Friday, April 7, 2017

Wide shots

ani•ani kau•lona paʻi lau•lā
kik (noun) Wide angle lens. Lit., wide shot lens. Also aniani paʻi laulā. 
Unpublished new word list to: Māmaka Kaiao: A Modern Hawaiian Vocabulary, 2003, U.H. Press

Dani took her time in the dark room. The smell of coffee permeated everything; strong instant coffee was the basis for her developing solutions. "I heard there's no plant as poisonous as coffee." Without the strong Pidgin in his delivery Dani had to ask, "What was that Grampa?" "Coffee. More poison den weeds." Umm. That was too bad. Her grandfather had never steered her wrong but still that would change things up for sure. The girl was hoping for a plateau ... a break from the learning curve, but she is young and the tale is long. The story spirals. She knew better than to question why she was part of this dream. All her favorite people were here. It was a gift. "Nevah mind the price. Honey, your Alex he stay outside da door. Waiting long time already. What you going do wit dat pictah Dani girl?"


Alex stretched his long lean body on the bench outside the dark room. Using the padded mitts for a pillow Alex fell quickly asleep. Who could really know where a dreamer goes while dreaming. A wide view, a double image? His snoring was regular when Dani propped the envelope against the wooden bench leg.

When he woke it was upon the bench back in the Salish town where this began he found himself. You know that space between sleeping dreams and those with eyes wide open? Of course.. Blinking to re-anoint himself with time Alexander Santiago pushed himself upright. No padded mitts there were his hands as he had always remembered them. Large. Mottled from the years. Fingers and thumbs. All there. With effort he stretched his back, his legs, pressed his feet onto the gravel. Ah. The ache of pain. Evidence. He was.

At his booted feet was a large manila envelope. Dani's familiar swirl of writing, "ALEX." A steady rain less than a downpour but much more than a mist reminded the man he was in the damp Pacific. He wondered where Camilia was, put this faith in the moving spiral, undid a couple buttons in his shirt, tucked the parcel safe against the wet and headed for the cafe. It was a long shot but he was taking it.

Against his warm old chest in a simple paper envelope were five black and white photographs and on the back of the envelope this link written in big crayoned letters

... Yes the tale did split, but it does continue here. I was distracted by a potential worm and now have returned to base-camp again. Excited to keep sharing the long tale of life in the Salish territory with Alexander Santiago and his many adventures. I hope I haven't lost you.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Photographer of dreams

"I want to tell you about YAMA. This is the Warlpiri word for a shadow, or reflection. It’s also a word that we use to describe a meeting or a meeting-place; we gather under a tree that casts a shadow (a reflection of its shape) onto the ground, and we talk in a group - both men and women together, equally - to make decisions and to reflect on ourselves and our lives. But it’s deeper, too. In yapa (Aboriginal) culture, if someone says “you don’t have a shadow”, it means you don’t exist. All the birds, all the small animals, trees - these things all have a shadow; all of your country and everything in it; this is your universe..."The Home Within"YAMA
Emu in the Sky, Milky Way (photo credit: Barnaby Norris )

The metaphor was strong. He heard the message, it smelled of ginger. "A stimulant, the root is meant to be used short-term and doesn't add to the quality of your health in anyway." With hands wrapped in tape like a boxer Alex followed his nose into time that was much more solid than a dream. Something rankled just under his skin. Not an itch exactly, but something. Camilia loves ginger, cooks with the fresh root, steeped it in tea, grew it in pots in their kitchen even in this water-logged Salish world. Contradiction, the metaphor was a contradiction. He felt that sick to his stomach ripple. Alex Santiago pushed himself to keep up.

Dani DeSilva was no stranger to mistakes, of any kind. She risked often and learned quickly. Early on, it was her bounce-back that gave her the edge. Face down in the dirt ring at eight years old, she heard her Papa's voice, "False pride. Goin' get you every time." Pops DeSilva was an amateur boxer, Fly Weight. What he loved about the sport he loved even better when he was teaching kids -- girls especially, how to fight. As she grew his voice stayed the same, his strong deep brown arms ready to pull her up from the fall. The only change came when both he and Dani were eye-to-eye when she bounced back. "Now we learn tricks," his one gold tooth sparkled. She loved it when her grandfather smiled.

Her dark room was her closet of secrets; there was space for her and the muse alone. A faded photograph of a tiny girl with boxing gloves big as Hayden mangoes hung at eye level. The gold tooth of Pops DeSilva the only light. The roll of film contained just the five shots taken in Alex's dream. The old welder kept his distance, and waited on the padded bench outside the dark room door. A stranger's voice came from the other side, Alex guessed it was a radio. Dani was a young woman with old school tastes. Old camera. Flip top cell phone. Radios that plugged into walls with a dial for tuning.

