Hawaiian Journal
page 13


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Honokohau Bay


Tuesday, January 27, 1981

Here we are, all four gathered again on a beach just north of the small boat harbor. Here there’s small herons, coots in the pond, a sailboat passing the setting sun, a log rolling at the edge of the waves, not floating free, not resting on the sand.

How Ruth and I got here:

We walked by the roadside away from the campground on Kilauea. She didn’t want to talk until she started talking. Feelings about this and that needed to be released, sandwiches needed to be eaten under the dry dry ohia trees. At last we got a ride from a large heavy silent Polynesian to the town of Na’alehu, where Ruth bought apple juice and I bought cookies. I can’t stand a whole day of hitchhiking without cookies, I told myself. Is that true?

Then more rides:

From a woman with a new baby a couple miles down the road.

From an Alaskan snorkel man in a hurry to South Point Road.

From someone I don’t remember to Ocean View, a real estate development with a grid of widely spaced streets on a 1908 lava flow.

After a while staring at the General Store, which looked like an overgrown Sears metal storage shed, I said to Ruth, “This is nowhere. The cars that drive into the car-swallowing store then have to turn right at 42nd Street here, and the people driving through have to do it with the gas pedal all the way to the floor.”

We had walked as far as 41st Street. Actually these streets have Hawaiian names, but given their grid-like layout, numbers seem more appropriate to me.

We got picked up by the Alaskan speed-demon snorkel man, who decided that the water at South Point was far too choppy, not surprising given how windy it was there. He took us all the way to Kailua.

And there we were, walking toward the little park where we agreed to meet Maggan and Michele, and there they were, walking toward us.

Kailua is a blend of San Francisco’s Ghiradelli Square and Kihei. It’s more pleasant than Kihei, but that’s the Ghiradelli Square aspect. Why do people pack themselves so close together? They just get crazy when they’re living that way.

Maggan wanted to shop, but the rest of us just wanted to get out.

A hippie man on a motorcycle recommended we stay here, the local nude beach, so here we are with the herons and coots and I’m writing by the light of a half-moon. At dawn I’ll dot all the i’s.


After Midnight, Near Kailua

Quiet waves
lit by the moon’s rising bowl,
streetlights and stars.

I sit on cool sand beneath the half moon,
using the Big Dipper to find
the Pole Star near the horizon.


At the end of the bay our beach faces south. There’s a blue blinking light out there. I thought they never used any colors but white or red for lighthouses and buoys because other colors don’t penetrate. The stars I’m used to seeing are upside down and the others are strange. Here at this time of year the night moon passes overhead. I mean straight up.

That’s funny to think of, but at the equator the sun would be overhead on the equinoxes and either north or south of that on whichever solstice. On the Tropic of Cancer, the sun’s overhead on the June Solstice. In between the equator and the this tropic, which by the way is where I am, um, I’m not exactly when or how often the sun reaches the zenith.

Sailboat rocking
across a sunlit streak
of horizon.


This sailboat keeps changing the way the main sail is set. When I started to draw this it was down. When I was nearly finished it was as I show. Now it’s gathered in about two thirds of the way up the mast, making a smaller triangle. No doubt there’s a nautical word to express this.

There’s a lot of people here now by the fish pond but I can’t join them because people keep coming down here where the women’s stuff is stashed in the brush. I can’t count on my concealment being perfect.


Kealakekua Bay


Wednesday, January 28, 1981

I’m glad I separated from all three women this morning. I like them but I’m throwing fits inside that I need to get under control. I took a big dose of vitamin B complex. It seems to be helping. I’m getting anxiety, depression or something, worrying all the time about people stealing our stuff instead of enjoying myself on the beach. Today I don’t have to watch anything but my own stuff.

Maggan at least will be coming back tonight. This beach, Napoopoo, I don’t know. It doesn’t look at all like it’s supposed to be a campground, despite what she said.

I bought a painting at the Classic Art Gallery in Kailua for $75. This is about how I price my own paintings and it’s better than my work, definitely a bargain framed. A nice yellow tropical fish, signed, “Mortemore 80.”


Island Volcanos

In the Volcano Art Gallery
I’m separated from my friend.
Paintings, carvings, jewelry
swirl in and out of sight
like fishes in the bay
or sailboats at dusk.

On a rack with postcards
I see a poetry magazine,
open it to unlock lives
of people I’ll never meet,
to see these island volcanos
through understanding eyes.

