Wednesday, August 29, 1984

Artist get CAC grantsmanship

Community news Grants fund art projects Murals, sculptures planned at schools

Two local artists have been awarded California Arts Council grants for the Artists in the School Program for the coming year. Greer Upton received a $3,500 grant for a four-month program at Healdsburg Elementary School and Marsha Connell received $6,900 for an eight-month program at West Side School. Out of 161 grants awarded throughout California by the arts council, only one other Sonoma County school district was named Mark West Union School District which received $7,700. Maureen Hurley is artist in residence at Mark West. The artists were selected for the award through a state wide competition based on their artistic ability, professionalism, communication skills, experience in working in educational settings and adaptability. Connell, a painter and sculptor, is beginning the second year of her residency at West Side School and, according to Principal Terry Kneisler, "The overwhelming support of the Wesfside community and the children's delight with the arts experiences have been crucial to the success of our artists in residence program. Our first year's experience with the CAC artists in the schools program has more than fulfilled our expections." During 1983-84, the West Side project focused on the signs of the changing seasons, a metaphor for life in rural Healdsburg. Expanding on this, the coming year's theme is "A Sense of Place." Building in skills in the use of art materials begun last year, students will make a visual study of creatures and people in their environment. They will be making animal sculptures from recycled wood and found obejcts and install them around the school, as well as doing drawings and watercolors on themes such as "the face of the landscape." The theme "A Sense of I Place," ties in with the school's social studies curriculum which focuses on the multiethnic heritage in rural Healdsburg. Connel teaches sculpture and watercolor at Santa Rosa Junior College. She has also been artist in residence at Skidmore College, as well as in several Sonoma County schools. Her work has been exhibited in many local and regional shows in California and on the East Coast. Visual artist Greer Upton will work with students painting outdoor murals at both Healdsburg Elementary and Fitch Mountain schools. At HES, the mural will explore several forms of fish, from local habitats to migrating whales and exotic tropical fish. Third graders at FMS will participate in the painting of dinosaurs crawling about the exterior of the campus. These prehistoric images will be used as a teaching tool for first graders who will all study dinosaurs as part of their curriculum. Murals historically have been used for visual education in many cultures. The themes of fish and dinosaurs will be used to instruct science, ecology, history and culture, as well as the arts. Upton's mixed media sculpture show, "Altars," is now on display at Perfetti Gallery in Santa Rosa. She has received an honorable mention for her assemblage piece at the California State Fair currently being shown in Sacramento, Upton is also an artist in residence at Sonoma Country Day School. Diana McConnel is apprenticing Upton at the HES mural as part of her bachelor of arts degree at Evergreen State College in Washington. Connell and Upton, along with Hurley from Mark West, are founding members of the artists in the schools program and Community of Sonoma County, an organization begun in 1981 by artists who were involved in thearts program at the Healdsburg district. This pilot program served as a statewide model for Exemplary Arts Education. The California Arts Council programs' focus is on placing professional artists in communities, schools and social institutions. They involve people in the arts through workshops, demonstrations, performances, exhibitions and other activities which help expand the development of creative potential and appreciation of all art forms. Through the artist in residency programs, students have the opportunity to experience the creative process first-hand with artists. Not intended to replace existing school arts programs, the artist in residence program involves teachers, staff, parents and school communities in the arts process as well.

GRANTS FOR THE ARTS Artists Greer Upton and Marsha Connell have each been awared grants by the California Arts Council for projects at West Side Elementary, Fitch Mountain and Healdsburg Elementary school for the coming year.

Friday, August 17, 1984

Mt Veder 1

I awaken to the conversations of two women. The finches under the bedsheet beeped and nibbled upon its edges. The women were silhouetted against the window in the morning sun* I couldn't hear what they were saying. 

I dreampt my grandmother had fallen and the weight had dropped. Her lips were blue. A piece of iron had pierced the sagging flesh of her right elbow during the night. I hold her in my arms, thus, as she held me. I can't hear what she is saying. A woman comes in as we write, apologizing because she interrupts us, and then she leaves before she tells us anything. 

Driving down Mt. Veder, the mountains before me seem like cardboard cutouts against the solid sky. A balloon having more dimension than the mountains drifts like some great beast against the sky. Hot air rises. It is a given fact. I can't shake this sleep and the deaths I dream of—deaths of those I know and the deaths of those who are strangers. There is rust everywhere. A child's water-color set is on the table. I apply shapes of color. Soon I am carefully filling pages with color and I think of Franz Mark's blue horses in the rain and Bob was saying how close to Lascaux he died.   

Our alphabet comes from the caves of Lascaux. The calligraphy of bison before the hunt. Ochre pigment. A child finding the cave. The woman asks if I always waken like thus, and I say no, and leave, wondering why is it that I don't waken like this—the brush tracking pale yellow across the white of morning. 

My notebook tumbles down a steep embankment and lands face-down on a small overhanging branch suspended six inches above the water. Carolyn says, I'm surrounded by mothers. Are you a mother? 

I take off my kimono and thongs. I place my bare feet on the lateral earth. Poison oak lovingly strokes my ankle. I hear a car coming. As I ascend the ravine, I grab my pillows, sleeping bag, kimono and shoes. I step on my white skirt and the sound of stitches giving way like rotted flesh, or like the feeling of a job well done and I think of what we do to protect this writing. 

