Five hours in flight with nothing to unglue.
Five hours suspended in cloud chewed through
by a sky of insight
that would imbue with light
the teary beads of precipitation
hanging in the windows of anticipation.
The illuminated trails yet to arrive,
strapped in and forced to set distractions aside,
cultivating nothing of importance,
but this will go up anyway
and that is the irony.
As we rise in elevation,
resigned to rapid penetration,
a ragged correspondence
will compensate for being connected to nothing.
Red eyed relationships of leaving
losing nothing if not the illusion of balance,
the luster of newness,
the lust for her turbulence,
memories tripped up on the fading trust
spurring a glance that asks
“Where have you been?”
Exiled on an island,
writing to the infinite and the sensual
within the harsh borders of coral.
The weight of an ocean will hold up this craft
but lend nothing towards its escape.
Below us an endless graph of salt
clay stillness with the occasional squall
breaking the monotony,
a storm surge over the real possibility
of being caught in its momentum.
Rips of wind tilt the within,
pulling at these compartments of recollection,
an internal state like a projection on the horizon,
a spotlight glow
beyond the seascape of shadow
and definition, a prison we’d never find ourselves in.
Excitement and apprehension
towards an infinite well the dark was sucked into.
The ocean veiled in textured clouds
that were like razor reeds
to sharpen the sleep of the waiting deep.
The melancholy of what you leave
meets relief at being in motion again.
Reluctant acceptance courts disarray and distance,
rekindling old strands,
those gypsy strands
that caravan the sinking sands
of just reward
punctuated by renewal’s lonely chords
sliding into the nothing you were descending towards.
The sun rises on All Souls Day.
All is quiet against the edges
of its roseate significance.
Eyes pilot dawn
to pull up the drawn shades
in celebration of all that has gone before.
The first light comes like a vagabond
from out of the dark,
like a poetry who’ll correspond
with every emerging rock and stranded moon sliver.
Seen from above, these forms are reflected,
while cloud cover shivers with the alchemy of expectation.
They’ll come like half-formed silhouettes
giving shape to the imagination,
an indentation, a footprint
on the lunar dreamscape of sand.
It is there, with the shoreline accentuated in foam,
growing out of the soft glow of the sea
receding to the strength of morning,
transforming the shadow of mourning
the passing of loved ones
like mist in the hills growing further away.
On this day they are near
to the hue as the sky breaks up the fear,
and the dark contours of thought
are merely detours to steer through,
like a road that hugs a cliff,
unforgiving if you’ll stray
too close to the edge of a petrified flame,
this old and weathered grey shaved
as dawn draws petroglyphs on the walls of the cave
to light the way.
I can hear the heart beating
the sweat beading
the rhythmic breathing
from the climbing
to ridge stillness.
Beyond a wilderness of ferns
is a sea gaze and I am brought home again.
Plans do not always bring
high winds to stagnant bookends
when becalmed in the middle of the ocean,
what draws me on remains a mystery,
how every step deconstructs what’s within,
dawn is always starting over.
and you’d swear someone was there to share it with you.
The scent of shadows in the dim light
discouraged where the passage narrows.
Vacant districts bear the distance between familiars
as the streetcar lingers
into the bells of Mission Dolores.
It seems to river the sorrow of derelict streets
where homelessness meets opulence
in the clash of sidewalk belongings and locked gates.
In the citied layers of fate,
there’s always a remnant of what came before.
A voyant’s place in it reads of inspiration
before it recedes into nostalgia
pushing fog down alleys
intersecting with emptiness
drained of pints in Dylan’s no longer,
traced with gold paint
that trails off into the night you never went gently
but merged with the solitary city motion
spinning with urgency
attracting all the sensory possibility
that was freewheeling towards you.
I’d never permanent any decision
nor create a situation
I couldn’t leave at the drop of a hat,
at least it used to be like that.
Travel sweeps up the remains
of an old fabric
left under the surface of places once passed through.
Autumn gathers leaves for the burning,
a dormant persona under the sleeves of yak skin,
layers of driftwood words
pushed towards a back pocket,
a pendant around the neck
of beaches bathed in the glow of early morning
Pushing open the doors of dreamlike half-light
spilling onto the same Folsom abandon,
somehow still wholesome in its randomness.
