Hawaiian Journal
page 10


journal contents
previous    next


Red Sand Beach Again


I’m back at Hana’s Kau’iki-hidden beach, after getting a ride from Ginnie and Mara, two women from San Francisco who know two women, both named Nancy, from my community. I think I know one of these Nancies, sort of. None of the people here today look like people I’ve seen here before. Most of them come from Chico.

One couple, a black woman who’s a photographer and a white hippie man, said that they got a ride from an elevator operator from Oahu who was on Maui for a convention. “If you want to do anything kinky, I’ll pay you twenty dollars,” he said. “I like to watch.”

One of the other women did a charcoal and watercolor sketch based on the rock rainbow on the cliff at the north end of the cove. It was interesting, how she took the water, some of the rocks, a tree, from the reality of that cliff and created her own landscape. She was painting fiction, a novel based on her experience of the cliff, remodeled according to her own ideas of composition. This is Tom Klapproth’s, “No one will care what color the tablecloth really was,” philosophy applied to landscape. Chinese painters used to compose their landscapes from memory after experiencing the mountains, coming up with an essence that corresponds to no real place.

My drawings, like my poems, are nonfictional. I do choose which part of a scene I draw, or what events I describe. I don’t feel like I know enough about the universe to justify improving it. If I’m going to make anything up, I’ll make up everything— the plot, the characters, the planet.

Kenny and Michael, the two men who are probably staying here tonight, got a ride from a Portuguese man who was drunk and wanted to pick a fight with someone. He drove them some back way from Lahaina to Pa’ia that they didn’t know and kept falling asleep at the wheel. They asked him if he wanted to go for a swim when they reached Baldwin Beach. He pulled onto the sand and bellowed, “Any you fellows wanna beef?” at whoever was there. Kenny and Mike bailed out of the car. That’s a bad ride for real.

It’s good that I’m talking to all these people today. It makes me less introspective. I even got stoned with Kenny and Mike. They babbled about marijuana all afternoon, then I spaced out watching the ocean as it began drizzling.

How to get a joint on Maui, according to Mike: tell a dope-grower that Kona buds are better than anything you’ve had on Maui.


The cockroaches under
this part of the ledge
are the biggest
I’ve seen yet.
I finally drew a grown one!
Head and wings reddish brown,
thorax yellow brown with
reddish brown markings,
eyes black.



After a drizzle,
moonbeams spotlight the horizon,
sliding silver sea.


Sudden dreamlight brightness
of the almost
round moon


It’s good to be surprised by a higher tide
when the moon is full
rather than when it was new.


I was sleeping on the beach under that ledge. Something told me the water was coming, in plenty of time for me to move out of the way.


Tuesday, January 20, 1981

The tide’s back down, but it swept the whole area under the ledge. I’m glad it stopped raining before that happened.


Sunrise through a haze
pale yellow disc
swirling streaks on the foam.


I heard yesterday that the American hostages in Iran were set free, the last day of Jimmy Carter’s administration. I guess Iran didn’t want to take any chances with Ronald Reagan. They might get bombed. I thought this would still be an election issue in 1984!


Ka’ahumanu’s Cave


This little cave is the birthplace of Ka’ahumanu (1768-1832), favorite wife and queen of Kamehameha the First, who used western ships to conquer all the Hawaiian Islands except Kauai and Niihau.


In this rock bower floored with pine needles,
two hundred years ago,
a woman gave birth to a girl.
The girl became a queen.


Did the women seek out places like this to give birth? Did magical or religious reasons forbid doing it at home?

Will the hospital room I was born in still exist 200 years from now? Does anyone know which room it was?

This cave would be a nice place to sleep, but I know I can’t. Peter and Solomon once slept on the Parthenon floor, but things are more uptight here. I’ll take the empty package of zigzag papers away. It desecrates this place. Honestly, people litter so much on Maui it’s unbelievable.

Hana Light is a tower maybe eight feet tall with an aero light and what looks like solar panels on top. Have we a solar powered lighthouse here? Well hardly a light house, but you know what I mean. I thought I could walk out to it, but no way. It’s on a little island.

Kau’iki Head has small coves on this side too, but no beaches beyond Hana Bay. Whew! It’s windy. I’m back in Ka’ahumanu’s cave for some thoughts.

I’m writing poems. I’m living more cheaply than I would at home so far. I’m glad to be away from the company of Ken and Michael. They were beginning to annoy me, make me feel self-conscious. Or was I “choosing to feel self-conscious in their presence”? Bleah! I hate that psychobabble crap!

Ka’ahumanu’s people lived here the right way. You don’t need big houses or automobiles. Caves and little boats, and the know-how, are fine. It’s not the land itself that bothers me, but the people on it. This land is too desirable. It’s crowded with strangeness.


Baldwin Park


I met a couple of women from Alaska— Michele, who looks sort of like Rose’s friend, Susan, and Ruth, who looks part Eskimo. They’re going to the island of Hawaii tomorrow morning and invited me to come along. So I’m at infamous Baldwin Park Beach, waiting for them to hitchhike back from Wailuku. They came back with a third woman, Maggan from Sweden, and we’re all going to Hawaii.

The windiness prevailing in Hana is also happening here. There’s a real rainstorm off the West Maui Mountains. The beach here is like the sand at Makena, a bit coarser perhaps, and the sea is similar colors. There’s palms of some sort, crooked trunk things without coconuts. ItŐs the light sand that makes the sea this pale bluish green.

The picnic tables are half-buried. The wind is exhilarating but makes it hard to write.

Being with three healthy twentyish women brightens up my inner world. This is the kind of company I needed, more positive people than Michael and Kenny. Well, Ken was all right, but Michael seemed like the character Tommy Chong plays in Cheech and Chong movies. These women are all very nice.

Basho, my hero this trip, almost always had at least one companion with him, for all his talk of solitude. I like the way their linked verse was a shared effort, sort of like the American “pass the story” game, but with rules and framework to raise it to the level of an art.

In less than a month will be the 11th anniversary of my first poem.

So here in the pavilion are a bunch of Hawaiian men, maybe the ones Kenny’s drunk Portuguese ride wanted to “beef” with. They’re listening to Hawaiian easy-listening music and playing a card game. What else do you do on Tuesday night in Pa’ia? There’s a woman in the group.

I didn’t exactly consciously make a wish at Ka’ahumanu’s Cave, but I think somehow her spirit gave me what I wanted in these women. I should remember that this place may have the power to grant wishes.

I notice many more people around with backpacks than at the beginning of January. I think I got here a bit before the main hippie avoid-the-winter season.

Michele asked to read my poems. She likes them. She’s into Chinese medicine and massage. She lives on a little island near Juneau, Alaska, in a tipi, “a canvas house with a big hole in the roof.” She dresses mostly in peasant blouses and granny dresses. She says she spends most of her time chopping wood. She’s a weaver.

Ruth is half Seattle-area Indian. She has medium curly darkish brown hair, the Mongolian eye folds that protect against cold weather, and a deep plains-Indian type nose, She’s very pretty. Well, all three of them are. She sewed her backpack herself from a kit. She lives on another island west of Juneau.


Wednesday, January 21, 1981


Low voices of Michele and Ruth
in the next tent discussing morning plans,
the full moon almost setting.

previous    next