Primitive Animation

cave-painting-3

You afforded us the briefest of views

narrow chasms

the light imbued

as it staged the original cinema

on your inner landscapes.

Like a shadow Astaire

that once danced on the walls,

now cast in calcite glistening,

becoming echo chambers

to leave us listening

to the rain water weathering

of rock in rhythmic drips.

Cascades of drapery

over a mixed media

of oblique movements,

the primitive animation

of subtle emanations

from the imagination,

like burnt wood and resin

beneath a landslide ceiling.

The way the cave of your mouth is sealing

the silent mystery of Chauvet.

Who’s left to interpret your printed palms?

Crooked alien fingers

and torch marks tucked away,

who’s left to gaze upon your rudimentary figure?

A Paleolithic Venus

with spearheads deeply embedded in skin,

becomes the root of this form of depiction,

the navel’s indention,

like a fingerprint,

is a sensual window into a hidden wound.

In this world light and shadow coalesce,

like an eclipse,

in the accentuation of the hips

set in black,

the curve of the abdomen,

or the lower back,

a deliberate staging

of pictorial decaying

touched up over time.

In unreachable alcoves

we’ll define the audible whispers of suggestion

against an infinite backdrop of silent repression.

The Unsettled Past

moon over lanikai

When you become a veil

between the past and the present

through what you feel

and what you relate,

what allows the both to meet and perhaps heal

the psychic wound between them?

The trauma is visible

in the landscape of a buried story.

Twilight persuades the edges to fall away,

 suddenly it is yesterday

and it seems nothing has changed.

But you know how it ends

as the sun bends over the Ko’olau rims

and dark begins to settle in

to the borders of our lives.

You feel compelled to tell it again,

at the foot of a mountainous urge

to speak the words by way of suggestion,

what lies behind the mist

as darkness lifts from where it was hidden.

It is gathering its powers again,

to squeeze the light into submission.

Every evening at about this time,

on the surface of the sea,

whole swaths sprawled bloody

as canoes are dragged ashore,

the sudden exile as the beach goers

gather apparel and drift away

from the longing waves and their approach.

Where nothing remains

save the shallow graves of footprints.

In time the crescent moon appears

as muffled sounds lend trickery to the ears.

The shadows of trees fill the park,

like the impression in the dark

of ghosts in your mind.

With no flashlight to guide,

with no distraction for your thoughts to reside,

you begin to imagine the walk, the stillness,

the ominous car parked in the corner of the eyes.

Soon there’s Kalapawai lit up with spaceship lights,

this haven feels like miles away

for those who play beyond the neighborhood curfew.

Waiting under the banyan at dead man’s curve,

a car swerves into view

with faces pressed against the glass,

you blink your eyes tightly

to see if this image lasts

of the helpless who pass into the wind

of leaves dragged behind machines.

It quiets down, you blink, and there it is again

as if on repeat

in the dark corridors of stone wall and tropical branch,

this proto projector permitting an obscured glance

of the fleeting macabre dance

of the hopelessly unsettled past.

What is Completed?

takis-dominick-equally-damaged

The interpretation of art,

like a rebirth of thought.

Each new piece regenerates

all that came before it.

It venerates the ancestor

of no definitive answer,

instead coloring and giving birth

to an infinite texture.

Contours you’ll resume

by tracing this womb throughout.

It begins by lightly brushing the surface,

as graceful as a lizard’s limbs

over the coarse skin of tree bark.

The canvass stretched taut,

silent and thin as a moth’s wings

deafening when you’re listening

to a certain frequency of rain,

it resonates like a train of thought,

seismic as a teardrop in a pool,

radiating in myriad directions.

Each stroke is an impression,

passing over the surface like an apparition,

tuned into the unseen,

its lingering reception recalling

all those things that stay with you.

Each step is an embryo

for new material to come through

the subconscious,

no longer dormant

but with a slow flow

as if emerging from a volcano,

the vaporous past absorbed into the current,

transformed from within,

to be reborn as new land

calling into question

as you perceive from the edge

“What is ever fully completed?”

With Grave Irony

Gideon_Jacques_Denny_-_'Waikiki_Beach',_oil_on_canvas,_1868

The old ways disintegrate like waves in a lost break.

When sand is shipped in

and the coral is swept away.

The floral air

once fragrant and clear

now hangs like  a vog in the atmosphere.

Acid rains from dark clouds

sewerage stains in Ala Wai ripples

luminescent abstracts from street lamps

replaces the moon whose stamps

once brilliantly rested on an ink-black surface.

Now in the rush of heavy traffic

that moves without purpose

always crowding its way into the picture

of nature

castaway in a film-clipped motion

to the currents of a discarded pool.

Father time is a deaf mute

and silence settles no score.

Voices were drowned out

and struggle settled like silt on the ocean floor.

You can hear them at times in the blowhole moaning

as if mourning their passing.

Their muffled cries still trapped in the land,

in the gasp of wind

through shattered palace windows

or on the tide-battered rock wall,

who takes down their cryptic scrawl?

