Rick Lupert

Poetry • Spoken Word • Jewish

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii

Paperback $19.95

Poems written in and on the way to and from Oahu, Hawaii
Ain’t Got No Press / August 2022 / Paperback / 228 Pages

Rick Lupert heads to the ho-lei land in his 26th collection of poetry written (despite the title telling you otherwise) in, and on the way to and from, Oahu Hawaii. With his characteristic wit and occasional bits of wisdom, Lupert’s third eye takes us all over Hawaii’s capital Island experiencing magical fruits, sea turtles, Lost filming locations, at least two luaus, wild-roaming chickens and the sweetest family spirit you can imagine. In Hawaii, as soon as you show up, they declare you are ohana – family. Let these humorous and accessible poems bring you into the family as you contemplate your own visit to paradise.

…If you’re looking for a hilarious, moment-to-moment poetry low-down on the daily doings of a smart, surly teen, his wise and multi-talented mother, and his hapless dad (who happens to be Rick Lupert, our intrepid poet reporter) as they negotiate the touristic foibles of Hawaii, this is the ONLY BOOK FOR YOU. Everything is a poem. Then there is Nothing ever happens unless the poet is there to write it down. And do not forget that Writing while simultaneously swimming, riding in a bumpy Prius on the way to a pineapple farm and ordering a blue mai-tai is a prerequisite for being a poet. Honestly, I don’t know how he does it. But I’m grateful – and joyful! — that he does.

–Bob Holman Poet, Producer The United States of Poetry

Like his book on his trip to Japan, Lupert’s works here read like a travelog written during a 7-day trip to Hawaii with his wife and son. His dry wit, ironies, and unexpectedly insightful endings are laughable but often stun–all delivered with almost childlike simplicity. His personally felt and rendered details expose the contradictions observed by a soul passing through a strange, non-paradisiacal, unpromised land in this day and time generally–in this book, particularly in Hawaii. Keen, entertaining, humorous, and enjoyable.

–Patrice Wilson Author of Hues of Darkness, Hues of Light, former editor of Hawaii Pacific Review

Poetry from I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii 

Watch the Publication Event Here.

Read the poems “At The Nutridge Luau” and “Land” at Dashboard Horus.
(“At The Nutridge Luau” was nominated for a 2022 Best of the Net Award!)

Read the poem “Factual Facts” at Oddball Magazine.

Read the poem “Parenting Lessons from the Holy One” at JewishPoetry.net.


There is a lot of expectation being
communicated to me on social media

where I have now revealed I’m going
to Hawaii, to write a book on this trip.

As I mentioned (though you may have missed it
if you skipped right to this page) this is a shorter trip

so I’m trying to write most of it the night before we leave.
I still don’t have great confidence that

I’m going to be able to pull this off.
In fact, the next poem I write will be called

Sorry, Folks, I’m not Writing a Book of Poems
in Hawaii.

A Person Must Eat

My double jointed twelve year old
holds out his oddly shaped elbow
and says daddy look I broke my arm
hovering over a taro-based veggie burger
and a fruit plate with mediocre fruit
but with a pineapple cream dipping sauce
that is to die for. Wait, what was I talking about?


On the Lanai

It is colder than I imagine summer in Hawaii should be
on this balcony, or as my roommate Tony used to call them, lanai.

A lanai is an indoor/outdoor roofed architectural feature
that has one “wall” open to the elements. So why not!

Waikiki beach is below and empty….the fires have gone out
around the luau poles at the adjacent property.

It is hours later in my body than it is in my location.
We’ve already negotiated breakfast though I was

the only one with one eye open when it happened
so it could be a surprise to everyone when it happens.

The only belt for miles is an expensive one and
it doesn’t seem worth it.

Two summers ago we were in Japan and now
we’ve barely traveled half that distance.

Though they were here once too.
We’re about to find out all about it. 

You Had One Job

There’s a crisis of faith happening
in our hotel room when we realize
the towel hooks in the bathroom
aren’t sufficiently designed to
actually hold the towels.

Pearl Harbor

Oil still leaks
from the USS Arizona

You can see the colored patches
floating on top of the water under

the memorial built over the smallest
fraction of the ship resting forever

on the harbor floor, the final resting place
for over a thousand men.

This is not an attraction
the park ranger tells us.

Yet so many people are attracted here
to see what was done after America

turned off the pipeline to Japan.
This sleeping giant awoke that day

and the price that was paid –

Book Rick Lupert

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