Hawaiian Journal
page 19


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By the Banks of the Oheo


Tuesday, February 17, 1981

My jungles are more scribbly than ever. To draw a jungle, first outline roughly the area of the leaves, then fill it in with tight spirals and crosshatching. If it still doesn’t look right, give up and make excuses for impatience. Then keep adding lines until it looks really good and anyone who reads the words describing the drawing wonders, “Now what was Carl unhappy with?”



Yes, I’m at Seven Pools, at the mouth of the Oheo River, escorted here by three young women from San Francisco who looked alike but have all lived in different places.

At least I’m trying to draw the jungle now instead of just staring and saying no way. I want to go somewhere where I can lie down. Hmm. moving a few feet makes an entirely different scene, one I think I like better.



Odd, I saw it clearer from over here, the second time, but drew it clearer the first time. How much patience do I have? I start taking shortcuts. I cut off the tops of the trees with the edge of the page, which doesn’t help clarity a bit.

And sitting here, I’m right in the way of all those tourists’ cameras. Ha! Let them shoot around me, or include me. Some girls started counting pools. Plausible possible answer, there’s more than seven pools, but only seven of them are sacred. To the Hawaiians? No, to us Americans. A national park is about as sacred as anything gets, unless it’s a wilderness area.

It’s interesting, this machine, the camera, that absorbs experiences for people. It’s the process of going click that matters.

There’s some kind of decapod in the water. It skulks like a crayfish, but has long thin legs. I don’t see any claws but it holds its front legs as if they had claws. It’s about five inches long.

The ferns here are a bright spring green, the trees and bushes two shades of darker green.

I’ve got my tent tied to a sign and a garbage can which I moved to the right place. There’s no trees here but I wanted the tent set right. I’m at the gap in the rock wall where the tent goes through. I’m getting asked questions about this area by people passing through, which is much more fun than questions about who I am.

Five horses passed through here twice, this way and that. Both times, number one and number three were nervous about me. Imagine something that size being afraid of something my size.

The moon looks full. It probably will be exactly full later tonight, or tomorrow during the day. One thing about this place, I can see almost all of the sky. It’s an open meadow, flat for a long ways, and the mountain doesn’t block much. It was drizzling about an hour before sunset, but now it’s clear. I saw so many jumping spiders in this meadow.

Too bad all the pandanus trees on this side of the pools are so sickly, or decapitated by the wind and spray. There’s a few young ones with fences around them, to protect them as if they were fruit trees.


Wednesday, February 18, 1981

That’s why this sign made funny noises last night. It has some of those huge bees living in it that are about an inch long and a third of an inch fat. Some are black and a few are sort of golden. There’s a bunch of holes they’ve made in the wood. Whether they’re separate or connected inside I don’t know. I suspect separate.

I want my art to come from the energy of calmness, of inspiration, of a clear placid pool of thought. Turbulent energy can come to me like a waterfall into a pool. The quiet swallows the turbulent.

This is Makahiku falls, from below. Like Waimoko Falls, these fall down the edge of an almost vertically walled cylinder which is open at the bottom. Most of the water seems to come from holes in the rock about halfway up. The surface of this pool is quite choppy, not from the falls, which are broken by rocks above the pool, but by wind that swirls over the edge and around the bowl. There’s a bunch of bamboo on the north side, where I saw the cow earlier.

There’s much less water here at the top of Makahiku Falls. It’s stagnant, in fact. There’s a tree growing on a bare rock cliff, hanging on by a network of roots like freeways on a map.

Now I’m at the ford, where the water’s clear and flowing. I wonder why the Maui ants are crawling all over the bare rocks here and below at the pools. A few I could imagine, but so many? The bee I rescued from the water this morning had lost all her strength. She could hardly walk, kept tripping over herself, and couldn’t fly. At first I thought she’d be fine as soon as she dried out, but the ants kept finding her. She’d tussle them off, but I couldn’t help her forever. Maybe she did recover her strength.


Two Men

Two waterfalls into a dark pool,
cliffs cracked like alligator hide.
One man waits, the other takes a long hike
across the second falls around the cliffs
to where he can climb down to the water.

He stands still to let himself sink
until his sunburned body shimmers
to streaks of yellow. He bobs up
and tells his friend, “It’s plenty deep.”

The second man takes off his shoes and socks,
looks down at the dark green water,
hesitates and dives head first.
A streak of bubbles vanishes
when a wet head and shoulders reappear.

They consider, then dive down into the next pool.
It’s a short way down, a slow way back.



I drew a front view of Pipiwei Stream’s waterfall, and a side view of Palikea Stream’s waterfall, both into the same pool, the beginning of the Oheo River.



Now I’m almost at the bottom of Waimoko Falls, a ways uphill on Pipiwei Stream, looking up. The upper part looks like a white mist, mixed with drops and globs a quarter way down, with some mist.

The other place I’ve been where waterfalls are common, the Oregon Cascades, is also mostly lava.

Here in the water are lots of inch long fish-shaped shrimp.


There’s no big pool at the foot of Waimoko Falls, because fallen rocks fill the bottom. Besides the main fall itself, there’s water trickling down the entire face of the cliff. These falls must be huge when the river floods. The signs say it can rise as fast as three feet in ten minutes.


In the bamboo grove
the sun is not a disk
but sparkles like water.



Here’s a view looking inland from the seven pools campground, after sunset. There’s the moon, yellow! A penumbral eclipse. The moon is full right now!


A yellow round moon rising
over an indigo sea,
the sky still bright from sunset.


The moon turned white five degrees above the horizon.

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