Daily Archives: October 24, 2002

The class struggle …

This week is “Spirit Week” at our daughter’s high school, and of course, as one of the beautiful people, she is anxious to participate in as many of the events, as enthusiastically as possible. I think it’s all well and good to have “school spirit”, to be proud of the environment in which you have been (usually somewhat abitrarily, but in this case, via testing in and living in the right parish) placed in order to further your education that you might have life, abundantly, with more than a minimum wage job. However, I am reminded of the somewhat harsh attitude that the “beautiful people” have towards those not quite so blessed, physically, socially or gracefully. And as I remember back to my own high school days, I am offended by the “Dress Like a Nerd Day” and other such high points. To make it fair, I think they should also have “Dress Like an Ignorant Project Dweller” … that way, those nerds (and oh, I remember being one oh so well) will have less to write in their grudge books against the day when they run Microsoft and can refuse the ex-cheerleaders and footballers a job. But that would be too close to home, IPD day. They would have to walk through neighborhoods where some of those people live, with their straighened hair, vinyl clothes, prison-quality tattoos, gold teeth, hair nets, bad weaves, and so on. And the beautiful people might not be so beautiful after that experience. At least with the nerds, they are safely betting that no one is going to challenge or offer to beat them up.

The problem, of course, with Dress Like a Nerd Day is that the people that they are making fun of don’t lack fashion sense because they have an excess of brains. Their concern is not with appearance first, which of course is a direct and harsh affront to the beautiful people who favor substance over style. They dress for comfort, and dress more cheaply, because their parents (bless ’em every one) decided that their children would be better off having $200 worth of books rather than $200 sneakers.

But the beautiful people will have their way, of course. And the terrible thing is that the only people who are interested in “dorking” themselves out and dressing “nerdy” are those people who could wear potato sacks and still look good. They aren’t sacrificing anything by dressing down (except, as earlier noted, the potential for a second interview with the Bill Gates of the future). They are not dressing up as geeks to proclaim unity of the intelligent masses. They are being, as of course, teenagers will be except when it directly affects their own, personal sense of well-being, mean-spirited, cruel and ugly. The geeks know it. And most of the teachers do to – because most of them have been there on the receiving end.

So what’s my point? Who the fuck knows. It just irritates me that some things never change. Oh, yeah, I forgot. Some things do. Beauty fades. Styles change. Substance remains.

Life is good, after all 🙂

Share This:

The Place of Refuge

Walking down the shoreline at Honaunau,
where Pele washes her long dark tresses
in the surf that pounds the end of the earth
and the ancient heiau throbs with mana
like a glowing chakra along her spine,
I arrive at the City of Refuge.

Here the new world is still coming to life,
coming down the mountain from its fire womb;
and to release its spirit to the sea
it too flows to this sacred island place.
Birth and rebirth are the same event here,
and the cast away is gathered again.

At this edge of the world I am renewed,
and my spirit follows the offered leis
tossed into the beckoning, waiting sea,
across the bay in the morning sunlight,
wafting their fragrant and delicate scent
on the gentle breeze that is Kane’s breath.

Kanaloa, lord of the mighty deep,
accept from my hand this small, fragile gift –
from one who has crossed your great span safely,
and found Lono’s kindling to fire my soul,
set alight by your blazing brother, Ku;
hear my thankful words of praise and longing.

The mist rises, returning to Waikea,
as the glorious creation awakes;
and across poi’hoihoihoi and a’ah
I retrace my careful steps from the edge,
leaving a small part of me on the beach,
taking in exchange only aloha.

24 OCT 2001

I wrote this poem last year when Sondra and I went to Hawaii together, after she and I performed a thanksgiving ritual at the shore early one morning a day before we were to leave the islands.

Hawaiian word glossary:

Pele: Goddess of fire who lives in the volcano at Kilakeau
heiau: sacred spirit temple
mana: lifeforce, spirit, energy
Kane: God of air, clouds, fresh water
Kanaloa: God of the ocean
Lono: God of vegetation, forests, land
Ku: God of fire, war, hearth
Waikea: The realm of the Gods, a mystical invisible island
poi’hoihoihoi: the large, ropey lava flow
a’ah: crunchy, broken, lava pieces
aloha: greeting/farewell…love within and without, surrounding in all things
Pu’ohonua O Honaunau: place of refuge at Honaunau
Pu’ohonua: place of refuge (anyone who was to be killed for breaking kapu [taboo] 
could be purified by the priests at the place of refuge and then could begin their life again – 
without fear of death or revenge).

Share This: