Hawaiian Journal
page 7


journal contents
previous    next


Red Sand Beach


You’d never suspect this red sand (well, red granule) beach was right in the middle of Kau’iki Hill right in Hana, This is a stormy little cove partly protected by some chunks of lava. I climbed on one of these, saw rock crabs, limpets, sea snails, sea urchins.

Some people with wet suits and scuba tanks caught an octopus about the size of an avocado, and a clawless lobster about 15 inches long. The lobster had small antennae, big feet, and was quite wide. Wonderful looking animal, really. The octopus suffered aesthetically from being out of the water, as soft animals always do. I wish I could have seen it in a small pool, moving freely. They also had a bright red fish about the size of my outstretched hand.

This beach kind of reminds me of the free beach at Stinson Beach when I lived in Marin County— a few people, some nude, some not, coarse sand and an aura of wildness. This overhanging rock offers natural shelter from the rain, which has started again.

I see that snorkeling etcetera is quite popular here.

There’s two tiny pools up on one of the rocks. The larger one has a number of small fish, up to finger-length, quite large for a pool so small. Also there, a crab was disputing with a shrimp that made popping noises. The prize, a decaying leaf that the crab was munching on from below. The crab was hiding under the leaf.

In the other pool was a cowrie, a beautiful shy snail that I want to draw before I leave here, feeding or crawling if possible. Also there, a number of small purple dotted white conical shells, mostly just glued to the rock.

People come and go here. Here’s a couple of more men prepared to snorkel.

Stefano’s wife Chris and her friend John stopped by for awhile. She looked at some pictures of my house. She seemed turned on by the idea of carrying around a notebook to write in.


The tide’s definitely lower than it was. Maybe this’ll be a good time to draw the cowrie.

I finally got its antennae, siphons and everything by setting it on the inside of an oyster shell. It has round white spots on an ebony oval, surrounded by pearly brown on the sides, white on the end. Its feelers and siphons were dark brown. It crawled off the oyster shell and moved about two inches altogether before stopping again.

There’s a dark drab crab half an inch long, one and a half inch leg span with pale stripes on its legs. It was eating algae when I put the cowrie on the oyster shell. I don’t see much chance of sketching a fish and don’t feel like doing the crab.

There’s sea urchins in the lower pool.

This wasn’t low tide, just momentary quiet of waves. While I was drawing the cowrie the waves got high again, and I’m on the rock fully dressed. Augh.

I got back without soaking my pants.


Momentary sun
on the brilliant red cliff
topped with pale pines


Another rain.
I’m under the ledge.
Rainbow over Kau’iki Hill.


A double rainbow into the sea.
Straight up, an almost half moon
pale between rapid clouds.



I see more blue sky than I’ve seen any time since Saturday night. I think the rain’s turned off for awhile.


Tuesday, January 13, 1981


Yellow sun globe over
iridescent blue ocean,
green sky below
lumpy purplish clouds,
blue sky above.


Iridescent blue, that’s it, yeah. I’ve never seen such a color except on damselflies and wasps. Blue and black the ocean is. The iridescent blue part changes to white foam, the black to blue sea. And I was right. It has cleared up completely.

I’m thinking about this shit-people versus cool-people thing Stefano and Chris are into. Chris yesterday started talking about “the shit way to say vowels,” and I said, “Hey, wait a minute. Just because English changed the vowels from the way they were in Latin and the Romance languages doesn’t make it bad. I’m English and I like my language.”

Then she went on about how the buildings in Europe have more history, are more beautiful. Well, of course, the ugly ones aren’t around anymore. The people who lived long ago in America mostly didn’t build with stone, so there aren’t any really old buildings. I’d like to go to Greece too, but—

Seems to me Stefano’s another one of these European guys who comes to America, goes through all kinds of conniptions, including marrying a California girl, to be able to stay here, then spends much time and energy talking about how superior Europe is. Where else would Chris pick up all this garbage? Of course, Stefano wasn’t really happy in Europe, so he came here, first to California, then to Maui.

So here I am on Maui, thinking about the superiority of California. What does this prove?

I’m thinking about the humanity of the cop who was investigating the wife who fell off the cliff near Keanae last week. The husband went partway down the cliff and climbed back up, on adrenalin I guess. The cop could barely manage with a rope. He said he thought the husband hadn’t fully realized the magnitude of his loss. While the cop was talking I thought that if it takes that kind of experience to get to the absolute, well, I’d rather not. Even “shit-people” are, well, people. No point in horrifying them by sleeping in a pineapple field.

