Like a Mark still Visible

beautiful-scenery-blue-sky-mountains-nature-Favim.com-2245272

Like a mark still visible

after the rain

the light in yin, the shade in yang

a moment’s reflection,

an obscure meeting,

the temporal sky

the armored sea

merging in alchemy.

Shadowplay through a pinched valley,

a quality of light

that will not last on the surface

but goes down

like a ship in a storm,

a squall and a gasp,

the drowned dead on driftwood raft

to isolated coasts abiding tides

feasting bonfires, glowing eyes,

the glinting edge of river carved lines.

Moors illuminated

cliff face that finds

lifting veils, precipitous falls,

gathering cloud stalls

on cathedral peaks, impermanent.

In the pasture the meditative calm

of watchful sheep

against wild hills unsheathed.

Wind works through the imagination,

through trees that bend,

disintegrate on piper’s notes

that find you in the end

impermanent.

Akin to smoke

off the surface of lakes

early light through the steam

of sipping dark coffee

and dream

for an hour, the writer

ponders the theme

from a corner,

a chronicle in the change

of action into thought,

each becoming the other

shadow absorbed

into the white walls of its lover.

The message of marks

destined to be erased

is the beauty

in what does not last permanently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Innocence Intersects

roses on tracks

Memory,

the planted seeds of future work.

Those moments of mystery and violence

seared into childhood innocence.

In the rows of cross country cornfields

intersecting on the empty plains of thought.

You’re the point of entry

for these stalks on all sides,

until growing overhead,

you were not able to process it yet.

When what housed creativity

was merely a foundation,

fear is the forgotten masonry

that builds fascination.

Mystery,

those luminous garments

you’ll salvage from dark closets

to give form to again.

At Dungeon rock you keep digging,

finding only madness and subterranean water,

not realizing where the gold resides,

on the tips of the trees that line Cornel path.

 

Violence always had it’s place on the knife’s edge of time.

In old Kung Fu films and in the technicolored gaze

of Medusa’s severed head,

you were transfixed to the red

that emblazoned the cars of elevated trains.

From the Bronx to Coney Island

your imagination placed supreme significance

in the division of neighborhoods into gang turf,

written dimensions on a prized and ripped map.

By middle school a fear and fascination with death

found you staring out the windows

at long black hearses

ushering in St. Pius funerals.

There was no longer the safety of naivete,

friends lost parents, people got cancer,

a heart attack took Nonna

and the small panic you’ll always remember,

phone calls that announce a stranger

penetrating that tiny world.

All these recollections

sticking like mud at low tide.

Osgood eyes wet, keen on distant birds,

deciphered as spirit in the wavering trees

and in the dreamscape of the sky.

The ocean always returns to childhood

in the scent of salt marsh,

it marches back in time

to the music tangled in the cellar wires,

memories in the decay of seaweed at Derby Wharf

where all the layers overlap and you can read

the barnacled marks when it recedes.

Out from under the shadow’s thumbprint,

you’re the exposed rock of Chocorua awaiting a storm,

you’re Waterman seeking a nook on Lafayette Ridge,

Brailsford on a weighted line in Cormorant shade,

Cochran still unsolved in the fog of Swampscott.

What breaks the silence?

What moves the instrument and goes beyond science ?

Was it violence creeping in the telepathic underground?

Tripping the wires to access

the haunted tape loop of the mind?

The sudden screetch of trolley cars

collides with Garbarek’s sublime choir,

as if the bloodied petals off of Pulcherrima’s rose

were left scattered on the tracks.

You were there at the intersection

watching the passing of the rails,

standing over these remains

to note the juxtaposition

that holds unspoken significance

to what you have yet to transform into words.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Petals of Remembrance

flowers ashore

When a bead of rain

within the outstretched palm of a fragile flower

becomes infused with light,

it is a butterfly being plucked away by the wind.

As it begins its climb, you observe its significance,

like a ray in the sky beaming directly

towards that sublime height.