Up until the start of this dream, Alex Santiago lived magic with his eyes wide open. Welding and meddling required a very grounded presence. His approach to life put him in charge of the burn. He respected fire and the rules for manipulation, or enchantment, depending on who was asking, were clear: do no harm, ask permission of place and people, be prepared to to make amends and watch out for anyone without a shadow. That last rule was worrying him. In this dream, he didn't have one.

Now what?

New to Banana Skin and Ginger? The story begins here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The advantage

Alex Santiago was, as you recall in the early bits, worn to paper thin. The harsh winter had pulled the plug on his mojo; he was tired. The experiences with the young Resident Mouse and his former student, Skeena of the Silver-haired Ravens hadn't helped. Not only were his hands missing the pockets of his favorite jeans and long sleeved shirt that fit him so well were now left with incisor signatures -- pairs of two small holes. The metaphor did not escape the former welder, and always magician. He was loosing things left and right. Now he had no idea where his mate was, and that should have been the worst loss. But the odd reality was ... he was happy for them. Twenty years of a particularly sweet partnership was gold. He loved Camilia, and would always treasure their life together. Was it done now? So unexpectedly over?

From wherever he was at the moment the sky was punctuated with star light, planets, constellations. Instinctively Alex looked west and found Makali'i the Pleiades clearly heading for the horizon. "She's hitched herself to them. She's got relatives there. I know she's headed home." Alex's voice was tender and clear. Speaking to no one in particular a milky gauze mottled with faded patches of red, a rose red almost pink swirled from the dark night. "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." That voice was familiar. With no hands it was impossible to swipe the tears that flowed. Between the two Santiago Brothers there had been a sister, Rose. She did not live long, only ten when she died. Too young and too painfully did she die. Alex never forgave God for that cruel act though never, never to any one did he voice this rage.

"Pent it up all these years?" it was little Rose who asked wrapping the gauze of her memory round and round the magician's limbs where his hands would have been. "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." The girl's voice was unusually deep for child so young, but, it was definitely the same voice that would tease and issue outrageous requests. "More Cremesicles!" after the ice cream truck was long gone from the neighborhood, or comical dance numbers that required her brothers be fitted with crinolines and pirate hats. That they both acquiesced at the time, and was such a strong emotion now that was the binding. His sister's ghost continued to chant and wind the gauze until Alex Santiago was right and truly cocooned. "Slash," with one upward motion the switch blade severed the faded red gauze leaving two bandaged stumps. The ends fluttered with the scent of something ... "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." But no it was not the smell of roses or flowers but the scent of melting iron, solder.

"Whose dream is this!" That voice was connected to yet another young girl from a time more recently connective.

"Dani?" Alex recognized his step-daughter's inimitable voice.

"Well, yes. It's me, my grandmother sent me. Said there was an ... "she paused to reckon the condition of her substitute father, the man she had come to love with no reservations. "Tutu said there was a once-in-a-lifetime photo op. But this is even a bit beyond the normal stretch of definitions even for my grandmother." The camera that had been Dani's inseparable accessory swung from her shoulder. She eyed the two pinkish wrapped stumps and wrinkled her sensitive nose to the smell of the solder.

"Any explanation that would make me believe this is not bad t.v.?"

"Nope. Not one word could explain what you see here. If you could just look through that Argus and capture the moment for us, maybe the ending to this story could seem a little more within reach." Alex felt himself reaching for the comfort of leaning into Camilia for reassurance. How odd that he had taken her so for granted.

The Argus tucked into the familiar place over Dani DeSilva's left eye. The two fit like sunrise out of the ocean's depth. "Click. Click. Click." For good measure Dani took a forth and then a fifth shot. If there was an advantage to being a photographer of dreams, these would be interesting images. Hoihoi.

