Clear a Space Among the Ruin


IMG_1186t kaniakapupu black and white

You can imagine it in its splendor,

for surely the full moon casts a glow

over the ruins of Kaniakapupu in the

early hours.

This emergence

from the contours of a clouded sarcophagus,

will leave no witness.

No one taking meaningless pictures

to capture or extract from its essence,

nothing to distract from a dance,

luminous as it is sudden in its disappearance.

Our temporal bodies a nonentity

to the unseen symmetry of stones

and in their reflection our own illusions unlearned.

To clear a space for illumination, for the imagination,

an axis of paths scratched out of the convolution of bamboo,

a place for the wind to gather leaves

in the striptease of season’s silence

shaken and committed to streams

and in the passage of time

sense the essence of nature

whose falls appear out of the gloom of mountains,

from under the veil of ghostly heights

too treacherous to reveal secrets to foolish climbers.

Rain, relief, sadness and acceptance,

all upon the skin of the message;

trust the process.

Light, like a torch through the canopy,

gifts a brief glance at the inner geometry,

the blurred boundary between the spirit and the living,

between stillness and motion,

receive inspiration like a transmission.

Surfaces mirror the soul,

control the discourse

over what is known of forests.

Remnants of history, partial achievement

coming into focus from out of obscurity.

Clear a space for the sacred,

somewhere to retreat

from the profanity of the city.

All the modern means of obstruction,

the flow confined to concrete,

the land mined under the guise of progress.

Under the shadow of glass,

no one seems to care that it can never last.

In a hundred years, when the forces of nature

clear another space,

what will be the state of our ruin?

the legacy of our folly?








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







She Stepped out of Time


A solitary white shoe lies at a fork in the path.  Who it belonged to was nowhere to be seen, not since July of 1941, when at the corner of Chatham and Marianna she stepped into a black car and out of time, leaving only questions in the decades of search that followed a torrent of remorse.  How the image of a forlorn shoe on a forest path can act as a trigger, pulling at the material, smearing it with mud and neglect, unraveling the mystery of an overly active mind as it searches for resolution among the empty bottles and other remains.  Years go by and the story gets drained of its lustre, paths leading only to dead ends. Just off of that road that twists through the pasture, infamous for its bends and with a reputation that lends to the atmosphere.  Thick was the surrounding wood and swamp alder. A solitary white shoe illumed by moonlight on the forest floor, fallout from a black car, like a prop that would suggest much more of misplaced trust than anything else as it tiptoes into time’s tragedy.  Like the dog-end of a cigarette, it is strewn over the psychic wound in the landscape, inanimate object from the distant past still holds a powerful resonance as its cautionary tale is suspended like headlights in the fog.  Keep your loved ones close, or at least hold on to that illusion as that car draws nearer.  It appears ancient and square-backed, what sets its wheels in motion also seals shut the heavy metal doors.  As it passes, all of life get reflected in its windows.  You’ve only a moment to notice the details, half-asleep from the passenger side.  Some roads are bumpier than others, like it or not we go along for the ride.

How many miscellaneous articles like this one are destined to the fate of evidence, that this individual once existed?  Now merely a pine grove stone for remembrance, with no loved ones left to maintain.  While the shoe will remain in a police cabinet or where it was left to the elements, to the corrosive rain.  Memories can live in attics and lover’s lanes, dilapidated sheds and sometimes in plain sight.  We can distance ourselves but they do not disappear.  You can hear their tiny footsteps like frequencies along the webs the imagination gets tangled in.  A white shoe shimmering in a forgotten corner, belonging to the ghosts of fading yearbook photos.  She would have walked with them through the halls of English, spying the tower down Oakwood as you did but in a different era and over the expanse of sea and night, like a coastal beacon casting its light, shortening the distance suggested by time, so there in the forest it lies, a solitary white shoe and who it belonged to subtly reveals something of her essence again.


In Memory of Frances Cochran