North Kohala Reading

North Kohala Authors Reading September 23

Seven readers and perhaps as many as six pop-up poets will share their work with the North Kohala community on Monday, September 23, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the North Kohala Public Library.  Eila Algood will emcee the event.

Scheduled readers are Laura Burkhart, Michael Foley, Donna Beumier, Carla Orellana, Wendy Noritake, Louise Riofrio and Virginia Fortner. Three “pop-up” poets already committed include Diane Revell, Jim Gibbons and Eila Algood.  

The event is free and open to the public, and is always popular, so come early to get a seat. Eila has recorded a public service announcement for this one, so it is sure to draw a large crowd.    For more information please visit the Hawaii Writers Guild website.


Grieving My Mother

I love to write. I love to blog. But I have been busy with not just work and the daily grind. My sisters and I have lost our mother who passed this June which is one reason why I have not been posting as often as I would like. Blogging has taken a back seat to paying Mom’s outstanding bills, meeting with lawyers, and cleaning out a 40 year old, 2 storied, childhood home. Therefore I have not done much in keeping up on my blog.

But I have written poems since my Mom’s passing. I haven’t written a whole slew of them;only three. But when they come they come out of me spontaneously and they make me cry. They are so spontaneous that I grab whatever paper and pen I have in reach that I just start jotting it down.

The day my Mom passed I was on my way to an AARP Driver Safety class in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. I took the Daniel K Inouye Highway. The drive was just above the cloud line and I felt I was driving to heaven.

During my class I got a call from my sister who said Mom had died. I took the Hamakua route back home so that I could stop by the North Hawaii Community Hawaii Hospital where Mom died. On the drive back I thought of the following poem:

Above the Clouds

I took a drive
Above the clouds today
Little did I know
That on this day
My mother’s life
Would float away

A few days after Mom’s passing I called her land line number. Mom never had a mobile phone because she never liked the idea of having to conform to joining the Joneses. If I needed to call I would have to call her good, ole fashioned land line phone. Before we ended her phone service I would call for old times sake. On the eve of termination however, this poem came to my mind:

Phone Home

I use to call home
And someone would always answer
But now I can’t call home
Because no one will answer

Then there is our childhood home that we have to clean out. As children that house was full of noise; the collapsing of a crib on all three of us, Mom’s bread machine whirring, Dad’s sawing in the garage, and the hum drum of friends and relatives coming over to visit.

Now when I go there to clean it out I hear nothing. I have to blast NPR news on the radio just to fill the empty void. What was once a home has just now become a shell of its former self. What was a home has now just become a house.

The day I wrote this last poem I had just left the house to get something to eat in town. I didn’t have a notebook. But I did have a large envelope and a pen. I could not let go of the fact that our childhood home has now just become a house. That thought just gnawed at my heartstrings. I could not let it out any other way other than through poetry.

On that manila envelope this is what I wrote:

Home or House

When does a house 

Become a home?

When tenants move in

And memories begin

When fights break out

And children run about

When celebrations are had

Driving those involved insanely mad

When friends come over

Because there’s a sleepover

And family from afar

Drive up in their cars

That’s when a house

Becomes a home

When does a home

Become just a house?

When those tenants move or die

And those lasting memories say good-bye

When those children have grown and gone

Time and distance have broken that bond

When the party ceases

And age increases

When friends stop coming over

Because they too are getting older

That’s when a home becomes just a house.

Thank God I had that folder because I was just in tears as I was writing this one. I could not even see what I was writing and I used up all the napkins the restaurant clerk gave me.

So if you do not see any updates on my blog it is because we are preparing to bury my Mom and Dad. We have not had a service for Mom yet due to scheduling conflicts. But we will have one in October. I will try to post more poems, short stories, and events about future readings.

July and August Events

I have two events coming up. First up is JoAnn Williams Christmas in July Craft Fair. Hawaii Writers Guild will have a table. Local authors — yours truly included — will have books available for sale. Buy a book and get it signed and talk story with a local writer. July 27th 9am-5pm.

