The Pali Revisited

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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.

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Leaving by Moonlight

b49cd646ea5aea4b9ba229ecfb3adb60Permeating the imaginary borders they were constructing

temples to the external

while the journey was inward

instructing shadows to move, immaterial

without the physical to complete the eternal.

The eye that watches us all is a stranded moon

pale and blood drained

like a weightless stone it remains suspended in water,

it never falters,

the light of its gaze

traces trembling fingers over scaly walls.

Through the darkness

perfect waves peel back broken glass,

lines like china, smooth in its collapse.

The clouds were disrobing crowds of mythical figures,

transforming to animals before our eyes.

The dragon, undeniable in its profile

against the night sky,

with one blink renders an uneven line

below on the lost coast.

Like a spotlight, it captures the waters receding

all the way back to Fastnet Beacon,

imbued with the spirit of lonesome immigrants

who would pass weeping in the smoke of lives left behind.

Shrouds silhouetted to the glow

while waves shaved glimmers to the shore

like a parting sentiment for a land they’ll see no more.

Sparks may loiter by driftwood fire

and pained strings weave fragile scratching

into the backdrop of pounding surf.

To the rocks that receive it for centuries,

the sea is one part dissolution,

one part creativity,

the place where rivers end emphatically

in the brackish beginnings of the next journey.

Dancing in the Aftermath

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Darkness

Witnessed beneath the passing of storms

is an intermingling of forms

in a collective mourning.

It is like a mist that would slowly lift,

forming arms to embrace these transitory gifts.

Fear not for loss of visibility,

the mountain that is closed in by cloud

will be clear again before long.

As clear as the sound of the river,

as real as a chill’s shiver at higher elevation,

where the shrouded ridges of last light

backdrop the blank expectations

etched in the countryside.

In this expanse we trespass,

red eyed and sleepless.

Moonlight moves its restless

and illuminated stream

along the ground like silvery fingers,

gesticulating palm shadows

prowling like iguanas through the brush,

all is darkened and mysterious

when witnessed in the torch light upon leaves,

from our circles of heat,

dancing until morning to retreat

somewhere distant.

We keep the loss a continent away

and though never far from us,

some will stray,

while the hours drift

into thinking of them less,

drinking from pools that appear bottomless,

 the moon would still hover

to illuminate the cracks

of the future’s chewed through mask.

How it seeks to cover with forgetful revelry

all that distinguishes one night from another,

another night without a husband, a son or a brother.

 

From beyond the wind joins us

in dancing through the fallen leaves

and through trees made to bend over

lost loved ones as if to weep

and we leave our own notes

soaked with rain,

words of empathy,

for no mother

should feel the kind of pain

that comes from losing a son.

When he was gone,

the moon held everyone,

bound by the light

that sees the sea to its end,

to horizons perched

and appearing to teeter

over the horror

that we sometimes sail too close to

and this very wind that we hold fast to

pushes us through

a perilously slow process

of gathering our breath,

until strong enough to reverse the tide,

to release those who died,

blowing that cold wind

back into darkness again.

Invisible Imprints

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Words appear in an alien vocabulary

framed by the contours of separation

they all state the same thing to the solitary

clouds drifting out to sea

like discordant mantras, repeatedly

 

Reflected through a glass darkly

shattered pieces, scattered in a cityscape

peopled with alienation, fragments of anxiety

a  kind of detached adolescence

grows into a reluctant acceptance

 

Words clad in night completely

like an oil slick for stars to slip on

slip off garments in a phosphorescent lobby

loitering for release, a pent up energy

prowling over the stark white upholstery

 

They flicker in the darkness, a bright guiding entity

cautiously we approach, one tap at a time

like the blind seeking port in memory

we receive a glimpse behind the pursuit

of a gnarled and buried root

 

Words are remnants of a private mythology

invisible imprints of celebrated origins

intuitively found spread throughout this valley

like a fine mist it lifts

to afford a glimpse of its luminous gifts

 

This river within metaphorically

a river of no return

caught up in its current helplessly

adrift within the urge

to surrender, barefoot in the storm surge

 

Words set across the page, disfigured suns wrung bloody

smudges on the hands

made to share in the debris

made to mold a supple clay

to assist in the delivery of a new day.

Subtle Signals

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When the past would conspire

to be more than dreamlike

and grow stems in the present,

memories will manifest themselves as puzzles

and what has been left unfinished

will reveal itself line by line,

stacked in preservation,

one drawer at a time.

A subtle cobweb of strands

illuminated by closer inspection.

Silent out of necessity,

neglected as streets in winter lonely,

the wind strips the pages of pretense.

Watch them dance until pressed against the backyard fence,

where the minute details flee the light of day

like tiny mammals from the talons of roving hawks.

The hastily scribbled dream pad construction of letters

are like a breadcrumb trail back,

like keys to unlock the subconscious

surging through the narrow modes

we put it through,

all the swallowed codes

of how reasonable processes should unfold.

Where else can we put these shadows?

Subtle signals still darkness,

flickering impressions

in the form of stories, symbols,

the rain-washed aftermath of chapters

in a torrential outpouring of feeling.

Fingers follow the unpeeling,

resist not nor enclose with a gilded ceiling,

the duality is always revealing

mirrors, reflections overcome by changes.

Limbs burdened by rain,

arms reaching down to hold again,

fears and doubt swaddled by routine.

Within, without, like a banyan route to the unseen.

Drowning water

Mute land for inspiration

approached with the frenzy of exploration.

Propelled on streams that mirror the mind’s mist.

Hold tightly the oar in a clenched fist

to fight against the current,

the whirlpools of hindsight

that has us drifting in circles

towards dark coves of graphite.

Our battered craft

searches for scattered scaps of light

amongst wrinkled ripples

spilling cataracts over edges

falling

frothing

following its course

like some Norse hero towards Valhalla.

Where moments die, that’s where we will be.

Amongst fallen fragments,

collecting the debris

that is pieced together

on the unfolding fabric of infinity.

Night, Somewhere

Neon invitations lead your life

from out of the dark, a sudden glare

fascination follows these beacons

along the boulevards of night, somewhere

a faceless driver

navigates through the bright lights that impair

the vision of this sudden silhouette

wrinkling the blacktop of night, somewhere

along the Old Pali or the Natchez Trace

ominous roads built of bone and nightmare

hold close to the wild, their dark secrets

twisting through the night, somewhere

like a graceful dancer on parchment paper,

without a trace you’ll disappear

leaving us listening for gentle footsteps

from stage left in the night, somewhere

there’s a doorway, an arcade to find sanctuary,

a ray of light to acknowledge a searching stare

but none were found in hollow signs

trespassing through the night, somewhere

vagrant, with a pack dropped in blind alleys

cold stone for a pillow, a marble stair

a kind of impoverishment

draped in the night, somewhere

over rooftops you undress the moon

behind cloud fabric, its body bare

with curves for all to see and be guided

through the enchanted night, somewhere

a reflection in disturbed water

to gaze into and compare

while morning sees the same surface placid

but it is always night, somewhere.