Archive for May, 2009

Wandering Raffishness…

Posted on May 28, 2009

To My (mostly) Foe and (occasional) Friend:

Of course I care

(about you)

Are You Crazy?

The two are not mutually exclusive

(you know.)

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More Wandering Raffishness…

Posted on May 28, 2009

The Somewhat True Musings of a Haltingly Honest

Mostly, Occasionally, Sometimes Vibrant Soul

This place makes me feel:

Brilliant, furious, curious, wanton, wanted, mysterious, serious, superfluous, unknown, un-derstood, un-dressed, enveloped

careless

Care. Less.

underdeveloped

Under the Sun

(Mahalo)

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Wandering Raffishness…

Posted on May 28, 2009

Either Way...

Either Way...

Solo Contigo

I wonder how it might be
to be Alone with You
(completely alone)
For just a few

Days

Minutes

Moments

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Breaking the Locals…

Posted on May 23, 2009

The Fishers and the Nomads

The Fishers and the Nomads

I haven’t seen the comb in a week.
Which is of little consequence, as I’ve not felt moved to use it.
My fingers are more than adequate

I dress quickly and head for the pit.
I hear commotion the moment I enter the enchanted walkway.
And when I emerge, I see The Man from New York standing with Nachos, gawking, as The Fishers fight the eels.

Please note:
‘The Fishers’ are not a Jewish family who have a beef with Anguilliformes, rather Locals who fish, assiduously.

These are the same locals who were baffled when Santa Cruz ‘lost’ his second fishing pole in two weeks, while out on a beer run.
No one had seen anything.
Santa Cruz openly called bullshit on their story three days ago, and it occurs to me that I haven’t actually seen him since…

But The Fishers…they live and die by the sea.
They eat what they catch, and they never go hungry.

Please also note:
The Fishers are not your average white haired; yellow slickered, Gorton’s variety fishermen.
They are all in their mid to late 20’s, hold day jobs as painters and contractors and are rarely seen without a pole in one hand, a beer in the other and a cigarette between their lips.

They are attractive enough. (Attractive enough for what? you ask…)
Attractive enough to attract…
Women. And a few rambunctious, underage girls, for that matter…
I’ve witnessed multiple Tourist girls ’sideways stare’ The Fishers, as they casually sun themselves in tiny bikinis.
But The Fishers have ‘dharana.’ Immoveable focus of the mind.

And they do not remove their focus from the sea.

Please further note: Tourists are different than Nomads. Nomads come to the Island with the highest stakes in their overwrought minds. They are deliberate and wary. Tourists want to get tan and go on Sunset Sails.

Please also further note: While not off-limits to Nomads, Tourist girls are traditionally shunned by Locals.
Mostly because they want to get tan and go on Sunset Sails, activities for which Fishers and such, have little time, patience, or money.

I got diverted.
Which has happened more than once, recently.
Much to my delight, I might add…
Right. So there I am, at the end of the enchanted walkway, and I see Jin fighting the eel.

Sidebar: Jin’s name is not actually Jin, but he is of Asian descent and his English ranges from superior and accent-free to underwhelming and broken, depending on the situation, and thus, he has been named accordingly.
Also, fine fish handling skills add to his innate Jin-essence.

I am sure that he has just de-brained the eel he’s been fighting, but Nachos swears that the blob of smooshy goo which now lies in the lawn, which I tend to tromp through barefoot, is merely the squid bait that the eel had tried to eat.
I make a mental note to wear flip-flops whenever ‘tromping’ anywhere, henceforth.
The manner in which I see Jin wrestle this eel makes me doubtful that it could be anything but dead / wholly de-brained, and I only believe that the thing is still with us, when I witness him pick it up and hurl it back over the seawall.
I watch it swim away, and my eyes dart betwixt the sea and the goo on the lawn.
Un. Real.
I am floored.
The Man from New York is floored.
Even Nachos (who, at this point is only about a sheet and a half to the wind) is borderline impressed.

