Where it all Began

Returning

after a few years away.

When the illusion unravels

the distance

traveled between reality

and the belief

that everything remains the same.

Vestiges of memory,

like broken weathervanes

no less sacred, elevated

subject to the winds of change

and then replaced,

these spinning markers

of time and space.

Back home to reclaim

something of the beginning.

As the weeks go deeper in,

from Summer St. to Evelyn,

memories triggered by

the familiarity of voices,

the way each stair creaks,

the scent of the sea

carried through dreams

of blue herons returning east.

Upon arrival, the expanse of wings

were another Ave Maria

that sings to its crescendo

in the church ceilings

of every ceremony

that never leaves you.

Reinforced

on some inner map

that like a procession

through old Salem

reaches the outskirts in time,

a place we always come together

to process loss

and read the names of ancestors

engraved in marble.

In April skies and

northern squalls,

the clouds were a sadness disguised,

a wistful glance at St. Mary’s

whose bells were silent,

penitent as her empty pews

with the light coming through

stained glass lost in another era.

In the lobby of the Hawthorne

I envision my grandfather,

born the year its doors opened.

I get a sense of the times he passed through

this very room

with his wife Cos and her sister Nancy,

my great aunt.

When I learned of her passing

on the same day I returned,

the significance was not lost,

the synchronicity that burned

the impression of her absence

into the nooks of the place she spent

all those years. It was just as she left it,

as if out for an appointment but permanent.

You could almost hear the voice, the laughter

such was its vitality that it endures

like the essence that fills these rooms,

the scent of percolated coffee

lingering in the recesses

of a collective memory.

Many Christmases ago

when moth balls and winter

would cling to fur coats

like a hug among the gifts

of all that is familiar coming together.

Faces that fill photo albums

years later

I recall looking through all these layers

from your kitchen table.

There’s a cadence to the footsteps

of this process.

Residual sounds in the basement,

all the past residents that stir,

even the one you are named for.

The years of family history

embedded in those walls,

become unthinkable,

irretrievable loss

should houses like this

fall into the hands of strangers.

When everybody dies off

and is covered over,

who is the last to remember?

Knowing that change is inevitable,

that it will open every picket fence

and move among the rosebushes

and mulberry passages

that occupy what was once the universe

beneath the Giunta’s laundry line.

The scent is the last to remain there,

held deep in the soil.

In the flower pots and the bulkhead earth

that channel for a moment

all this information,

this connection to the past.

It is there in the basements,

those subterranean spaces,

that time capsule of inspiration.

It is like going full circle,

back to where it all began.

Now having gone through it

back around and leaving again

this time without the burden

of things having to

remain the same.

knowing in time an acceptance

even as the memories change

the way I tell these things to myself

without familiar wellsprings to draw upon.

Thoughts and Rain

It begins with the wind

the tickling of chimes

a prelude to the rain

that unwinds

from this fabric of anticipation.

From Kolowalo

the sheets descending

in lost silver sentiments

with no beginning and no ending.

Corresponding thoughts

intervals of rain

a tapa cloth

left out to dry in vain.

Where the smallest drops accumulate

all the things that pass.

Still in your grasp,

yesterday’s papers

soaked through with words

of temporary relief

all the patchwork parched earth

experiences nourishment

though brief and never permanent,

a wet embrace won’t be held for long.

These sentiments,

rivulets of mist

left to describe

what swirls, breaks and disintegrates.

It is worthy to venerate,

in essence

this passage without pursuit,

a luminescence caught in street lamps,

a disappearing moon.

Nothing is fixed in the veritable fog.

When the rain stops

pendulous drops still

cling to wires like

amorphous fingers

plucking stringed instruments,

all the silent notes falling

to the pavement below.

Clouds pass over

the obscured picture.

The memory of an ancestor

drawn out by the scent

of wet bark and ginger,

nameless musk

in the movement of streams

that subterranean rush

of acoustic drains

and neon dusk

dreams stained

wet streets of smeared ink

unintelligible

in windshield silk screens.

The wipers cleared

the glass beads

of surface sweat

and heartbeat

in rhythm with the rain

over and over again.

The sudden deluge,

immersion

and then becoming.

An Expectant Exile

An expectant exile

in circular patterns,

a clasp in the necklace

fastened by chance and distance.

What is left unfinished,

an art that is never completed

in the endless reel

of this motion.

The tide receding

the stars fleeting,

pinned like sea salt

on the slick surfaces of sky .

The expectant exile,

journals in the blanks

left on the trail.

Words weathered,

soaked through with rain,

the wind turned pages

in the book of changes.

A deep ancestral resonance,

chanted into the grooves

and in mountains

a distant profile

textured in stone.

Sunrise over Ka Iwi

the coast of bones.

Black are the remains

of an ancient flow,

like charcoaled veins

for a jagged running

narrative to time.

These silent sentinels

revealed in first light

at the border between worlds.

