid magic
presaging our new millennium gift.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Above Hanapepe Valley

[This is the second of five winners from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning entry will post on successive days followed by the seven runners-up, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com over the next couple weeks.]

by Schar Freeman

Monday, October 15, 2007

Spring Jog in Wailua

[This is the first of five winners from our second annual Creative Contest. This year's contest theme was "Green." Each winning entry will post on successive days followed by the seven runners-up, so be sure to make daily visits to www.kauaibackstory.com over the next couple weeks.]

by Brian Cronwall

Easter’s afternoon fields full of green
grown alone, no cattle in sight, no
white herons perched on cowbacks,
the grass rising up to a cloudy sky.

The brief breeze is refreshing,
a respite resurrecting the legs
and breathing into grasping lungs.
Two tire-flattened frogs stretch out
against the road. Three horses,
heads to flanks, stand nearly still
under tree shadows. I run by.

An ear-tagged goat lies near roots,
watching me from behind the fence
between us. Closer to home, purple
blossoms are wet on the pavement.

Slowing toward a walk, sweating,
Easing breath, a look at watch-time,
muscles strained: the run’s end
appears like a redemption, to feel
the O God good done on a spring afternoon,
green, as I too stretch out
under a cool, warming afternoon.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Kauaibackstory.com Announces Winners of 2007 Creative Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Kauaibackstory.com congratulates the 2007 “Green” creative competition winners Brian Cronwall for his poem, “Spring Jog in Wailua,” Schar Freeman for her image, “Above Hanapepe Valley,” Dawn Kawahara for her poem, “Skeptics: The Green Flash,” and Kimie Sadoyama for her story, “Obake Bite You.” And 13-year-old Katie Ceria-Johnson for her student entry, “I am from…”.

Winners and runners up (see list below) are invited to read and share their entries during the lunch hour of the Kauai Sustainability Conference at Kauai Community College in Puhi on Saturday, October 13, 2007, starting at 1:00 p.m. (Winners and runners up are asked to RSVP to kauaibackstory@yahoo.com.) Starting October 15, the submissions of the contest winners and runners up will begin posting on www.kauaibackstory.com.

Kauaibackstory.com is a venue for rigorous writing with a view about Kauai. Year-round, the on-line literary journal welcomes high-quality writing and thoughtful images from the public. All submissions are moderated by a three-person editorial board, however, not all are posted. Kauaibackstory.com encourages the expression of all voices and delights in words and images that shift thinking and open minds. Much like an on-line blog, kauaibackstory.com encourages interactive dialogue with the hopes that the time-honored tradition of kama'ilio, talk story, will build community and understanding.

Runners Up:

Sharon Douglas for “Heart Chakra Symphony”
Risa Kaparo for “Living on Island”
Carrie Rautmann for “Mother Taro”
Kimie Sadoyama for “The Power of Peace”
Laurie Barton for “First Visit to Kauai”
Juan Lugo for “Kekaha Signal Light”
Craig Davies for “Come Alive Dream”


# # #

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Announcing Second Annual Writing Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kauaibackstory.com, an online literary journal and blog edited by three local writers, announces its second annual writing competition. This year’s theme is “Green.”

Entries will be accepted in the following categories: essay, story, poem and visual image. A student category will be created pending interest and writing quality.

Entries must focus on Kauai. Participants are urged to express their thoughts, feelings and observations about the theme, “Green” through the lens of their own unique experience and viewpoint.

Prizes will be awarded. Winners and other noteworthy contributors will be posted on www.kauaibackstory.com and invited to read on a special night in October. (Date and place to be determined.) Writers may submit up to three entries. There is no word limit--brevity is encouraged but not required. Visit www.kauaibackstory.com to view the quality of works posted and the blog’s mission statement.

The deadline for submitting entries is midnight HST September 1, 2007. Text entries must be pasted into the body of an email and sent to kauaibackstory@yahoo.com. Images must be sent as a jpg attachment.

Kauaibackstory.com is a venue for rigorous writing and imagery with a view about Kauai. The journal is intended to serve as a timely, interactive forum, and readers are encouraged to visit often and post comments.

