Who Else Weeps but the Sea

darker spitting cave

Spitting Cave, sacred and sleepless

under the sheets of the sea

turning ,murmuring,

in the impression

that even the most solid of walls

dissolve eventually.

A breath goes in and sometimes death comes out,

with a tremendous mist

like the projecting of a myth,

a requiem for the unfortunate of fate

drawn to the edge of this place,

only to recede back

then double forward

like the delicate dance of the tide.

They are as bold as they are blind,

concealed in an earthen fold,

not muted by time,

something of them remains,

a spirit expressed in spray,

a raised image in salt

the ocean cannot wash away

the residual scar

raised like a plaque,

sunlit and speaking of those

who never crawled back to shore.

How reason turns to rock here,

madness in the spectacle of leap.

The rush of adrenaline,

one plunge into the snare of the sea

luring from within the energy

of internal proving grounds.

Young men mostly,

coming again and again to tempt providence

but without victory,

they become victims to the same trajectory,

tiny ripples in a massive wave of remorse.

In the mind’s eye all of Argos can collapse

into darkness, into the recesses of cliffs

where white rocks of deposit

are like ancient offerings to a coming crest

when history repeats itself

from pools of unspeakable depth.

Brief, our comparative windows,

the difference between life and death

just a shade or a hue,

cloud shadow and a stranded moon

mark the fleeting presence

on the edge of this precipice.

Another massive spray paints the perfect surface,

where we can glean something

from this museum of lost souls

sucked back into undulation and gone again.

The early light,

makeshift wife to empathy,

reeling from decades

of supporting something fading.

Time sets them free in the end

and with only memories, we’re left to grasp at air.

Cliff diver, into the sky you disappear,

your crystalline skin like a cracked lens,

roseate at the edges of traumatic moments

we piece together bit by bit.

You can still see the fateful flight,

how it surfaces and replays

for you alone this morning,

for no one else weeps for them but the sea,

cascading down the cliff’s face

like a torrent of emotion

symbolically stirring

in the watery graves underneath.

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An Answer in Emptiness

dreams abbout rainn

Unconsciousness,

like an answer in the emptiness of thoughts.

The Rain,

like a rhythmic refrain

on the courtyard and porcelain.

Drowning out then drawing in

to the awareness of footsteps

that seem to express

that they have always been

amplified tears

emissary to a thousand ideas

returning to the place that gives voice to them

over and over again.

Inspiration,

like the night’s perspiration

rests on the edge of an outstretched leaf.

It will teach of the gentle penetration

inherent in nature,

what is consistent when all else

is uncontrolled and unexplained.

The mark it makes on the unraveling bark of the paper tree

is more fluid than ink running down sheets

attempting to mirror something of what I perceive.

Spectator,

framed in a window,

disembodied and hanging suspended,

without an arc or idea,

formless and supple

to shapes though bottomless,

to a vision varying in permanence,

it has no ending and no beginning,

each drop is a footnote

to what has come before,

echoing like a fallen sapling

on the mental awnings.

Immaterial,

it still sends percussion

to the hours where nothing is decipherable

and you’re only afforded a brief view

of what lies behind the veil.

Where you’ll note in the darkness

the silent shadows cast by yard light

painting murals on the walls,

where the past would dissolve into the future

if not for one naked image,

unadorned and without illusion,

the moment’s gentle intrusion

of rain and wind intertwined

like a soothing overture

to an active mind

now composed

from out of the mesh of words

and answers in between

transitioning

into the unconsciousness

that follows the rain.

 

 

 

 

 

The Aisling Stairs

aisling stairs

I’ve had this dream before.

Where I am lost in a labyrinth of stairways and corridors,

deep in the heart of very old buildings.

I pause on cast iron balconies

and gaze over the lines of dim-lit stacks,

incomprehensible text to a chamber of shadows

and the recurring restlessness that pervades this place.

Whether I am searching for something or being pursued,

it is clear that not all is as it appears.

So I keep moving,

going deeper into more claustrophobic spaces.

Ducking under a shelf, there are rows behind rows of books,

an ancient elevator and further stairways to corridors

each more decrepit than the last.

The walls peeling, unpainted for decades,

with large holes in the floors

to lower oneself through to other levels.

There, in the fear that it may all collapse,

is the tenuous grasp of any concept of time or place.