The edge of the sea was

an armor over the distant glimmer

perceived from the ridgeline,

a single drop in the universe

to nourish the thirst

for horizons.

The expectant exile

of sturdy trees felled

from far away forests.

The storms turned to driftwood,

made errant to currents,

to wash ashore

on far away beaches

with the lullaby of soft violence

that shapes these expressions.

Gods carved in effigy,

their likeness

carried off to war

or kept at temple entrances

to ward off the restless,

even harbor those protective

in places of refuge.

Shifting seasons,

Ua Koko,

the heavy rain

brings blood in

the tragedy of rivers.

Their curving knives

down clay hillsides

filling artesian springs

with an ecstasy

that sings through the rock

of expectant exile,

when clear waters are expelled

into the brackish grasp

of the unknown

who cast it adrift

to begin again.

Myths and Whispers

Amidst the white noise and distortion

that lingers behind the transmission,

the shame and coercion,

fear’s formless shape shifting.

The future unknown,

with no bearings,

is solitary, self contained, .

set against a perpetual rock wall of options,

there remains a way.

Through the creation

of something parallel,

something that stands on its own

and often hidden from view.

Just off of the road

beyond the subdivision,

like a temple structure

existing in enigma to dreams.

Illuminating from the deepest soil,

the buried fish hooks of space and time,

a map of stars

to navigate the night and the fears.

I do not share the same

Listening with the eyes

and not the ears.

Despite divisive landscapes

and lack of balance,

the spirit remains

in alignment with motion,

the underlying current

in an endless ocean.

Something beyond the mist

and the mind

myths and whispers

moving the tides,

turning streets to streams,

without resistance it guides

a light surrender

to the will of the outrigger.

To the waves and the words

that bob up for release,

to creativity,

a sturdy craft in the chaos of dis-ease.

The Transposition of the Heron

On the edges of memory

the blue heron feeds

on fragments of time,

breaking away the dark borders

between spirit and the infinite,

the shimmer on the inverse of waters.

Dunes white with illumination

lifting from the lagoon

a glimmering reflection, a transposition.

We’ll find them on the periphery,

blue herons

statuary in moonlit reverence

the gift of our fathers,

each day looking for them

until our eyes meet

as they do now

through every serendipitous appearance

giving form to the connection,

the shape shifting significance

on the edges of memory

the blue heron

brings a message of continuity.

Crystal Parallel

The shift was palpable.

From the road

through the first layer of trees,

the mind quietly surfaces

somewhere parallel.

Between the notes of a Shama

leading deeper

by beak and by feather,

the lyrical river

initiates the medicine

in the essence of nature

with canopied light

to transcribe the

enigma of moss

on illuminated stone

faces from the past

when you’re no longer alone

in reflection

in pictures and portals

through dark pools

for the outstretched wings

emerging.

With stealth you’ll go

tree to tree

through the valley,

emissary to the summer breeze

that breathes

in one animated pull of the string,

everything is tied together.

Your white feather

was the first light

in the night sky,

woven in the outlines

of mountains,

a temporal indention

in all the transitioning.

The serenity of streams,

the crystal renewal

of movement

that doesn’t cling to branches

or any one position.

Like a worm in the beak

of indecipherable information,

I’ll go with you down valley.

In Wailupe

rock root meandering.

In Moanalua

by the ruin of a grand staircase,

this parallel place

hidden from view,

caressed and cool

ribbon of silence

only broken by song,

caught in the jungle’s mesh

lush beneath palms.

A thrush and the passing rain

will nourish the parched,

far from the city squalor

and those who’ll twist nature

into backdrops,

into what can be quantified,

voices disrupting the silence.

In the nexus of choices,

there are those that lead you back.

Time, with crystalline continuity

becomes a thought,

firm, re-assuring

that I would rather be here than there,

coming to meet

that which is obscure

but never leaves.

Through the Screen Wired Door

Her father was a stranded moon

a faint and far off hue

in the corner of the eye

at a low table and blue stool

set against the sky

beyond the screen wired door

that divides the world from this room.

Solitude sets the angles,

rooftops and distant birds

that primary layer of painted clouds

gracefully waving

as hands clutch the blade

of morning light descending

on the ridge of Le’ahi

as it rises in a diamond above the sea.

He was up early,

walking the rails again,

visible yet pale

as the slightest pain in the legs,

abandoned in outtakes,

in the hint of rain and asphalt,

somewhere a scent,

a self medication

lingers over the absence.

In Banjemin tiger balm eucalyptis,

I’m reminded of your presence.

With oranges and altar incense,

you’ll drift through the corridor.

In sizzling wok and summer evenings,

the past bubbles to the surface.

Brackish thoughts in the kitchen pots

bring invocations of steam

and in the waters the lucid dream

of seeing you sprinkling spices, the final touches.

There’s an ever present wind

that passes through everything.

