Another one drained.

He’s given in to a strange,

nauseating, barstool comfort again.

Stuck for a time in

this intoxicating web that drapes

a temporary escape,

soft glows the darkened faith

lost in each other.

Mouth to the rim

allows him to suspend words,

like the last chords of sanity,

motioning towards the barkeep

another round

to drown out all that’s been


Words, their lonely passive violence,

Who else in statuary silence seeks providence?

Who else assumes a perch in frayed alienation?

Or with a weaving lurch

made for the doors of disorientation?

But its corridors lead only to the queasy,

the whitecapped and turbulent sea.

The scent of ancient memory

guiding this vessel’s noxious drone,

who else moves on sea legs alone?

Snuffed out by last call,

blinding light replaces the disco ball

as the bliss

of that candle’s last wish

is extinguished.

All that’s left is the smoky debris

of glass and ashtray,

exit stage left

the drunken castaway.

Wallet, keys, everything was safe but escape,

starry skies show tattered shirts,

revealing skin underneath,

as if the void was within reach,

its sleeve swollen with tears,

the forlorn impression of years

in its absence.

You motion towards filling it,

spinning with unsteady ease

into these glass vortices again.


Cracked Seed

The old road wears its history like scales

as it snakes its way through the past.

Sometimes it glimmers enough to see it

just under the surface

just under the cool heights of the cliff

I found your story.

Covered by the debris of years

and like the road,

overgrown with rumors and fears,

but there nonetheless.

So I read on, haunted as I went deeper,

now “I can’t get it out of my head”

caught like a vice in the little details,

that night you and your best friend set off for Kalapawai

to never return again.

Those bitter details.

Perhaps all you went out for

was crack seed or something sweet,

two teens, too young to love

anything but the weekend bliss

of sleepover and beach,

thoughts of shaved ice or musubi,

just seeds indeed

swept into the cruel current of their destiny.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

into the unconscious,

something unique and irreplaceable,

riddled with lead

and left for dead

in a sacred spot where many before you have fallen.

Was that night still?

Were there trades passing gently through the waves

and the ironwoods that line the beach?

On a beautiful tropical night

did that orb of light take away your speech

as it darted from behind clouds

and through breaks in the palms and monkeypods?

Was it the moonless kind that creeps up quickly in a rainforest?

Soon all is pitch black.

A flash of chrome in the dark and he would take you there.

Under the roar of an engine, behind the growl of a command,

in pursuit of that dark all else be damned,

drowning out the plea in your voices

“Why don’t you let us go”

tiny in the deafening flow of what would be.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

in the season of heavy rain,

from uncontrollable urges in a man’s brain,

the horror flowed forth

along its twisted, blackened course.

How surreal that ride must have been.
Beginning with the sound of tires over gravel,
pulling up alongside you.
Once initiated, this ride through your hometown
would careen past the familiar street lights and signs
of roads you crossed countless times.
Kailua must have assumed the eerie glow of the unfamiliar,
as divider lines become the only light
as the Plymouth probes deeper into night,
towards a cul-de-sac and out of sight.

What would happen next,
you friend was forced to witness,
disoriented, scared
and scarred forever,
like that deserted road,
a derelict memory you would hold
for so long in that jungle.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

from the island’s darkest hour,

in a desolate corner

of a road they always warned her

to stay away from.

You would never return home that night.

As the hours dragged on

your family would become sick with fear,

perhaps cursing themselves for not keeping you near

the tight knit warm light

set against the black of that March night

and all that lurked outside.

Your contorted position provoked anguished cries,

bloodshot and watery eyes,

countless nightmares for those you left behind,

as they make their way through

the horror of identification,

the surreal blur of those next days

give way to reality as it all sets in.

“Who would do such a thing?”

The endless cycle of questions

and they “Can’t get it out of their head,

their old world is gone for dead.”

From a cracked seed blood will flower,

in the backseat of a 68′ Valiant.

Breaking the seal, he soiled the white,

while all your friend could do was pray

“Please get me through this night.”

What in a man’s past

twists him to become a violent instrument?

Somehow inhuman,

unable to feel remorse

but only a course dictated by fear,

taking his machinery there,

past the border of no return,

from a forbidden corner in his heart,

a place grown over with a riot of vine,

turned over with training and trauma,

scarred with decay,

it is under there to this day

after decades,

under the mist and hush of barrack whispers

and when it manifests itself again,

no innocent is safe.

No longer stainless, the threat of his piece

broke the peace of that evening.

The threat in his voice

forced the paralysis of choice

and once inside your only recourse was prayer.

From a cracked seed blood will flower,

a shot in the dark that would allow her to escape,

one friend sacrificed for the other.

A seed of possibility,

barely beginning to sprout,

to grow into a life

that now can never be her own.

Given to dark thread sewn in men’s hearts,

forces we only vaguely will ever know.