There is so much to write about—war, phlegm on the streets, someone wretching in the next room. I think of Lebanon, the way we ignore those in pain, the aged, death. I am shivering from what I have heard. How can I write of this? I have nothing poetic to say. 

This becomes a letter to an imaginary reader and what I really want to say is locked deep in some crevass waiting for the morning sun to melt the ice. It turns to water and disappears, turns to air before I have time to drink. I hold the brush in the air, waiting for paper.

Maureen Hurley  


Wednesday, August 15, 1984


To Pele, the Woman of Fire
& Amuan U, Diety of Cloud & Rain
who stood on the rim to offer love.  

Mist clings to ohias & tree ferns
The lips of the crater demark
a fine line between water & fire.
In the form of ferns
is he walking before me in the mist?
Her hot breath at my heels.
Succulent juice from berries
trickles into my mouth ­
& I take in a part of her house
in the form of fire
that surrounds his body.
Indistinct from the fog, this language
is a fine slurry of saliva & stone.
We mouth words
and wait to see who will enter  

   E Pele E
   Koahi Oa Lo
   lili aina
   E Pele E   

Over black lava, a rainbow forms
an immutable arc because love is infinite.
His body becomes her house,
her house, his body—
not things themselves
but temples shedding the same skin
where orchids bloom in their wake.   

7/84?    Volcano HI
But it looks like the first prose was written 8/9-10/84, so I'm moving it to August 15. I must've worked on it at Napa, then put down the wrong date. If I extensively revised a poem, sometimes the creation date suffered. But this seems pretty straightforward.

see prose Kamapua'a and Pele on Kilauea



She gathers up the veils about her
and rushes blindly forward
like some incense clouding the altar.

Like palm roots spread upon the shallow land
unripened men lie dormant in fallow fields
waiting for rain.


The Napa Flasher

Monday, August 13, 1984

Hawaii Journal, August 4 -12, 1984

July 31 
(see Letter to Jim Byrd: Mid-Ocean, Enroute to Oahu) Well, there's land out there— Must be getting close. Mauna Kea. Through the clouds, the low flat tongues of Molokai's shore. 

Oahu: The water is so warm, I had forgotten the sheer joy of it all. Welcome to Hawaii. I'd forgotten about the slow pace here. In spite of 9 million tourists, Waikiki is still manages to be friendly. Waikiki is like Disneyland, or LA shrunk into a dream.

I'm in a room crammed with first-time haoles and not so haole visitors. Very difficult to think. Heavy. Pacalolo means I no can remembah, with an H. So much for intellect. Wish I could leave. Hanamua Bay is waiting, and all those fish....

It is so beautiful here, how can anyone possibly make plans for anything?

August 4
Waikiki, Oahu. Coconut palms grow along the shore, the green nut extracts clear water from the saline sea. We punch a hole in the coconut with a screwdriver. 

The Vietnamese man told me how he gave a local a ride back from Hanamua Bay. Passing the coco palms, he reminisced of the foods he ate in Vietnam. He said: I've been here 10 years. Not the same. The native Hawaiian ran up the coco palm and picked me ten coconuts. It took me four trips to get them all back to my hotel room, he said. 

Seeing me on the lanai above, he offered me a drink placing the straw in the hole. We sip the faintly perfumed water tasting of traces of salt. There is a drought in Oahu, he said, tourists flush water into the bay while residents take turns watering their lawns. Coco palms grow along the shores of Waikiki, making their own water slowly, slowly.

After the canoe regatta, the women winners say, as the coach falls asleep at the Jolly Roger restaurant at the Coconut Plantation. Our coach goin' down. How you do, Miss Chang? Shaka. Hang in there brah. I not forgettin' notin'. He standed up against the door thing.

August 5
In the hotel I am meeting no one but the shopkeepers and I swap tales of homeland and of journey. Traveling alone, feeling safe, no need to worry.

At the zoo fence, a watercolor artist  and I discussed left-handedness and right brain theories. We are defining the role of discipline and art. I came here to write. So far it's all been rubbish. But I'm collecting so much data I feel viscerally ill after each day. 

Polynesian paralysis has taken ahold, slowly it comes when you sleep, and it stealthily slips in like an errant lover into your waiting arms. I keep losing my camera, my keys, my wallet, camera bag, and I am nonplussed. I'm not losing them, I keep misplacing them and then can't remember where I've put them. 

Small kids clamber over and say hi hi hi. We smile, the best of friends. Kathy's nephew Mike and I putter around Hanamua Bay on a raft, we're sharing a snorkel. It's if they were all my children and we are all friends. I discovered how easy it is to be 10 years old again. 

There is something about the Hawaiian tongue that takes hold like a religion. I want to chant Napali, Napali, Napali. I find place names, searching for a place in within me. Lihue, mahi-mahi, Hanalei, pakalolo, talk-talk pigeon. Soon not long you talk like natives. Sentence structure and grammar are as cumbersome as a wool sweater in the tropics. No slack key here. Dakine. English as we know it becomes obsolete. I am convinced the tropics put you into permanent right brain mode. 

