Hawaiian Eye

I’ve known my friend, Keoni, who hails from Hawaii, for a long time. We’re talking over a decade, actually. We work together, though in different departments, but I don’t get to see him everyday. Though when I do, he always cracks me up. Keoni has an offbeat, off kilter, quirky way of looking at life, and I just adore quirky. If you ask me, having a great sense of humor goes a long way.

But in all the time I’ve known Keoni, turns out I didn’t know one thing—the man has talent! I learned this recently, when I had the opportunity to pop in his office, located on the floor below mine. I’m not normally in that area. Make that, I’m NEVER in that area. It’s kind of out of the way, and akin to me swinging by Vancouver, B.C., on my way from Southern California to New York.

Anyhow, here’s what happened when I walked into his office:

My jaw dropped.

Turns out, in addition to his office job, he’s a painter and a photographer. And, if you ask me, he’s got an eye for both!  A Hawaiian eye, that is. A few of his paintings hang in his office and they are breathtaking. Keoni works with acrylics and bold colors in a style that is truly modern.

After “oohing” and “ah-hing,” over his art, he showed me his photos. There are so many, and each has a story. I asked Keoni to choose his top five so that I could post and share with you. Here they are, along with a sixth one that I added. The accompanying stories are in his own words. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Title: America Goes Green

Photo #5: The above photo was taken at San Diego Mission Bay against a gorgeous blue sky. Between Hawaii and San Diego, I have lived under beautiful baby blue skies my entire life. So, I decided to change this one to green.

Title: The State of America

Photo #4: A floor display in an Apple retail store. My brain associates this image with such diverse things as: Communism, the media, mind control, drones, Big Brother, space aliens, billiard balls and eggs.

Title: Lucifer's Shade

Photo #3:  Why this shot? Because some look for the devil in everything, including pretty trees.

Title: Family Values 2.0

Photo #2: You wouldn’t know it, but an abandoned World War II bunker hides in the shallow hill above the sprinting, shin-guarded keikis; echoes of Pearl Harbor too faint for the little ones to hear.

But I do.

On this very spot in Kapolei, my nephew, Kainoa (far right), gives everything he has to prove his mettle to his teammates (and possibly show off to his uncle, back visiting from ‘The Mainland’). But fútbol, in my pre-Internet, matching sunny days, would have been impossible for me.  Back then, this area was caked with patches of sugar cane, deep, red powder dirt, deformed rock, and infinite mixed brush, bickering ruthlessly with one another, each trying to edge the other out.

And I loved every acre of it.

My finger gun pointed upward, the humidity of Oahu’s Leeward side, ignored and time uninvented, I spent what seemed like two school years trudging through the denseness on one too many weekends.  It was only when keawe thorns pierced my skin that my critical role of “Child Soldier, U.S.A — Defender of The Islands!!” … momentarily dissolved.

Title: Katrina Killed the Klown

Photo #1: I took this photo in 2010, by sneaking into an abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans, compliments of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. A park that, at one point, sat beneath 8 – 10 feet of flooded waters. Sometime after drying out, someone spray painted, “Six Flags 2012 coming soon” on the wall above the downed, and dearly departed, clown head. But they were clownin.’ Six Flags will never rebuild there.

AND ONE MORE (Editor’s prerogative!):

Title: Dog Peer

The dog’s owner says that he and his wife bring their Bull Terrier here nearly every day at sunset. The dog goes wild, running back and forth between either end of this short, shallow pier, just past the San Diego Mission Bay Visitor Center.The dog is looking for fish that occasionally jump out of the water. A couple of times in the past, this here dog dove in after the fish, but never had luck catching any. Each day, this dog can’t wait for his trip down to the pier. Goes crazy over the jumping fish.

Word has it that Keoni is a poet, too! So maybe, just maybe, he’ll let me share some of his poems here soon. In the meantime, Keoni has all his photos posted on Flickr and welcomes their use by any blogger. Just let him know and include a link to his page.

I’d love to know what you think of his photos, and what thoughts go through your head when you look at these.