Collective Memory Cryptic Topography


Allowing light to penetrate this cryptic topography.

The sun accentuates its elliptic identity

from above, a translucent jade

ensconced the loss and uncompromising decay

like the texture of a masquerade

cloaked in symbols to unnerve

the jungle’s passion play.

All the secrets were concealed

footprints and past evidence sealed

behind a cordoned clearing

irreparable sin

all manner of excess and fascination

expresses itself in backwater reflections.

Dark waters seized in the stream bed

where weeks of rain and flood merge

limb and blood

vine wound bone rock

hair strewn skin

all coarsing within the accepting earth.

The canopy takes another breath

initiating a rebirth

from what rooted us to death,

a banyon tightened noose

and sometimes they are never cut loose

but you imagine it and are held in thrall,

left to heed compulsion’s call,

to fill a page torn from the mystery

like leaves from a tree in pendulous pause

without a soul to witness

the collaborating forest

while tongues of mist

whisper of its myths

on distant peaks.

When silence speaks,

it’s through the wind

an invocation,

buoyant and blanketing

the sharpest contours

softening in the rain and cloud shadow

able to penetrate passages narrow,

cautious by approach,

a barely audible voice

from the minaret of choice

lost in circles under a darkened dome

you come to the remains of a forgotten home

just beyond the crossroads,

 a ruin from antiquity

to leave offerings of wisdom

on the altars of the collective memory.



The Past as Parallel


In the darkness of isolation

In the void that was the mind,

it was like entering a vast mangrove

decaying under the skin of what’s left behind.

Discovering the discarded

words reverent with sweat,

rain-wet and intimate

beads coarsing over mossy limbs.

Stream swollen red runoff

from slopes in a deluge of thoughts.

Once inside, you reach for the quiet.

Lost in a riot of bramble

held in the chaos as you scramble

along parallel paths.

The air is thick with flies

forbidden fruit feast on echoes and cries

carried over from emotions

that which is all too human.


Quivering in a pool of your reflection,

hidden faces barely seen in shifts of light

emerging from a canopy

dense enough to hold out the sky

porous enough to bear the sublime

pit pat pattern of droplets

like unseen footsteps all around you,

trickling to accompany the past

that parallels this stunning topography. 


The forgetting is everywhere.

Become partner to the trees

so it won’t leave you bare.

Your roots meander

in tendril searching over the floor

with jungle longing

for something solid

amidst the rumor and folklore.

This insatiable siege

suggests the answers will be relieved

into the ink-fed precipice of words

spreading at your feet.

Going over the falls

and through narrow ravines,

down the halls of hidden trauma

into hollow caverns of forgotten dreams,

the scarred remnants of its impression

seems to inform your progression.

Going deeper by broken fingernail

darker by heavier breathing

deeper where the blood runs colder

in the currents of the largest ocean,

you won’t stay afloat much longer,

sinking beneath the surface

of a pull that is much stronger

than any resistance you could muster.

Deeper where the sun won’t shine

darker on the underbelly of the sea,

where I’ll still be scratching for the light

in the night you give me.


The ocean sometimes spares its knowledge

but holds a secret share

of shells to contain

that which remains vacant,

claimed by accident

gathered by the net

you set beneath the structure

of its perpetual geography.

This ship is bound for the imaginary.

Its dimensions wound in a translucency.

When the faith of its course

gets severed from any link,

it spirals down the drain

like a tiny fragment

in a giant sink.

Before vanishing,

before being lost at sea,

your vessel got tangled in the Sargasso,

scattered in the brightened debris.

It goes where the sun dies,

radiant was its last expression,

bobbing on the horizon,

its final ecstatic recession

into the night.

Only a Beginning

Pali Tunnel

Into the Abyss

The sense of loss

pushes in upon the edge of thought

altering the fate of lines,

the rings in a mandala’s design.

How many deaths do we endure

on the way to the center?

How many breaths restore

a sense of balance

for a mind spinning in circles?

Unmoored introspection

glancing out or looking within

whatever the predilection

that distorted image at the end of the portal

completes our reflection.

Thoughts, impressionable words torn from books,

lifted from venerable drawers in the earth,

bloodied, soiled, pulled from the root,

hung on the walls

like a bouquet of moss

drained of all hope,

memories, frail flowers

gone up in smoke.


The loss of a child invokes the deepest sympathy

but a choice of words cannot encompass its totality.

They cannot net, comfort nor comprehend

for no one will experience an end in the same way.