Right brain is capable of simple language structure and expletives aren't difficult to dredge up. Listen to the language of the tropics, an excellent reason for Polynesian paralysis. Right brain is inhabiting the timeless creative mode, full of concepts. Left brain is the administrator in Hawaii, and even administrators get a little slack key sometimes. Shaka brah! Hang loose.

August 6 
I spend days in paradise waiting to write something inspiring, earth shattering, nothing comes out. What words can compete with this truly soft caress of the ocean air and the warm blue water breathing on long reaches to the coral sand?

Honopu Trail: Passion fruit, small wild fuchsias, I eat red berries similar to huckleberries, and other berries like blackberries. It is so dense, so much undergrowth, I keep my arms and camera above my head. My feed follow a path I can't see. I notice how similar the land is—yet, different. Volcanic soil, blood-red, caked like adobe, yet slippery and porous. The trail I'm on is more than poorly maintained, it hasn't been maintained in years. So many down trees, walking is difficult. More like crawling.

August 7
I feel like I'm coming home to Kauai'i, a place where it never been. Every major movie with those lush tropical scenes was filmed here. Bali Hai rises above us. It's truly what the song says it only rains in the mornings and evenings.

Hanalei: I take the Island Voyager up the Na Pali Coast, and see frigatebirds, tropicbirds, egrets, lava tubes, and caves, we breathe the warm ocean breath from the inside of a sea cave. I swim with sea turtles, barracuda, porpoises, and large schools of mannini.

The water is much cooler than Hanamua Bay. I am transfixed by iridescent seaweed, sea cucumbers, white and pink coral tinged with lavenders and blues. The ride back home was rough. All those following waves. He went inside to see crater, open to the sky – like the wall the Chichén Itzá. Lava tubes sleeping with waterfall to the ocean.

North of Hanalei, there are one-lane bridges, lush vegetation, philodendron, water hyacinth – all in lavender hues. This looks like the South Pacific. I wear a crocheted Bali top with two large hibiscus strategically placed, at the center of those flowers is an offering of life. Women wear hibiscus as large as their faces, behind their ears, and nothing seems out of place. Color has a way of getting tamed on the islands. In Waimea, an orange truck was almost invisible against the red earth.

A father instructs his son to find a yellow fruit, it's ripe, he says, Suck on it but don't eat the seeds. You have to really want passionfruit it's like pomegranate, only it's orange, and not as juicy—you have to want it passionately.

Over Maui: In this place where land is at a premium, the military is still using Kahoʻolawe, the smallest of the Hawaiian Islands, for target practice, Its tallest point, 1,483 ft, reaches out for help. Kaho'olawe is part of Maui Nui —the original island of Hawaii. The Target Island, Its red lands bleed into the sea, she is curled up, fetus-like as if in pain.

Oahu: at this point I have the instructions for evacuation memorized. It is always good to know all possible escape routes. Crash landing sleep little choice. 

Over Pearl Harbor Quonset huts covered with trees, strange arches, caves where men lived during the war. This flight makes two stops. I'm making the most of it. In high-altitudes, liquor works quicker. The DC-9 gets to a Oahu too fast and we get merry belting our beers down in five minutes. flat. Someday I will see all the islands.

August 8 At the coffee plantation, Hawaii journal
August 8 Kona Lagoon, Hawaii journal
August 9 Ke'ie Beach, Hawaii Journal

August 9-10
Big Island. Mauna Loa's curtain of fire. Pele migrated from Nihoa to Halemao'oma'u, in the Kīlauea cauldera. Pele brought offerings of fruit, leis, fish and pigs. As I stand in front of the seismograph, I watch four earthquakes, and two volcanic tremors being recorded within three minutes. It's a seismic calligraphy dance.

Forbidden fruit: While drinking Kirin beer and eating mahimahi sashimi, I think of him, and the fire we both are. Is it balanced, or would we consume each other in our hunger. 

See prose notes Kamapua'a and Pele on Kilauea, which becomes the poem, NOT THINGS THEMSELVES.

August 10
Saturday I spent the day snorkeling. Ed took me to keep a beach Ke'ei beach onto the place of refuge like the edge of a caldera, an exquisite reef, steep mountains of coral, and fish of every description. I swam over 20-foot cliffs without fear and over the blueness of the caldera, such peace. I hope it will stay with me during those times when life gets rough.

August 11 see Letters to Pele, Hawaii journal, Volcano

August 12 
Captain Cook. From the kitchen window I can make out the palm trees of the place of refuge, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau. They say that those who broke kapu, could flee to the city, and seek asylum, but they had to run 5 miles barefoot over ropey lava, while stones were thrown at them. If they made it to the place of refuge, they were safe, but when they did, what did the stones have to say?

Kona, Captain Cook. My cousin Eddie quotes from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, while we pick coffee berries in the rain. And he talks about asylum, a place where we all have lived at one time or another. The fragrant coffee blossoms are like gardenias. Ed says they're related.

August 13
After spending five days with Ed, I am content with my visit. It seems that we never get tired of each other, it's as if I've known him all my life. This is one friendship I cherish. So easy, the meals, the boasts, complaints, secrets, and the laughter we shared at everything under the sun. He is as flippant as I am. I will be sad to go. But go, I must. Time to catch the inter-island shuttle to connect to the Red Eye out of Honolulu.

