Hawaiian Journal
page 14


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Spencer Beach


For whatever it’s worth, Maggan and I are here at Spencer Beach, a place we were told to avoid by some people and to seek out by others. The water’s pleasantly quiet here. There’s fish around the rocks, some brightly colored.

We could see Maui from the road, but unless those clouds behind the anchored sailboats are the ones covering Haleakala, I can’t see it now.

Some people at the next table are listening to a tape of someone preaching something that sounds like “How to make success in business a sacred cause with pop psychology.” Now he’s going into particulars about how to sell things.

And here’s a token hippie brother who’s lived here for three months, whose primary interest is getting stoned. His name’s Chris.

I’m on the breakwater. I made a sketch of the anchored sailboats. Up close I can see that some of the boats are new, some are as rust-stained as old cars. The sign says don’t tie them to the breakwater but that’s where many of them are tied. The crabs on the boulders here are huge, the water aquamarine. There’s a chartreuse or yellow fish with clownfish stripes. There’s Spencer beach, a short strip of yellow, and the pavilion, more elaborate than most. Oh, there’s Maui, almost out of sight, and the heiau, an oblong atop a low hill.

Another day, another beach. I’m wondering if it might be worth my while to see Kauai.


It’s evening now and I’ve lost Maggan. She took off with a man named John who just bought a week’s worth of condominium every year for the next forty years for $4000. I guess that’s some sort of deal till you reckon the cost of coming here to use it. She’s going with him to the Captain Cook Cruise Boogie and gonna stay in a hotel. I feel very much abandoned.

I’m alone on an island where people keep telling me not to be alone. I should trust my ability to deal with things. I’ve dealt with two Hawaiian homosexuals wanting sex with me and King Gordon wanting me to leave. I guess if I’m reasonably cautious I’ll be okay.

There, I’ve drawn yet another sailboat, this one passing the very distant western tip of Mauna Loa, with sails white and bluegreen striped. I think this is one of those outrigger-type sailboats with only one mast rigged. Its angle has changed since the drawing. It looks longer and closer. Maybe it’s going to dock at the breakwater.

The sea is that light metallic blue. Now and then there’s a roaring wave off in the distance but something dissipates it far from shore. The sailboat’s big striped sail is down. It went to the breakwater like I thought it would.


Saturday, January 31, 1981

Here I am waiting for the Captain Cook VII to open up shop. Most of the people who work here look young and hip to me. They do stage boogies here Friday nights. What a living! Well, it does look like there’s older people in charge.


The rhythm of a boat
rocking on ocean waves
like long deep breathing.


You can see fish at the pier right over the side. There’s a long snouted one like the painting I bought.


The engine starts
drowning the straining ropes
and rubbing old tires.


Whew! We’re really trucking. The rhythm of the waves is different. The sea is a beautiful medium turquoise.

I guess I don’t have much to say about what I saw. The coral looked mostly purple. The fish sometimes swam on their sides as well as up and down. Nothing was simple or slow enough to draw. Blunt red sea urchins lodged in holes. Goodbye forever, Kealakekua Bay.

I saw what the amplified guide called an adult female [garbled] whale. I think there were two of them, two big [garbled] whales. Bits of back with small back fins. Spouts.


Now I’m back at Spencer Beach, not much the worse for wear from my day’s adventures. I went to the Middle Earth Bookstore in Kailua and saw Hapuna Beach, another sandy place with big waves.


Spencer Beach

Picnic tables, sand, and kiawe trees,
birds chibbering and squawking,
soft drone of a sheltered bay,
sun’s burning ribbon on the waves,
prowling cats nosing food scraps.


Here’s a pretty white cat with a black mask and saddle, and a kinked tail. It’s small and very shy. I think there’s at least six cats here. The black spotted tabby with a white stomach is more or less ignoring me, intent on missions of its own. By listing all their different features, I come up with nine cats. They all seem to know each other and be friendly to each other. They’re all small and skinny. I did hear one fight in the dark.

1. Black striped tabby
2. Black spotted tabby
3. Orange spotted tabby
4. White with black head, saddle and tail, tail knobby and short
5. Calico, black areas solid
6. Black spotted tabby with white stomach
7. Black with white nose spot
8. Orange striped tabby
9. White with black head, saddle, and tail, tail normal and long


Sunday, February 1, 1981

It’s dawn. The sea is a slate-colored green. I’ve endured about half my time here. Like the man yesterday said, Hawaii’s an island with a good climate and a lot of racial problems.

I’m cut off from my intuition because my feelings are all stirred up. What I can see through my feelings is like the bottom of a pool through water. I must be calm and clear to use intuition, two states of mind I’ve seldom achieved since deciding to go to Maui. How do I clear myself?

I just encountered a man who gave another hitchhiker and me a ride to Koki Beach from Hana that rainy day three weeks ago. He says he left Maui last week, went to Kauai for four days, and now he’s trying to do the big island in two. Good luck. Maybe I can get him to take me to Hilo, if of course he comes back.

I’m trying to clear my feelings by putting myself in a state of loving this sand, these kiawe trees, these picnic tables, this land, such as it is.

I talked for a couple of hours to a man who loves Kauai. He comes from Manchester, New Hampshire, where he’s a bartender.


Monday, February 2, 1981

It’s groundhog day. There’s no groundhogs, woodchucks, or marmots here. Did the mongoose see its shadow? I don’t see mine.

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