Like a ring in the eclipse,

you’re transfixed on the other side

needing certain eyes to perceive

what it briefly reveals of shadow.

The ocean, like a vast blanket of patience,

receives our red petals of remembrance,

grasping for words, let loose and

inching forwards with radiant acceptance

in the swirling chaos of everyone’s remorse.

As you push towards the void that peers

through a transparent film of tears,

you can see within

all of the sorrow and reverberation.

This raw material evaporates

like a mist from a wave that hits you head on,

like a train from out of nowhere

pulling you from the comfort of your own

and into the sudden intrusion

of unkempt and uncontrolled emotion.

Grasping for empathy in the recesses the past processes.

Red flame, like a blade that cuts through regret

at what you could not change,

seared into an embrace of impermanence,

slow dance between the living and what is pending.

Witness the last breath,

like the receding of the ocean’s edge,

that uneven line of lengthening tide pulled tight,

until the pale face of the horizon’s sky

settles into the grey of night.

A peaceful process, this loss of light

in the turbulent spaces of holding on.

The beeping of machines

shifts to swarths of green beneath majestic peaks,

prompting a transformation in those of us there to witness

the simplicity of workers turning dirt,

different machines now laying him in the earth,

a reunion of sorts

beginning with white cranes

who come to usher his spirit away.

 

 

In Memory of Ka Yick Yu

7/25/40- 12/2/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts that Wander Dark (shaking hands at the end)

a8d21c1f-b192-4ea9-b3ff-e989a7f5c524shad fgI know these thoughts that wander dark .

While traveling we coalesced briefly,

as strangers when neither offered shelter,

out beyond the city lights,lying in forests

almost too quiet to be pacified.

Back East, where the Atlantic is brewing storms,

darkened they would form from the subconscious,

until  breaking over Montauk,

memory grows full of the sound

of wave grain scraping pebbles,

descending, with salty skin,

smooth as seal wash,

like shipwrecks to subterranean sand,

it is never solid ground on which we stand.

A weeping, for all of us sinking.

Thoughts going abruptly dark,  drowning

like sailors with no one’s mourning to lift them,

only loosened garments , black and torn,

strewn across the sky like an aborted skin.

It takes the form of storm clouds and bellowing wind

to shake widow’s peaks and usher in

a spray of gulls, deranged and white,

with cries like a piercing reprise.

In the dunes a string of flowers endures,

while burning forests of evergreen

cast down the safety screen,

thrusting us once more into tenuous positioning.

The horror inherent in a charred landscape,

the specter of cancer haunting our mutated shapes,

we’re absorbing the next tragedy through the TV,

breathing deeply the Autumn scent of gunpowder and spotfire.

Out beyond the reflection of light on the surface of the sea,

gasoline ignites  from underneath,

so you get to know the inverse as well,

for the source of words can transform wounds to beauty,

like streaks of light that adorn the sky,

a holiday to the eye though it temporarily blinds

into forgetting that we all must one day die.

The body cannot sustain this creativity.

At it’s peak, it used these techniques

to attempt immortality.

High upon the mountain, it gains traction on the stars.

Till far below it sings odes to the river that washes out to sea.

Down the road you migrate through the mirage in a distant bend,

calling to the future like an estranged friend,

shaking the hand of what comes to meet you,

once again putting aside the folly

of aimlessly grasping at the illusion of permanence

amidst the totality of an eventual end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Come Dressed in Feathers

thumbnail_-facebook_1483738169765That was how the spirit left the scene,

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

The moment becomes a window,

the photo an eternity to gaze through

silhouettes

becoming signs, rippling to find

where the child once stood,

so that the saddened would be assured,

as they gathered along the shore

beneath oak and behind shades,

that this was how he made the transition.

The next phase of the journey,

no longer earth bound,

contours cast off and scattered to the deep,

commingling than expanding

to include these wings

and all the moments that are arresting.