Kauaibackstory.com is the collaboration of Kauai writers Kim Steutermann Rogers, Gae Rusk and Pam Woolway. We look for writing that raises thought, not walls. We encourage writing that rouses respectful dialogue for we believe one way to build community is through conversation. We think of kauaibackstory.com as a conversation about Kauai.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

PHILEMON MELEMAKA

by Laurie Barton

In the ad for your Surf School
your hair flows long
as your strong legs lunge, in hula

In person, you're wearing a grandma
bun, but still you appear
the most powerful being at Wailua Beach.

I'm only the mom
of a teen girl. She begged
for surfing lessons, so I pay

and chat with you:
Philemon's a name in the Bible!
Your dark eyes flash

as I think of New England pomade,
a rainstorm of language, dripped into hymns,
and you say, Philemon-- it don't mean a thing.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Time Share

by Laurie Barton

Paradise sold on the honeymoon-
a holiday pitch, a heartless game

played with a Venezuelan salesman.
He hates us while remembering our names.

$800 a month: a luxury room,
infinity pool. Princeville, Cancun,

Kona or Quintana Roo. French toast,
coconuts, yoga, jacuzzi for two.

By the time we refuse him, our chips are all gone.
Dry strips of turkey attract a big fly.

Skipping the edges of sandwich, so
dizzy, a pattern of plunder.

The two of us kindle the courage to leave
by rubbing our bare legs together.

Sly glances cast at the ocean:
no contract to sign, not a fee.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pele's Lesson

by Laurie Barton

Bobbing for hours
in the daiquiri waters of Hanalei Bay

Afloat on a cheap plastic raft
from the ABC Store in Kapa'a

Recalling the world-famous movie star
I had seen jogging that day

A billionaire, muscled and fit
alone on his fine purchased acres

I thought of his face in my envy
offending the goddess of fire

and then Pele zapped me with sunburn.
She marked me with heat, her displeasure:

Be grateful for what I have given--

This bay on this morning is my perfect gift
as you float, as you undulate freely

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Flow

by Lois Ann Ell

Driving up to the Princeville Hotel
The rows and rows and clusters of condos
Just keep flowing
White on white on white
Creating long large masses of architecture among the patches of green below and patches of blue beyond

And in the parking lot
The rows and rows of rental cars brand new white green red grey
Parked, everything in order among the hot cement.

And inside the hotel
Beautiful and lavish and foreign
We sit down to tea
Eating little tea sandwiches with salmon and capers and
Croissants with Devonshire cream and sipping English Breakfast and Earl Grey
While spanning the martini menu
In our dresses and heels.
The conversation flows from one direction to the next, one topic into another
All of us connected
But not really

And the group or boondoggle for some software company stumbles in,
Playing a scavenger hunt masked as a team-building exercise masked as a time killer before cocktail hour.
The scavengers flow clumsily into the room as we sip tea looking at them and out over the sea and at each other.
The living room it’s called, as if real everyday living consists of sipping tea in heels or searching for a fruit that goes in a Mai Tai for software team A to cross of the list.

And all of it is so frivolous
But one hour flows into the next and were heading back to the hot grey parking lot towards the car that beeps loudly to unlock the doors for us to heel into our seats and
Go back to work
And husbands
And babies.
As we pull away, we look over the cliffs, silent to the blue below, small white crests steadily pushing into shore.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day of the Dread

by Pam Woolway

Hippy babies are taking over all the funky cafes. Hippy
babies in their patchouli soaked diapers with their natty
dread dolls. Hippy babies with their Buddha bellies
spilling over their hemp diapers; running between your legs
as you walk across the hard wood floor with caramel rivers
of coffee rolling from palm to elbow; scalding your
fingers. Hippy babies bouncing off table legs in striped pants
and polka-dot shirts with tassels snapping in their wake. One hippy
baby shows up and a commune of organic scone-flinging babies is sure
to follow. As the floor blooms with all-natural crumbs, the hippy
babies divine spirits from soymilk stains on the tables. Hippy
babies swing from the philodendra vines, laughing too loud and smiling at all the seated babies with napkins tucked in their shirts. Hippy babies drooling 100% organic cookie drool down Bob Marley T-shirts that cost a dime at the Hippy Baby Boutique. Hippy babies chanting with bodhi beads and bangles around emaciated wrists, playing ukuleles and drowning out Greg Brown and Natalie Merchant in their ganga-stained hippy-baby voices. We ask them politely, please sit, please clean up after yourself. The hippy babies won’t have any of it. Who are we to infringe upon their freedom?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Aunty Logy’s Church of Disney

by Gae Rusk

Aunty Logy worships at the Church of Disney.

