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

Imagination, A Point of Entry

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1.

You know that feeling well,

when incomprehensible streets

greet your first steps

and a breath of woodsmoke and foreign leaves

awaken various states of disorientation.

Under the strange sheets of temporary homes,

getting off the road, a coffee’s respite

awaits those who roam through the element’s assault.

Arctic Terns and the road seems to go on and on,

each vista eclipsing the last gasp

from the sea to the snow capped peaks.

There is thought, there is action

and on a fog blurred ridge line

they become entwined

in a swirling yin and yang with the sky,

how each can obscure and direct the other.

2.

The imagination was a point of entry,

in Kjarval’s studio

where a tenuous reality meets fantasy,

the canvass becomes an extension of nature,

a weathered glimmer behind the mind’s eye,

a shifting moodscape of faces

in rock formations and lucent turf.

This sudden shift can unearth

from the inanimate a movement

that gazing inward

reveals and gives shape to.

3.

Folk tales lead us through Horgadalur,

where half wild horses are prone to majestic pauses

by the swollen rivers of lore.

The regal falls, the rush of water

through clefts in penetrable moors,

completes the jagged unity of rock and valley.

While we in our tiny vehicle

become merely a pebble

in the volcanic masonry

of landscape and now memory.

4.

At the inlet of Kista

the sea recedes back centuries

to reveal the unspeakable cruelty

done to those condemned for sorcery.

Driftwood fires leave black marks on the Strandir,

the impassible cliffs

where Basque ships

strand sailors to unforgiving coasts,

where power mad hosts wrote edicts

and pursue them like wolves,

leaving bodies bloodied on an isolated shore.

In the Westfjords, the pastoral eloquence of sheep

give way to a violence bubbling underneath.

In its history it is much of the same.

Fleeting is the light in a narrative

that is dark more often than not

but we never saw it this way,

catching Iceland’s capricious rays

in the sky, like a precious

sigh of relief,

knowing this time is brief,

this travel only temporal,

lives soon to be fractured again,

like the land beneath

that makes room for the new,

though it may assume physical separation,

it leaves us with an indelible impression,

pictures and letters to draw on

to complete a path back.

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With the Deep, an Alchemy

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There’s an alchemy

between what you relieve

and the unknown that receives.

Seek to see (sea) what would symbolize,

pools from wet feet

mythologize the deep

with careless streams seeking re-entry.

Gazing out

the Moks were still as sentries (centuries)

sphinx-like and stark against the sky,

crouching tigers

protecting what they would harbor,

all the dark secrets

weaved into a carpet of moon

bejeweled

the light that levitates

imbues the surface with significance.

The night,

through drunken illumination,

reveals its spirit through creation.

Patient waves of inhalation

break eternity against rock walls

briefly revealing

the watchful pause (paws)

submerged entirely.

Let it slip to the coral bottom

like loose fitting rings,

the fleeting moments

sucked into a shadow,

released through blow hole mist.

Recover a Grecian urn

of all that is often missed

in the passage of time.

Through inspiration

construct this edifice to the sea,

something impermanent

something enshrined

while currents in a turbulent boil

sweep all that storms relieve

into the alchemy of the deep.

The Clouds Hold the Past

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1.

From a hidden source

somewhere in the mountains

clouds burst forth

as if fed with fire.

A series of slow glowing embers,

supple the clay mutations

that render fully formed figures

connected by luminous wire

and hung from a window’s edge

unveiled in transparent attire

that catches the light

before it strikes the abyss

and is undressed there forever.

2.

The artist conveys the unconscious

visibly in the sky’s mirror

shifting imprints on a wet sidewalk

where dreams stalk the waking

and interpretation is ever-changing

on an ink blot palette.

When a mouth of cloud gapes

to consume the half moon,

there will be one fibrous fingernail

scratching against the darkness,

a sharp talon piercing the mass

while light escapes through the cracks.

Nothing is static nor remains for long

on this borderless screen,

tragic scenes from the past

are replayed on this landscape of glass,

coils of inner state recreate the loop

and you’re held in thrall

while contorted images crawl past,

even here sorrow can find you.

3.

Sifting between the wavering bristles of Cook pine

casting shadows on the rock wall’s sacred design.

Curiosity steals a glance

until pursued through the cloud’s expanse,

seeking refuge, a silky balm

to move across the calm dimensions

and into the waiting arms of the sea.

Disappearing into India ink

like memories set to sink into insignificance,

those fleeting moments disintegrate

into roseate plates

that were the scales of some exquisite snake,

shaking free from the coils,

the clouds now steady

floating feathers in an offering of serenity,

a balancing act over the buoyant sea,

an older me, isolated yet integrated,

our history is one in the same.

From a Poem Unwritten

wet cobbled roadway

How the light plays into the dark

like a moon through stained glass,

cutting a swarth across marble floors.

It seeps into the cracks

like water to the tracks,

how a distant piano

to a curious ear attracts

a frozen moment.

You follow the fleeting

seeking some origin,

reaching out for inspiration

as if it were original sin.

Recitations from a poem unwritten.

Words hidden under the tongue

of the surface incantation,

medieval in contour,

unchanged

namelessly forgotten,

however flourished with eternity.

The melancholy of indecision,

climbing the walls of narrow passages

like wisteria

you adhere to the impulse

to cover all that once lay bare,

manifest this destiny and call it progress.

I digress,

down blind alleys,

breathing in sanctuary

beneath a swaying sheet wind.

I drag tired fingers around the next bend.

