Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

day #28 of National Poetry Month ~

imageI’m the kind of traveler who immerses herself — as far it’s possible — in the history of the places I visit. I want to know about the ‘actual’ history — who, when, where, why. But I also want to know the foods, the music, the arts and the weather and the names of birds that sing outside the window.

So it’s a lovely afternoon in Makawao, and I’m scrolling through websites, looking for poems by and /or about Hawai’i.  This is one of several I find (courtesy of the Poem in Your Pocket Hawai’i Edition site).


Domestic violence is a huge problem in Maui, as it is in many places with huge divides between haves & have-nots. As it is among many victims of racism & classism and other isms. And children are always the collateral damage…

Here’s ‘Wrecks’ by Tyler Miranda. The structure & syntax owe a debt to Pidgin, the Hawai’ian Creole language shaped by the island’s diverse speakers:


Outside our house on Pūpū Street,
I play with my Star Wars figures.
I went cut holes in the Styrofoam Big Mac container,
make space ship, ah.
Ho, I make Luke Skywalker fly all around,
Darth Vader no can catch him.
My father, he yelling at my mother again.
But me, I just keep playing,
pretend I get deaf ear.
Luke, he the best pilot in the galaxy,
fly around the tree,
over the flower bed,
through the rose bushes.
Luke, he fly across the yard,
he think he lost Darth Vader,
but then, lasers start shooting at him.
He make any kine moves for dodge the blasts.
Can hear my mother yelling at my father now,
she asking him for put something back.
Luke, he turn around and fly straight into Darth Vader’s ship,
can hear glass breaking,
then my father come out of the house,
punching the screen door open
and fling my mother’s bird on the ground.
The buggah went skip on the concrete,
look like one pebble on water.
I look at my father,
can hear my mother crying inside,
he look at me,
I get one smashed Styrofoam spaceship in one hand,
Luke’s undamaged one in the other.
His eyes come small,
looking straight at me he say,
“That fuckah never going fly around my house again.
Shit on everything.
Fricken bird.”
He look at me little bit more,
no blink,
his tongue digging the inside of his mouth.
My mother start cussing at him from inside the house,
he go back inside,
ready for continue the battle.
Me, I go look at my mother’s bird,
all hamajang,
the wings spread,
the head crooked to the left–
still twitching.
My stomach come all funny kine,
like when I like beef with somebody at school.
I start making fists,
the Styrofoam space ships popping between my fingers,
my hands shaking.
Before I could stop,
I went fly my spaceships across the yard.
Went get stuck in the rose bushes.
I looked down at my mother’s bird,
the thing stop moving,
the feet all curl,
get feather skid marks
and blood on the concrete.
I touch the wings and think,
at least you had one chance for fly.
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