Where Words go Unspoken

cranes-buildings

The old timers say it is not breaking the same.

Out there beyond the shipped in sand,

waves peel like a sticker

off a fake ocean

in a Waikiki gift shop postcard

framing sunsets between idyllic palm trees.

Beyond the manufactured images that sell vacations,

stalk the cranes

chipping away at what remains of undeveloped land.

Their insatiable beaks bent on destruction

then reconstruction,

they’re omnipresent ushers only to obstruction.

In the pretentious lobbies of plastic hotels

you hear the glass chatter of conversations going nowhere,

much like the valley roads

sought to drown out the city lights

running red through the clay

like swollen drains where flash floods bled,

where a Ko’olau shadow is lifting

from the trees like a fingerprint.

It has all the markings of a familiar hand

tracing the deepest recesses

where words go unspoken.

A chronicle of breath

as it trembles the glistening webs

between thickets of bamboo branches,

a wind instrument in motion,

in nearly choreographed dances

amongst the rain chaos that creases the fabric

of the forest’s malo folding in on itself.

Storms consume the once visible trails

where signs of struggle and uprooting

reveal partial conclusions to the dissolution,

the rest of the story is unspoken,

like the cold silence in a tragedy

slow to reveal that no one wishes to remember

but still can feel the tremors of violence

as clouds pause timeless

bound to Tantalus.

Coming from behind

the illuminated eyes of a dark profile,

morning brings a treason of light

to shatter the night like a verdict,

reverberating through the injustice,

through all the darkness enclosed in files,

filling up cabinets and dusty shelves,

unresolved in our selves

as we prop up the much larger abyss

with a loss of innocence.

 

 

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Words to Describe Flames

goddess pele

Arrested in writing

words to describe flames.

A child’s home in Pahoa

starts with a spark

only to succumb to lava fields by dark.

The dry hissing slow progress

of wounds re-opened,

blood readies along the edges

biblical in the silent hedges

of night’s crackling amber

that flares up than cools

like the hardened remains of coals,

who knew it could hold in the heat for so long?

Backtracking over memory’s seared steps,

you get perilously close

to the word that describes it best.

So close you can sense

the full breadth of the fire,

through autohypnosis

it is harnessed by the writer,

like a waking dream

a half state

it baits a tiny voice behind the mind

to mime words

from the lips of its author submerged.

Here, fragments of unfinished poems,

swamp alder and charred wood

become the bones of a story

bivouacĀ  on the periphery

of urban legends that transcend time,

haunting the sense of place,

transfixed on dark roads

behind the village unconscious,

there appears an apparition,

a white lady

who on the island is a manifestation

of the goddess Pele.

The flash of a lighter

brightens the tragedy,

recalling what happened here

from the lips of last whisper

you hear of someone’s daughter

made to swallow fire.

Sinuous details

of cold cases never closed

make themselves known at the crossroads.

There’s a crack in the asphalt

a fork in the path

for the curious to collect light.

There’s a black patch on the contours

for a spark of insight.

A subtle word darts honeycombed

between clouds coalesced by tissue flames,

enlightening for a moment,

you can almost grasp it

though it never remains.

Easter Morning, Luakaha

Through breaks in the canopy,

light is drawn suddenly over a bed of fallen stone.

Moss blankets a threshold

of cascading liquid

glistened in silk visitation

through parted curtains,

dawn fills what’s uncertain of solitude.

A glint in the eyes trained on dark corners,

was the last vestige of night.

Waterfalls write whitely from a distance,

like fingers scratching through the gloom.

You become spontaneous witness

to the surface moved to tears,

a hall of mirrors, a montage of grieving

in the mountain’s visage asking

“Who else goes through this?”

Curtain of rain and disembodied mist

disguising a precipice that seems to suggest

were only a brief process

passing through nature’s indifference.

A dream that’s continuous

confronts barricades of resistance

to the inevitable disintegration.

Through the alchemy of our shared creativity,

birth bookends death

returning to nothing save the breath

that moves the water, fills cracks in the void

with voices amplified,

in the solitude of jungles you’ll have to decide.

Paths splinter with myriad choices,

birds call out with spontaneous rejoices,

its Easter morning

and out of the rebirth and ceiling bouquet

light gifted all who comingle freely

with a new day.

All that is Concealed

silhouette

The poem was like a silhouette

that waits for form,

a subtle weight in white sands,

it baits the creator

to express shape,

to conform to something

beyond the illusion of escape.

What is is what will change.

A beach, a set of words,

being released to the storm surge.

There was no scale to measure

the drawn drapes of a blue room receding

only to resume where there is no longer land,

just a moving wall and a disappearing man

dipped in ink

crossed out in dreams,

a rapid eye, a blinking screen

enclosing all thought

in static explosions of surf.

 

Into the drink, the before birth,

all liquid comprehension.

The gesturing wind

was an extension of limbs,

trees and inaccessible forests,

mangrove, black river cypress.

All that is concealed eventually sees light.

All that is consumed within a vast appetite,

the regurgitated words, the message often missed,

the pools beneath falls hold the tears of the mist,

like a lament for all the passing moments.

Clouds draped shadow over the valley walls,

slowly it crawls, this spirit revealed

in shifting hue,

in subtle song,

how it quickly withdrew

but remains long after the form is gone.

Waving Idly From Afar

blogger-image--906932752 hanauma bay

Like the wind

I work my way through the tall grass of the crater.

