ala wai canal 1920 to 1928




Parched eyes cannot slake this vision:
Waikiki appears dry, wanton,
Bleached in a brown hunger
Thirsty concrete cracks the jagged horizon

Famine of wind
Heat without thunder
Moisture without rainfall
Kalakaua's long shadows exhale premonitions

Through brittle panes of glass:
Smoky in slats of dark morning
Red points of light beset sheer walls
Towered cement pierces the sky, blinking

Blackened roads glisten with oil
The newspaper quickly turns damp
Earth exudes its color
In graveyards plumerias shape ghostly figures

Rain slants gently from grey mist
Grey mist turns to thick clouds
Rainfall shatters the congested streets
Beats endlessly, quivers, a cold breeze

Beyond streaked windows:
The cluster of hotels has disappeared along the beach
Wounded mountain sides feed muddy streams
Muddy streams pour red upon the reefs.

Richard Hamasaki (From the Spider Bone Diaries, Poems and Songs. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001.)