A Rain of Free Throws

basketball-court-1992

In the morning you read the wind.

Determine its direction

from a jealousy window

unrolling mountains,

suspecting the world in your hands

may have lost its bounce

but the supple leather feels good in fingers

that set the spinning motion,

one shot

unbalanced and off course

is replaced by poise for the next launch

from a line you cannot cross,

the past and the future,

the flow and what’s forced,

divisions are remedied

under rafters of protective monkey pod trees.

You heave a ball at a metal rim

and forget everything.

The lingering dog bite sore,

the residual burn from yesterday’s war,

the rhythm proceeds

when you are no longer keeping score,

from the mysterious streaks you store

sunlit on an asphalt pyre,

while Pu’owaina,

the hill of sacrifice,

rises above neighbor and cemetery

like the arc of memory

in last night’s moon

as it completes its swoon through the sky,

a swish at the end of an enlightened try,

in nets that arrested you

like a rain of free throws,

one moment of serenity,

the valley dried out after wet weeks

to offer light

a welcome leap

on a court you alone are sovereign to,

this perfect morning meditating

on the trajectory of a lush sweep inward.

The imaginary crowd sounds its applause

before it falls silent.

Truth, From out of Darkness

ULUPO4 night

Truth, an abandoned office

whose walls peel away the layers of the last occupant,

as if everything was left in haste,

cabinets were flung open

in searching the darkness

spreading between files

that should have remained closed.

Be careful what you search for.

A forbidden glance lays the groundwork,

accomplished beyond human labor,

chains that hold the vision together,

so Mana could gather on platforms

illuminated by lightning storms

reflected in the mirror of marshland underneath.

Truth, we receive brief flashes.

From out of the darkness, Ulupo stands

monument to the mystery,

paths lead through the enigma

of how it was built in one evening.

Stone by stone, this ancient lineage

fills in the blanks

as fleeting shadows break

from torch-lit Lauhala.

The Ko’olaus are infused along the rim

by the light of the moon

so you can drink it in

from the Punchbowl to the palace ground

there was no sound, no words could do it justice.

Truth, like a liquid,

slips from out of the cracks

you cover with silence.

On the far side of the Pali

the white seminary would glow outerworldly

from the base of the mountain

where you take that bend sharply,

all the way to the old drive-in theater

to where they found her car,

abandoned on the far end of Kapaa.

Answers were elusive, like hitchhikers,

pick them up at your own risk,

lighting cigarettes with only their fingertips.

a glance in the rear view mirror and they’re gone,

the last thing you’ll see

before the trunk of a tree meets your windshield.

Truth, like a false grill light,

is a masquerade of questions,

What happened that night on the way back from town?

Would a moderate light guide through the fog that surrounds us?

The search for order

along the yellowing border of stories with no closure,

it gives a sense of place to the present void.

Taking pictures in the dark,

spiderwebs positioned for our breath,

the wet forest glistened

in the breadth of our flash.

Finding the path,

muddy steps murdered our pant legs

while cat eyes acclimate

to the darkened shapes

dangling in a tattered landscape,

the sky behind clouds,

suspended there like truth,

dependent on what can be seen, felt or heard,

or so they say.

The scraping branches on Moiliili rooftops break the reverie.

You had fallen asleep in the empty lot

behind the now derelict office

of the late Dr. Grant.

His name still visible in a dangling placard

that hangs and sways over the doors

that led you to all these dark corners.

Truth is never condemned

but rather transformed

for each subsequent generation,

it depends on the receptivity.

Distracted by carefully constructed facades,

know that some places remain,

through the tunneled mountain

at the very heart

of what cannot be divulged so plain,

the day will be drained of light

and night in its scented bloom

will resume at Ulupo

where it always has been

for those who seek it out.

Moments Return to Eternity

aband-Small-gothic-chapel1

On some level I know I do not belong to this,

taut rope at the end of fine woven thread,

worn like a domestic noose,

nice and loose,

feet kicking out the distance

of mentionless miles

acquired to appease the urge to stay vital.

Those rapturous bells now hushed,

a dilapidated chapel at midnight,

only memory can read purity

on this soiled facade

whose rubble of relics

were boxed and closeted mementos

mapping our travel.

Crumbs on fine China plates

anticipate honeymoons ending,

reveal what’s lingering

beyond death carving into the best baked plans.

The knowledge cures us of naivety

but casting its shadow,

initiates a change.

Can we appreciate

the full scope of innocence re-arranged.

It’s disturbing when your own associations

service the undoing.

Stepping into that arena

you state your intentions,

asking for protection

to soften the steps of your treading,

while poems place a law

on moments that would otherwise decompose.

In the alcoves of a sprawling tree

I got to know your secrets well.

The once locked trunk

was like a psyche split open.

In the recesses you left offerings,

with Boo Radley you played hide and seek.

Turning down a shaded driveway,

pass the threshold

you tested like cool water.

Sandy slippers await your return,

underwater caves learn of what happened

beyond the wave break,

where familiarity shifts shape

and sharks devour us

in reef mouths a gape.

The black skin must have been

air tight India ink.

The sun slips through again,

stripping you of dark garments.

All the fear that followed you here,

become shadows

slinking to find sustenance elsewhere,

in some deep well beneath a canopy of thoughts,

in the eaves of trees

that do not sit still but walk,

when we weren’t watching,

moments return to eternity.

Back Valley

Manoa_valley_bishop_2

When you arrived in Manoa,

damp from the rain,

there was a mist that had lowered,

a musty incense trapped in wood.

Listening for subtle instruction,

you go inward.

