Military maternity, perilous token of courtly love, and, on the prison road, touch: three women in wartime


Click to enlarge. The gunboat Geier, detached from the German Navy’s doomed Pacific squadron at the beginning of World War I, was interned in Honolulu during the period of American neutrality. After the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany in February 1917, Geier’s crew attempted to burn the ship at its dock before it could pass under American control. An earlier post about the incident, based on undigitized images, is at http://theartpart.jonathanmorse.net/snap-shots-of-an-event-that-may-become-historic/ .

Destination

At Honolulu’s Kawaikui Beach Park on July 27, 2016, I parked by a corroded old Dodge Neon, a car manufactured from the mid-1990s through 2005. Its windows were open, and a hand could be seen dropping cigarette ashes out the passenger side. Something protected against the weather with a black plastic bag was lashed to that side, and on the ground in back of the car stood something else, half-covered with a blue plastic tarpaulin.

When I got out of my car, I could see that the thing under the black bag was a wheelchair. The thing draped in blue was a gasoline-powered generator, purring loudly. Inside the car, close to each other in the back seat, two very old people reclined on a tangle of towels, smoking. In the state with America’s highest rate of homelessness (487 people per 100,000 in 2015), they were home.

I walked from the parking lot to the lawn.

After I took my picture I left. The Neon hadn’t moved, and I didn’t notice the girl, Miss Memento Mori, until I got back to my own home and inserted my memory card in its computer. In the two specialized vocabularies of computers and travel, a term for your own completed view of the girl on her brink near the Neon is destination.

Source: Cathy Bussewitz, “Hawaii struggles to deal with rising rate of homelessness,” Los Angeles Times 15 November 2015. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-adna-hawaii-homeless-20151115-story.html