Monday, December 06, 2010

The Flight of Life

[Congratulations to Kathleen Viernes for her runner up entry in our 2010 Creative Competition.]

He glides gracefully between the sun and the open sea,
the scent of soil in the air long forgotten

And then...
unstopped by stormy seas
with blood pumping purpose
he flies, fast
back to the beacon of his beginning
a birth place created for him

She soars silently between the sun and the open sea,
the touch of land beneath her feet long forgotten

And then...
pulled in a direction unquestioned,
drawn from the code of her bones
she flies, fast
back to the refuge of her beginning
a birth space created for her

Within him lies a power,
the sacred spark to ignite life
Unification awaiting!

Within her lies a universe,
golden orb suspended in sacred waters of life
Creation in waiting!

Forever fused through the miracle, life comes out quietly through a crack

In blood and bones through time, the dance has been set
two is one is two is one is two is one is...
Rhythm unfaltering!

The odds of impossibility were great
but far greater was the power to create

The odds of impossibility are great
but far greater is the power to create

And so they dance
two is one is two is one is two is....

Saturday, December 04, 2010


[Congratulations to Jessica Meek, 13, for her runner up entry in our 2010 Creative Competition.]

Birds fly through the air
Coasting the breeze that ruffles our hair
They swoop and wheel to our delight
But are you aware of their dire plight?

So many species are sinking in number
Prematurely falling in eternal slumber
Lights in the night confuse them, oh no!
And their habitats shrink as our buildings grow

Where can these birds go?
With their sick and their slow
I know of one place that's welcome to all
Kilauea lighthouse stands beckoning, tall

There it's a refuge
Safety from this deluge
Of our buildings and domes
For the birds needing homes

Come visit there
You'll be aware
Of the birds soaring high
In their safe stretch of sky

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Great Tenderness on the Edge of Everything

[Congratulations to Jean Rhude for this runner up entry in our 2010 Creative Competition.]

Narrow as a piece of paper that just sliced your finger, bringing a small show of red blood. The paper that lies on your desk ready to catch the words that fall from your heart onto the page now spilled, appropriately, with the blood from your finger. The page that catches and absorbs all that you think, all that you feel, the paper that is both your worst friend and your best enemy. The paper that you leave only to return, to whore yourself shamelessly if you allow the grace of your abandoned ego for just one sweet, precious moment.

The paper with her smooth facade and sharp edge became my refuge when I was young. I have returned to her off and on but never so much as after the death of my eldest son. No day is complete until my growth through the loss is recorded for the day. I have no other way to chart my "progress." There is no true North. My appetite for a truth that bleeds has grow insatiable. I no longer fear it. I sometimes resist it.

Sometimes the only place to rest is that narrow ridge, on the precipice, between two valleys. Look mauka in any direction to see them. Borne from erupting volcano’s, now covered with lava rock and jungle. Walking it you must carefully place one foot exactly in front of the other, find your balance and repeat, all the while climbing a not too gentle slope. You march on until you come upon a slight widening and burrow your body into the ground where deer or goat sleeps. From here the view to each of the valleys below can be observed without the painstaking concentration of going forward, upward. The going stops at this point. The stillness enters.

Both valleys are green, verdant. They each have a wandering stream, even a small waterfall. They have large tress for shade and shelter and soft moss for resting. They are equally inviting. One is the valley of the shadow of loss and I am pulled there by invisible forces that feel like powerful magnets. I long to rest and wallow and be in this profound sadness. I spend much of my energy carefully placing the feet so I will not fall here for fear that I will forget the way out. The power of the habitual lulls me. The other pulls just as forcefully with an energy that is playful, inviting. It invites me to nestle in the belly of a baby and soosh and coo. I skip in this valley. There is music and laughter and the profound love that draws me here constricts at my heart and chokes my throat while I surrender fresh, each day. In this valley I re-learn the language of happy.

Their intensity is what they share. It is their common denominator. It is what resides in my core with equanimity. In any given moment I can clone myself, be in both places at once or fall wholeheartedly in either direction.