In the depths of these recesses

I usually encounter a maintenance man

sweeping up the darkness. He is disfigured,

terrible to look at, with a face full of sores,

appearing like a spot on the floors

that never see the light of day,

only the artificial glare

destined to flicker and stare

here for eternity.

This specter in the shadows,

blackened as a lung full of dust,

with a voice like a guttural growl,

unintelligible.

There is always the knowledge

that he is at the bottom of or behind

this restless feeling,

tending to the furnace

or fitting pipes in a vast boiler room.

He’s in there, like a manifestation of fear,

a cancer in these cells, in the bowels of every building.

What else did you expect to find?

What do industrial noises accompany

like strange soundtracks to the illogical

landscapes of the mind?

You cannot measure the sky

or the spaces in-between

but note the temporal shifts,

like shades of the past,

bound here like ghosts.

Each is a subtle impression

or a tiny transmission

that is nothing if not familiar.

The man in the corner,

ever-present author

tosses another cigarette

to the floor

and in the impact,

the flicker of fire

is transforming

into the flapping of a white bird

now flying towards

a shaft and up to the rooftop.

Vaporous, transparent,

it is no longer trapped

but leaving a trail of smoke in its wake,

it moves through objects.

I’ll follow its trajectory

towards the edge of this wasted city.

Listless as it travels

to the periphery,

where lifting from memory,

the dormant imagery

that nourishes its flow from captivity.

This is how it usually ends.

Free from these stairways and endless corridors,

no longer bound to these cells or these selves,

no longer merely a shell

but akin to water

flowing from a source somewhere

in emerald mountains

and immeasurable distances

under brilliant skies.

 

 

 

In the Metaphor of Rivers

ripple rain pattern

Nothing remains stuck.

On the breath that expresses more than thoughts

to flow down valley

like a wind in Wailupe

that tickles the chimes in the Norfolk pines

rooted to a moment, despite movement.

There is a clearing

where solitude is revealing instruction

to a tangle of brush strokes

imparting light to the surface renewal.

In the metaphor of rivers there is no arrival,

only its illusion.

There’s a gentle loosening of leaves

expressing the value of paperweight

that does not incorporate words

but notes something of gravity to the motionless,

to those mired to the banks.

Though in their lines lies a vagrancy,

the realization that all are carried away eventually

by the wind and by the rain.

The river journey comes to its insatiable mouth,

infinitely consuming itself.

Can movement be a mirror on these surfaces?

To seize a half-formed image of oneself,

sped up, transparent,

as if on a current,

lifting the anchor you go with it.

Moving downstream to draw from the periphery

some sense of apprehension.

With a craft that compulsively fills the contours

with some semblance of direction,

overshadowed by the next bend

by further distance ill defined

in waterways that resemble the last.

Released from the grid,

the river was aided by floods,

while the sky slid by

on an infinite sheet of glass.

Poetry was like the passing clouds

that gather fragments of its brilliance,

before inspiration dissipates

before the rain precipitates

what needs to change and what can be saved,

what remains of glass shattered

into thousands of mutually arising patterns

interwoven in the aftermath

of another passage to sea.

 

All is Interwoven

burnt fabric

I tend to your memory

like one working a small flame in the wind.

Blowing the end of an incense stick

to give scent to the formless

to sanctify and bear witness

to the chaos that follows change.

What does it accomplish,

putting new roots in the decay?

Cleaning out the attics of the old

by the light of silent entry,

while the past falls through the cracks of dawn

hovering above the roof and chimney.

Shifting seasons awaken with smoke

the smoldering clouds and coiling snakes

many hued in a moment’s wisp

that won’t support the weight of the present.

Watching as it evaporates,

all can appreciate its exit.

What is memory but the imprint of a passage?

Immaterial marker

in the consciousness of a dreamer

who conjures pictures

to match the feelings of departure.

“We are never here for long”

says nature

but I remember the paths

we made to the water’s edge,

though the footprints fade

and the wind works on

what was designed to outlast us.

Fire, the great leveler

starting small until

crawling out of proportion.

It consumes the highway

and covers the sky.

The horizon is lying

like a steel plate in the sun

burning

balancing on a melting moment

you can almost hear crying

in kindling

creativity to capture the shifting colors

in the mirror pools of effervescent lakes,

where the sky dabs its face.

Subtle transformations,

day to night

light to grey

all is interwoven

in the poem of knowing

no stitch remains.

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

 

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.