I sit with eyes watering
less bitter than the sea,
sitting on the shore
where Captain Cook was killed.
A monarch butterfly
is here and then gone.


I meet at least one person from the poetry magazine, Marsha, alias Waimakalei, who shows me her poem.


The art gallery woman’s
poem on her hula teacher
brings water to my eyes.
She’s found place and spirit here.


Maui and Hawaii

The art dealer in Kailua
where I bought the fish painting
told me he can’t stand Maui.
“People act like Californians there.”

On Maui, someone told Michele
fifteen minutes after she lands
on Hawaii, she’ll wish
she was back here.


The art dealer in Kailua also warns me about camping alone. I’m tired of fearing Hawaiians and tired of hiding. But I don’t know how to “read” them. I’m also tired of hippies obsessed with dope.

Captain Cook was murdered here. If I was murdered, would they sink me in the bay and plant an obelisk that’s hard to see except from the water?


Orange globe
behind bobbing sailboats
anchored in liquid colors.


These sailboats have two masts and two keels. The closer one has a small cabin. The one with one mast and one keel rocks a lot more.


Thursday, January 29, 1981

I move so as to not touch this land, so that when I leave it will be as if the land had never seen me. I wonder, has this land touched me? Dare I let it? I don’t know any of its people. I’ve only gotten close to other travelers, two Alaskans, one Swede. I miss Michele and Ruth. I wish I was better company for Maggan. My present melancholy makes no sense to her. I wish that happiness came naturally to me. Michele thinks there’s a reason. Ruth says it’s because I’m lonely. Well, okay, but I isolate myself even when the others are around.

There’s bright red julid millipedes in this area. They look just like the julids in Ohio and California, but they’re red.


This afternoon, Mark, a reddish-blond man with a missing tooth who lives in one of the houses up the street from the park, talked to me about the repression of Hawaiians by the white economy. Mark said the Hawaiians who work as carpenters and build the houses canŐt afford to buy them. They resent this. Also, ten years ago, lots of hippies came here thinking this was paradise and ripped off fruit from Hawaiians’ orchards.

They can’t get at the rich and powerful, so they bother hippie campers. But Mark said this park was safe.

“Which places are not?” I asked him.

He didn’t give me a straight answer.

He gave me a lengthy harangue about how a right-thinking person may use a gun to disable a people to prevent them from doing violence, thus doing them a karmic favor. I doubt that anyone I shot would see it that way, nor would this hypothetical person’s friends. Stuff like that leads to wars. Literature and history are filled with examples.

One of his images is a pack of wolves harassing a moose to check it out. This brings to mind an encounter I had with three dogs last summer at Hardy Creek Bridge on California One. They surrounded me barking and snapping and I cussed them out with every four letter word I know at top volume. They backed off. This isn’t too relevant to human harassment.

If attacked I’ll defend myself, somehow, preferably either by escaping or talking them out of it. Most really aggressive people don’t want to bother someone who shows submissive or cowardly reactions. There’s no sport to it.

Stay out of remote places? The only wilderness on this island is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where I felt quite safe.


A bit of economy: I have $60 in cash left and I’ve cashed one traveler’s check which means I’ve spent $290 in 24 days. See what happens when I buy a painting? Otherwise I only spent $215.


Another Kealakekua sunset
behind anchored sailboats,
spots in my eyes when I blink.

The sun sets so fast here
but the best part is always
when it reddens the clouds.

green yellow purple
just after sundown.


Friday, January 30, 1981

Just after Maggan and I woke up, we were run out of the park by a man with a booming voice saying, “You’re on private property!”

“I’m sorry, I thought this was part of the park,” I said quietly.

“It’s not a designated camping area! And that goes for the whole fucking island!” The Polynesian man replied, with the same booming shout.

On our way down the block toward the center of the village, a gray-haired white woman told us that we just met the local asshole, Gordon, self-appointed king. She wanted us to know that not everyone on the block felt the same way about people camping in the park.


So here we are back in Kealakekua Village, waiting for stores to open. Ah, here’s a sign based on one of the 20th Century’s myths, the swamp-loving brontosaur surrounded by volcanos and palm trees, cattails and a smiling frog. There were no palm trees or cattails in the Jurassic, and sauropods seem to have lived in dry forests.

The painting’s so nice though, executed in airbrush in pastel colors. I keep wanting to find a scenario to justify it. Elephants live in dry forests and savannas, but bathe in rivers or lakes. Maybe sauropods sometimes did the same.

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