Last night I attended Mahiki Invasion at UnderTow, Phoenix’s new tiki bar that is attempting to resurrect classic tiki bar culture. It was pretty damn great. And not just because they started plying us with rum as soon as we entered the door (the three drinks were the Mahiki Bar London’s take on the classic Don the Beachcomber cocktails “Missionary’s Downfall”, “Navy Grog”, and something served in a coconut). There are a lot worse ways to spend a Thursday night.
One of the things I’m attempting to do with the Chumming the Waters/Words for the Men in Grey Suits project is do change the perspective of sharks from their place in our culture as monsters to beasts worthy of celebration and song (or poetry, as is my medium).
Some cultures, however, need no perspective shift. For those who practice native Hawai’ian beliefs, sharks, very often tiger sharks, are already seen as not just worthy of protection, but as part of the family. In this poem, I am writing not from the perspective of the practitioner of those beliefs, but from the tiger sharks who learns of his place in this belief.
Thank you to Jack Stone, Hawaiian Cultural Advisor, whose advice was invaluable in clearing up some choices in this poem that may not have been respectful of those beliefs (any errors/appropriations that may still exist in this poem remain mine – and as always, I welcome feedback!).
Continue reading “Poem – The Sound of Their Drums”