Return Again

feat-banyan-cover-02-altA place at once familiar

where forest paths converge

at a clearing, the old ruin of Kaniakapupu,

that enclave of unseen ushering,

canvass for myriad footprints

etched by moon glow

drawing the spirits through.

By dawn the silence is transforming

winged voices in the recesses

of tree snails naming it in praises.

It stands regal and half-lost,

the rustling leaves

pantomimed in light and shadow,

it’s secret language,

the calligraphy of what is absent.

Pulling the imagination

like a hala mat over the grounds,

one gets the sense of great feasts

suddenly not so long ago.

The hint of a trail,

ancient and overgrown,

leads deeper into memory,

collecting itself under the emerald canopy

of contours illuminated

before night can collapse so quickly

and all is lost.

In the hidden pools of Nuuanu

a nourishment resides.

Fed from on high,

the water falls

and blends in reverence.

By this and by wind

the walls are weathered

silent sentinels of what is hidden

within grooves and caves

the barely perceptible

imprints of all that have passed

into the gnarled limbs of giant banyans

a repository of spirit and energy

positioned between worlds.

By night, torchlight on leaves

as the wind grieves

through the crevices of its kingdom

and what’s left will surely dance.

Down valley, a palace of perfect symmetry.

Stones aligned and in harmony

between the gates

there’s rest for the weary,

under a parasol

the queen leaves years ago.

Iolani, full of spirit,

drifting in from four directions,

all are equally fragile

under the immensity of sky.

A raindrop clings to a branch with all its might,

like a proud people to their past,

building for that climatic moment

falling into the breadth of history,

they are shot through subterranean streams

to the depths of the sea

to again take root

like a seed on the seat in a great drift.

The passing clouds through the break

motion for escape,

above the spinning wheels of cityscape

and all the disruption,

know that what is binding

lies in waiting

in the quiet corners

baiting time for your return again.

IMG_1186t kaniakapupu black and white

 

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The Wind Finds a Way

wind curtainIn the push and pull of seemingly conflicting currents,

there’s still this magnetism, a sweet spot

between the sail and the wind.

When the shadow wound is on the water

and a faint light from within

glows like a furnace at night

beneath a forest of reeds.

Between the sea and the rocks there’s no quarter.

Shallow water finds its source,

a wellspring of coincidence

punctuated by the reluctant acceptance

that nothing prevents change.

Careful construction is easy penetration

for a wind that finds a way through this half-formed home.

So you braced for a hurricane

that never came to fruition,

never matched the media or hoarder’s premonition,

left only with the disquieting anticipation

under an eye that does not discriminate.

Omnipresent, in watchful amusement

while we prepare for the future.

Disorientation, the perfect prescription

for our illusions.

As a teacher, its lesson is clandestine

becoming clearer after ruin.

Picking up the pieces,

you get a picture of our torn veneration

with fragments to bandage the resistance.

Aimless, in a ditch,

you long for the momentum of younger years.

Like a ship long since stranded in an ancient sea,

Miranda pinned to an eternal rock

has elements of this story.

The desert, that which was sunken,

will rise again like a phoenix

in the ephemeral light from the east.

Barren and with no obstruction,

mysterious springs straighten our tilted mast.

Plotting a course towards the horizon,

on dry rivers once running only to illusion,

these tattered sails that harbor your inclusion

with a wind, sea-bound and knowing no end.

From Fissure 8

Fissure-8-Hawaii-volcano-eruption-1394633

The light peeks through the cracks

where consciousness and dreams overlap.

Coastlines and seas seep through the blind

like temporal prisms in time.

On a suspended plane, a transcontinental glide

lingering long after the advancing flame

where the memory of lava and ash will remain

ballast to what is swept away

under soft carpets, in strange landscapes

you escape while you can.

On diminishing roads and infinite waterways

there is no shelter

no air without sulfur,

what landmarks are left become unfamiliar,

inverted memories in turned over turf

give a glimpse of the glowing earth

that runs red

to river beds

in the impending birth of new land.

In the absence of all else

an unobstructed wind

would hit mountains head on

like something that was expected

but not fully prepared for.

The inevitability you seek to divert

joins in the rift from a hidden source,

from a network of tunnels, subliminal.

What words can be raised

to pave what has been erased?

to bring light to a cloud of ash?

Over development and endless desecration

an angry goddess passed.

The rupture deepens and they go up,

like offerings on a pyre,

the apocalyptic matchsticks of Pahoa

and the collapse of all structure

buoyed by  an immense ocean

is a burning unceasing as the notion

that all surfaces remain beholden

to the forces that lie beneath them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Essence knew no Boundary

koralia bonfireThe essence knew no boundary

over great tracts of wilderness,

in the abrupt descent into the sea.

Through uninterrupted spaces,

the spirit is as evident

as the grass it passes through.

Akin to a last breath expanding outwards,

seeking a landing,

somewhere to rest its laurel leaves

with lines of light

that guide through the night,

like the lanterns of Santa Marta,

all the runaway stars

that slip through the sky to the playa,

a culmination of sparks from a dual bonfire.

Passing between flames,

we were no longer the same but altered forever.

Candles capture our image

while smoke lifts us ascendant,

etched in the moon’s white visage,

we’re stark black and in tatters,

crisscrossing footprints, overlapping shadows.