Where the waves crawl

and antiquity collapses into the sea,

note with grave irony,

that which was once so powerful,

still disperses easily.

A pre-statehood Hawaii,

soon to disintegrate into waves of outsiders,

invasive seeds

strangling what was once pristine,

replacing with industry and enterprise

with highways and highrise

greed in its civilized disguise,

native land in a tourniquet tied

in high wires and eyesore telephone towers

that stand out like tumors on the sacred peaks.

There’s plenty of reception

to pose the question,

Does progress hear through the static and speak

of all that cannot be replaced?

WaikikiBeachAerialViewWebcamOahuIslandHawaiiPhoto1

The Unseen Author

misty konahuanui

Along the knife’s edge of a volcanic ridge

upon a poised moment in which

despite the peril

Daniel inched forward to meet

the motion of clouds under his feet.

The trajectory of one life,

one flightless bird,

one tiny pebble falling from the peaks

to join the clouds.

Barely a word was uttered,

yet voices still fill the valley

with this story of caution,

forever suspended in mystery.

The sudden ending

passes between the lips of this author

into the impact of silence, pinned forever

with the bones of the old

left in unmarked graves,

unseen purveyor of secrets

sealing the entrances to caves.

Where time doesn’t lapse,

the mana is trapped

in earthen vaults where nothing is pillaged

between the city and the village

rainwater coursing through rock

that eternal slip

akin to an ocean’s walk

on a beach it has yet to create,

work we will not live long enough to appreciate

sunlight mingling with the waterfall

we can recall but not recreate

when smuggled into notebooks.

Here it plummets from cool heights.

Nuuanu,

the unseen author

of rockfall and quiet beauty.

Seated beneath this depository,

this effortless plunge.

What more can be said or done?

What is necessary to be at one with that which emerges slowly?

The light shifting amphitheater,

vocals from an interlude of drums,

how music informs the wild spaces

and clouds break the distortion

in billowing flowers blooming

from these heights

through the textured canopy

hiding in this jaguar’s belly,

distended in fur

shamanic chants in the blur of dark shapes

juxtaposed on the lightening sky

like paw prints haunting the riverbed

raindrops rippling phantom leads

following each,

like a glittering piece of some puzzle

that is tomorrow’s sky

streaming through the cathedral cracks

as if through stained glass

illuminating the path

that will see you through the depths of its tract.

 

 

 

With No Windows Save the Sky

Remains_of_WWII_pillbox

Expressions of dream imagery

to drink slowly through a straw

confessions of extreme honesty

reflected in grey waters back home

a film over childhood borders

a whisper of fog

beneath the loudest of thoughts

a hijacked word

arresting the soul

from somewhere offshore,

in the ringing of the mast pole

rhythmic and in time

as if none has elapsed

between bedrock

and the most wayward of tracks

far flung,

the gulls go there now

looking for scraps

from languid lobster boats

switching their traps.

Follow the luminous wings

in the wind high pitched

above factory walls of red brick

in cities you once knew

until one by one

they’ll fall on the edge of view

at the furthest point

there’s no urban renewal

only a pillbox hut from World War II

with no windows save the sky

pointed through a frame with no door

laying down on a rock filled bottled floor

to breathe into a shaft

lowered into the sea

down that ancient stair,

Bimini,

Mysterious

terraced into the immensity

like bones in a darkening throat

you listen for notes

to create a rapport

regurgitating words

from the ocean floor.

The Full Length

sand-dunes-2

To proceed over memory

drawn down the breadth of its myth.

To withdraw sand from the glass

pressed against a cracked view

of an overgrown road

soon turning into a driveway of crushed shells.

The oppressive Paleozoic heat

that reeks of swamp and burns your feet

in dunes of moccasin decay.

Feel the pulse underneath this artery

as you pass the veil

on the way to the sea.

Through a portal of scrub oak

in the cumberland undergrowth,

&lt you’ll spy blue herons in the lagoon.

Set sail in a one man vessel,

attach meaning to cloud craft

drifting across the moon,

precipitate  night words

to breach the empty beach

in the hour when all else dims

but voices by the thousand

of unseen hosts rising from within

a cacophony of hymns.

It is a sound like searching,

following whims,

encompassing all that a highway would bring

to a child kept awake by heat lightning,

transfixed on the far reaches of the gulf,

that which is spread between the mist and the veil,

the imagination and the material.

Raw and unkempt,

the blanket was a thick fabric

with the whole night sky rolled up inside.

From out of the novelty of this lens

comes the nightly emergence of pens

to populate pages of explanation.

One legend speaks of a dragon

that brought the written word to the Americas

and we’ve followed ever since

the marks that singed

the trunks of old growth forests.

We’ve listened to tales

that spoke of brilliant trails

 as its fireball sails

from out of a mysterious wellspring of suggestion,

to illuminate the skies of our introspection

and to unveil the disguise

over this ancient connection

coiled throughout the years,

through w(rites) of passage and fears

that these pale reflections

lifted from its scales

are somewhat inadequate to reveal

the full length of its depth and perfection.