The chaotic tail whip of the phoenix of myth

or the gentle plumeria scented breeze

that softens the city dissonance,

you knew these contrasts well.

At the base of the valley,

channeled through the gates of Moiliili,

an epicenter of energy and volatility.

Peeling back years of revolution,

like dust from the ceiling fans.

The nights offer no resolution

only the mere suggestion

of shadows in motion.

Silhouettes in jealousy, voices,

rivulets of smoke from an ashtray

drifting in eternity

through the screen wired door

and back again

to animate what remains of you,

merely dormant

dismantling time

until I no longer differentiate

between memory

and the passing of the wind.

In this physical space so long occupied,

l’lI find a continuity

in all the shades you left behind.





This Moon Was a Mirror

1.

I was seeing it through

an enlarged image of my eye.

Magnified

in an optometrist’s portal,

hanging

in the night sky

like a red lantern,

a flowering blood moon

beginning to eclipse.

This thread of lava

upon the edges of sleep,

reveals a mirror,

a thin measure of light

as from a dying star

would accentuate the spheres

on 3AM screens to be

drawn out of cloud cover,

culled from the crude understanding

of dreams, the coincidence

of two orbs,

differing only in scale,

delicately passing

in the dark that reveals

both to each other in time.

2.

Truth was a moon

that waxes and wanes,

receding like the light of certain

smoke obscured beacons,

incoherent

at times skewed like headlights

beaming into forests.

A blinding or illuminating

belief,

at times hardened, until rigid

as a charred landscape

where words offer no traction

in the forgotten fields of history.

Where bonfires

burn all evidence,

blackening the edges

of the past

and what is known.

Nothing is left visible,

no bridge over the swollen flow,

only rock fall and spinning narratives,

headline fear ad infinitum.

Everything appears in transition,

reason is the first to be cast

into volcanic shafts,

covered over by distress

beneath simmering pools

and with each layer

is pushed further under.

3.

Moons above

the dark inlets of sleep,

where beaks seize the dreams

beneath surfaces.

The sunken pebbles,

the unseen watercolors

of an embedded mystery.

Shades in the crane’s river,

given by the baby’s mother,

will float alone

in bathwater.

Serenely seeking the unknown

in a sea with no compass.

Buoyant, weightless,

void of machinery.

Words offer only gravity,

limbs, humanity

as poems branch out in the distance

like a rain tree of bird choruses.

The refrain was just another name for change,

sound passing invisible borders

like footprints on empty beaches.

Estranged swallows

will breach the deep

where the moon disappears

like a blinking eye

on the edge of the horizon

and the watchful sky.





In Dreams of Trains

In dreams of trains

our faces are pressed up against the glass.

Images strung together

through a film reel

of inseparable memory.

In the intervals of freights

passing strings of suppertime light,

we’ll meet by the makeshift fires

like hobos in eternity

on abandoned beaches and under bridges,

amplified by the boxcar musicality

of the past brushing against the present.

Wheels fill the gaps,

the click clack continuity of dreams

becoming the vessels through which trains

connect myriad lives on parallel tracks.

Restless spirits, wayward rambling

to an alarum of shrill yells

that usher in a collision

of chance meetings.

The seared impressions,

through metal and iron,

are the first sparks of insight,

that oncoming light that floods

the narrow rooms of domestication,

a midnight special that breaks the isolation.

We’ll measure the width of impact and expanse

by rails that clear fields and walls,

all the demarcations of a hemmed in life.

The far off grain towers

were the outer reaches

of the imagination

that motion pierces

to separate lives from careful decisions.

Left in the wake of smoke and vagrant coil,

the scent of diesel that evokes travel,

trains were the sudden revision

before all would unravel,

before blackbirds would pick through and scatter

like storm clouds to the periphery,

harbingers of the necessary renewal

that disperses to the four directions

all the stagnant energy.

We’ll gather once again on a tiny sliver of land,

at the end of our youth,

in the mystic continuity of

long shadows and laughter,

in the beach fire’s theater

we become the protagonists

no longer constrained by time.

The ocean waves through the fog,

motioning to the rites of passage

going thousands of miles

if only in consciousness,

towards the far reaches of a folded map

stuffed in the pockets of a weather beaten pack

these disparate lives will always overlap

at the charred edges they’re seared together

in faded photographs

film reels and

windows

Rebirth

In this time of rebirth,

each moment holds

the unbroken cord of illumination.

The simultaneous urge

to fasten words to transformation,

appreciating the night blooming

supple shape of each stream

destined to wander

through a thread of moonlight

that dreams commit

silken to waters

rippling beneath the sylvan leaves

and the animated wind

that heaves through the elders.

It brings the scent of passing showers

tucked into recesses of stone,

this vague and sudden flowering alone

is a dappled light

arrested suddenly,

yet in essence, is forgotten immediately

in the mind that would tarnish perfection

with the rust of future burden,

revealing nothing of the unseen

and subtly binding connection

that comes before a moment’s dissipation.