Red Dreams, Volcano Visions


An exciting pocketbook of poetry that offers Takara’s firsthand observations and reflections of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, including the following poem.


It’s a spectacular show, lava fireworks
ominous, eerie, fiery-painted skies.
There are variable, color-filled clouds
corals, magentas, rubies
irregular shades of gray and black.
Surprising impermanent weather
patterns appear
while molten rock gushes torrential
reveals the heartbeat of Fissure 8.
Kanaka maoli understand
the powerful process.
Let go of illusions of control.
Allow for the robust untamed cycle
of evolution.
Recognize the signs.
It’s still too smoky
to fathom the future
in an unpredictable present.
Copyright 2019 Pacific Raven Press, LLC

Zimbabwe Spin


This poem, originally published in Zimbabwe Spin: Politics and Poetics by Kathryn Waddell Takara, refers in part to the then-President of Zimbabwe, the late Robert Mugabe (Feb. 21, 1924 – Sept. 6, 2019).


Under the rule of a zealot
Opponents beaten and discouraged
Thwarted elections
Forgotten revolution
The meaning of democracy.

Wild animals near extinction
Illegal hunters
Heedless, greedy poachers
Elephants and rhinos at high risk
Rare tusks for ancient Chinese remedies
Jewelry, decorative art, piano keys
Endangered even on animal preserves
Where empty nests dot the abandoned trees in leafless intricacy
All Nature a sunset witness.

Ignorant collaborators
Hungry, envious of Western wealth

Commit unspeakable acts of cruelty to feed their families and greed.

Awesome independence corrupts
Distorted collective vision of progress
Ignores economic meltdown
As policy supports political intimidation
Social unrest dominated by bully tactics.

Discontent rumbles under the drought of inequality
Like magma inflates before an eruption.

Copyright 2015 Pacific Raven Press, LLC

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I imagined it was such an ordinary color
the color of my skin.
Brown, the color of Mother Earth,
rivers rain-swelled,
a variety of tones, sharps and flats, like people:
Africans, Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders.
Don’t mind.
Apple Brown Betty, pie crusts, brown gravy,
coffee, caramel, chocolates,
walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews,
brown wrapping paper for Xmas packages.
Brown, the color of my skin. Don’t mind.
Kaleidoscope of kids brown-nose the teacher,
preppies scuff their brown penny loafers.
Brownstone elegance fights decay
creeping blight in New York City,
reminding of another time—resurrecting.
Browns of tapa cloth, batik, wood carvings
carved brown doors to places
and events memorable,
the brown doors, usually forgotten.
Brown owls, chipmunks, squirrels, dogs,
horses, elks, bears, giraffes,
gazelles, lions, and other creatures
around the globe. The color of me, brown.
Don’t mind.
Browns are as natural as breath,
as varied as grains of sand.
To think, I imagined it was such an ordinary color,
the color of my skin.

Late Spring

By:  Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.

East Coast in May
50th reunion at Tufts
Old friends and festivities
Intensity multiplies
Un huh
Mint greens, emerald leaves
Dogwood and pink buds
Crystal streams flow freely
Un huh
Robins and blue birds
Turkeys and gnats
Add to the sumptuous sounds
Un huh
Petunia and geraniums
Violets and yellows
Punctuate colorfully
Patches of now
Un huh
Camellias coming
Azaleas strumming colors
Wisteria wafting lazily
Anticipation of unknown global warming
Un huh, un huh
Lost reclamations
Confused assumptions
Shared fears and sentiments
Un huh
Essence in bloom
Patience in trying
Aching joints, weakening body
Still moments of splendid
Un huh, un huh

Visitor in the garden
Eyes face west then south
See stirs of wind in date tree
Fronds reflecting, fluffing the air
Psychedelic pinks and orange
Change quick as a breath
A passing posse of clouds
Catch the colors on the French doors
Fading to evening.

