With the Deep, an Alchemy


There’s an alchemy

between what you relieve

and the unknown that receives.

Seek to see (sea) what would symbolize,

pools from wet feet

mythologize the deep

with careless streams seeking re-entry.

Gazing out

the Moks were still as sentries (centuries)

sphinx-like and stark against the sky,

crouching tigers

protecting what they would harbor,

all the dark secrets

weaved into a carpet of moon


the light that levitates

imbues the surface with significance.

The night,

through drunken illumination,

reveals its spirit through creation.

Patient waves of inhalation

break eternity against rock walls

briefly revealing

the watchful pause (paws)

submerged entirely.

Let it slip to the coral bottom

like loose fitting rings,

the fleeting moments

sucked into a shadow,

released through blow hole mist.

Recover a Grecian urn

of all that is often missed

in the passage of time.

Through inspiration

construct this edifice to the sea,

something impermanent

something enshrined

while currents in a turbulent boil

sweep all that storms relieve

into the alchemy of the deep.

Waving Idly From Afar

blogger-image--906932752 hanauma bay

Like the wind

I work my way through the tall grass of the crater.

A place of rare emergence, it is named for ‘ihi ihilauakea’

who between drought and flood

sleeps under the hardened mud

and in the languid shade

dreams are draped like a clover lei

in this dry and wordless place.

The thorny brush scrapes the canvass,

its rhythmic sway

is the sea that lifts a finger

to paint and texture the horizon far away.

Like the path

I am worn by generations of footsteps.

Boots dusty from the factory

contrasting starkly

with the starched white wedding tunic

fitting like a luminous shell

dropped fromĀ  greater heights

to speak of sacrifice

and the miracle of being alive,

within the crevices of myriad choice,

a clinging crustacean

against the immensity of waves

drowning out the tiny voice.

Words were meant to be an offering

but the sky makes short work of my ambition

as spray begets beads on lava rock,

more sweat is necessary.

I lift my eyes to read

the careless cursive in a pattern of birds.

Cryptic signs from those lost at sea

come to me at dawn.

My makeshift empathy

is tattered by the wind

but still waving a thin, forgotten banner

faded with time.

Best to replace messages with rhyme

flagpoles with fishing line,

to see what can be drawn from the deep

instead of waving idly from afar.

I couldn’t claim any of this as my own,

elusive silhouette against the sky,

paper cutout to the hillside,

raised shade in the veil of clouds

just passing by.

I did not obstruct the wind

but lent an animated note

to its continuous hymn.

I did not construct the unknown

but bent my craft to its every whim

before letting go.

A Rain of Free Throws


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


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


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


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.