Everything is moved by hidden means,

heavy winds and a light that ushers in the void.

Sunset’s hot coals singed what’s left of resistance,

when clouds leave no footprints

walking Tantalus.

The shrouded prisms,

the ghostly veils that trace the ridge line.

From here there’s a well defined

form of a crouching tiger

set in stone musculature.

Protective walls form a sanctuary,

a garden of feng shui,

a perfect symmetry

that comes from being cradled on all sides.

The pulse of a reclining dragon

is tempered by the tortoise,

keeping the Chi in harmony,

until the phoenix lifts it

brightly south to sea.

The Moon is now balanced

above the ancestor’s branches,

seeming to emerge from the burnt out tree.

it appears stranded,

like an emaciated heart, waning.

Prying tears from deep recesses,

surging into streams of thought

to lay on the surfaces of runoff,

playing its role in the letting go.

All that is fixed in marble is a mirage,

a disguise over the loss of control.

All the dead end illusions

form a platform

from which to peer at the unknown.

All the debt and uncertainty

of being alone

burns brilliantly from this vantage point

back valley

where the sky is a conflagration

of all that came before.

A Distorted Image that once had Symmetry

WALLOFWATER

You never seemed closer

than when the winter’s mirror

showed the moon through a window

we no longer shared together.

It had moved beyond the frame,

outside of the domestic pressures

to come to a consensus.

Arresting me now

from this unsteady position,

appearing marble over sculpted edges,

it succumbs to the falls.

For a time you receded

into the memory of travel.

What we felt was fixed

seemed to unravel

into a distorted image

that once had symmetry.

It was a shared architecture

balanced perpetually over water,

on the far end of slumber

we’d pass through Alhambra.

Light and shadow a shifting mosaic

perfecting the illusion of order.

It shades the gypsy within

a forgotten square,

somewhere the faint sound of strings

that know no completion.

All the poems resting in woven shoulder bags

share their scraps of awe,

untidy and retreating to far flung places.

There the moon is watching,

like an ancestral eye,

witness to the chaos

that in time plateaus.

It sees these windows are cleansed.

What we had closed is now flung open

as it ascends the back trellis,

cold sheets over the flower beds,

the moon is a punctuation of silence,

a trial that comes to completion,

an illuminated mile to float on

as time allows us to revive a dead ocean,

an unfolding dream

an unbroken seam,

as it coils around the wave break sound

to the far horizon where eyes bid farewell.

If this is my last view,

if today is a good day to depart

with a subtle wake,

it would always be worth it.

Symbiosis

DSC00005.

DOMINICK TAKIS:  Symbiosis:  Sicilian, Irish and Other Travel Interpretations with Lichen

Symbiosis:  A close prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may benefit each member. 

When I began to incorporate lichen onto my surfaces as a weight and balance for composition, I was mostly interested in it’s textures and patterns.  Lichen has an ancient and weathered look; it makes me think of civilizations that revered the circle as a symbol of the connection between the harmony of nature and the cosmos. The patterns of the lichen appeared on man-made Dolmens and portal tombs as well as naturally on stone. 

I began to read more about lichen and it’s symbiotic relationship to algae; how they create their own existence, yet are attached.  I found parallels in my own life; the distance that comes from independence, yet still remaining attached to my ancestors and culture. An outcropping of land, a farmhouse, a church or a graveyard may take on greater significance when it contains some familial connection.  This became apparent when traveling through my ancestral Sicily and in my wife’s native Ireland.  Whether drawing inspiration from the Cathedral mosaics in Monreale or through the neolithic stone of Drombeg, this work resonates with a desire to come full circle.  What began as physically traveling back to the land, has left an impression, influencing my work’s narrative.  Whether figuratively or intellectually, I have recognized this symbiotic relationship with my ancestors and culture and how it informs my art.

I recently collaborated with my father (who is a painter and mixed media artist) on this statement for his most recent work that will be shown in the Galatea Gallery in Boston during the month of June 2015

The Opening reception is 6-8Pm on Friday June 5th,  feel free to stop by if you are in the area.

Galatea Gallery   http://galateafineart.com/

Address: 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Phone:(617) 542-1500

Between the Sky and the Sea

kaena-point-state-park-crashing-wave-oahu-hawaii-brian-harig

The void spreads,

wandering for an echo.

Its silence shaved into a profile

Kanehoalani

keeper of the caves and underground springs

a labyrinth of burials

through which the wind speaks

its porous volcanic chants

this eternal dialogue with the dead

tufts of valley grass at its feet

regenerative pools of red petals

the scent of blood

born of ancient battles

resonates its decay,

blesses the sunrise

upon which we’ll walk this day.

The sea heaves you into sleep

collapsing in a heap of disfigured sheets.

Half nodded you note the details

from the table’s edge

to the depths at your feet

disassembling into archipelagos of dreaming.

The rain, rhythmic

dissolves the moon in Po Kane

mostly shadow, one blade of light

accentuates the featureless

paths of flashlight finding the abandoned places,

Luakaha, Tantalus, the remains of Luakini

under brush strokes midnight.

The muscular miracle,

the movement of your wrist,

the meandering river of your veins in motion

your parched and dried up words find an ocean

smoldering like a morning fire

a smoking illusion, the disappearing night

transitions into chalky white streaks

patterned on black lava rock platforms

where the dead are lead to edges

and waves of worldly concern ripple away.

That opening in a cloud of spray

was a swan dive through which endless night

sucks the last soul through.

No moon lights this procession,

put your ear to the blowhole

and take down its confession.

Track the mist, spreading in the absence of form,

the void, blanketed between the sky and the sea.