The Old Pali Road Part 3

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Morgan’s Corner

Winding, ever winding
amongst the long quiet.
You wonder when it will end?
As its painted lines
seem to unwind
from an infinite spool.
Only the unsettling thoughts
are left to drool into view.
Only decay,
fallen fruit and turned over trees in red clay,
these are the ones that stay.
Mr. Grant said it best,
that perhaps Morgan’s Corner is
“Nothing but a dark parking lot for the imagination”
for sinuous thoughts snaking between eventual ends.
It is about greetings and what grasped you?
About the fleeting who never last with you
past the next bend of banyans.
They say you should never whistle
when you are under their swaying branches.
They are like pendulums playing scenes of mystery,
urban legends whispered over and over.
This intermediary for history to repeat itself.
Imprints beyond that barbed wire entrance,
no trespassing back decades
to a murder site once cordoned off with police tape.
Past the scent of rainforest incense
and the moss ridden cylinders of trash and debris,
past the point of no return.
There’s a half-fastened noose in a tree
past the crossroads, a hairpin turn
cathedraled even during the day,
canopied by its terrible story
under the gnarled roots of this curiosity.
Past the fascination that beckons you forward
into the unknown.
A draw that originates somewhere
beneath the cliffs in this sacred grove.
Here where the jungle creeps over the road
and doesn’t disclose so simply its past
or the secrets that sleep underneath the concrete.
Mystery motions to loosen the wheel just a bit,
soaked in rain,
grounded in its tracks again,
there to remain under the Pandanus tree.

Cultures, history, shaped in the dying.
Shading the discovery of ritual.
Sketched to become visual,
some are whole, some are fractal,
sliced into and erased by the moving landscape.
It proceeds from some mysterious wellspring
to suggest to those who come under its spell
that not all is material.
Delicate and withdrawn,
we sit in ignorance along the borders of our tragedy.
But there is a tendency to take that corner too sharply
and there are no second chances at Morgan’s Corner.
What sordid rendezvous happens just off of the shoulder?
Under the eaves of great trees and out of sight?
You feel many have died here.
Claimed by its decaying walls.
Memories strung up in vines
that overhang and strangle the light.
So, if you go to Morgan’s Corner on a moonless midnight,
proceed cautiously,
for in your folly you may unwittingly
become part of its legacy.
Like the damned that went before you,
hung up there for eternity
or like fallen trees
were dragged across the road unceremoniously.
Through the frame of a waking dream,
suddenly limbs become tangible,
roots graspable, tugging at you.
All we ghost from real trauma,
from real armor over all the sorrow
that has been written here.
All the terrible drama buried from long ago,
you could swear something was sharing it with you.
Remember, Morgan’s Corner takes root in the mind.
To yourself rationalize,
“Is it really all within?”
The sudden snap at the periphery,
that flicker of movement,
you’re unconvinced
but that could just be the wind.

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Further reading from the dark side of the Pali:


The Old Pali Road Part 2

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The Liminal Veil
The Old Pali is spread liminally
throughout the pages
of some great mystery.
Like a cave comes the curve of the next corner.
The drive of curiosity,
the momentum, the velocity
of feet, wheels and thoughts
careening to a motion of their own.
Pulled into wind-blown trees
to greet the unseen,
to embrace this draw,
the magnetic motioning claw of the unknown.
Down its throat you’ll go alone,
with raised skin
with a sensation
that cannot be confined
to the comfortable coffins of reason.
Expanding belief, this brief revealing,
another bend, another curve,
the suggestion of a fantastic swerve
through the imagination.
There’s a collective remorse that spews forth from the Pali,
the aftermath of a skewed course
witnessed in the charred remains
pinned to the trunks of trees.
The paranormal silhouette of shadows
and banyans that strangle out the sunlight,
dripping dappled on the two-lane.
Leaves and ash are dragged by passing cars,
slowing to take in the crash,
gasps the wreckage attracts
to leave tire marks in muddy cul-de sacs
and flowering mementos on makeshift altars.

There’s quiet echoes of something whispering
“Cover me in blacktop, bone and blood”
on the backs of leaves and the bark of trees.
It is full of scars,
the headlights of mangled cars
as  it twists into the dark heart of the island,
layered with violence and trauma.
It is here on the Old Pali,
left between night and morning,
that hairpin turns
plunge into oblivion with no warning.
More than simply a road,
there is something left of the jungle
and the invading arbor
as roots and massive trees
break the concrete.
Much relates to the briefly seen,
running riot in the corners of the eyes,
in rear view mirrors the overhanging vines
lingering in light shafts
that illuminate the blacktop
contrast with cool shadows.
The smell of rain and cracked seed,
soiled wetness
sticking to dense barriers of green.
The sound of a stream running somewhere underneath.
The scrape of leaves,
vagrant and small,
led down a wind-blown hall
that speaks of an immeasurable crack
in the high peaks
perceived through breaks in the canopy.
The Old Pali holds all of this mystery.