In Hawaiian 'hoihoi' means 'interesting. Click here for more story to interest you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good witch or Bad witch

"...Jupiter’s an expansive planet, and Scorpio is all about scrutiny, so those who were born with Jupiter in Scorpio have extra strong spidey sense. You can either be a “good witch” or a “bad witch” with Jupiter in Scorpio. If Jupiter in Libra brought over-optimism with regard to relationships, Uranus has had a say in it and Jupiter in Scorpio (Uranus is exalted in Scorpio) is the final arbitrator..." - Diane O.
"There is a space as large as Dreams that slides unnoticed between the transits of Jupiter through the heavens," Holding the broken Moon Snail in her deeply winkled hands her mother rubbed at the spiral that made the curves of hard shell. "We call the planet, the star Jupiter, Iao, when we spot it in the morning. He dawns on us." The ageless woman laughed and bobbled her large head leaving the kaona of her message the multiple meanings to be inhaled if her daughter was ready for it. If she wasn't ready there is a chance the kaona would feed someone else or ... spiral round again later when Jupiter showed up again.

Camilia looked across the familiar gray Formica topped kitchen table to watch her mother. The hands. The face so comforting and informing. As always they were animated expressions of a woman, family goddess now, who would have been 99 years old this week. The body language reached across time and massaged the tense muscles in her shoulders. The Dream Mother of the De Silva clan was no less vital and probably more powerful for that Camilia was entirely grateful. Uncertain about the limits of her world at the moment Dream expanded in scope. The blue suit and seaweed lashings had become like second skin, and she liked the freedom of a bared crotch with strength binding her legs with limu. The seaweed fed her thyroid the iodine that was missing in her mundane life.

"A powerful grounded soul!" Her mother pointed the camera at her and snapped the button on the Argus C 4 the same Argus C 4 that has been in her daughter's hands for more than thirty years. Ghosts like her mother read minds with ease, and to prove the point the elder confirmed, "My granddaughter is very generous. We have this working agreement about sharing this Argus. We don't steal the soul of those we photograph, and they who we photograph ... don't steal ours." The context of the old ways the culture that went deeply and surely underground in the 1890's Hawaii throbbed out of site but not out of mind. Camilia left that Waianae homeplace in the 60's. Her daughter Dani switched places forty-five years later. "Place holder soul, your daughter, my mo'opuna. It's a good thing, too. Good to keep the smell of you close-by, Honey. In case you decide it's time to come home to yourself."

Here, here.
The Argus. A strange and wonderful thing is happening with the writing of Banana Skin and Ginger. A dropped thread, a forgotten plot has shown up. If you, dear reader, are fascinated by mysteries, and not put off by tangents or tentacles that like the many 'legs' of an octopus can flow in more than one directions (at the same time!) this segment of the story deepens Camilia's second menopause. This segment calls on the child, the Ancient, and the evolving Crone in unexpected ways. I am surprised!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Keep an eye on the wave

Alex Santiago. Now that man appeared solid to many people who have known him. Dependable as a repair and fabrication man in his early years, there was also the magic and subtlety or mutable-nature of the signs he created. 'Old magic' meant many things: tradition and established rules; methods kept secret and passed mouth to mouth/hand to hand. But, as well 'old magic' could mean a legacy of methods was passing through and on its way out. Now that his literal deck of favorite cards was a pile of ash a man who was known for his hands had none. Skeena of the Silver-haired Raven Clan, now a fully-grown man was initiating his mentor in the finer points of magic.

"Like a reverse walking lesson," Skeena explained when Shine asked about The Old Man's whereabouts. "The Old Man has his feet now thanks to banana skins, but he must learn what to do without his hands. Seems odd?" Skeena laughed a belly laugh that would greatly please his mother. "Alex had huge hands, banana sized hands! Without them his whole body will need a different kind of balance."

"So, are you telling me Alex won't be back for pie and ginger tea?" Shine sat up on her elbow, and cradled her head to look into the Raven Man's golden eyes.

"It may be both our elders are on their own for ... well, for awhile. You put Camilia on a surfboard living life rather than wearing it, and put a mele a song in her mind and heart with lyrics that will test her investment in producing moments when ancestral knowledge is reborn again. That is no easy meat to chew!"

"Does this mean I don't get that Apple Banana Pie until they return?" Shine had listened to Skeena's words and knew this story was all about making bargains and taking small and unusual steps. The Old People will have to keep an eye, or all four eyes on the spiraling wave. Life will be a little shaky. Her hearing was keen, and though she was in the small bathroom now, showering and cleansing herself she listened for Skeen's answer. This is what she heard. "New rules for old magic make allowances for rewards, and seems to me there's nothing stopping us from walking down those stairs, and asking 'Aka for a slice of that pie and some hot and spicy ginger tea."