Those who do will never forget you,

as they visit what is left

under the shadow of that jagged peak,

in your peaceful garden of ginger,

they seek the memory of your innocence.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

red through the mud.

It can still be read there,

even found face down under a canopy

you can never leave.

A seed that will never grow

but remains young and fragile,

a silver light in the dark, supernatural

and without a home, without closure,

you’re destined to forever roam

this lonely and fathomless road.

In Memory of Dawn Dede Bustamante

11/21/61 – 3/14/75

Rest in Peace.

Foundations Uncovered

Kamehameha  III summer palace

Roots pushing upwards

over the landscape with abandon

through the windows of this edifice

seemingly at random.

A palace for the discarded

in a sea of bamboo

its passages unguarded

foundations uncovered

where once royal origins started

to decay.

In the emptiness

where once you would roam

protected from the common by kapu

now ficus limbs and wisteria call home

until in time it forms an invasive canopy

that obscures all ancestry.

Ceilingless, still you could be a refuge

a stone anchor for this journey

that has moved and shifted its locale endlessly,

alternating between light and darkness

in valleys veiled in mist

dipped in umbrage

downstream it falls

along a disappearing path it calls


illuminated momentarily

by a cascade of light

restless, displaced

into shadow passes

far from the world of the masses

the phones, the screens, the ego schemes

disconnected from social classes,

the mindless chatter

in spurious cities of false dreams

planting seeds of deceit

that all can achieve the elite.

Oh to retire beneath the leaves

to become small again

through the doormouth it recedes

like time, drifting away on cloud rafts

above a dense canopy.

The imagination,

from a tenuous position

is sealed underneath the great trees.

Sustenance for the poet

nourishment for the melancholy,

its time has passed

for some it lays there still

blending in to lava rock and crown land

but like a shadow on the mountain

it has disappeared again.

Poem to a Lover Now Lost

Poem to a lover now lost.

I travelled and I rested,

believing in the makeshift and the new.

All the miles I invested,

yet empty through and through.

I woke up under skyways

sweeping the debris of stars away

beginning again, renewed.

But you won’t be there

for to be there

was eating you.

All the travel we unravelled

only brought us slow decay.

For we figeted and fought it,

this inevitable absorbing

we could never pursue.

We would place our props

along the blurred periphery

of our undefined threshold,

to breathe a sigh of relief

and let the other be thief

to the treasures no one else sees.

Let me arrange the neons on wet streets,

derange the arabesques

with spinning wheels

like film reels repeatedly watched,

this poem to a lover now lost

in revolutions.

These marquees mark me as an easy target.

Distraction requires action

to appease the restless confinement

glossed over with comfort.

I’ve yet to see the resemblance

in all these fleeting reflections

but know enough of illusions

to realize these are wistful impressions

of some nostalgic origin

that has reached the end of the line.

Irretrievable for a time in the leaving,

limbs lose their form

in forlorn distances

of cold tracks and cracked sunsets.

The skin of the abyss

that wandering seems to fit you with

may take awhile to shake off,

the luster of a poem to a lover now lost

behind the glass of terminals

this relationship was never terminal

but full or port and archway

full of embrace and pushing away

emnity erased for a time but the scars stay

the way a bed can be empty but a scent will betray

the other’s form, still felt

even after we would stray

into chasing our own myth

along the edges of this fading passion play.

From Ocean to Form

On a fogged in beach you found an abandoned fire.

In the sand you lay beside her,

this spontaneous companion

that embellishes the blue

like an unpredictable rendezvous

out of the cold breath of midnight.

An effervescent hue to be drawn to

against the stark ends of the line,

without landmarks, without time,

all else was obscure.

You hear fog horns moaning

their phantom communication offshore,

from a secluded position

with strewn wool and yak skin dampened

and a sleeping bag soon burnt at the end.

This encroaching fire

that eats into the future,

a damage not visible to comprehend.

Witness how tongues of flame

within two interlocking lips

are seamless as eternity slips

into stray strands becoming one unravelling.

The solitary road you were travelling

ultimately finds the sea,

the muse, the wellspring of poetry.

In the overlapping waves

like wayward debris

they’ll collide with each other

cold currents to warm

dark ocean to form

a home

just to be torn apart and to roam

over the landscape of what was formerly your own.

All those frayed memories

like remnants to cling to,

the past

like a raft in the relationship of floating

through doldrums, through static

tears awash in residue.

The rain soon threatens the coals,

all the dark shadows

the movement covered over

now coming through

motion pictures projected on

a kind of ampitheatre

like the night, each would disappear

into the other,

stars engulfed by the sand

dew surreptitious over the land

of slow waking disorientation.

Taking this hand, you head back east,

past the rusted artifacts of grief

towards the silent cracks in the sky,

where the light, now dim,

is slowly stoked again,

to spread over everything

that had been absently sleeping.