We can find you when heavy clouds accumulate,

as the light that breaks through the sorrow,

as the wisdom that all is temporal.

The ways and the means we mill over

must appear smaller from up there,

ant-like and in miniature.

The shadows that surround

can levitate from the ground

when the sun moves them,

when all the white homes

appear like a runway of bones for those in flight,

passing with flashing talons

to penetrate the dreams of those inside.

Clear as the glint in your eyes,

I remember the whole trajectory,

as you cross the sky like an Egyptian deity

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

 

Up north the family cottage grows cold.

The once glowing furnace of the potbellied stove

emits no smoke from its chimney beneath the trees.

Yet the floors still creak

and something beyond the elements speak at the edges,

with the spring of your essences.

It moves beneath everything,

even when no one is listening.

The sound of cracked ice on the lake

reminds me that the ancestors will take

the surroundings given and speak through them,

moving the pine’s limbs to shadowbox with the wind,

they make themselves known, if only briefly,

outside the pages of that great mystery

unread in the cobwebbed dust of your library.

Our lives are the layers in the walls they built,

slivers of glass in the windows and lamps they fastened

another stitch in the tapestry,

that which completes me, speaks through me,

through the imagination, peering from a darkened sky,

projecting light on the pillows of the dream’s eye

like a moon wrapped in sheets of cloud

on a winter’s night.

I hear you most clearly in the quiet hours

before anyone wakes,

when the lake would ripple its way to the pier

and two loons draped in mist would appear,

skimming the water’s gaze

over the length of the great Birch,

they’ll materialize and search

through my guise, at once familiar

in white tunic and shoes of leather,

they’ll come dressed in feathers,

dipping one wing in the surfaces of memory,

moving what preceded me,

deconstructing but giving breath to me,

an extension, their living entity,

poised between worlds.

How these Forgotten Seeds take Shape

candles like bodies

Tears become breaks in the illusion,

a continuous procession

of their loosened  impressions

in puddles, on wet sidewalks

where vigil candles

are seared reflections.

Hands clasped

brothers and mothers

share in the mourning

embracing the fragile strings

entwined and loosened like balloons

designed to bring messages beyond

for those who died too young.

Letting go

like hundreds of tiny spores

that lighten the atmosphere and

restore some color to the grey

anger and shades of despair.

Most towns have had their share of darkness,

comb through their history,

find some are enshrined to their tragedy,

a depository for its residual energy

coursing through the tiny webs

that connect lives to one another,

to families and to those who commit murder,

a buried trauma

creates an armor

around what remains unspoken

secrets

buried for decades in empty lots

forgotten and paved over.

In forests, the trees that witnessed evil deeds

weep for those who have fallen,

like tragic leaves, no one hears them,

the wind pulls them along

and steers them into the void.

In abandoned places, the last to remember

thaws these souls frozen in yearbooks.

Those who passed briefly

through towns and halls

become only whispers we barely recall,

wisps of remorse in the collective recourse of memory.

As the years wear on and take their contemporaries,

most become merely  stones in a cemetery,

marble mementos

the chiseled bookends

of a larger story

that would always outlast this body.

Marred by past violence

you must seek it out

beyond the withered ends of its silence.

They are elsewhere, for those who collect

the tattered remnants of what they leave behind.

What sustains wayward energy if not recognition?

Like the flash of a match in a dark corner

gasps a name and they remain.

conscious if never fully whole

these faces stuck

to a telephone pole

where torn missing person signs

are left to weather

the indiscriminate wind.

By staples they are held together

or whatever is left

it is always the eyes that stare back,

branded on my empathy a deep longing

to give them form,

a burning that waxes in words

satiates the urge

to warm the ghostly reverb

that radiates endlessly from one psychic wound.

When the heavy rain finally passes,

who knows where the waters will go?

Who names what they return to?

Like the energy inherent in someone’s essence,

it remains even after it passes,

like the scent of wet ginger in the forgotten places.