"... Something is brewing. Something that starts out with a deep desire within and results in an adjustment to your fortunes, your story, from the outside. There are walls that must come down in order for your outer fortune and inner desire to balance.
This week there are rumblings of such. And Mars moves from its involvement in the Jupiter-Uranus opposition into trine with Saturn: Sudden actions propel us on a new course, one of work over time. One that pays off down the road. Just keep that in mind if you find yourself stymied in love or money, frustrated. Take those first steps that are experimental and bigger than usual..." - more from Satori
Like homeopathic remedies, Wise Woman Medicine and medicine stories, the pause is everything and patience or ho'omanawanui the long haul key to the journey. We press the 'PAUSE' button for now and let this story infuse...

Banana Skin and Ginger UPDATE: 
Nana kela! Look there!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Losar, Tibetan New Year

"...There’s going to be stability offered, available, something recognizable and reliable is there to catch on to and navigate by. Jealousy can flair when people are awash in emotion. Validate your connection to others and the same twinge can solidify into reassurance and connection. All creatures crave connection. When deprived they can lash out. So offer it freely. Touch base and renew that promise.
Sunday morning the Moon conjoins the Sun in Pisces at 8 degrees...The fire of the Leo full moon eclipse is quenched by the healing water of the Pisces new moon eclipse. Fire burned something out. This is a fresh, wet start that everyone is taking together. How together? How indeed. That’s what we’re just starting to find out. Take those first moments to acclimatize to something new, something different. How does it feel? Relax and let it simmer and flow.
In some ways, we’re all wiped clean… to reveal a great history that we share. Don’t look for what’s lost. Follow what shows up. Lost, gained, these are constructs that won’t necessarily apply at this juncture. Look for the side of the truth that feels like the active stream, the healthy stream. Get in that stream and flow with it. Don’t waste your energy fighting the current. Mars conjoins Uranus and moves into opposition with Jupiter. Push off into the flow and get somewhere NEW. Jump in! The water’s fine." - Satori
Normally Camilia and her family celebrated the Chinese New Year, cleaning their homes, cooking a meal of abundance to share with friends, having fun and finally walking the land banging pots and pans to clear out the rascals left from the old. This year had ended or begun quite differently. It was the harshest winter yet. With all the challenges of health and conflagration the Chinese Lunar New Year went without ritual or recognition. Camilia and Alex had stalled in their combined spirals until a certain mouse took up residency and familiarity with the old welder. A small thing, a being, unblocked the flow.

The tides in prelude to Losar, the Tibetan New Year offered two pair of highs and lows. Saddled loosely atop the small board Camilia breathed in the newness of her strengthened pelvic floor. The winking had stopped but her confidence with the blossoming was memory she would commit to in the coming new year. A New Moon finds both Sun and Moon in the sky and in the same astrological sign. All day long the Moon shares a close conjunction with the Sun. As Camilia parked herself both in between the dream and the threshold of the mundane world, she was conscious of the beginning of a fresh start.

When she was newly faceless decades earlier, it was the ending of a marriage to an old life she left in the Gypsy Woman's cauldron. Another lifetime now ... ginger blossoms and kelp thongs had a message of sovereignty for her at 70 years of age. "This is a great time! Great time to be old, and powerful." It was the last thing Shine Molina had said to her before you became part of the old color of love.

Thoughts of returning to Waipi'o Valley, home of her mother's mother's mother haunted Camilia. "Will I be truly ready, this time." When the girls were young she had left them with their father. What a mistake. She shivered at the memory. At the time, Camilia had returned to Hawaii hoping to find her hiapo her first-born, the son she had never held, the same son she knew as well as the palms of her hands.

"Always in dreams, we know each other without question," the tide was shifting from slack to rise.  She felt the sea move toward land.  Dangling free from the blue velvet nest between her breasts the narrow rope with a wish bone, hallow bone, funny bone and back bone titillated her. How funny to feel such pleasure when there was still nothing solid or sure. The sea was curling into a wave. Camilia instinctively lowered herself into a paddling position, securing the bones into their nest for this new adventure. A memory of a progression came to her as she pointed her surfboard toward land, a shore she could not yet see. The memory was a bit of astrology written for the Aquarian Sun-signs; the sign of her current progression.

"Take the time to put your feelings into words and share them. Size is not everything, though I suggest this be longer than a tweet. Reach into some of the unusual depths that you’ve been feeling, and that may be daunting. It is, however, the expression and sharing that will help you validate your experiences and keep your exploration going. If you keep silent, you won’t hear yourself as clearly. If you don’t write down your thoughts, you’re less likely to remember what ground you’re covering. It’s not just your arrival to a new place that counts (and such is inevitable). Rather, it’s how you got there that matters. "

- Planet Waves for February, 2017 by Eric Francis

How grand that I, the storyteller of this tale of Banana Skin and Ginger, have an arrangement with Camilia to 'put those feelings into words and share them...It's not just your arrival to a new place that counts...Rather, it's how you got there that matters."' As the wave crested strong and confidence Camilia with her backbone and roots born in Waipi'o Valley pulled herself into standing position and rode.