A place of rare emergence, it is named for ‘ihi ihilauakea’

who between drought and flood

sleeps under the hardened mud

and in the languid shade

dreams are draped like a clover lei

in this dry and wordless place.

The thorny brush scrapes the canvass,

its rhythmic sway

is the sea that lifts a finger

to paint and texture the horizon far away.

Like the path

I am worn by generations of footsteps.

Boots dusty from the factory

contrasting starkly

with the starched white wedding tunic

fitting like a luminous shell

dropped fromĀ  greater heights

to speak of sacrifice

and the miracle of being alive,

within the crevices of myriad choice,

a clinging crustacean

against the immensity of waves

drowning out the tiny voice.

Words were meant to be an offering

but the sky makes short work of my ambition

as spray begets beads on lava rock,

more sweat is necessary.

I lift my eyes to read

the careless cursive in a pattern of birds.

Cryptic signs from those lost at sea

come to me at dawn.

My makeshift empathy

is tattered by the wind

but still waving a thin, forgotten banner

faded with time.

Best to replace messages with rhyme

flagpoles with fishing line,

to see what can be drawn from the deep

instead of waving idly from afar.

I couldn’t claim any of this as my own,

elusive silhouette against the sky,

paper cutout to the hillside,

raised shade in the veil of clouds

just passing by.

I did not obstruct the wind

but lent an animated note

to its continuous hymn.

I did not construct the unknown

but bent my craft to its every whim

before letting go.

Truth, From out of Darkness

ULUPO4 night

Truth, an abandoned office

whose walls peel away the layers of the last occupant,

as if everything was left in haste,

cabinets were flung open

in searching the darkness

spreading between files

that should have remained closed.

Be careful what you search for.

A forbidden glance lays the groundwork,

accomplished beyond human labor,

chains that hold the vision together,

so Mana could gather on platforms

illuminated by lightning storms

reflected in the mirror of marshland underneath.

Truth, we receive brief flashes.

From out of the darkness, Ulupo stands

monument to the mystery,

paths lead through the enigma

of how it was built in one evening.

Stone by stone, this ancient lineage

fills in the blanks

as fleeting shadows break

from torch-lit Lauhala.

The Ko’olaus are infused along the rim

by the light of the moon

so you can drink it in

from the Punchbowl to the palace ground

there was no sound, no words could do it justice.

Truth, like a liquid,

slips from out of the cracks

you cover with silence.

On the far side of the Pali

the white seminary would glow outerworldly

from the base of the mountain

where you take that bend sharply,

all the way to the old drive-in theater

to where they found her car,

abandoned on the far end of Kapaa.

Answers were elusive, like hitchhikers,

pick them up at your own risk,

lighting cigarettes with only their fingertips.

a glance in the rear view mirror and they’re gone,

the last thing you’ll see

before the trunk of a tree meets your windshield.

Truth, like a false grill light,

is a masquerade of questions,

What happened that night on the way back from town?

Would a moderate light guide through the fog that surrounds us?

The search for order

along the yellowing border of stories with no closure,

it gives a sense of place to the present void.

Taking pictures in the dark,

spiderwebs positioned for our breath,

the wet forest glistened

in the breadth of our flash.

Finding the path,

muddy steps murdered our pant legs

while cat eyes acclimate

to the darkened shapes

dangling in a tattered landscape,

the sky behind clouds,

suspended there like truth,

dependent on what can be seen, felt or heard,

or so they say.

The scraping branches on Moiliili rooftops break the reverie.

You had fallen asleep in the empty lot

behind the now derelict office

of the late Dr. Grant.

His name still visible in a dangling placard

that hangs and sways over the doors

that led you to all these dark corners.

Truth is never condemned

but rather transformed

for each subsequent generation,

it depends on the receptivity.

Distracted by carefully constructed facades,

know that some places remain,

through the tunneled mountain

at the very heart

of what cannot be divulged so plain,

the day will be drained of light

and night in its scented bloom

will resume at Ulupo

where it always has been

for those who seek it out.

Back Valley

Manoa_valley_bishop_2

When you arrived in Manoa,

damp from the rain,

there was a mist that had lowered,

a musty incense trapped in wood.

Listening for subtle instruction,

you go inward.

Everything is moved by hidden means,

heavy winds and a light that ushers in the void.

Sunset’s hot coals singed what’s left of resistance,

when clouds leave no footprints

walking Tantalus.

The shrouded prisms,

the ghostly veils that trace the ridge line.

From here there’s a well defined

form of a crouching tiger

set in stone musculature.

Protective walls form a sanctuary,

a garden of feng shui,

a perfect symmetry

that comes from being cradled on all sides.

The pulse of a reclining dragon

is tempered by the tortoise,

keeping the Chi in harmony,

until the phoenix lifts it

brightly south to sea.

The Moon is now balanced

above the ancestor’s branches,

seeming to emerge from the burnt out tree.

it appears stranded,

like an emaciated heart, waning.

Prying tears from deep recesses,

surging into streams of thought

to lay on the surfaces of runoff,

playing its role in the letting go.

All that is fixed in marble is a mirage,

a disguise over the loss of control.

All the dead end illusions

form a platform

from which to peer at the unknown.

All the debt and uncertainty

of being alone

burns brilliantly from this vantage point

back valley

where the sky is a conflagration

of all that came before.