Love and loss lean on each other

until they become one in the same

mournful song of nocturnal birds taking wing,

soon settling into everything;

a scent, a fabric,

the fragments in nature that form a picture

outside of any frame, it’s nothing we can name,

that which knows no boundary.

Entrenched in the heart,

the feeling swells into a soaring crescendo,

breaking chains of attachment, Bowie’s “Heroes”

communicating directly with something immaterial.

If the spirit was a wind,

it would be as wild and wayward as these trades,

ragged from journeys, seaborne and saved.

We would get a sense of it through its impact on the waves,

in the patterns in the sand it creates.

Relating to spirit it stands

seedless yet rooted,

following the oldest  of forms,

connecting practitioners with those who passed

a half a century before.

There is a subtle stirring in these movements,

a newer manifestation of an ancient art

which is once again a communication.

 

In the next chapter, after everyone goes home,

we’ll tend to the alters.

The ash of insense and dead petals will be swept.

The salvaged portrait polished

until we find time for reflection.

The gaze in the photograph

attaches a steady line to our own memory,

like a charcoal tracing over the spaces between meaning,

in a search that is never wavering,

we can come to an understanding

that between death and life

some things endure.

 

For Uncle Joe McCauley

I think of you often

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pali Revisited

dark-road-470

The Pali,

that dark depository for all that passes through it.

Wind, wheels, energy,

psychic imprints left like tire marks on the periphery.

The forgotten past straddles median lines with the present,

relapsing in the flash of headlights

like the sudden reflection of moonlight across the eyes,

mysterious pools beneath a canopy’s disguise.

The light finds its way through coils and folds,

illuminating those trapped in banyan choke holds.

It is calculating, seizing hosts, sinister in time.

Simultaneously, it is the substance to the darkness

where the spirit descends,

intermediary for this marriage that depends

on the synchronicity of strangers

thrust into one another by seed or by accident,

punctuated by a rain that stirs up

all that lay dormant in dark contours.

The road follows its bends,

unravelling thoughts that never end,

sucked into tunnels, a gaping mouth

that funnels the fear

from one generation to the next,

born out of these corners, legends endure.

Over windward’s steep ravine,

some took the curve too sharply,

dead teens in careening trajedy

comingle in red clay.

With no shoulder to lean

over this auto graveyard,

flashlights will gleam off derelict fenders

and last screams linger over the screetch of brakes.

This pain re-awakes in those who suffer in silence

while wind accentuates the absence.

deeper into that forest of loss,

older passages trail off to no answer.

Wind, an instrument for a troubled mind,

sets in motion the swaying vines,

caressing wet air, dangling hair

descending from cool heights where

a mist would appear, is it more than it seems?

Does it backdrop the myth, will it penetrate dreams?

The Pali leaves you stranded again,

tricking you with voices and visions,

so you place alms in the crux of stones for fallen victims,

offer empathy, lest we disturb what is underneath,

skulls the highway keeps,

tunnels cursed to know the interior of burial caves.

How many workers unfortunate to find shallow graves,

tie Ti leaves to truck beds before driving it again?

That endless loop wound tightly to the mountain’s circumference,

straddling that extraordinary line

between the material and the spirit,

darkness and the divine.

The Pali, a psychological barrier,

intermediary for whatever you bring over.

This Voice, Swallowed by the Sky

water ripplesThis voice, this half-formed entity,

a fractured alchemy

between what is let go

and the unknown it would follow

one voice, one horizon, not amplified

but swallowed by the sky.

Akin to water, it seeks fissures,

filling cracks where it empties rivers.

Where the wind meets the waves

there is no division.

Where precision meets what you change

there’s another revision.

The moon was the only light

in a sky of blindness,

there’s no direction given.

A lost cause to lingering questions,

this voice, a puncture point in the abyss,

swims in bliss, dreams it is borderless,

like a star trailing off and incoherent,

it is moving where you can no longer hear it.

This breath, tiny and drowned out

in auditorium vastness

in the ceilings of night

that capsize all ambition,

disappearing like coins

in the hands of the magician.

A disembodied voice rippling to the far shore,

another turn in Charon’s oar

reveals the gleaming obols

from the moon’s folklore.

Joining the masquerade of clouds,

this breath hung between lines

as if on a highwire

that is pulled across the sky

to soak up what is left of the light,

this voice that illuminates the night.

The Visitation

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The chimes of the balcony

trickle into the memory

that I was not alone earlier on the cobbles.

Followed by your echoes,

weightless and elegant,

like a flowing fabric

or the shadow of a delicate fan,

you came like a welcome reprieve

from the humidity that knew no wind coming off of the sea.

All of the valleys were choked and stagnant

until your scented form brushed by

like the visitation of pikake

or a rain that knew forests better than concrete.

You are the balm by which old selves begin to retreat,

the relief of twilight after the heat,

all the small glittering fragments,

fleeting as loose fitting rings

as day slips into night.

These moments can accumulate in trees,

with angelic voices and the flight of eucalyptus leaves

from your silver sleeves

it breathes freely by land’s end

and on the terrace with paper and reverence

I’d make amends,

with fingers and pens

longing for useful lines to describe

the legend of your disappearance,

like a sun behind the sea,

I’ll follow in your wake

with letters sealed in ink endlessly.

 

Cover Image “The Kiss of the Muse” by Paul Cezanne