The next barrier

is more impressive than the last.

There’s an attempt to grasp

something in the lapse between thoughts,

to preserve the feeling

too fleeting to remain aware

of its tingling presence.

Like a mist on the skin,

it is enough to inspire devotion.

 

Frantic steps ring off the cobbles,

a shadow climbs the wall

only to stall in chiarascuro.

Like a scene from Caravaggio,

this nameless friar

will pass through desire

until all becomes a dark entry in prayer.

Something is always left in these corners,

where candles aid their illumination

and thoughts drift elsewhere

in the dancing theatre

of undefined movements.

The unknowing becomes vagabond

to the warmest of comforts.

You find yourself

in these blankets of cloud cover,

observing holes in the disguise.

The veil suddenly lifted,

experience immediate

under infinite skies.

No longer a stranger

to reviving lines

fading like frescoes,

while time is like dead skin

floating down the drain of revision.

Flushed and transported by traces

left to sparkle on wet stone,

so that you can gaze upon these mirrors

and hasten a return home.

Home, your feeling

is kept fleeting.

A haven

so you can continue repeating

these steps that lead you

towards the perfect escape. 

Between Here and the Next Stage (A Festival)

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Empty fields to swelling crowds

blue skies to encroaching clouds

delicate sitar strings

to feedback so loud

the eardrum rings and reverberates

into the next repetitious beat.

Somehow it is tribal.

Something to rival

the isolation of the day to day,

when habits shake away in our flimsy boxes.

Finally able to shed its skin,

to levitate from within,

audience to exploration.

This profound surrender

to spontaneous movements,

surfing into the sound,

a swirl of the imagination

lifts us from the ground.

It completes the journey

without gravity,

from tension to release,

individual oppression

to collective expression.

 

We converge from all corners of the earth.

England, Iceland, Japan,

Dancer, spectator, musician.

A photographer captures our composition,

our cathartic expressions.

Along the periphery,

see her and then she is gone,

leaving only the mystery of a fleeting purpose.

A wish to ask her, if only to liberate curiosity,

if she’s no longer the same as when she came in.

Moth to butterfly, like a shifting sky

bleeding dark to call out the moon,

glowing yellow from the trees of its elevation,

reflecting in the river amphitheater.

Suddenly the night is like leather

and dark packs prowl through the weather.

You can hear their bikes and classic cars

racing towards some dead man’s curve,

they throttle into oblivion.

Mirror images become distorted

with kaleidoscopic color tableaus,

of time travel and transformation,

suddenly it is the 1960’s,

a helicopter hovers

and Vietnam imagery

uncovers the killing fields

from out of the smoke

of sonic explosions.

Music awash with reverb,

dripping with jewels,

like the moon now merging

with the creek top,

everything moving

upon an inkblot ceiling,

absorbed into the next set,

so strange and inflamed,

the fire burns through time and space,

blurring the lines

between here and the next stage.

Improvised euphoria and elation,

transformation rather than

the simple weathering of elements

in the weariness of limbs,

a remedy

on the end of a discordant melody.

 

It’s lifting.

Veils of smoke and time

falling away from the fingers

of these revered figures.

Musicians who play through

three days of psychedelic haze.

The drone of their instruments,

like planes overhead,

lights collapsing on the fields unfolding,

once nondescript

now composing

a disorienting canvass of interloping,

all manner of merging

on an indigo meadow

of blurred reference points.

It is a skewed Coachella,

like her wierd brother,

with a great record collection,

far flung and growing like a thorn

out of the hill country of central Texas.

Rain and stage light

wets the technicolor appetite.

Everything designed to alter and transform

before our dilated eyes,

translucent feathers,

tranquil waters

swell to worship

those alters of music,

those altered perceptions

of the majestic moment

reflected in each,

a glimpse of awe. 

Depots

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Fleeting stations

through which all things must pass.

Trains mercilessly invade

plans carefully laid,

scattered

like tangents in transit,

you forget where they connect,

waylaid in this depot

with barely a moment to reflect

that thoughts and emotions

are only outposts along the tracks.

Drawn from out of cracks in the earth

like an expectant birth,

the womb bulges,

stretched to the till

everything emerging from tunnels,

like insects from an anthill,

into the rythmic enigma of change

that you’ll attempt to arrange

into a coherent design.

There is a stationary map

where the motion gets trapped

in the riddle of its lines.

 

Time,

grave schoolmaster

correcting with sticks,

confronts the nervous with ticks.

The pressure to decide

when to move

when to abide

by an almost religious form,

crucified.

The mechanism’s in place,

the dominant figure

in this transient theatre

is the clockface.

Schedules shuffle

with spinning metal

voices rattle off another destination

to numb ears conditioned not to question,

weary to respond in turn

and form lines.

All are locked in their own depot,

void of context and without bearings,

amorphous and at the same time unique,

strung out on the in-between

they wait to be transported somewhere new

in the waking dream.

Waiting to be transported by one bullet

shot out of a chamber shrouded in steam.

 

Catch the melancholy sparks of fleeting sunsets.

Time no longer lingers

but grips with twisted fingers,

uprooting the moss that grows in-between.

There’s a scent you associate

with a clinging taking hold.

Words and feelings

unfold at the binario

so you go

into a life dwarfed by infinity.

The sky, like a fallen mirror was the sea.

The clouds were shattered pieces of memory,

even times the machinery

had you pinned,

you always knew you’d win in the end.

Wherever restlessness puts you

must begin from this depot.