Oakland airport: it's now 5 AM Hawaiian time. Two guys play frisbee in the Oakland terminal arrival lane. I am so sleepy and eager to get home. This time the timing seems right, although I am saddened by the thought of leaving Ed, and I do love the Big Island. Aloha, mahalo nui.

added 9/17, revised

Saturday, August 11, 1984

Letters to Pele, Hawaii journal, Volcano

At Volcano House, on Kilauea crater, people are returning chunks of lava called Pele's tears. It is kapu to remove rocks from the Big Island. Pele is a jealous goddess.


May 24, 1983: a man bought the international truck from the Park Service but began to have bad luck. The windshield wipers kept falling off, and the turn signal would quit for no apparent reason. While changing the shocks he found Pele's tears on the suspension bars. He returned the rocks and said the truck works fine now.

August 30 1983: a man returned his shoes to the island. He said, I feel foolish doing this but after 30 separate incidents of bad luck I am returning a box of Peles' tears that I stole from the goddess. And the shoes too. (He's taking no chances). Please absolve my sins by returning these to the water.

A man from Santa Rosa says: My conscience tells me the horrible rains in California may be related to Pele. She finally discovered that I stole all those tears. These are all the tears I took, honest. Please ask Pele to stop the rain in Northern California. Too many tears.

Another person writes that the kids are returning Pele's lava. They are tired of all the bad luck.

November, 1983: Jeff Williamson returned pahoehoe and said he lost an airline ticket, he went broke, and a trees fell through his house, etc. He also sent back pine incense to be burnt to make amends at the crater.

Another writes: Nothing bad happened with these rocks but my family is full of hicktown idiots who will believe anything.

Here's a testimonial for your files. I was in Denver in a monstrous snowstorm that ruined my family reunion, and another one the week before. Well, enough is enough. We are returning to Pele all of her rocks, and all of the pieces of coral we took as well in the first case. Please tell her to release us from her terrible spell.

One woman said that the curse were true and she wants her wedding ring back. She said: My love life is terrible. Could you relay my sincere regrets to the goddess for me? Being a goddess, she knows who I am. PS I took pieces from the younger Pele.

Another said: please return these rocks. I'm a believer.

1969: Seattle: I took six trips to Hawaii and I have had numerous injuries: broken elbows, torn knee, sprained toes, punctured eardrum, you name it. So I'm returning these rocks.

Please return to Madame Pele. I picked them up in 1937 while serving in the U.S. Army. Now, maybe my luck will change.

!971: Not that my life has been so bad but there have been difficult times. So nothing seems to been quite right since my wife left, job is poor, I'm thinking it's Pele.

1978: Dear People, I deliberately took the enclosed rock of lava from the volcano knowing the legend of the goddess Pele, not being a person who believes in bad luck. I thought maybe that was just superstition. Five years later, and 10 car accidents, two unsuccessful business ventures, and twice brokenhearted, I admit there might be something to it. Enclosed is a rock of lava, please return it to where it belongs. Thanks in advance.

Halemao'oma'u is Pele's home. As I stand in front of the seismograph, I watch four earthquakes, and two volcanic tremors being recorded within three minutes. It's a seismic calligraphy dance.

This morning I asked Ed if he wanted anything from the crater. He said, Nothing, thanks. Just don't bring back any lava.

added 9/17, revised

Friday, August 10, 1984

Kamapua'a and Pele on Kilauea

The edge of the Kilauea crater demarks a fine line between fire and air. The lovers, Kamapua'a , the hog child, the pig god, the fertility god of agriculture and plenitude, and Tūtū Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes and violence, each struggled for the upper handhold and the battle of fire, forest and rain began. He took the form of ferns. Then a kukui tree. She made the land. And the rains fell to nourish him. Sweet enemies.

On Kilauea, the great southwestern rift runs all the way to the sea. When the fissure opens, a curtain of fire wraps and rises skyward mixing with air. It is her house that surrounds his body. The sea cools it. This story is as real as the orchids blooming in the mist.

2. There are many places of refuge. Entire lives whirl by as we search for something we're not quite sure of. And it's always right here in front of us the whole time. An indistinct entity in the fog, like a knife to whetstone. This language we speak in a fine slurry of saliva and stone, it sharpens our wits as we mound words and eat blood-red raspberries. Succulent juice trickles down our chins and we are always hungry because we are running across the plateau to the lips of the crater for no real reason other than because it is there. This is the way of things.


E Pele E
koahwi oa na lo lili kolnaina
E Pele E

Your jealousy, your rage is pacified. Pele sends lava tears and buries the forest in smoke. To bury this love and it emerges anew with each passing rain. I brought you back no lava, but I did walk on new land. Last May's pahoehoe and a'a spewn out by Pele, supports my weight.

Hold, that it be taken out on enchantment made of light, that it may shoot sparks in doing its work.

Keanakolu, the place of three caves, the cave of the adz. The cave of the lion. An old heiau. Then a settler's cave. Someone who jumped ship?