Dennis hands Jin a beer.
Dennis is a Local whose name is obviously not Dennis, but who bears a striking resemblance to Dennis the Menace.
The cartoon version.
In addition to being a Fisher, he is also in charge of distributing the finest chronic between Ka’annapali and Kapalua, though he shares a portion of Napili with a guy from Lahaina Town, which was (for Dennis) a rather un-settling settlement handed down by the powers that be, as a solution to a potentially ugly territorial dispute.
We are not allowed to speak of this though, so we do not.
But, Dennis does love the land and the sea, in equal measure.
I’ve a feeling that if you are really nice to him, he could be convinced to deliver some fresh Mahi for dinner, when he swings by with your desert.
He offhandedly tells Nachos that ‘his girl is pregnant,’ as he lights a cigarette.
Nachos expresses some affirmative emotion which is marred by his serious twitchiness, which seems to scream, “Help! I’m Nacho’s DTs… and I really loathe Nacho’s. Get me out!”

Finally, my eyes land on Uriah, just as he separates the head and body of a less fortunate eel and watches it bleed out.
Uriah is the Fisher King, a reference that has nothing to do with the Oscar-winning film, rather the fact that he is the very best of all the Fishers.
Uriah is the Island.
He is skinny…almost gangly, but strong.
His hands are far rougher than those of other 29 year-olds I know, a product of spending the past 3 decades living off the land and in the sun. They are the hands of a hunter. His face bears the weariness of men twice his age.
In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, I cannot stop noticing Uriah.
I know that if I am to live this Island-life the way I’d envisioned it, the way I’d conceived in the daydream… I knew that I needed Uriah. I needed to know him.

I travel back to the night we first met…
He’d come to the pit, raw meat in hand, and tenderly…lovingly, almost, dressed it in the marinade he’d prepared.
I’d watched him with curiosity and noticed the reverence with which he was regarded. By everyone.
Later, I sit sandwiched between he and the Man from New York, along with ten other people; at a table built for eight.
I am following five separate conversations around me, as I do, and contributing to each, as I see fit.
Uriah does the same.
And he seems to be hearing exactly what I am, in the same moment that I do…
As if it weren’t arbitrary, which it is.

Though he claims to possess little tactical knowledge of the world beyond the Island, I find that he is keenly aware of my words and tones.
He seems to get my dry sarcasm and I feel fortified each time he subtly chortles at something I say.
Especially the things that no one else notices. Or understands.
I savor his laughter as though it were a seal of approval, given by the most powerful citizen in a foreign land.
A foreign land, which one admires, ferociously…

At times, I feel him staring at me hard, through the darkness.
And when someone’s eyes are flush to the back of your hair, you do tend to feel it.
I find that when I speak with him, I speak intently.
Intensely.
With him, I discover a quiet calm in my voice that I’d not heard before.
And I stare at him, just as he does me.
He appreciates this.
His eyes never break from my gaze, nor mine from his.
In spite of the impropriety of our forced closeness and decided lack of personal space, I feel no need for coy behavior.
I listen and I learn and it is only when I momentarily project my-Self out of myself, as I feel I must in order to take a fast situational inventory, that I see that our hands and legs are in full contact.
We are sitting that close.
We are being that much together, and yet there is no shame.
No fault or intent.
No one notices. No one cares. No one is conscious
Except, of course, my-Self.
And so, I hastily re-align my-Self into myself, so as not to allow any self-sabotage of this perfect moment.
And I do continue learning.
And the group wanes.
And then there are five.
The Man from New York, Alaska, Willie Nelson, myself (my-Self has gone missing, Thank God), and Uriah.
We remain.
He invites us to his lair so that we might experience the true bounty of the Island.
He speaks of indigenous strains which mere mortals thought existed only in legend.
He believes our journey to the fourth floor will be worthwhile.
Not that he’d be partaking.
He quit that stuff, but keeps a fair supply on hand, for deserving explorers.
I ask why he no longer indulges…
He begins: There was this girl…
“Ahhh…It always starts with a girl…” I interject.
I expect the titters of laughter that such comments usually command, especially when surrounded by an all-male audience, as I was, but suddenly…
Uriah turns dark and scolds me sharply: “Don’t categorize me or this.”
And now I imagine what it might be like to kiss Uriah.
Which is not to say that I want to kiss Uriah, rather that I was imagining what it might be like, much in the same way that a child who has never had a cookie, might imagine tasting one.
No implied emotion.
Just simple, human curiosity.
I wonder what the combination of his tobacco and beer and meat would taste like.
I wonder if he’d attempt to nibble my bottom lip, but immediately shun the thought because it seems awkward, at best.
No, I decide. He’d not be tricky or slick. I imagine that he’d kiss me simply.
Straightforward with just a touch of unintentional strength.
Which, again, is neither here nor there but simply where it is…