Spring should be gentle
Full of promise
Thousands of Rohini Muslim boat refugees
Float for weeks off Indonesia
Lost homelands in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand
Dying for lack of water, food, docking,
friendly governments and welcome.

St. Patrick’s Day 2015

By:  Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.

Notice the butterfly gone orange
Like Abidjan matches
Mother’s plumeria tree from Manoa
Grown from a hearty branch
Spring coming
In multiple colorful
Masterful madness and fanciful designs
Air thaws to green
Nature vaunts grace in growth
Experience joy in awareness
Moments of pinks and yellows
Lavenders and oranges
Bold daring contrasts
Together serendipitous
Beauty in multiple melodies of birds
Whales frolic off the coast
Splashing presence with new calves
A blue day changes
Wind shifts south
Vog from volcano drifts up the island chain
Reminding of toxic nearby
Wars, terror, nuclear threats
Corruption, elections, polarization
Troubles parallel to hope.

Orange Touches

by:  Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.

July oranges
raging wild orange
Cote d’Ivoire
national flag orange white green
orange taxis, soccer outfits
Abidjan music
orange fun
bling and dances
fresh squeezed juices daily
oranges and passion fruit
bowls of cut sweet mangos
hot nights
orange crush
striped lingerēe
orange passion

road work, orange signs
Kaaawa oranges
blush of dawn
and brilliant sunset in clouds indirect
orange butterflies
orange shorts from Clary
orange purse and shiny scarves
Tan dog Tay Tay chasing her orange Frisbees
orange honey from the monastery
aging puakenikeni

Orange questions
Orange moments of determination
Orange love in Presence.

Orange hallelujahs.


By:  Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.


Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly
Yearly, through decades and centuries
The veterans remember in sickness and in health
Discipline, training, service, by land, air, and sea
Willingly offer their lives in exchange for our safety.

Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly
The veterans suffer to stand tall
in knowing their true dedication,
bravery, loyalty to our beloved great
to our fabulous families, and proud

Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly
The veterans know civilians love heroes
but don’t understand the sacrifices
the endless days and night of waiting
for the unknown
the unpredictable brutality of war and

Daily, hourly, weekly, monthly
The veterans understand true suffering
carrying heavy loads, plowing through
unfamiliar territory
through inclement weather, mud, and
enemy fire.

The remember toil, combat and death
all around

Daily, hourly, weekly, monthly
Veteran warriors gather together
to share a space and the unspoken terrors
of war
struggle with PTSD and the need to be
not appear weak and lose face in the
presence of danger
after they return home

Daily, hourly, weekly, through and
beyond time
Veterans carry the proud legacy
defenders of democracy, protectors of
lovers of freedom.

Daily, weekly, yearly we gather together
their commitment, their adventuresome
the belief in their mission
their courage and sacrifices for us
and all that we have, our way of life
Veterans, we salute you! daily, weekly,

ABC’s of Frank Marshall Davis, A Complex Man

By:  Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.

Ambitious, athletic, artistic activist, abandoned
Bold, blues, believer in Black history
Courageous, change, cultural, critic
Complex, cool, compassionate cynic
Dreamer, democratic, diverse, dynamic dare
Energetic, evocative. exposer of evil
Freedom, friendly, fearless, forward
Good, goal-oriented, gratifier
Historian, humanitarian
International, integrity, ideas, ideals
Justice, jazz
Kind, knowledgeable, kissable
Likeable lover, lips of labor, largely loyal
Mindful. meaningful, mutable music man
Noticeable, new beginnings, Nature
Open-minded, original thinker, outspoken, ostracized
Political, persevering, principled, patriotic, public
Quick, quixotic, questioning
Rare, romantic, race ruffler
Satiric, sincere, synchronicity, sports seeker
Teacher, traditional, trajectory timeless
Understanding, unconditional, unveiler
Vibrant, visible
Writer, witness, war, women, worthy
Xperience, xtraordinary
Youth, yearning for justice
Z champ!