Yes, says Aunty’s tutu, little keiki Logy was among the first toddlers to enter the Land of Disney. This crucial event in Aunty Logy’s life included an encounter with the Matterhorn, which became the most important structure in Aunty’s world, looming far taller than Wai’aleale or the Na Pali seacliffs. Aunty has studied that spire many times since 1955 and has entered its hollowed ground as often as allowed.

On that very first visit, keiki Logy took Disney’s credo to heart and still sincerely practices what Disney preaches. Such as, sugar makes life more better. Such as, stay looking at the shiny side of life. These maxims work well for Aunty.

As an adult, Aunty has unashamedly wept in the presence of Mickey. Aunty has chased the Dwarfs across the Park to get photos with them, later on to get photos of them with Aunty’s own keikis. And though Aunty Logy has knocked over others in pursuit of photos of big hair - especially at Kapa’a High School graduation – Aunty has never flattened a child of Disney.

This reverence glows within Aunty’s impatient nature like lit crystals in Mickey’s grotto. Disney’s power to shift a flawed Aunty to another better Aunty has kept Aunty Logy standing in line for hours, in grueling and claustrophobic conditions, just to go on a one minute ride, and then to find another line to stand in. Aunty will do that nowhere else, for no reason and no one.

Aunty Logy is now middle-aged and still enchanted with Disney films. Aunty, still emotionally involved with Haley Mills, now adores Lilo, who is a future graduate of Kapa’a High School. Aunty Logy grew up with Lilo’s Aunty Lehualani, another proud and reverent Mouska-tutu with extra large hair.

In middle-age, Aunty Logy still sings along to countless Disney hymns. Aunty ariates that clever homage to handsome, misguided Gaston, whose moral flaws delightfully rhyme, and Aunty resonates Ariel’s touching lament that everything is not enough for one wahine. Aunty sings these words. Aunty is these songs.

At some point in the many decades since 1955, Aunty Logy became a Disney Warrior battling on the side of Walt the Good. Aunty is now a Dwarf-wannabe, all seven of them, marching to and fro in the name of Disney and a career in mining. It’s the truest truth with a catchy beat.

And when Aunty Logy leaves Kauai and makes a pilgrimage to one of the lands of Disney, Aunty is the friend of all strangers. Aunty is never disliked. Aunty is always worthy.

Disney is not just Aunty Logy’s church, Disney is Aunty’s best friend. This knowledge gives Aunty comfort. This information makes Aunty Logy safe from Aunty’s own dark side. This belief keeps Aunty in line for the Adult Forest ride.


Please note: Antilogy is an inconsistency or contradiction in terms or ideas, causing controversy and discussion.

Gae Rusk copyright 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

River Stone

(Inspired by: Burlap Sack by Jane Hirshfield)
by Pam Woolway

A woman experiences a loss
the way a river stone is colored grey or beige
Someone says, “Pick up the stone,”
so we touch its surface,
brighter if left in the water.
To wish for the colors to have a meaning is a mistake.
To wish for loss to have meaning is a mistake.
Meaning wears loss like a tree wears leaves,
dropping slowly beneath branches, one at a time.
The tree is not its bark or branches or leaves.
The meaning is not the shade nor sky nor grass.
What might happen if we skip the stone across the surface of a lake,
to let the round pebble dance with its own reflection?
What if we rest beneath the tree in deep shade,
leaves twirling around us in spirals like kamikaze kites?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Portrait

by Kim Steutermann Rogers

If I were to paint
the face of Kauai,
I would use a palette of greens.