Mauna Loa, the Long Mountain comes out of the clouds, she places the sun on her summit. She has the right to do so. There are rainbows forming over the black lava. They say the rainbow is a lei, a token of her love, to remember their love. The rainbow is a true arc because it is infinite, like with love. It is something we'll believe in forever because it is what keeps us alive. We need something to believe in. It is as vital as the air we breathe.

added 9/17
minor changes

Kilauea crater rim, Hawaii journal

On the thermal updraft I steam my face, hot rain rises off the crater. The life of a poet is never dull. My work takes me to exotic places. Right now I'm straddling a steam vent, my poncho is a tent. From the rain and the sauna, my poncho is a trap. Steam vents warm the backs of my legs, they are wet—as I write this, while standing on the edge of Kilauea, home of Pele. I should stand naked under this tarp.

On the rim of Kīlauea, the steaming bluff a kanekolea, a crying plover sings a plaintive note. Kamapua'a, a diety of clouds, rainforests, and numerous other body forms, is said to have stood on this cliff while offering his love to Pele, the woman of fire. She insulted him in the battle of fire, forest, and rain began.

Kamapua'a took a fern body, and became a fern forest surrounding Kīlauea and this is why Pele's home, the pit craters on the floor of Kīlauea are called Halemuamu'a (a house surrounded by ama'umu'u fern). The red eye of Halemaʻumaʻu , the crater lava lake, is asleep.

It's like the edge of the crater is a fine line between fire and air, Kamapua'a and Pele still battle. Kīlauea it is her house it surrounds his body. This is as real as the orchids growing on the rim.

There are many places of refuge and we stand beside ourselves searching for something we're not quite sure of and it's always right here in front of us indistinct in the fog. The home of our senses—like a knife to whetstone, a fine slurry of saliva and stone sharpens us.

We mount words in our mouth like ripened raspberries, like blood. Love needs an edge to keep it interesting. Succulent juice trickles down our chins and we are always hungry no matter how many answers there are because that form of reality takes me running across the lip of the crater for no real reason other than because it is there.

8/10, or 11
added 9/17, revised

Thursday, August 9, 1984

HAWAII short poems

In Hawaii it is quiet tonight while Pele sleeps. 
A child asks do birds fly this high?
His mother answers: At this height 
it is too high for even the birds.

A three breasted Island is wrapped in cloud cover 
deceptively gentle slopes. Such cleavage.
The stewardess waits as I chugalug.
We circle before landing. Pau hana.
Some people called this place home. 

What the sea covers 
between the low and the high tide 
belongs to no man.



Today I walked in the city of refuge
where only royalty was allowed to live,
the commoner was stoned to death
for even casting a shadow in this place.
I look behind me, in the muted sun
I cast no shadow in the city of refuge.
I place my hand on the lava wall
and find the silence of the grave.

A mongoose sits on the wall
watches with golden eyes.
Workers are dressing the stones.
Ohia is the first tree to grow
on the newly made land.
Carla and Marilyn make tapa cloth
from mulberry bark, paint them
with a lost geometric language.
Ron and Tony dress ohia wood
for a totem they are carving of the god
who oversees the offerings of food
to feed the other gods.
I am hungry for words.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the place of refuge
added, rev. 9/17

Ke'ie Beach, Hawaii Journal

Eating mangoes on Ke'ie Beach, 
this ropy lava, dull black pahoehoe 
with concentric swirls 
iridescent rainbow sheen
where it pooled and cracked 
like tree fingers.
We drive down to Keei Beach Rd, in Kealakekua, lava walls, white sands, and a sea grotto and channel protected by a reef. Ed says it's the local's beach. It's perfection. It's also the site of the Battle of Moku'ohai, King Kamehameha's first battle to gain control of the Big Island of Hawaii, across from where Captain Cook was eaten.

Of all the fish I see, only three or four are on my fish chart which has over hundred fish on it. I keep forgetting what day it is. I make a pact to write lots while I am here. Uncensored writing perhaps to draw from later. Matrix.

Why is it when after I've eaten half of a fruit, 
I discover the other half of the worm?

I've spent two nights on the Big Island. I not only haven't written much but the two days I scheduled to drive madly around the island were spent in Kona, of all places. 

Yesterday was spent getting to know someone, making up for a lost time that was never lost. It's strange to travel 2400 miles to find a cousin, a second cousin, so like me, but my male counterpart. 

We're exactly a year and a day apart. Our minds track the same patterns. We're accused of the same habits by our friends. We are Sagittarians, walking encyclopedias, trying everything in sight.  

Is it the stars or is it genetic that makes us so similar? Ed says coincidental comparisons are for nonbelievers. We are truly similar—at least from an artistic background, and the aesthetic and psychic realm as well. Our philosophies ring true. 

It seems I'm always the oddball out, the one with too much useless knowledge, or the one with too much squandered talent and creativity, or the one going nine ways at once. It's both a blessing and a curse to have a runaway mind. 

And here's someone else just like me. I always attributed it to the Reilly side of the family. No, Ed and I are way too much alike. We are spawned from the same pond. So it's from my grandmother's Walsh side, this zaniness. 

Many mammals, especially rodents recognize kin. Animals sharing the same DNA seem to have an affinity for one another and will protect kin closest to them first. Can we recognize kin instinctively, intuitively? 