Sitting alone with the grandson who is birth in a family with too many deaths, the sound of waves, of wind in the tress and the Shama thrush in the distance. I sing in my off key way as he surrenders to sleep in the crook of my neck, the full sweet weight of him on my shoulder and chest. The weight of him; his the sweetest burden and the discomfort of his twenty-three pounds held only by my arm is inconsequential.

The cavity so long left empty and dark and yearning begins to fill and as it does the intensity of the gaining is so like the intensity of the loosing; life/death, given/taken, here/ gone. The simple sweet new joy of the baby walks hand in hand with the harsh, cold empty loss of the son. The terrible buoyant weight of it grips me with poignant gratitude as I try to capture the slippery reality of it.

Sometimes I feel the poignancy, the bitter sweetness of life so intensely. I cherish the sweet moments of profound intimacy . . . as he wakes or surrenders to sleep in his dewy newness of self. His peacefulness is my reward and I could just sit and breathe with him. We are both of us strangers to earth, seeking balance. He sweetens the heavy humid air as the fan blows softly over us and I want to pick him up and cradle him close, to drink and inhale his newness. I begin to come truly back alive, one cell, one sense, one sweet plumeria scented moment at a time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


[Congratulations to Catherine Lo for this runner up entry in our 2010 Creative Competition. Three more posts to come, so keep checking back.]

Shanarae! What a melodious name!
It seems it was only yesterday that I heard your name:
Of your leadership ability and community service:
And a future filled with promise waiting for you.

And now I read in today′s The Garden Island
Of a fundraiser planned for your funeral!
As I look at your photograph
I wonder what deep secrets took shelter

Behind those knowing eyes:
Secrets so deep they defied understanding,
Secrets so deep they were beyond words,
Secrets so deep you chose to bury them forever.

Alas, you could have attended the youth rally at Lihu`e
And learned a lesson or two from Hawai`i′s own
Olympic gold medallist Bryan Clay,
Whose troubled childhood signaled a doubtful future.

But his personal walk with God
Led him to the right path, paving the way
To personal success and athletic triumphs:
To a life worthy of emulation and applause.

The two columns of you and the three of Bryan Clay
Occupy the front page of the newspaper′s Sunday′s edition,
Side by side in a most prominent way,
But carry pointedly contrasting messages.

Shanarae! What a melodious name!
But you decided to deny forever
Your dear mother, younger sister, admiring friends,
Numerous relatives and Kalaheo neighbors
The melody that was Shanarae!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Red-Dirt Caked Feet

[Congratulations to Sequoia Leech-Kritchman for this runner-up entry in our 2010 Creative Competition.]

I am from the sounds of roosters not only in the morning, but all day long
They wake me up, keep me going at noon, and by dusk they put me back to sleep
When the roosters aren’t enough
Rain will come out of nowhere, thick as molasses, with the smell that can only be described as "rain is coming"
The sun will come in from the window light illuminating my face
And when I truly do not want to wake up
A coconut falls on the roof
Waking me up with a start

I am from a house hidden in a jungle of overgrown weeds
They take over and choke out the week
Only the strongest survive here, this is why we protect the weak
The ones who are strong inside, but never have a chance to show what they’ve got
Because the strongest, meanest, bully of them all is taking over

I am from uncontrollable weather
A surprise unfolds each day before my eyes as I see a perfectly sunny day turn into a rainstorm
As darkness turns to light in the blink of an eye
And the most searched image on google of all
A Hawaiian sunset that photographers go bonkers over

I am from stir-fry with freshly cut vegetables from the land
While she is from spam served over rice
And he is from poi pounded by his tutu with lau lau right out of the imu
When thanksgiving comes we all share our specialties
And you would be considered lucky if there was any room left over in your stomach for dessert
But even if there isn’t, you chow down the greatest recipes from around the island anyways

I am from dusty fans spinning round and round to the point where the air coming out is not cool but hot
From the red dirt that is caked under everyone’s unknowing feet
This is the kind of stuff you cannot rub off
This dirt is caked so deep that your feet will never be the same once taken its first step upon this hearty earth
It is a stain that lasts forever
Almost impossible to get out
You must rub and scrub until you bleed into the earth giving back what you have taken
Then you may leave if you wish
Yet there will still be the slightest trace of that reddish stain on the bottom of your soul...
But most like their red dirt caked feet just the way they are