There’s a fragile wall that withstands the wild.
Along this hairpin border,
civilization loosens its grip year after year.
There’s a veil between the imagination and the material,
labeless, luminous
like a match against the blackness of midnight
and the heaviness that crowds in from all sides.
The lips of the road foaming
at the corners of its mouth after the rain.
The walls are forming letters,
like messages from the dead,
scrawled in moss.
The ominous presence of giant trees
embrace the huddled shapes underneath.
Tears running down trunks
as if the forest was weeping.
Hung up in mist, there’s an infinite sadness
that manifests itself to the sensitive
passing along the road that sorrow built,
passing beneath those peaks and misted quilt,
which is a doorway to the spirit world.

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The Old Pali Road. Part 1

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In the old days
travel over the Pali wasn’t taken for granted.
In the days before the 4 lane and the tunnel,
offerings were still made for safe passage.
Whenever one braved its twisting road built of earth and bone,
carved into volcanic stone, it awaits,
canopied by monstrous trees
so that hardly any light would lead you through the gauntlet’s gates.
Challenging both physically and mentally,
one confronts the myth and reality.
Much of it depends on your disposition
for something begins to take hold the deeper you go in,
something over the shoulder, vague and unsettling,
the forest all around you, flourishing,
in places invading, veins turning to vine,
everyone has their threshold and in time
 may re-root
to be pinned like a vice
between here and the other side.
Between the wall of wind and the shroud of mist,
the Old Pali is, in essence, a precipice
that since ancient times has swallowed many.

Part 1.  A Dead End Relationship

The Old Pali,
where nightmares are like notches on a frayed belt
that winds its way tightly around the imagination.
One corpse felled glittering remains
in the sun and cloud shadow.
It may be missed
under the mist of time but they are tied together,
seems the Pali claimed another.
Perhaps an Akua or sacrificial altar,
whatever the legend, it appears shrouded in mystery.
Startled by your own shadow,
clouds crawl down hillsides to consume you,
like your obsession
for those who have fallen and made an impression.
For those looking for a guide,
the clouds were paper lanterns over the eye
that leads them to the leaping point by moonlight.

Along the road that winds through the past,
time hangs suspended,
limbs gently swaying in the breeze,
layer upon layer of leaf and debris,
hiding the discarded,
myth and history heaped on its shoulder,
unearthed with every blasted boulder,
until bones are covered over
with a damp and mossy concrete.
For those passing through their shadow,
the concrete shifts to the immaterial.
In this liminal place of dark wood and narrow light,
we crawl to the edges of a stark insight,
that nothing awaits save what we bring inside
the condemned palace of the mind’s eye.
So we become dark tourists for all the sordid stories
that pilgrim down a derelict road,
whose text is scrawled in scars and on abandoned cars,
spray painted on the walls thick with loss
like a moss that gives it a translucent glow.
Looked at in a certain light,
it is a flight from the city,
a flight of fancy into the phantastic past
where certain things endure,
so traumatic they cannot help but linger
in the swarming subconscious
of the last person who will remember it.
You pass through there
and a part of you merges with it forever.
The kind of permanence that a snapshot fails to show
but the sensitive may get to know on a moonless night.
Pitch black are the contours
appearing like cracks in the forest
that is a living, breathing witness to everything.
There’s a wind to its will
that shakes all that is predictable.
A Wilder wind that wails through the boughs and limbs
and you feel in everything, that there is more than what it seems.
With little resistance you fall into its embrace,
chasing dark shapes, flashing lights,
formless flights on the Old Pali
as it slithers out of sight.
Follow the wall
that intersects the civil and the wild.
Stripped of foundations,
slow driven to exile.
If thoughts get locked in a bamboo prison,
look for a guide of light,
may it shoot through in prisms
and see you to safety.

This darker inverse
to the bustling city commute.
The Old Pali, a parallel place,
is at root an intermediary,
a dead end where you keep going.
There is always rain here
as it aids in the unknowing.
A dead road the city closed,
could not be monitored nor maintained.
Too much has happened at night,
terrible remnants just off the shoulder,
beyond the police tape,
so they closed it behind gates,
letting the walls become overgrown with roots
and the surrounding jungle sprawls
into a dumping ground for the discarded.
A dead end for the dark hearted,
always parked there in a white Valiant.
Are these apparitions all in the imagination?
The first thoughts cobble into nowhere.
Between the stone and the stream,
the substance and the dream,
the first road under the brush of time
that painted it impenetrable.
The distraught come to follow its cracked pavement,
like all the fractured friendships
and loved ones they’ll leave behind.
Until they find on edges a precarious balance,
perched above where it submerges
into the primary texture
of the pain-washed receptor
that lies below their disappearance.