I am staying with a man whom I literally don't know, haven't ever even talk to except at weddings, family gatherings, or funerals where we had made no deep connections. I don't remember him, other than having a vague memory of playing with him on a white carpet underneath a piano. We were less than five years old. Where were we? In LA, at his parents' place?

I made a phone call to my stranger cousin out of the blue form my hotel room. I was so scared—what did I fear?  I had wakened him. He was hung over, from the night before. But he said Come on up for coffee. I had a rental car and drove up Napoopoo road to the coffee plantation.

And we toured the coffee plantation, and shared meals, we couldn't stop talking the whole day. His lips telling me my stories, reiterating my thoughts. I begin to feel like a parrot saying yes yes yes. It's almost as if we were twins. 

Because his rising sign is Virgo, and mine is Gemini, the two cornerstones seem to balance. The Virgin and the twins. Less than 24 hours have passed, and I can't measure time by years, nor minutes. There is no shrapnel shaped time. Time is soft, fluid like bursa. 

We bent elbows and knees and pay homage to the burial bones on an island far from home. Coming back home to this place where I've never been. 

added 9/17, revised

Wednesday, August 8, 1984

At the coffee plantation, Hawaii journal

Later, at the coffee plantation, geckos chuckle, and make small fists as they lift their hands from the hot surfaces. A Hawaiian hawk circles overhead. We talk about getting closer to the center of the core. The papayas below the kitchen are like multi-breasted Greek goddesses, hanging heavy on the trees. We will eat them with lime juice and apple bananas.

I am sleeping on the slopes of Mauna Loa, this great joyous weight—aina. These islands were called the Sandalwood Islands— ʻiliahi. The sacred fragrant wood was a source of wealth in the islands, traded for rum and weapons, until there were no more trees.
Ed points out the trees. I learn that the Australian macadamia nut, named after the Scottish-Australian chemist, John MacAdam, as was macadam, is also called the Queensland nut.
The kukiu tree, first to colonize the lava fields, is the candlenut tree, a bringer of light. The koa tree, is Hawaiian mahogany. And the kamanu tree (punnai nut) is mentioned in the ancient Hawaiian chants.

The mountain apple, or roseapple, a kind of myrtle related to guava (Syzygium malaccense), ohi'aloke, or ohi'a 'ai, is the golden fruit of immortality. Buddha was said to sit beneath that tree. Not the banyan. The mountain apple, the first fruit tree of Hawaii, is sweet, crisp, pear-like, with overtones of bayberries. Will Staple and I once made a mountain apple pie on Maui. A sacred wood, used for carvings and canoes.

The jacaranda from Brazil, sometimes called the fern tree, its blossoms form vast lavender carpets in the undergrowth. Wild philodendron snakes up trees like a massive serpent. The coffee trees, with their red "cherry," and gardena-like blossoms are so beautiful and fragrant. Ed says they're related.

A mango tree looks like it's always ready for Christmas with its rosy fruits bright against dark leaves similar to the magnolia and rubber trees. We press some banana fronds into instant rain capes.

Ed quotes: "Man is like a banana the day it bears fruit—like the banana which dies after it bears its one bunch of bananas, man dies after his work is done," I've no idea said that. He doesn't elaborate.  It's bad luck to dream of bananas. Later I find out that it's an old Hawaiian saying. Bananas, the fruit of the gods, sometimes used in place of human sacrifice, were kapu, forbidden to women.

A racket in the distance. Kona nightingales are wild donkeys, says Ed. I make a few quick drawings before the rains come.

Mauna Kea rises up 13,796 feet above sea level, or 32,000 feet from the ocean floor. Ditto that for Mauna Loa. Twinned breasts. In the Waipio Valley, the 1946 tsunami cut 2000 foot cliffs, 4 miles across, out of the Kohola mountains. Escaped papayas float in the inlet like a canoe war party.

added 9/17, revised

Kona Lagoon, Hawaii journal

Kona Lagoon

Kahaluʻu Bay, the royal residence: rock carvings where Chief Kamalalawalu (Kama-lala-walu) the Alii nui of Maui, was killed, and his likeness is carved into the pahoehoe. Makolea's heiau—the women's house. Makolea's beauty was so great it was like a flame. Women who want children still come to her heiau.

Ke-eku or Ku-eku heiao, the place where Chief Kamalalawalu was held prisoner until the proper human sacrifices were made. Chief Kamalalawalu brought his two dogs, a blind black one, Ko-papa-ho, and a white one, Kaua kahu-ekaoka, to his final battle. They both died grieving him, and were deified and proclaimed guardians of the Ke-eku. The white dog guards outside the southwest corner, and the black dog, the northwest corner. The Chief's bones and his dog bones were taken back to Maui.

Ancient sea wall. near the Kapua Noni heiao, a temple to increase fish and food production, it is said the kuʻula, the sacred stones were brought from Maui as monuments to fish.

On the Big Island pahoehoe pours out long ropes from the umbilicus. Mauna Loa, like a spider, is pulling long threads from her belly spinning her black web.


Tuesday, August 7, 1984


The Punchball Crater
serves up a strange broth,
bones of the dead.