In that moment, the Man from New York squeezes my hand, as consolation for the embarrassment of my public verbal lashing.
The one that it seems I hadn’t noticed.
Uriah says that he found that his memory was failing him at a disconcerting rate.
And that his ‘chick,’ as he calls her, was displeased.
And he’d loved her so much…
That he’d quit.
Not that it had mattered in the end…
He speaks of love lost. He’d been with the girl for nine years and built his life around her.
But that was then.
Now, he feels that he’s been dwelling for too long.
It’s been six months.
I offer that six months isn’t much considering that he’d dedicated nine years, to the thing.
Still, he seems unforgiving. Of himself. Of her.
I inquire about the nature of their demise.
His answer surprises me, which I enjoy, as I find that I am rarely actually surprised, though I do fake it well.
He says that she’d ‘changed.’
That she was once a tomboy, and she loved to camp and fish. They’d built tents in the jungles and such…
But then she discovered nightclubs.
She liked straightening her hair and wearing make-up.
This strikes me as odd, because one of my favorite facets of Island-life is the idea that make-up and straight hair are fundamentally silly.
Why ‘make-up’ when the sun naturally bronzes you?
Why straighten when the legitimate salt air replaces the $30 a bottle Fredric Fekkai ‘beach waves spray,’ I’d used at home?
I’m curious now.

Me: What changed?
He: She did.
Me: Right. But why? What was the catalyst?
He: I don’t know…she turned 21 and I guess it started then.

WAIT a second. Hold the phone… when she turned 21???

Me: Um, how old was she when you started dating?
He: Well, I was 20, so she was…15

I find myself judging him. I consider myself non-judgmental. This is confounding me.
This man is smart. This man understands nature both technically and ideologically…
How could he have honestly expected that she wouldn’t change?
This notion is more than bizarre.

But he is equally puzzled.
By her and the fact that she’d dare decide that, at 24, she wanted different things than she had at 15.
And in that moment, I decide that:
A) I will never, no matter how I might try, be Local
B) That I was glad, harshly as he had, that Uriah had warned me against categorizing ‘him and this.’

Because though I really hadn’t been in that moment, were it not for his warning, I might be, in this one.
And then I’d have missed the rest of Uriah’s bounty.
Which, as I understand, runs deep.

In the time since that night, the Man from New York and the Fisher King have become the closest of mates.
As close as a Nomad and a Local from opposite ends of the planet might become in two weeks, anyway.
Which is wondrous, as friendship is; but I find that my research into the land of the Fishers, a bit hampered because of the thing.

In our territory, befriending a friends Other, is legal game play.
It’s in the rule book, and is even expected…
But we are not in our territory, and the game is played differently here…
So now, the Fishers and their King are polite, if a bit standoff-ish towards the Girl from New York.

And I am back to watching him from afar, as he watches the eel die in close range.
He digs through his surgical bag, choosing his instruments with care and expertise.
He looks up suddenly and catches me staring
“Hello Uriah.”
He tells me later that he was impressed that I’d remembered his name and I cannot help but think that is rather easy to impress people around here.

