Achiote Seeds, Summer 2008
with poems by Robert Sullivan, Tiare Picard, Sage U'ilani Takehiro, Michael Lujan Bevacqua, and Dan Taulapapa McMullin
cover art by Pati Hays

Waiata X.
(from "Cassino: Città Martire")

The bible in Maori translates the word 'psalm' as 'waiata';
while it is not advisable to do this, when one splits the word
into its components (the late Dr. Miria Simpson did this with place names
while we drove to Hastings together) then it means 'slow water'.

So I begin this waiata at Gari Park
looking out over the walk bridge onto the water
with its long plant tresses and bury my face

in grassy pubes diving with the otter
back and forth in this inland harbor, tugging fish
and weedy lingerie; but who am I kidding?

I envy the mammal's slick appeal – those flippers
clapping and slapping so casually. They always have sex on the brain.
Otters are so easy.

- Robert Sullivan

Robert Sullivan's sixth book of poetry, Shout Ha! to the Sky, will be published by Salt (UK) this year. His poems have been accepted for publication by Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, and Best New Zealand Poems. Honolulu-based, he belongs to the Maori tribe Ngāpuhi, and he is Director of Creative Writing at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Tiare Picard was born in Honolulu, Hawai'i, and recently received her MA from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in the Spring of 2008. Ka Lamakua (2006), Ka Leo O Hawai'i (2006), The Honolulu Weekly (2007), and Tinfish Press (2007) have published her work. Her poems are forthcoming in the next Hawai'i Review and this year's Tinfish Press Special Issue.

Sage U'ilani Takehiro was born to Grace Chao and Paul Takehiro in Hilo, Hawai'i. Takehiro won her first writing award from Hilo Union School when she was in the first grade and graduated with high honors from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, with a BA in English and a BA in Political Science, where she won the Myrle Clark and the Ernest Hemingway Awards in creative writing. In 2006 she enrolled in UH-Mānoa's Master's Program in English. Takehiro is a political activist, community supporter, and a lover of the natural environment. Her work has been published in TROUT, Tinfish, 'Oiwi: a native hawaiian journal, and she writes the Pidgin column in the Big Island Weekly. Honua, her first book, was published in 2007 by Kahuaomānoa Press.

Michael Lujan Bevacqua is the grandson of Elizabeth De Leon Flores Lujan, familian Bådu, Kabesa and the Chamorro Master Blacksmith, Joaquin Flores Lujan, familian Kåtson, Bittot. He is the son of Rita Flores Lujan Butler and Robert Francis Bevacqua, and has one daughter, Sumåhi Chan Bevacqua. He is a graduate student in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, the editor for the Chamorro zine Minagahet, and a co-founder of the activist group Famoksaiyan. He will be attending the 2008 Democratic National Convention as the official blogger from Guam. His research interests include American colonialism, Chamorro sovereignty and theories of decolonization.

Dan Taulapapa McMullin's paintings are available at Okaioceanikarts Gallery in Auckland, Aotearoa-New Zealand. His 2004 illustrated poetry chapbook A Drag Queen Named Pipi is available through Tinfish Press of Honolulu, and his handmade, hand-colored storybook/chapbook Monsieur Cochon is available through his website www.taulapapa.com. His performance poem The Bat and other early works received a 1997 Poets & Writers Award from The Loft. His film Sinalela won the 2002 Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Best Short Film Award. His artwork is part of the Samoa Art Association group exhibition at Pacific Festival of the Arts in American Samoa in July 2008, and a solo exhibition of his works is at Fresh Gallery Otara in Auckland, Aotearoa-New Zealand in August 2008. He is developing a film project with producer-director Merata Mita. He is working on a book of fiction, as well as painting. Both his parents are Samoan from American Samoa; his paternal grandfather came from a Jewish Irish family of Dublin. Taulapapa grew up in Japan, Germany, California, Hawai'i and American Samoa. He resides in the hills of Laguna, California.

Cover art by Pati Hays. Born and educated in the U.S. of an ethnically diverse background, Pati has lived in various corners of the world for most of her adult life. Her work has been exhibited in juried group shows in both the U.S. and abroad. Various works are in private collections internationally.