The simple fact that these places still exist,
I know the scent well,
the strange perfume of the road
mixed with campfire in your fibers,
damp backpacks covered by rain-soaked ponchos,
the kind that grow fond on you
and familiar as an old friend,
the kind you pick up hitching back into town
or embrace in winter when the cold clings to them
as they stamp out boots and come indoors.
It is the scent of the night
and speaks of far shores
of open answers
of freedom and chance
whose features are fading in time’s expanse,
fractured into aspects that remain
from all that came before.
What is the soul of a place
save that which is evident yet inexpressible?
Told through the very details that moved you.
Here in the din
with the click clack of cutlery
within a cacophony of voices.
The barmen pulling pints
in their starched whites,
guides to the oak portals,
the long line of whiskey bottles
standing like sentinels in that place without time.
There’s a portrait of Yeats on the wall,
calling to mind many in the long line of authors
backs bent to the point of inspiration,
wading in this eternal position.
In these watering holes in Ireland
I can begin to frame my goodbye.
For the time finished wandering
the crooked streets of late afternoon
full cup of tea content
writing until fingers tire,
talking to other travelers till all hours
or until they are no longer strangers,
walking that fine wire,
feeling your soles wearing thin,
travel integral, your soul chiming in
with another proposition.
I recall every decision
punctuated by a heron,
coming at such a moment
you no longer question which direction.
There was the one in the stream side tea garden in Doolin,
awash with meaning,
the water gleaming
beneath the gracefully bent pencil legs
balanced over all that was witnessed alone;
the sea beneath the cliff walk to Liscannor,
Foley’s Glen and the position of stones
marking Scotia’s fall,
the hole of sorrow seen through Poulnabrone portal,
laying another echoing farewell on the long way home
but not before a moment’s recognition at Carraroe,
where a bus to the end of the line
puts me in just the position
to catch it out of the corner of my eye,
the ascending blue wings
gathering in the horizon,
flying over low hills and stone-walled fields.
The bogs of last goodbye well up suddenly
to cry uncontrollably
in the profound recognition of its significance,
the seeming interconnectedness of life
and what resides within and all around us.
Birds once again bearing this message.
In Hawaii, it is from the beaks of the Shama Thrush
on the lush mountain trails of the old Pali.
In Italy, you decipher the sweep of the swallows
from the bell towers and hidden hollows
of some medieval square.
You hear the sudden call of the white breasted hawk
on a winter’s highway to Becky’s,
perched in a dying tree
or on a driftwood log
you see the ravens of Sombrio and Ocean Beach
and follow them to breach that other world.
Here in Ireland it is through the blue herons.
in the spring bogs of Doolin, Kinsale and the Connemara Coast
relating to the unseen
perhaps the most meaningful thing to develop
as it nourishes beyond what we think or comprehend,
put down in ink or apprehend in words,
bound to fall short in forming this farewell,
it becomes just another footnote,
one more point of departure.
For those who the beacon was a beginning,
coffin ship sailors,
for many it was simultaneously an end.
You’ll have to decide
letting the unseen guide
and manage the rest.
Even amidst the trials of travel
one is blessed.
With wind in the hood
and rain dripping from a pack,
pause in your tracks
above coves and inlets
and behold this wayward stroke,
the road making its way
through a grove of spring gold,
this draft of the unknown
is told to the sea
rippling below Baltimore
where thoughts foam
where momentum of will
can roam all the way to Clear Isle,
where not much is said
between the whisper of wind in the grass
and the hush of the calm sea
beneath the tranquility of its landscape.
Distraction seems shaved from shear cliffs.
The spirit remains to walk bends in the high pastureland,
known to the sheep and their wizened expressions
of pastoral eloquence,
the quiet, immediate to access,
to ask “Have we changed or receded backwards?”
Towards this backwoods in time.
Time, that stood still as a Yew tree
the steady boughs
through which the wind at night manifests itself in howls,
where nothing determines or obstructs
the land from the sea,
where the Fastnet Beacon decrees its light
to flash across the sky in illuminated intervals
like lightning enlightening utter darkness with caresses,
furtive expressions of something haunted and otherworldly.