Eyes whorled in iliau
lashed with lau hala
browed in banana leaves exposed
to northeast tradewinds

Moving down to the nose,
I would paint kalo
veined with life in full sun
A mouth in the thin grin of koa,
dimpled with unripe loulu berries

If I were to paint
a male face in green,
I would introduce a beard
of ironwood fuzz
But I think of Kauai
as a woman, and so

I would add strands of maile
vining from the top of her head to her toes
And rouge her cheeks
the newness of resurrected alula leaves.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Love Poems from a Tall Island

by Gae Rusk


II. Cartography

Are you learning to read maps?
I’m depending on you now
I’m needing you now
for it’s a navigator I have lacked

Think of where we could go
we could earhart the sky
we could collect continents
then fly off quick
when they shift
below our feet
we could avoid night blindness
going on autopilot
letting the map read itself
routing us
at last
to consummation

You need to stay still now
so I can find you
I know echo location will work
I know all the legends on all the maps
of this entire earth
will lead me to
you
I know kilometers and miles have conjoined
marking the spot where
we
will finally
meet



copyright 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Lost in Translation

by Pam Woolway

You live here?
King Kalakaua was forced to sign the "Bayonet Constitution" in 1887, sharply curtailing his powers and diminishing the Native Hawaiians' voice in government.

Where’s a good place to surf?
All men shall have the right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble.

Is there a place to rent surfboards?
Whenever
a slave shall enter Hawaiian Territory, he shall be free.

I’m not going nowhere till I find a bar.
Involuntary servitude, except for crime, is forever prohibited in this Kingdom.

Have you ever been to Oregon?
The person of the King is inviolable and sacred.

Ha ha ha ha . . . how long?
All men may freely speak, write, and Publish their sentiments.

Is there any good beaches?
All men are free to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

How warm’s the water?
This sacred privilege hereby secured, shall not be so construed as to justify acts of licentiousness.

Where do you stay at?
The King convenes the Legislature at the seat of Government, or at a different place, if that should become insecure from an enemy or any dangerous disorder.

Is there a bar there?
Or practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the Kingdom.

Do they pay for your food?
He shall be obliged to contribute his proportional share to the expense of this protection, and to give his personal services, or an equivalent when necessary.

Ha ha ha ha . . . do you surf?
God hath endowed all men with certain inalienable rights.

Do you fish?
In times of peace.

Can I see your tattoo?
Except on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

How long did that take?
It shall be held inviolable forever.

You ever been off Hawaii?
The Princess Liliuokalani, and the heirs of her body, lawfully begotten, and their lawful descendants in direct a line.

Ever been anywhere?
When in cases of rebellion or invasion.

By choice?
Life, liberty, and the right of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

So what do you do for fun?
War, invasion, rebellion, pestilence, or other public disaster.

Do you own a boat?
No person shall ever sit upon the Throne, who is insane or an idiot.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

UNTITLED CIVICS LESSON

by Charley Foster

At the Fifth District Court House
In a field of long green grass
Next to a ball field
Deputies send a man out
To knock orange mud from his boots.
Elsewhere are the executive
And the legislative branches,
So to speak. Kauai rules itself
By a mayor-council form
Of county government.

The county council is comprised
Of seven at-large seats.
Council members are vested
With the power to consult oracles
And provide divination.
In addition to predicting the weather
And healing the sick,
Council members supervise
The construction of temples
And the making of canoes.
They sometimes indulge in necromancy
And can cause grave illness
By "praying a person to death."

The mayor implements ordinances
Passed by the council.
A warrior, the mayor lives
Entirely off material goods
Provided by the common people
Who must, under penalty of death,
Prostrate themselves when
In the mayor's presence.
The office is hereditary
And some mayors have been
Of such high rank that they
Found no peers worthy of marriage
Except their own siblings.
The mayor must submit
To the council
An annual budget.

Once each month
On a designated night is made
A human sacrifice.
Often victims are prisoners taken in war,
But if none are available,
A person secretly chosen from the community is
Strangled in his or her sleep;
The body hung from a tower
Constructed of ohia poles
Until morning when it is
Placed on a lava stone alter.
Only after the flesh has
Entirely rotted from the bones
Is the body removed and buried
On a bluff overlooking the Wailua River.