Moku Pai (Pie Island)

If we’re being honest, the island looks a lot like a butt. Not a particularly fleshy butt. Just a regular, average sized butt with its central cleave, and its two proverbial cheeks. No one would use the words ’round’, ‘thick’, or ‘juicy’ to describe it. Nor the word ‘bubble’. It would have no trouble fitting into a pair of Apple bottom jeans were there a pair large enough to accommodate such a landmass. No, Sir Mix A Lot would not have rapped about it. Becky would not have bothered to look at it. And there is no junk in its trunk. But! And I do mean but. There are hidden treasures in its depths, as there might be a half eaten zucchini squash or a hot wheels car wrapped in a Trojan condom.

One cheek faces due west, toward Midway, toward Tokyo, toward itself if you traverse the whole planet. Then again all things on Earth point to themselves if you’re around long enough to make a full rotation. Separating the westernmost cheek from its counterpart is a glittering channel of water that flows magically north. The other cheek, the more eastward of the two, is where the Shaman built his cabin, in a convenient glade entirely bereft of landmines. It serves as a safe haven, a treaty zone so to speak, for the island’s fauna, who by now have learned to avoid the north end of the island, where the trees run sparse and the underbrush gives way to glistening white pebble beach.

It is there where most of the unexploded ordnance remains, still unexploded, heavily oxidized by a half century of Pacific ocean rain. Landmines, the exploding dinosaur bones of the military industrial age, the perverted, unwanted cousin of the iron spike, the least child-friendly jack in the box on the market, the pimpled ghost of Brigadier-General Gabriel J. Rains. And here they are, of all places, on an invisible island in Hawaii, abandoned by the Yankees, left to fester; on this island which the locals have aptly named, Moku Pai. 

The leaves do not turn on this island. There is no autumn to which a New Englander might be accustomed. No crimsons. No apricots. No maroons. Nothing. With the exception of the landmines, made flaky and red by corroded alloy and too much sun, looking like scattered acne pockmarks from the sky, the island is as green as a sugar snap pea garnished with cilantro and encased in emerald.

Yes, and though we’ve established the resemblance of the island to a butt, we have not specified whose butt it is. One might, considering the evidence, liken the island to the rearend of one jolly green giant, lush in its verdant flora, plump in all the right places (although you will find no canned vegetables here;  nor will you find a large wooden sign that reads,’Welcome to the Valley’ as appropriate as such a sign might be for an island resembling a pair of buttocks. But ultimately such a resemblance is neither here nor there. It serves no purpose beyond the crude and the whimsical. Yet if whimsy is our goal then we must note the following: that Moku Pai, in truth, resembles neither butt nor Georgia peach, but, as the island’s name suggests, a great big green pie, sliced lazily in two, and floating, always floating, in an endless ocean of whale clad blue.

Acid in my Lunchbox

I remember standing there

With the Giant Sea

And the Watercolor Sun.

My heart rattled like a broken maraca 

That fateful day when the sky looked

Like something Van Gogh would’ve painted

And two deer, a buck and a doe,

Nuzzled each other in front of me,

A squeeze of my hand 

Reminded me of Michigan

Of beach grass jungles

And sticks-made-swords

And the sound of you

Nearly inaudible inside of me.

God was a soap bubble that popped

In my brain

While the waist-high lake

Gargled and said,

The anemone of my anemone is my friend.

You were a fast fall down a steep dune,

I might have fallen on my butt 

If you hadn’t been there,

But you were the distant water gleaming

In the sun.

You were the pillows of warm sand beneath my feet;

The sail boat

That looked like a snaggle tooth

On the horizon;

The crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jelly

In my sandwich;

The acid in my lunchbox;
The twinkle of forests I once camped in.
You were the vivid image in my head
Of some electric eccentric paradise

Some desert mirage on a hot beach;

Some kid’s laughter,

And another kid’s sand castle.

You were the wind in my curls

And the song in my step.

And you are still with me.

The warmth in my sleeping bag,

The giggle on a river,

The silly groan of old stinky pups,

The crunch of dying leaves

Beneath my flat feet,

The yoo-hoo of six forest sprites 

Whose purple wings

Glow green in all my photos.

You are, if my hunch is correct,

The chip on my shoulder,

The biscuit in my tea,

The cow sniffing my shoes.

And you are the waterfall,

And you are the campfire,

And you are the pinecone,

And you are the air.

And most of the time,

I forget you’re even there.

But I remember now.

I remember you.

AttentionĀ 

Today Helen and I were sitting in a dry creek bed and the sun was shining on the slimy green cement and there was a leaf embedded in the muck and I had just told Helen how much i missed Marlowe and missed being so deeply communed with her universe, and realized how much there was all around me that was calling my name, how much that i was capable of loving so deeply. I realized this, and nothing happened. There was no lightning bolt. I didn’t become enlightened or particularly happy. But it was quiet for a moment and Helen was smiling about their dad and the sun was in my eye. And I suppose that life is not always about passion, and fireworks, and the death of the ego. I suppose sometimes it’s just about paying attention.

A New Life

Dreaming of a new life 

Where home is somewhere 

Between the city and the mountains 

The town and the beach. 

Where the view changes every night 

But the bed stays the same. 

A life where I’ve finally found 

Roots in rootlessness 

Home in homelessness 

Freedom in the endless road. 

Dreaming of a life with a dog 

A desk

A girl 

And a map to everywhere. 

Dreaming of new possibilities 

Of something other than 9 to 5.

Dreaming of a new life 

For which my heart cries, Yes. 

I intend for this existence. 

And in time it shall come to pass. 

A new life 

On a magic carpet bus named Sadie.

Photo by @mitch.cox on IG via @ourcamplife