Well, this dawn I’ve been a week on Maui— one night at Matthew’s house, two unrecorded nights at Seven Pools, two nights on the aa flow, one night in the jungle for sale near Koki Beach, one night at Red Sand Beach. Okay, I guess if I can stay here this long unofficially, I can manage. Where will the fugitive camper camp next? In the week I’ve been here I’ve spent $35, well, since the Maui Mall, where I spent another $7 on a canteen. The plane cost $380, the bus $14, the Bart $4, the map and books $15, and food from Evergreen Natural Foods in Garberville would bring my cash total back to where it was when I started. I’m trying to figure out what I can spend on boat rides or planes to other islands.


On a rock in the middle of a cove,
standing, going nowhere, looking at me,
a praying mantis with only one arm.


In the Middle of a Cove

Perched on a sea rock
with nowhere to go,
it turns its head toward me,
a one-armed praying mantis.


A local woman told me to watch out for the coral here, particularly in two certain pools by the rocks. They can cut and sting quite horridly.

Awela (Thassaloma fuscus)

Fish, I want nothing more than to watch you as long as I can swimming around my feet, to fix forever in my visual memory your chestnut brown body, turquoise fins, stripes like marks on a ruler, of chartreuse, emerald and turquoise.

You are a living gem always slightly out-of-focus in the shifting patterns of the cove, a brilliant idea almost fixed in utterance.

I will turn pebbles over for you while the sun burns my back to see you circle once more, to try to understand your form just a little better, to know why you hold me as none of these other brightly-colored fish do. If I had an underwater camera, I would photograph you. If I had color, I would try to sketch and color you. If I were a dancer, I would dance you.

Footnote: but I have seen you well enough to recognize you in a fish book. Your name will title this poem.


The Awela

Wading in a cove
I see through shifting patterns
an impulsive gem.

I desire nothing more
than to watch, long as I can.

Chestnut-brown body
with emerald and turquoise
fins and stripes and tail.

A Japanese master could
paint this fish with a few strokes!

I turn stones for it
to nibble what’s beneath while
the sun burns my back.


Another fish, green with dark stripes.


It’s so funny, the way people interact. Right after the snorkeling class left, no one was left here but hippies and everyone was nude. Some other people came and turned back at the sight of this, while others stayed. Then all the hippies left but me, and I got dressed cause I was getting sunburnt. A bit later four hippies come trucking around the corner and turn back because now everyone’s wearing shorts or bathing suits. Little did they know, just a little while ago I was nude talking to the same people about the pretty fish and they weren’t disturbed. They’re changing clothes right now and making no effort to hide transitory nudity from me.

I suppose there’s some people in the world who really are “shit people,” but I haven’t met any here. The people the other hippies didn’t seem to want to associate with whistled to me while I was making a drawing, just to say goodbye. Actually, a number of straight tourists I’ve talked to this trip seemed interested in me, my way of life, what I might have to say. Communication is vital.

There’s Mauna Kea! I haven’t seen it for several days. A motorboat passes by. I guess that’s what the fast moving light was last night.

It’s earlier than I thought and I won’t have much to eat tomorrow morning unless I go for a coconut. Should be some somewhere around Hana. Whew! That was a beautiful fish.


Mauna Kea from Red Sand Beach. This rock is vigorous strokes with a stiff square-end brush.


Red Sand Beach

Sundown, a millpond ocean, jagged rocks,
Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa pale purple,
the sea a silvery blue, the sky pastel,
a couple of purple clouds nearby,
low clouds around the coast of Hawaii.


Let’s see, the island with two palm trees that I saw off Koki Beach is Alau Island. I can see it from the trail here too, but not from the beach. I can see it from the rocks. Okay, I can see it from the far end of the beach. I wonder how two palms got way up there. Mauna Loa’s to the left behind it.


If Alau looks about 1.5 inches long 18 inches away, and it’s really 1.8 miles away then it’s 0.15 miles long, about 800 feet. So an object that small is as large as a capital letter on my map. Hmm. It is accurately scaled too. So Kau’iki Head is about 1600 feet across and 386 feet high. Yes that is quite steep.


Near the Tropic of Cancer,
a few weeks after the winter solstice,
a half moon almost on the zenith.
I can’t wait to see a full moon.


Wednesday, January 14, 1981


Hana Sunrise

A brilliant streak of dawn fades
while I walk to see the rising sun.

Sunbeams on distant haze,
two tiny clouds glow bright.

First flash, a glowing sphere
of molten iron.

Half a sun, like a hole
in the edge of the sky.

A muffin shaped archway
already too bright to watch.

A complete disc enters the sky.
The horizon’s gate is closed.


Here at a rocky beach on the trail to Red Sand Beach is a tidepool, with a big orange starfish creeping slowly, and darting fish, some of those “green clownfish” I drew yesterday, and many plainer ones. Here’s some sort of fragile stuff that grows in a stentor-shape, lots of algae, whitish brown.

There’s lots of coral chunks on the beach among the lava pebbles.

previous    next