We three ‘talk story’ until the early morning hours.
Uriah speaks of ‘eating Mushies and dancing naked among the Bubble Gum tree forest in Hana.’
He surprises me by asking if I really am a ‘gypsy’; in the true sense of the term, and I scan my brain in search of where he might’ve developed such an idea.
This gypsy notion, though fitting, is not true. Not precisely, anyway. We didn’t caravan around in Winnebago’s marrying within the clan, but I base this statement on the fact that I consider myself a rootless lover of the water and the turning of the tides as they desire to turn. I assert that I’ve found a deep-rooted spirit and culture within myself and have little need for the trappings of the Western World.
I’ve always claimed that it was because of this very spirit, that I’ve found settling in one spot nearly impossible.
Moreover, I’ve found that this story is appreciated in mixed company and that it is easier than explaining why I’d really turned up in a place.
So I’d told the story that first night.
But I hadn’t realized that Uriah had heard.
His meat had been on the grill, but his adoring subjects had surrounded him on all sides as I’d spoken, which I know because I was spying him, and I was sure he’d not even glimpsed in my direction. Which I’d hated.
But apparently, Uriah was something of a gypsy-soul himself. And we gypsies can be in many places at one time.
And, in that moment, Uriah had been with me.

I am glad that Uriah is here.
In the universal sense and physical sense. The Man from New York is thrilled to have someone to talk about fish and aliens and recycling with, which I also seem to enjoy discussing a lot more in a third party setting than I do privately. Because for me, that feels superficial and easy. It just doesn’t light my soul fire.
But for The Man from New York, it feels natural and necessary. He feels…lacking without it.
And now he is satiated.

And now, onto me…and my satiation…
I feel I may have to travel further than the enchanted walkway, past the Fishers and the Nomads, into the sea (obviously) but perhaps in the opposite direction as well.
There is more. And I’m getting warmer…

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure.  But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it.  Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer. ~Shunryu Suzuki

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Angels and Air-Waves

Posted on May 21, 2009

It's not for everyone...

It's not for everyone...

Oregon floats across the back lawn and places a plate of hot sausage and sweet mustard before Alaska and Santa Cruz.
Proper gratitudes are distractedly expressed, but eyes do not shift from the horizon. Oregon is not offended.
He understands that no matter how delicious the offering, or how considerate he’d been in slicing it and sticking toothpicks in the individual pieces, in this moment, our attention is spoken for.
The day is waning and the sun bids its spectacular adieu.
And we watch, smitten.
Just as we did yesterday. And the day before. As we will again, tomorrow.
Sunset on Maui is like Christmas everywhere else on Earth.
Peaceful. Joyous. A little hard for those who are missing someone they love…

I consider the Sun’s imminent journey, as she moves towards the East.
Soon, she will splay her beams through the windows of the Boat.
The one on the cliff, nearly 6,000 miles from here.
The one from which I had witnessed her arrival (too) often.
I would greet her with sadness and anger; frustrated that she dare return so quickly.
Not because the nights were peaceful and kind, but because I usually wasn’t done fighting.
Fighting the darkness.
Fighting the ghosts and the dreams and the inexorable cacophony in my mind.
I’d curse her for officially capping another night and calling the game in its favour.
Things are different now.
She forgives my previous ire and I, in turn, regard her with an almost religious reverence.
We are on the same side now…

The conch billows as she takes her final bow, signifying that we may continue, as we were.
Oregon kicks up first.
He addresses Santa Cruz, the 26-year-old carpenter with an affinity for reminding everyone that he and Jesus share a profession.
Oregon asks ‘how the fish are biting.’
The locals snicker and the nomads look off into the distance; trying to blend.
Santa Cruz is in town installing new cabinets and carpet in 402.
But he’d ordered the wrong materials and was now waiting for the freighter to arrive with the replacements.
He expected to take delivery any moment between last Tuesday and three Thursday’s from tomorrow.
So, he’d taken up fishing…much to the chagrin of the locals.
Localism is big on Maui.
We nomads are at first eyed suspiciously, and then tested arduously.
Those who pass muster are welcomed to the ‘rock’ with fresh catch and cold beer.
But Santa Cruz was having a tough time of it.
And his plot to catch his ‘own damn fish, because how hard could it be?” hadn’t exactly made him popular.
Not with the locals, anyway.
The nomads liked him okay.
I even offered to make him a sandwich last week, after watching him hold his pole over the seawall for three straight hours, to no avail.
He had managed to hook an eel, but he’d thrown it back.
Anyway, we nomads had to stick together.
Which makes Oregon’s not-at-all-innocuous statement, terribly awkward.
Oregon is the newest of the nomads and he hadn’t even landed yet when Santa Cruz lost his first pole to a wise-ass fish who’d been attempting to make off with the squid bait, but had ended up making off with the entire rig.
I don’t trust Oregon.
Sausage or not, Oregon’s not even been in town a week and his priorities are all skewed. His haughty attitude and derisive tone scream “power play.”
In my estimation, Oregon is attempting to circumvent the nomadic hierarchy altogether.
He’s hoping to make his bones on poor, hungry Santa Cruz and impress the locals.

