Jan 16 2009
Twelve Ways to Lose Your Head on Maui
by Ivan M. Granger
Piercing the clouds, fingers
of sunlight caress the valley floor.
The Iao Needle stands, its immense
Staring blindly out the window,
no work getting done –
a stolen moment when silence
has stolen me.
Reading, I shiver in the Upcountry chill.
Already old in the new year, the island
and I shiver
and grow still.
Baldwin Avenue meandering to Paia
beneath an empty sky,
surge in the sun.
At the altar: Breath
aglow in my throat.
Golden treacle pools
upon my heart.
The path to Twin Falls, dusty
between my toes. Ginger points
to the upper pool. Fallen guavas
Hana Highway, pausing
at each bridge to let traffic pass.
Around the bend –
Fasting on Saturday –
empty stomach, empty head.
Cinnamon-red and blue, a pheasant stares
through the window. Michele
calls me, whisper. I see them
see each other.
In the cave among the eucalyptus
up Alae Road – a fine seat
for a city boy
In bursts of wingbeats
a cardinal darts by. The red
bird finds himself lost
among the red proteas.
The sun setting beyond
Ma’alaea Harbor. The golden ocean,
I see, drinks the tired eye in.
I am gone.
/ Photo by JoshBerglund19 /
For some reason I woke up this morning thinking of the handful of years I spent in Hawaii.
My wife and I moved to the island of Maui having never even visited the islands before, and my first impressions didn’t match my visions of a tropical paradise at all. We arrived just after the cane harvest, and half of the upcountry was just exposed red earth. Driving through the ramshackle surfer town of Paia for the first time, with red dust swirling around wood slat storefronts, it felt like we had arrived in the Australian outback.
But you know, over time, I really came to love the aina, the land of Hawaii. I wasn’t a beach dweller; my wife and I lived high up along the slopes of Haleakala Volcano, among the misty forests of eucalyptus and wattle. Every human structure was kind of run down, but there was something… normal about that. Even the trophy mansions hidden behind iron gates felt somehow temporary, just passing through on a slow current.
As I began to give in to the rhythms of life on the island, a quiet and ease settled into my body in a way I’d never known before.
It was too expensive to live there for long. And my wife, Michele, became severely allergic to a mold on the island that hit one winter. It was time to move back to the mainland.
But I still have visions of looking down the slope of Haleakala, all the way down to Ma’alaea Harbor, while the heavy golden sun sinks in glory beneath the horizon…
|Ivan M. Granger|
Ivan M. Granger grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.
When asked why he writes poetry, Ivan says, “Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drum beats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”
He adds, “My poetry is not fixed. When I read my own poems, I say them aloud, I repeat random lines, change the words around. Sometimes I sing them or chant them. I play with these poems until my mind relaxes enough to let the sacred spark shine forth.”
If you’re interested in my thoughts on sacred poetry, how I ended up on this path, or if you’re just curious what my voice sounds like, you may want to listen to an interview I did with the Ecstatic Art & Theater Project.
Audio Interview (20 min).
Ivan M. Granger is the creator and webmaster of the Poetry Chaikhana website.