As we rise in elevation,
they roll the beverage cart down the hill
to the thirsty galleys of passengers.

Molokai very barely visible in the mist.
Haleakala, the house of the sun,
rises up above the clouds, and yawns.

The pink cuticle of the sea at sunset
pushes back the night
the mountains of the Big Island
rise up for miles and miles and miles.



At Marker 13, Waimea Canyon

At the Pu'u Hinahina Lookout
cattle egrets skim the tangled kukui trees
deep in the Waimea Canyon.

A riot of flowers
morning glory, wild fuchsia, and hydrangeas
enough to tangle the eye.

8/6, or 7

Monday, August 6, 1984


Such cliffs, 4000 feet straight up,
spires piercing the sky.
Blue leaks down into the ocean.
Deep valleys—some no wider
than a hundred feet across,
as if made by serpents.
In the Valley of the Lost Tribe,
where time becomes a concept of the future,
the present breathes green air.
Inside the crater of Mt. Waiʻaleʻale,
where it rains inches a day,
hundreds of waterfalls, like long white hair
tumbling down over 2000 ft sheer cliff.
Madame Pele, aged, and turned to water,
shakes loose the next element—
and cloaks the island in green.
One can't slip any further back in time,
it's  like suspended animation.
On the coast, sea caves, lava tubes,
fresh blue opals and rainbows. Notes of color.
How does all that color get into the sea?
Paradise, a Persian word, means garden.
This garden extends from the summit
of Mt. Waiʻaleʻale, to the ocean floor.


Paradise in the tropics, is a fragile thing.
Waikiki, Mardi Gras West, is an open sore.


In spite of it all the development
I am truly in love with paradise.
I have come home to a place
where I have never been before.


Japanese doves pool at my feet
the blue of their beaks and eyes
as if dipped into the ocean.

Raucous mynabirds and finches
in the guava trees make the Galapagos
seem dull by comparison.


Sunday, August 5, 1984

ON KAUAI'I, 8 poems (photos)

Enroute to Kauai'i
CO2 rolls out of the air conditioners
Stewardess says, Don't worry.
It's just a crossfire.

rough fabric of ocean
warp and weft of cross currents
on the sea, whitecap lint.

mynah birds and Indian doves at my feet
plumeria, pikake, and jasmine
warm rains, blue on blue, mother of oceans
and the fish make fire opals
seem dull by comparison.



It's hard to rearrange the stars
of the Southern Cross
to make them fit in my mind.
At the Tropic of Cancer, I align the planets
and lose my way along the constellations
Where is north? The Big Dipper?
The stars of the Northern hemisphere,
their indelible location, hardwired as breathing,
have gone and moved on me.

rev. slightly 12/4/15

Ironwood cones brace my feet
their litter needling this shore
to be an adult, is to realize
 the dreams of childhood
Ironwood trees, the South Pacific.
all those things learned in geography books
At 12, I was ready for the stars
of the Southern Cross
At 31, I'm almost there.
Will I ever see them directly overhead
instead of at an oblique angle?



Kawai'i. I keep thinking how this place
looks so much like the South Pacific,
the banana leaves, hibiscus, coco palms,
and the rain on the tin roof shacks.
I have to keep reminding myself
but this IS the South Pacific.



What can I say
after flying through the valley
of the lost tribe? Honopu Valley.
There is nothing to compare with this.

I am forever losing my way in sleep
to return to this valley, this place,
a place I've never been to before.



Entering inside the crater
of Mt Wai'ale'ale, Kauai
there is no time,
only the verdant walls
where white ribbons splash down
the mountain flanks
and etch the curve of the caldera
The summit wears a continual raincap
sheaves of hoary white hair
Pools carved eyelets on the mountain
The ocean is hammering the reef
All that suspended salt wanting water
Pele's hair covered the mountain
when she left to stoke the fires
of the Big Island.



In the hotel I am meeting no one
but the shopkeepers all swap tales
of homeland and journey.
Traveling alone, feeling safe
no need for more of the same
A watercolor artist at the zoo fence
and I lefthandedly discuss right brain theories
redefining the role of discipline and art.
I came here to write
so far, it's all rubbish
but I'm collecting so much data
I feel viscerally ill after each day
I keep losing camera, keys, wallet,
camera bag, and am non-plussed
Polynesian paralysis takes hold while you sleep,
stealthily slips in like an errant lover
into your waiting arms.


I will need to redo these photos, they're slide prints from a proofhseet, which has degraded.



What can I say, I am left speechless
after flying through the valley
of the lost tribe. Honopu Valley.
There is nothing to compare with this place.

In sleep, I am always losing my way,
to return to this valley, this place,
to a place I've never seen before.

(will need to redo photo when I get a decent scan of slides).




The chopper dives into the crater
of Mt Wai'ale'ale, Kauai,
and time stands still,
only the verdant walls
where white ribbons splash down
the mountain flanks
and etch the curve of the caldera
into crenulated skirts.
The summit wears a continual raincap
made of sheaves of hoary white hair.
Pools carve bright eyelets on the mountain
to watch the sky and weep while
the ocean hammers the reef like a fist.
All that suspended salt wanting water
swirls and dances like ancestors.
Pele's hair covered the mountain
like a cloud mantle when she left
to stoke the fires of the Big Island.