I make a mental note to never trust a man wearing an ill-fitting, red IZOD shirt circa 1982. Especially if said man has a gut so swollen that the tiny alligator logo, which is supposed to be situated just above his pectoral muscle, now sits squarely atop his shoulder, as the weary material oddly stretches and strains amidst his girth.

I snap back to reality as Santa Cruz eats the last of Oregon’s sacrificial offering and chides him about his supreme Donald Trump comb-over.
Aw, Santa Cruz…you may be a shade arrogant with all that “Jesus was a carpenter” stuff, but I like you. You always hold your own.

Oregon stands to leave.
He smiles tightly and begins to move away, pausing just long enough to pat Santa Cruz on the head and say, “Goodnight Little Buddy.”
I immediately think, “Goodnight Skipper” and collapse in laughter as it hits me that Oregon looks exactly like Alan Hale, who played The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.
I expect that everyone will have been gobsmacked with the same thought, and am surprised that no one else has reacted.
But before I can share this observation with the group, Alaska (who’s been uncharacteristically quiet, most probably due to his late-night debauchery with the man from New York, the previous evening) speaks, “Isn’t that guy’s name Dick?”
We collectively shrug. We know one another only by our ‘home ports.’
Where you actually started and where you’ll end up is really immaterial.
The past means little here. It merely provides a suitable moniker.
This moment…
That’s all that matters.
And while I didn’t make these rules, I am atypically happy to follow them.
Which is why we are flummoxed when Alaska broaches the idea that Oregon has a legal pseudonym.
He continues, “It is. That dude’s name is Dick. I heard him introduce himself to Nachos earlier.”
“Nachos” is a local, whose liver is currently petitioning for emancipation, as it is sick of dealing with the ostentatious amount of straight Vodka that Nachos insists on introducing to it each night.
Nachos also has an affinity for bragging about his status as kingpin at the dive bar down the block, of the same name.
In that moment, Santa Cruz sees that familiar glint in Alaska’s eye… he sees it coming down the line and he swings, “Dude, we just ate Dick’s sausage.”
They revel in their wit and I smile to myself.
I focus on the sound of the surf as it slams into the rocks.
I allow the thunderous din of the sea to seep through my entire being.
It settles in my pores and drowns my thoughts until all that is left is but one quiet, peaceful yet persistent reflection.
It is delivered to me via hovering sea-angels who reside in the salt-air.
They whisper, “I am so happy to be a nomad.”

I am sitting on the lanai naked.
That’s not true. It was a lie. I said it for impact.
I have shorts on.
And a scarf.
Which covers all of the necessary parts, between my shoulders and hips.
As long as the wind doesn’t shift, anyway.
Even if it did, I wouldn’t care.
It’s just past midnight and I am alone.
On the lanai, stars provide the only light. And the only other life forms in the vicinity are geckos and tree frogs. Even the mosquitos seem to have taken the night off.

I listen to the waves. I’ve been obsessed with them for the past three days.
I’ve actually been obsessed with them always, but I am finding their current rage intoxicating.
I’m trying to figure them out. I am seeking a pattern.
Except that I’m not. Not, really.
Because I know better.
I know that this water will boil and move and swell and retreat as it chooses, when it chooses.
It would never allow its whims and passions to be charted or graphed.
For the past three days, the surf has been monstrous.
And loud. It clearly needed attention. It was feeling taken for granted
If I close my eyes, it’s easy to imagine that I am in a war zone where the blast of exploding bombs is relentless and the sizzle of detonating missiles, unremitting.
Which is an ironic thought process, considering that reality couldn’t be further from that scenario.
Or could it?
While this place does possess a distinct feeling of otherworldly tranquility, it also harbors a strong undercurrent of tumult.
It bears the scars of the millions of nomads who have landed here throughout time, looking to shed their previous skins…
Their previous sins…
The Island lovingly assimilates both sin and sinner unto itself, as it gently heals.
Or conceals…
Depending on your perception, I suppose…