After that Hawaii Writers Guild is sponsoring another reading and I’m on the marquee. Here’s the press release:

Hawaii Writers Guild To Present Writers’ Voices
 Hawaii Writers Guild will present its August Writers’ Voices reading on Wednesday, August 7 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Thelma Parker Memorial Library, 67-1209 Mamalahoa Hwy. in Waimea. Writers’ Voices is an evening of original readings by Guild members. Readers at the August Writers’ Voices will include members from around the Big Island: Virginia Fortner from North Kohala, Steven Foster and Jada Rufo from Waimea, and Bob Lupo from Hakalau. Their voices will showcase a variety of stories about journeys of one sort or another. 

Virginia Fortner will read from her novel-in-progress, China Conundrum, loosely based on Virginia’s time as a teacher in China. The chapter she will read introduces the main character to the country, the city of 12 million in which she will teach, and the campus dorm and classrooms.  

Steven Foster, a first-time reader at a Guild event, will offer an excerpt from his first published novel, Spirit of an Eagle, a deeply moving story about the spiritual quest of army medic Anthony Lorenzo to embrace life again after his return from the Vietnam War.  

Jada Tan Rufo will also read a piece about her time spent as a teacher in China; Jada’s piece will describe her roller coaster ride on the Dinoconda, China’s first 4D roller coaster. What’s a 4D roller coaster?  Jada says you’ll have to come to Writers Voices to find out.

Bob Lupo, the author of three previous novels, will read an excerpt from his newest novel-in-progress, American Sin,  set in New York City in the 1960s, that depicts the coming-of-age journey of three teenagers, Jimmy Hackett, Tony Lucarelli, and Hazel Brown as they  navigate the gritty streets of that city.   

Hawaii Writers Guild is an independent association of professional writers engaged in the promotion of cultural enrichment. The semi-monthly readings are free and open to the public.  Pictures and stories of past readings are posted on the Guild website at For additional information or directions contact Joy Fisher at 238-0551. 

Above the Clouds and Phone Home

My mother passed away this month. I’m trying to process this loss. Writing, especially poetry, helps put my thoughts on to paper.


Above the Clouds

I took a drive

Above the clouds today

Little did I know

That on this day

My mother’s life

Would float away


Phone Home

I use to call home

And someone would always answer

But now I can’t call home

Because no one will answer

Totaled Again!

Last week we lost a respected member of our community due to a reckless driver. Rest in peace Captain Mahon.


No one should ever have to celebrate a birthday in the emergency room. But that is exactly what I did this past May 16th on my 47th birthday. I was put there because a reckless driver slammed into my already “totaled” car. My car is now truly totaled.

I can’t give any details because my case is still under investigation. But I will say this. This is the second accident in less than six months for me. The first one was a rear end collision with a commercial truck (see Totaled). Ironically my first accident was in vicinity of another accident that happened the following day on May 17th, the day after my birthday. That accident took the lives of three people needlessly.

I use to live in China. I lived there for fourteen years. In all those years I was indirectly involved in just one…

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Dying For A Selfie


Dying for a Selfie

Three selfish ladies
Driving through town
One has a selfie stick
Passes it around
Driving their convertible
Up and down the block


They’re dead.


Forty angry drivers
Flippin the bird
Those selfish ladies
Ignored the herd
Ambulances and firefighters
Beating the clock
Forty angry drivers
Are stuck in gridlock


No eating hamburgers
Or pizzas please
No drinking coffee
Or even your teas
Driving while distracted
A new social ill
It is illegal
And it can kill

December 6, 2016 & May 16, 2017

This may be a strange way of celebrating a birthday. May 16th, 2019 I’ll be celebrating my 49th march around the sun. But this May I’m recognizing my two year anniversary of my second car accident. On May 16, 2017, my 47th birthday I was sent to the ER because an inattentive driver rear ended my 2002 Toyota Prius.

Five months prior to THIS accident in December 6th, 2016 this same car was rear ended by an 18 ton container truck. That truck driver was too close. Thankfully my Prius was still drivable until May 16th, 2017.

Please drive with aloha.