All posts by jeffrey hannan

So Commences Paradise..

Pohoiki Road

This is from yesterday:
Puna is dry. Dry dry dry. The yellow bamboo along the drive needs to be on life support. The big bamboo clusters in the upper yard and at the neighbors are nearly denuded; the lawn is littered with their dessicated leaves. Large yellow palm fronds bend from the trunks of their parent, aching for the ground and the compost heap.

Things live. Things die. In their place come new living things. A dried spiky frond from the queen palm lays on the ground like a skeleton, grey and spent. She still carries the shape of her former life, though, when she was frilly and green and the wind was blowing and the only care in life she had was to watch the sea in the distance and draw in water from the exuberant nighttime downpours that bathed her.

All things die. Even the universe. One die I will die, fallen from my family like the withered bract of a palm tree. In my place there will arise others to replace me until the family stops growing, the tree falls asleep forever and begins to decay, and mushrooms arise from what used to be our homestead.

Advance 12 hours:
The seminal rains of nine years ago, which deepened sleep just as they awoke us and incited metaphors for comfort, now cause me anxiety: the gutter on the back lanai is missing a brace; the wooden lanais are at risk of rot; the outdoor furniture needs to be restained… When it rains heavily, as it is now at 5am, I can hear the water rolling out like a waterfall, hitting the carport tent and splashing in the direction of the generator. I tried to jury rig it in October but the rigor wasn’t there; to boot, the ladder is too short to get up there. I need the proper tools and attachments.

Raise its priority on the to-do list.

albizia, puna hawaii

The carnage of fallen albizia trees lines the driveway. The orchard, as we call it – really a collection of undernourished and scrubby wind-blown citrus trees – is littered with the debris of one of the several fallen albizias. Two fell randomly within the past few months; four came down a week or so ago in a freak windstorm from the west, on Valentine’s Day.

The place looks worn down and in a state of upheaval. Unless it’s my frame of mind.


Day one is always Attention Deficit Disorder Day. From tea and yogurt to compiling this trip’s to-do list:

  • The leaking rain gutter
  • Yellow light on the solar inverter
  • The weed whacker set down on its side, gasoline seeping out onto the porous cement floor
  • Review of journal entries from this date, roughly, from 2007 til now, to assess the journey traveled and remind myself that I’ve made progress, slogging though things may seem. Even though I still awake tabulating my ever-growing debt, my attitude has improved over time.
  • Where am I on The Punatics? (I need to insert half a chapter I think)
  • Who is it that has cleared the land below us, and what sort of people are they?
  • What were the neighbors doing up at 5am with all their lights on – escorting friends out? A paranoid might think they’re burglars.
  • I’ll never make do on a contract that’s only 15 hours a week.
  • Need to schedule a bunch of Punatics social posts, raise awareness, find an agent…all the usual stuff..

So commences Paradise.

Day one.


pohoiki road, after Iselle

Pohoiki Road, after Iselle Sep 2014

To Own the Written Morning

January 18, 2015
Park Hill

The difficult task is to own the morning: to set aside the calendar, the to-do’s, family matters, the husband lying in bed, the films you watched last night – all of it, inclusive and particularly your personal woes – and open the channel to the flow.

It’s easier to get up and write about writing. Or more accurately, to write about not writing, while committing the act of writing. But it isn’t really writing, not in the formal sense, i.e. journaling isn’t fiction. Journaling is the same old story told in slightly different shades of the same; it is your essence, dragged out across the years. So, while technically you are putting words to press, they’re easy words. Top of mind. Literally. In contrast, real writing is scraping off that layer and tearing up the floor.

I suppose I could make the argument that journaling is the typewritten equivalent of a singer’s vocal chord exercises. She isn’t really singing while she’s warming up, she’s simply readying the instrument. The same is true of my morning journaling task: it is limbering the fingers and activating the portion of the brain wherein resides the portal. It is the breaking down of the walls that the daily world, and the self-conscious mind, throws up around you on a regular basis.

Noe Street SF, morning

Noe Street SF, morning

A Poem for Nothingness

Poem for Today
(Palm Springs CA)

The Happiness Debate (NY Times)

A potent coffee roast and sunrise over the swimming pool.A sudden gripping fear: my life is fluff.

Venezuela they’re stripping protesters nude as a means of stripping their dignity

Says one: our dignity is beneath our skin

Witness: a photoshopped image of a young man bruised and beaten

pulling back his pectoral skin to reveal

the tricolor and estrellas of the Venezuelan flag.

Me I make a living installing rich people’s software:

Systems for startups

Tools to manage the capture of the young leisure class throughout the world –

a different sort of capture, though: data capture: young daredevils with time and money recording all the frivolities and athletic achievement that good fortune can by –

Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum:

  • people in bondage
  • tear-gassed
  • beheaded

Oh! but there goes the pretty boy with suburban tresses and expensive bike gear careening down a cliffside in Bolivia

Ignorant of or inured to the strife in the streets below his ride

He may see it;
Instagram it;
Reach out and nearly touch it
with the long arm attachment on his camera..

But this too shall pass.

here in the desert

— the one with golf courses and swimming pools and Canadians fleeing winter —

I can barely keep my head aloft on the morning patio
with my coffee in hand

Can’t focus or pay attention

Due to the weight
of so much nothingness.

There was a time when
I subscribed to the “Howl and Rage” of the land

(Ginsberg x Thomas)

Felt it
Knelt before it
Coddled and caressed it
Claimed I owned or professed to at least understand and embrace it.

But that was back in a different world:

Different time..
Different frame of mind..

Back before we learned to slum in fine hotels of which we were not  guests;

Back when words had constancy or at least a bit of meaning;

Back before we learned to read with pictures;

Back before life itself was some sort of ephemera that required mechanical intervention to experience it;

Back before there were swimming pools.

* * *

What Suffering Does
David Brooks, NY Times 4/7/2014The theologian Paul Tillich wrote that people who endure suffering are taken beneath the routines of life and find they are not who they believed themselves to be. The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashes through what they thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area.Then, suffering gives people a more accurate sense of their own limitations, what they can control and cannot control.When people are thrust down into these deeper zones, they are forced to confront the fact they can’t determine what goes on there. Try as they might, they just can’t tell themselves to stop feeling pain, or to stop missing the one who has died or gone. And even when tranquillity begins to come back, or in those moments when grief eases, it is not clear where the relief comes from.The healing process, too, feels as though it’s part of some natural or divine process beyond individual control.

People in this circumstance often have the sense that they are swept up in some larger providence. Abraham Lincoln suffered through the pain of conducting a civil war, and he came out of that with the Second Inaugural. He emerged with this sense that there were deep currents of agony and redemption sweeping not just through him but through the nation as a whole, and that he was just an instrument for transcendent tasks.

It’s at this point that people in the midst of difficulty begin to feel a call. They are not masters of the situation, but neither are they helpless. They can’t determine the course of their pain, but they can participate in responding to it. They often feel an overwhelming moral responsibility to respond well to it.

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