Words out of scope to its scale

varied is the infinite it will veil

in those living to one day embrace

a fragmentary trace of its meaning.

Words won’t be there to buffer the shockwaves

they cannot fill the emptiness

of standing over their graves

no word can capture the feeling

of glass wounds from a shattered ceiling

that transparant canopy of innocence

falling in shards

safety’s a house of cards

once sturdy as stone

now crumbling into sand

washing into the unknown.


Loss brings with it a sense of permenance.

No purpose to positively identify

what’s in passing.

Recurring states of arrival and departure

where endings become beginnings.

Between them we’ll suffer our goodbyes

tested by all we’ll leave behind

longing for one firm memory of cohesion

to secure as an anchor

in this turbulent harbor.


The shadow of loss creeps up behind

to follow at your heel.

Dodge the knowledge if you must

but inevitably it will reveal,

while it overtakes you,

 a mark on your life’s canvass

 a subtle residue in the lines

of your most guarded expressions.

The scent of loss in the clothes of closure

for the mother of the disappeared

only will cry when she’s alone.

Carefully tending to what she can control

planting a garden over the now gaping hole.

Scratch the surface to see the scars

the aftermath of fire, the runaway cars,

the silence of a vacant road

her baby discarded and unclothed.

Carefully examine her eyes

to find sharp inquiries

into all the questions “why?’

Why me indeed

dropped in deep pools of sorrow

deep pools from heavy rain

to gaze into her pain

and find your reflection.

She’s a precious flower of deception

facing sunsets, appearing strong

but frozen this flower

enduring the greying winter long

accepting change

as another season falls away

pictures fade and family portraits crack

enduring love fills the space

holding up what it lacks.

Holding on for so long

without letting go,

all the pain dissolves into itself

from the night she received the news

by word of mouth

that the light in her life

has suddenly blown out.

A once sound haven

now full of decay

 a harsh wind stirred up the surface

carrying the precious particles away

like a sudden impact

in the loose sea floor sand

everything swirling in the current

being carried further and further from land.


The setting sun meets the sea

giving up its deep

the sorrow from all the rivers we’ll weep.

Thoughts travelling through the tunnel into the abyss at night

reaching nothing but a terrifying insight

that the longer we live, the more we’ve lost.

We can hold a currency of words

but what does loss cost?

In terms of sadness?

Grief prayed into a cross?

Those left in the dark

long for the sun to come up again

to know somehow as they are bending

 upon the edge of night

that it isn’t an ending

but only a beginning.

Subterranean Markings


Watercolors in the human weathering

The luxuriant wetness of selves disintegrating

The cellar paint dissolving into a new wave

The sound of music fills the subterranean cave.

Dripping, drawing patterns on the walls.

Vast collections of familiar discord,

childhood recollections,

various associations of punishment and reward

soon lower their coffins under the floor boards.

The memories house

the Bauhaus

a soundtrack to the first time you sensed fear,

it attacked your senses with a lid shutting kind of creaking,

<releasing a chill down the spine.

You didn’t realize at the time

the significance of this feeling.

Fingers roam cool porcelain

the ceiling

another layer of skin

to gaze at everything

through the mosaic past.


It starts with a flash

a moving flesh of light

shapes surface with the parting aperture

see-through windows

that watch the other blur

into a double exposure.

The vague trace of these markings

linger under the branches

of the banyan veranda.

Scents linked to memory

form faces

rooted in nostalgia.

All the expressions made of tears

pulled apart as opposed to crying

like the Velvets with colors

running through disparate images

appearing as fodder

to the interpretor

of the endlessly turning

large screen projector.

Going backwards through the frames

through portals and parallels

the process remains the same.

The self tries to relate to the whole

subject to paradox

reason obscuring the goal

like fog in a forest

and you’re lost again and again.

A film over the eyes strained

to work thin sheets

stained by abstraction

absorbing the experience

though it lacks protection

from obsession

from cracks that fracture the dream

unbound manuscripts of wind

scattering the scene

you were taught to repeat

again and again.

From the roots you unfold scrolls

in the sleepy knolls of an idle mind.

It controlls the reels and the fiction.

With vast strokes

it creates worlds by hand

words that mime

the sound of the ocean

courting the sand of the shoreline.

Silhouettes of residual spray

break apart

in the ecstacy of its art.

That which is never fully attained,

captured nor explained,

motions to bear witness

to the most transient of masterpieces.