Monday, June 7, 2021


7 June 2021: 8:13 a.m.

I google for the day, acquire the hour and minutes of this departure. Two white men in Volcano, always together, head to the Hilo Safeway, never wearing shoes unless the bus driver tells them to. She likes rules. I used to ask where shoes were made, passing on those from Cambodian factories; it was luxury, this turning away from a particular vehicle of consumption.

The newly scraped lot on Wright Road is another version of consumption. The absent ohi`a, invasive ginger gone to the blade of the largest bulldozer I’ve ever seen. It sits near the back of the lot, as if shy of my iPhone camera, its blade the dullest of mirrors. Never nothing unless we make it so, or declare land as absence. Theresa asks about the mystery building in the vacant lot next to Saijo’s old place. It’s a white chimney, remnant of a house whose foundations sit nearby, blue plastic barrel providing the color contrast to a long winter’s green. A singer’s green and gruen, gruen and green.

The scraped lot is fenced by fractured trees; large rocks ribbon toward Wright Road, so the bulldozer can't sink in earth. The ohi`a is the first tree to grow on fresh lava fields, punctuating their black channels with red lehua blossoms. Lava is not nothing, braids itself down slope, stopping to sculpt an obstinate tree, if the sculptor begins from a living object, then casts rock around it. The lot has neither tree nor sculpture on it: is tabula rasa in reverse. The abundance of tearing abundance down, capital’s answer to the rain forest.

A new house sits behind chain link fence, its driveway a concrete road. Around the house the blankness of the bulldozer’s eloquence. Beside the fence one day I saw a man putting in small plants to replace the absent forest. Yesterday, I noticed they were brown. In front of one pallid seedling a sign: No Trespassing.

To be inside silence is luxury, to hear the birds make of silence a soundscape, to attend to drops of rain on the metal roof. A loud mechanical noise enters, suggesting that we “fuck our feelings,” like tree huggers. And now it’s gone again. A line of moss at the roof line hangs down, and water drops, streams, then again drops to the ground. A bad pun about coffee on my twitter feed, thanks to a zen prose poet, calls ground into question. They have ground the ground into bits, but its taste is sour mud. Avoid PTSD by pushing your feet into ground, breathe loam.

8:40: sun streams through the tree ferns. A good eye finds reflections on props, stakes, human clutter on the forest floor. Why is our good eye singular and not bifocal? We look at screens now before we take our photos, not with one eye but with both. The fascination of Polaroid is its hesitation before printing. What was instant now takes time to develop on a small paper square. History runs backwards as method of conveyance: vinyl record, manual typewriter, shutter click. Sound bears image. We contrive our mistakes via app. Random chance belongs to the outdated machine.

I will read my book backwards. It gains weight as it goes until, near the end, it weighs on my sinuses like a headache in a chamber too small for it. A judge says AK-47s are like Swiss Army Knives, so handy. You can carve your pre-sculpted body a thousand ways with it, can make organs explode into bits. It’s like whittling; you can sing as you do it, before running back to the car that’s found later in a canal, taking up space. We take both time and space, if not at the same time, and the bulldozer takes the space of a grove of ohi`a trees. In the absence of bulldozer, we find real estate. You can plant your garden later.


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