8/5, or 6, /84
(not sure of the date)



In the hotel I am meeting no one
and the shopkeepers swap tales
of homeland and journey.
Traveling alone, feeling safe,
I have no need for more of the same.
A watercolor artist at the zoo fence
and I lefthandedly discuss right brain theories
redefining the role of discipline and art.
I came here in order to write
so far, it's all rubbish, twaddle,
but I'm collecting so much data,
I feel viscerally ill at the end of the day.
I keep losing things: camera, keys, wallet,
camera bag, and I an far too laid-back.
Polynesian paralysis takes hold of you
while you sleep, it stealthily slips in-
between the sheets, like an errant lover,
right into your waiting arms.




It's hard to rearrange the stars
of the Southern Cross
to make them fit into my mind.
At the Tropic of Cancer,
I align the planets
and lose my way along the constellations
Where is true north? The Big Dipper?
The stars of the Northern hemisphere,
their indelible location,
hardwired as breathing,
have gone and moved on me.

rev. slightly 12/4/15

Oahu, Hawaii Journal

In the hotel I am meeting no one but the shopkeepers and I swap tales of homeland and of journey. Traveling alone, feeling safe, no need for more of the same.

At the zoo fence, a watercolor artist  and I discussed left-handedness and right brain theories. We are defining the role of discipline and art.

I came here to write. So far it's all been rubbish. But I'm collecting so much data I feel viscerally ill after each day. I keep losing my camera, my keys, my wallet, camera bag, and I am nonplussed. I'm not losing them, I keep misplacing them and then can't remember where I've put them.

Polynesian paralysis has taken ahold, slowly it comes when you sleep, and it stealthily slips in like an errant lover into your waiting arms.

Small kids clamber over and say hi hi hi. We smile, the best of friends. Kathy's nephew Mike and I putter around Hanamua Bay on a raft, we're sharing a snorkel. It's if they were all my children and we are all friends. I discovered how easy it is to be 10 years old again.

I think of Jim, and Lee, my fat stomach. I notice my tits rest on my rib cage for the first time. Still there's a hole somewhere dark and soft, for a man, for a family. I push the feeling aside, once again I push it deep into the valley where there is no measuring of time, there is no future, and I stroll across the parking lot saying to myself I'm here. I'm right here.

Is this the way it is because I am an artist? Is this a myth? Can one have both? Have I already slipped imperceptibly into another life? There were so many could have been's. Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.

I left Jim at the airport, saying, Don't worry I don't want a relationship either. Three weeks ago, I was convinced I was still in love—but then there are those who stretch holes in my heart, ripping them a little wider

I discovered for the 87th time I once again confused. I can't tell if these periodic storms of love are real, or is the confusion that is real? We can't ask others to love us no more than we can ask our hearts to love someone who wants us to love them in return and we can't. The more experience love, the less I know of love, life, and what I want.

Lee, Jim it's all the same rock wall story. We're like picky fish on a piece of fruit on the edges of love, and then declare the center to be rotten, to be pithy, a void. The shifting sands whisper will it never stop?

For women, there is a different kind of time then with men. A different way of viewing love, and acceptance if somewhat a fatalistic stance. With men, it's a non-declaration. But we see it in their eyes. Are they cut off from their emotions? Is logic the only language? Left brain dominant.

How is it that we see, when they don't? We spend years arguing over how they won't love us. They make us a point of it, and continue on until one suspect that yes is no, and no is yes. Yes dear, I don't love you but tell me again anyway.


The objective eye

Some bridge is always being built across the chasm. With these safety webs, comes love, and compassion, but it makes me mistrusts the lip of the gorge.
In this process of understanding, and renewal of love, I step back a bit further back from the edge. Deep inside, the objective eye takes note.


Saturday, August 4, 1984


After snorkeling all day
at Hanamua Bay
I spend the next 24 hours
in a rigid Mo'ai stance.
All that fire raging
on the backs of my thighs
and no way to put it out.
The sun's revenge.
I cannot sit on the bus,
how will I ride the plane:
I recline my way across the waters.
What I'd give for an easy chair
lined with icepacks.



Waikīkī is a perpetual Mardi Gras
the party never stops
tourists of every tongue
get down to the basics.


It is difficult to ride the bus, drive a car, eat a meal, ride a plane, or even write when you can't sit down. Lee asks, "Your ass?" Yes. It's 48 hours later, and I still can't sit, even slathered with so much Solarcane, it's given me the chills. After spending time either prone on my stomach, or standing so long, that my ankles have swelled, and my feet throb.


Wednesday, August 1, 1984



Clouds tower over Molokai 
flat tongue of Molokai rolls from the feet of Maui, 
where reefs break, boats and whitecaps of Pacific lint
If you look the wrong direction all there is, is endless ocean

August/84?  No idea
added 9/15/2016

Clouds over Molokai, 1

flat tongue of Molokai 
rolls from the feet of Maui 
white boats and whitecaps 
Pacific lint. If you look 
in the wrong direction 
all there is is endless ocean 
where reefs break.

I found this in a 1983 journal, but I also found a poem written in 1984.