In her mind and heart, this music of Waipi'o accompanied her.

To read what happened next go here. 
To read Banana Skin and Ginger from the beginning go here.

Friday, February 24, 2017


The door between the mundane and mythic worlds opened to the human and interstitial traffic of feet, paws, claws and wings. The Safety Pin Cafe maintained its allowances for any and all beings. The ducks padded in and waited patiently for human hands to push the way in and the hospitable clan that operated this way station made space for the web-footed ones. Though some humans writhed or vacated when resident rodents made their presence known, these small beings were welcome too, with some special provisos. I would say if you dear reader be squeamish or locked in a predisposition regarding rodents, now would be a good time to take your leave for a fresh pot of tea while I go on with the history of this myth.

It all started long ago when Raven and Fairy Woman happened upon the notion of a cafe of safety for the beings. In a way, the place they imagined was a substitute situation, a culture where old worlds and traditional ways came together between borders. Raven was a place-based maverick  -- indigenous would fit, known for his trickery of course. But, this Raven was silver-haired and cross bred with something all together, or at least in the main, open to making allowances. The Fairy Woman was a mostly traditional urban spirit facile with the goings on of commerce, exchanges, cookery, and particularly fond of spells that aided in transitions of any sort. Hospitality was her prime motivation.

The first of these medicine stories began with The Safety Pin Cafe "on a day a duck could love." Behind the scenes and as a result of being both a mundane and mythic gathering spot, provisions had to be made to accommodate mice and rats.

"Eradication," that is the only solution said the Gypsy Woman. "They carry disease and since these rats ..." Gypsy Woman was turning a brilliant shade of red that said without doubt Don't Fuck With Me!' "don't eat mice, you will just have to bait them and snap them and dispose of them. This is an eatery." There were exclamations on that last bit. The Gypsy Woman was the matron and reader of Tarot and her opinions were always well regarded. Why in some camps Raven ate mice just as Owl did though not as stealthfully. But, in this story Raven did not eat mice, and there was a twist of karma involved. Mounds of furry cats made good security and like it or not mice and rats will likely remain residents of this planet along side, or not far from humans.

Over many pots of peppermint tea and slices of apple pie the Silver-haired Raven and Fairy Woman conjured a most creative solution to the issue of rodents in the cafe. The provision applied only to the ground floor. The Gypsy Woman put both feet and her clear opinion about eradication in place when it came to the rooms upstairs. NO RODENTS period. Thus you understand why Resident Mouse remained where he did in the earlier installment, "Dangling Bones." 

But downstairs in the cafe itself, an extraordinary negotiation took place between Mouse, Rat, the Silver-Haired Raven and Fairy Woman. It became known as the time of The I.A.D. Treaty (Inoculate And Diaper) and it probably takes little imagination to come up with the details of this agreement. It started with a great feast on a New Moon one winter in the long ago. After hours and long into the wee hours of the morning stores of food and invitations of welcome brought dignitaries and representation from Rodent Clans within the mundane and mythic borders. Raven's people and Fairy people, and Mouse Woman, came to hear the issue and tell the stories of their worthiness; why not worthy?

Can you imagine the discussion, the jokes, the mischief? In fact it took the better part of four months of winter to make the details stick and the diapering of rodents is no less a task. Since that winter so long ago, all rodents are inoculated with a homeopathic formula created after-hours in the kitchen of The Safety Pin Cafe. The Gypsy Woman was chief inspector for the proportion of ingredients and distribution of the serum. All very secret this formula. Even I, the teller allowed to birth this tale am not privy to the serum's specifics. The important part is that it worked to transmorph any disease carrying and the diapering ... well, from senior rodent ware to new born nappies the idea is to keep the leavings to a minimum while allowing for ease of motion, and tailoring more wildcraft than Patagonia.

Alex Santiago's nearly new born Resident Mouse carries the genes of inoculation thanks to his dear and departed mother. But, she was taken by owl before he could be diapered, so that explains the distasteful smell. A bit of a waggle in the tale to give you reader a place to hang unexpressed queries about Resident Mouse. His part in the story was to begin this tale. Where is he now? Well, I can't be sure and isn't that just like life.

Here we go.