Clear is an island of amorphous green,
seeming to punctuate the extremes,
thatched stone and endless sky,
scenes to include the migratory
who thrive along edges,
beyond walls and expectations
we anticipate crossroads and come and go.
The essence of our nature is continuous, eternal,
but parallel paths seem choked with doubt,
muddled by pursuit
of power and influence,
it is a river running red until drought,
it is the ego’s omnipresence fed the marrow of dreams,
its shadow is larger than it seems,
constructing its fascade,
wall by wall,
we’ll rebuild it,
brick by brick
after every fall,
nothing remains permanently
all will dissolve,
all is cleared here,
in the wake of impermanence and dissolution,
I cast a clear eye on Clear Isle.
Cloud shadow moves over Drombeg stone circle.
As it always has.
unveiling the forgotten
which is hidden
within the cryptic code of dreams.
The past preludes where we are going,
this moment, in the circle,
timeless and frozen,
an exceptional contribution
to the mark of mankind.
Perfectly positioned for solstice,
its possible meaning, measureless
for each individual it is worthy of reverence,
for each, a silent presence that offers no answers.
To some it means everything,
to others, nothing at all.
From all corners, these feet pilgrim through.
To pay homage
To pose for the montage,
its image reproduced in photo files
that cannot capture its true worth,
for long after we depart this earth,
the circle that has endured
will watch over the sea
on its small ridge of stranded stone
marking the burials and the rituals of ancestors.
You can feel the ancient lines
with the comparative youth of fingers,
coloring and cradling time,
another attempt at illusion,
a modicum of control,
decisions shudder like buoys
bobbing on the water
growing darker below the last trees.
The deep lull laps tongues of seaweed,
wedded to its rocky promontory
as you were to the choice to return.
It is all one unfolding portal
for wind to pass
for sunlight to gift with shadow,
for travel to tap into the unseen,
piercing the sky,
at one moment pale, lean,
now tilting towards darkness,
late late darkness in Ireland
and Drombeg will resume its rapt, eternal stance.
The silence of its ridge commands its enigma,
thrown in the purposeful harboring of secrets,
inner passages for light to filter down
to an inner chamber
of infinite spirals,
the magnetic motioning
on faraway dials,
examine the trials men have endured
to haul these stones impossible distances
to these altars,
unchanged for a millenia.
It has been arranged, this moment of interaction,
for one to contribute to its history,
for your shadow becomes a petroglyph
on the surface of its mystery.
When the fog lifts off of Kinsale Harbor
and you see the sun reflected
like the pale eye of a dead fish
in the murky waters of tangleweed and shipwreck debris,
note that some places are left with an unmistakable residue of mystery.
When the blue heron lifts its distinctive wings
from the wellspring of Kinsale Harbor,
its languid sweep will remain etched
like a deep thread in the memory of ancestors.
Blue hewn and imbued with significance,
it carries unseen alms
for those who go down to sea
to gather pebbles
and piece by piece reconstruct their history.
When the legend of the white lady is lifted
from the lips of locals living by Kinsale Harbor,
you recognize the enduring motif
of tragedy and unrequited love
evident in all these stories
that haunt quiet lanes and Norman churches.
Shadows fleeting, we catch mystery in the details,
words sticking to you like an oppressive air,
when attached to a physical place,
we put them down in fog-obscured and isolated towns
where the imagination is bound to usher in the drowned dead
to wander through another headland in the sea.
If it is in your disposition to receive these visions,
they’ll be reaching through windows,
or if auditory, their subtle transmissions
get trapped like a piper’s notes
to float like the widow’s ghost
over the silence of old forts.
Amplified, the recording is replayed over and over
on the rampart’s leap, they remain spellbound,
this port town where this is recurring.
You see the tide going out,
the sails receding in the first light of morning,
you stayed long enough, it had touched you without warning,
Kinsale and its haunted aura
and in your wake you’ll leave the harbor
but know it remains with you, like a tragic lover,
linked arm in arm under the cover
of memory, of synchronicity,
destined for the recollection of travel
and the impression you left when passing through.