But back to the water (it can always be traced back to the water)…
And his anger.
Because he is…angry.
And sad.
Which is, perhaps, why I desire to love him so fully.
I wish him to know that I furtively adore him, even at his most chaotic.
I wish him to know that I shall always love and accept him, even when there is no logical reason behind all the rumpus.
I seek to definitively prove that I am not a ‘fair-wave friend’ of the Water.
And so, several times each day, no matter the wind, no matter the storm…I immerse myself in his depths.
I want only to be of him.
To know and understand…
To see my truest self reflected back from within his unfathomable depths

And I crave his animosity.
It could appear a touch masochistic to some, so I only reveal this affair to those I feel are capable of grasping the true beauty in the thing.
In truth, I become excited as he writhes and thrashes about me
I find it exhilarating when he flings me round, as a four-year might fling his toys, mid-tantrum. I am enraptured by his beauty and obsessed with his anguish.
This should in no way imply that he is insensitive.
He is anything but…
Sure, he’s been known to hurl obscenities at those who are cavalier in his presence.
And yes, he did, in fact, nearly slice my ear in two today, just to remind me that I was not listening well…
And that I was again indulging this silly idea that I might be in charge…
He was right, though.
And I am grateful.
I do need to be kept on my toes.
And he reminds me…

“The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the ”outlaw,” the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order.” Michel Foucault

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This day…

Posted on May 17, 2009

Things Fall Apart...

Things Fall Apart...

This day is the anniversary of my father’s death…

Well, it is still ‘this day’ in Hawaii, though I suppose it was yesterday were we to calculate using EST.

That was the deepest thought I’ve had in over a week.

Which is discomfiting.

And also not exactly accurate, but nearly enough.

But my Dad. Is dead. Still. As he was. As he has been. As he’ll continue to be.

And he was sad. When he died. And that makes me sad. Every day.

Oh, tears. Emotion. That’s good.

I hope my thoughts are not far behind…

I miss them. And I miss him.

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Forcibly Changed Perspective…

Posted on May 5, 2009

Treacherous Beauty

Treacherous Beauty

The trees grew in seemingly overnight
My unobstructed city view from the cliff on which the boat is
docked, is slightly less unobstructed and the skyline looks decidedly misshapen.

 

It  feels like everything is out of sorts.

Which, of course, it is.

It’s all different now.

Just…peculiar.
It’s not as if I hadn’t known that this would happen. I did, of course. I suppose it’s the quickness of the thing that is throwing me.
Things are one way and then they are not. That’s it.

That’s how it seems to work. No accountability necessary.


I stand on the overhang, breathing in my last ‘deck of the boat’ contemplation (for some time, anyway.) The cold wind mixes with the warmish air and the raindrops fall freely upon my head, as the sun fights the clouds for the dominance of the day.

I admire the sun’s tenacity, for from where I stand, it seems clear that the low hanging thunderheads are the obvious favorite to win this one.

Still, I wholly enjoy an underdog. So, for today, I shall root for that blazing fireball.

The same one which (to hear those smarter than myself tell it) threatens to engulf all of us and our precious assets within its fiery hell. Maybe even sooner than we know…

Blech.

Per usual, I refuse that thought.

For now, anyway…

Because for today, the sun needs encouragement and I intend to be mentally available to provide it.

Tomorrow I will be half a world away from here, seeking…

Treasure hunting.

Phantom treasure hunting.

I have no map. I have no plan. But he will find me or I will find him.

That which I seek, I mean.

This I know.

In this, and only this, I have complete faith.

 

“Does it go from east to west
Body free and a body less
Come again just to start a fresh
Once again to find a home
In the moment of the meantime…”
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Venice Queen”

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