This Voice, Swallowed by the Sky

water ripplesThis voice, this half-formed entity,

a fractured alchemy

between what is let go

and the unknown it would follow

one voice, one horizon, not amplified

but swallowed by the sky.

Akin to water, it seeks fissures,

filling cracks where it empties rivers.

Where the wind meets the waves

there is no division.

Where precision meets what you change

there’s another revision.

The moon was the only light

in a sky of blindness,

there’s no direction given.

A lost cause to lingering questions,

this voice, a puncture point in the abyss,

swims in bliss, dreams it is borderless,

like a star trailing off and incoherent,

it is moving where you can no longer hear it.

This breath, tiny and drowned out

in auditorium vastness

in the ceilings of night

that capsize all ambition,

disappearing like coins

in the hands of the magician.

A disembodied voice rippling to the far shore,

another turn in Charon’s oar

reveals the gleaming obols

from the moon’s folklore.

Joining the masquerade of clouds,

this breath hung between lines

as if on a highwire

that is pulled across the sky

to soak up what is left of the light,

this voice that illuminates the night.

Mexico, 10 Hours from Anywhere (a Montage)

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In the middle of nowhere,

a dusty taco stand.

The hush of high desert chaparral,

the silhouette of a field hand

near where Cassady walked his last tie,

in the place where American cars go to die.

Rusted sculptures in vast lots,

trash rot borders,

pristine expanses

vultures descend on dead dog carcasses,

pastoral expressions of the lurid and strange.

Low range storm clouds stacked against San Miguel,

10 hours from anywhere, it rests on an epicenter of quartz.

 

On a tin roof in a thunderstorm.

Modern signal fires in the distance of night sky,

vertical bolts and slanting rain.

Faces watch from under the arcaded frame.

Features illuminated in the interval of flashes,

police cars and further lightning.

Mariachi smoking in corners

with no one to play for,

moments congeal

like wax sculptures in cathedral candles

sealed under statuary.

The pews speak of vacancy,

while walls hold all the reverence and sorrow.

 

Through the highlands you follow

the satchel gathering,

wheels awash over roads,

between these arroyos

weave witness to a primitive sacrament.

Ramshackle transport to a tiny miracle,

the bus, like a slow procession.

Is it a funeral or a wedding?

All is seen in this setting,

hills green from seasonal rain,

the kind that sweeps tiny towns away,

leaving makeshift alters in their wake

like scars on the fertile landscape

carved into the curves of what nature misshapes.

The voluptuous land lay in waiting

for an azul sky to transform to an ancient lake,

for a barren land to become fields for maize.

 

Another morning disoriented.

It could be anywhere but it is Mexico.

See the dilapidated bell tower in the distance,

smell the fumes, hear exuberant tunes

from persistent stereos,

Mexico, a cheap hotel where anything goes.

Roaming the debauched streets

undistinguished from the other gringoes.

Going from town to town,

restaurant to bar, cab to club

to rub shoulders with your illusions.

Cash in a money belt, looking for a good deal.

What goes on here?

In this black market, meat market of the surreal?

Mexico, from the cracks in the wall of a dingy room,

you see whatever you choose,

a muddy river, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

One last impression

before your senses regroup.

Turning home, your mind muddled

but content, that is enough for now.

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. 

Scorched Tones

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Where solid ground joins the night,

it shares in the solitude

to complete the passage of light.

The full moon was looming

to translate the darkness

into something immutable.

Tracks and terrain,

the lightning framed by trees,

bright flares on the road to nowhere.

A charred skin,

the strange shapes that were foreign,

are floating to find the ocean bottom.

 

The places you once were,

seen from above sacred remnants left there.

Scorched tones over all the miles it would clear,

lifted from predictable confines.

A timbre to allign you with something larger,

poised to witness

the first light on the dark outlines,

the shadow of a crater

the expectant shoreline.

From the deep, an utterance

A breath that broke the wave with foam

The OM that shook the universe

<The forming

The warming of molten lava

driving the ages out of forgetting.

The momentum meets you like an idea,

like thoughts beyond the last inlet

that hit the rocks before disappearing.

 

Following sounds down to the edge of pages.

Translucent white oceans

bright and turning over

the foam-shimmered stars piercing

the sea flowing ink from the well.

Resuming its journey,

like wayward lovers

who meet in eternity.

Overlapping in colors

disguised as one merging

memory of a setting sun.

Taste the salt on your tongue.

So close and yet you have not begun

to touch the wind and feel the flow

of feathers falling like embers from the unseen

enveloping wings

that will not disclose or decipher the meaning,

for nature is both separation and cohesion.

 

The moth realizes it’s drowning

in the wax of indecision.

Is this what it means to be safe?

To frantically flutter

until surrendering to exhaustion?

To whatever it is you write

in the blind light of the flame

that sees you through the night?

You are led through narrow passages.

In ancient quarters and in darkened corners,

there’s a seductive presence.

Features are revealed in a moment’s matchlight,

smoke lingering in neon effervescence.

What is left besides cigarette ends

in the evening arabesque?

The isolated design of these markings,

words at the end of an invitation

crossroad within a chapter abandoned.

How long can a spark linger?

A wallowing flicker

to follow footsteps into ash?

The story of fire spread over land,

kindling the torches

passed from hand to hand.

The wind whispers softly past

the ragged shapes in the swirling sand.

Born of freedom

Born of vagrancy

Born into customary migrations

of colorful veils

giving birth to dances

of moonlight on barren lava fields.

Once this time has lapsed into the creation of new land

you’ll find these tracks molded into the black

are the only impressions that last
of a flow that both holds and alters everything.

Where all our colors are bled

Ocean, like a silver armor

reflecting the diverted glare of the sun.

Ocean, like an interpretation

searching under surfaces of light and dark.

Who will congregate

to pass through this state

like shadows admiring each other’s form?

The wind offers a fleeting glimpse

of that which is intimate with it.

Eyes trained on horizons

we wait patiently for something from the deep

to break the calm of the surface.

Fins breach, the sun-swept

disjointed reach to the sky.

One moment, one ripple

a wave from the inner depth

peels through the elemental cleft

to be submerged and sealed over again.

Join them out there beyond the sky

caring not where one is led

the sea is one great stream

where all our colors are bled.

When we returned

the waves broke spray over lava walls.

The day had a perfect cloud cover

of light and shadow

that splintered the open ocean,

all the fishing lines were illuminated.

Ducking beneath them,

the sea was warm to our steps,

penetrable to our grasp,

soluble to all that would drain,

When we returned

we could not distinguish between the spray and the rain,

from the safety of the sane

and that forbidden place

where the mind is a mist

and we drift without footprints.

Take from the prose that arose from a somber recess

but could never disclose the sense of infinite space

crumbling into itself

like a pinch of ash from a bleak sky

or a fallout of stars in the rubble of silence.