Hale’iwa Hot Day

Blood Black Stone

The turtle’s dead.
That’s the first thing to know.
Its eyes gliding slowly down its cheeks
in the same easy ooze rhythms
as forgotten cake candles.
From a distance though
I suppose
I suppose it could pass for alive
from the illusion of movement
from the wet wrapping tide.
Baby waves (still new to the sea)
give its flaccid flippers gentle nudges
just like a child—they don’t understand
death. Dead things. It’s
a slow comprehension.
But it’s dead.
Sitting on a flat black stone
and rotting in the sun.
Near the bathrooms. You know the ones.
A slip of oil slick meat fluid
slithers from turtle to sea. A
dreadful drizzle spillage of some
internal dressing—and you can practically see the future
creatures pressing on the limits of the waves
waiting for the one big tug
to scrape it slow and sparking
into frothing waiting water mouths.
One last hour or two of sunlight
(to soften it up) then
back into the black bay for
a riotous explosion
of full full fat fish bellies.
Cracking the shell open
like a glitter bomb, scattering the
scraps of haikus written on
the inside of its intestines and
across its squelchy liver.
Deep and simple observations
on lapis lapping shore sides
swirling currents and stoic
shadowed deeps incomprehensible.

Sea grass needs the sun—
it clings to shoreline noon light.
But I follow tides.

If you swim too deep
the shadows and sunlight blur
ways to the surface.

Shit like that.
Poetic. (Pathetic).

Ten or fifteen feet from
the blood black stone pan and
the slow slide of the dead sea turtle
a family stands.
A husband, wife, two boys
(5 and 9
maybe. More or less.)
with selfie arm out out
stretched and swaying
slow swinging seagrassily
getting it all in the shot.

Look Dad! Look! A turtle!
Get it in the shot.
How cool is that!
A turtle. Right on the rock.
Sunning on the shore on a rock.
Is something wrong?
No. It’s just taking a rest.
What’s wrong with its eyes?
Oh god. Oh god it’s dead.
It’s dead!

Should I delete the picture?

No. No. In ten years we won’t remember it dead.

Another picture.
Another. Another. Whatever.
Who am I to judge
if some swayback dad
with trunks cinched up and
balloon belly wobble-bobblin’
looking like a half-squeezed tube
of dollar store toothpaste
wants pictures of his kids
with a dead sea turtle.
Trip of a lifetime.
Who am I to judge.
I took a picture too
and wrote a poem
(sort of)
and the fish want to eat—
they only judge
the taste.
And dead sea turtles don’t care.

Lani Moo

There’s a goddamned cow
in the goddamned sea.
Belly deep in ocean
with waves slapping its ass
like an ad man from the 1950s
after drinking lunch.
Halfway between Kaʻaʻawa and Punaluʻu
coming around the long curve mouth of Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana
(you’ll know it if you’ve been there)
I almost hit the breaks.
Like a unicorn emerging from the sea foam
but it’s a cow.
Udder under water waving
hot milk slish-sloshing to rhythms
eternal and unknown to me
(as a man my milk comes in a jug).
Brown water swirling around it
as if the muddy sea were congealing into
a cow.
A mocha bovine becoming
Venus on the hoof.
Tiny tiger shark pups
in cherubimmic ecstasy
suckle at its swaggling seagrass teats
their tiny teeth incomprehensibly
(for a shark is a shark is a shark)
pin-pricking the soft flesh
mouths filling with blood
and milk.
Like a sacred thing. Like a myth.
Then it shits in the sea.
The cow.
Eyes rolled back a bit in the ecstasy
of dumping a load on a humid afternoon.
And the water foam-froths with fish
Or maybe I just imagined it.
The fish. The cow was there.
And the shit.
I just kept driving.


Kemuel DeMoville is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced
internationally every year since 2005. Recently his work was performed at The Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles and was the recipient of both the Residents Prize for Playwriting and the Hawaii Prize for Playwriting from Kumu Kahua Theatre. He is also the recipient of the 2017 MilkenPrize for playwriting. Kemuel DeMoville is an Aurand Harris Fellow by designation of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. He was also named as a Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in 2016. He holds an MFA in playwriting from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and an MA in Syncretic Theatre is from Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand. His work has been published by Spider Magazine, Youth PLAYS, Heuer Publishing, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, and is included in 222 MORE Comedy Monologues, an anthology from Smith and Kraus Publishers.