The more years pass the more of a wonder it is that some of your friends never grow old. Unfortunately, they're the ones that died young.
Wayne Kaumualii Westlake was 36 years old in 1984 when a drunk woman crossed the centerline and cranked into his car. That was the end of this crazy, funny, Taoist, blond haired angry Hawaiian poet…the end of parties featuring pyramids of sake bottles and new translations of ancient Chinese poets or poems from being a janitor or just down on the sidewalk in Waikiki. My dad called him a "wandering poet like Basho or Issa," and the Universe I live in accommodates that quite comfortably. Wayne himself insisted that Li Po was of Central Asian descent and had blond hair and blue eyes. What a coincidence!
Wayne's companion (and literary executor) Mei-Li M. Siy stashed all his poems and manuscripts and bits of paper he wrote on, but as kind as time is to memory it is cruel to paper. When Wayne's friend Richard Hamasaki decided to gather together and publish Wayne's poems for posterity he had to rescue the manuscripts from the very brink of oblivion: