Burning Sugar Cane–Honolulu
Sugar cane is burned the day before it is harvested
I was told that things must burn
if they are to taste good.
The torch is out back but I must run
out for fuel. It’s a show that happens
on Sundays for tourists.
Here’s how it works: on the cane plantation
there are finite pools of gas-soaked water
by the stables. Our horses are actually primates
wearing equine masks and empty tin cans
on their feet and hands. Many have fractured
spines from the riding. I bring my friends,
we ride and douse cane. Do a second
loop through, this time throwing flame.
The man from the tourism office
told us to look hard and wear tight denim
under our grass skirts, which tend to catch fire.
At the end, when it’s done and the sucrose
is ready to pop, we break out the donuts
with pineapple filling, hibiscus-garnished.
We take a smoldering stalk of cane,
with ceremony walk it out
to the breakfasting whites, our hands
caramelizing from transferred heat
and shake some sweet, sweet dandruff
onto each waiting pastry. There is
clapping and once
some man nudged a dollar bill
into my belt loop.
A second later, the single burst into flame.