She Stepped out of Time

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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

 

The Heavy Cost of Light

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In time darkness is softened along the edges,

losing a grip on the rim of the moon

but still visible in the shaded pools of Nuuanu.

Mostly unseen, this transitioning

into morning surfaces

serene streams of penciled lines

drawing out the movement,

the illusion of time,

how all is subject to its division,

a revision of the bliss we knew as children.

Our passage, an indentation in someone’s memory

and nothing besides belief in something grander,

a glimmer in thickets of bamboo and banyan.

In the translation of a moment’s whim

the word gets out like a wind

through the gnarled branches of past instances.

What should have stayed within palace walls,

escapes like a confession

and in this expression

we diminish what is sacred,

wringing out any secrets with a reckless pretension

as we transition online and appeal for attention.

Photos shrink the moment,

while egos inflate with over exposure,

every posture crowding the foreground

obscures nature until it is rendered irrelevant.

Under compulsive scrutiny

we cannot escape the desecration of those walls.

It comes inadvertently from increased foot traffic

in the worn out light,

an oppressive weight as it falls into disrepair.

 

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.

Light Seeps through the Illusion

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Through what I’d perceive in the sky’s mirror,

the sea was a ragged mariner

cast on the jagged rocks.

All the debris i would carry with me from the past,

the horizon could no longer forecast

or keep from floating away

from some logical ideal.

The line was a separation,

sea and sky

silky and undefined,

an impenetrable teardrop,

weightless,  impression of color

in a superstitious and darkened course.

With no compass it flows over the sides of the canvass,

like an art that is infinite in its reading,

it depends on the witness.

For all who need to wander and father words,

further imagination, the borders are reinforced

than blurred by travel.

The intuitively known is murdered in bloody sunsets,

red robed in the glow of twilight

thrown across the liquid’s edge,

like a veil from the eyes

the westernmost ledge is

illuminated.

From there it is one step

inward to perfect

or join the drowned by shipwreck.

All the blind and rudderless,

with their mangled craft lodged in the sand

like a sullen crop half buried

in the perennial mystery upon which we stand.

It is a precarious position

when a landscape of fear

offers no sanctuary from

being pulled into a perpetual wasteland.

Not many know the history

beneath a city.

Soiled reflections stare back

from clean facades of steel and glass,

vast monuments of shadow

creating the illusion

that no sweat and blood were shed

during development’s colossal intrusion.

There are moments you see it clearly

as a shaft of light whose

passage holds a thread of jewels,

a glittering sequin to the narrative

where the brightest of all, the moon

becomes a beacon in the darkest canopy

to see me through.

Back Valley

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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.

A Distorted Image that once had Symmetry

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You never seemed closer

than when the winter’s mirror

showed the moon through a window

we no longer shared together.

It had moved beyond the frame,

outside of the domestic pressures

to come to a consensus.

Arresting me now

from this unsteady position,

appearing marble over sculpted edges,

it succumbs to the falls.

For a time you receded

into the memory of travel.

What we felt was fixed

seemed to unravel

into a distorted image

that once had symmetry.

It was a shared architecture

balanced perpetually over water,

on the far end of slumber

we’d pass through Alhambra.

Light and shadow a shifting mosaic

perfecting the illusion of order.

It shades the gypsy within

a forgotten square,

somewhere the faint sound of strings

that know no completion.

All the poems resting in woven shoulder bags

share their scraps of awe,

untidy and retreating to far flung places.

There the moon is watching,

like an ancestral eye,

witness to the chaos

that in time plateaus.

It sees these windows are cleansed.

What we had closed is now flung open

as it ascends the back trellis,

cold sheets over the flower beds,

the moon is a punctuation of silence,

a trial that comes to completion,

an illuminated mile to float on

as time allows us to revive a dead ocean,

an unfolding dream

an unbroken seam,

as it coils around the wave break sound

to the far horizon where eyes bid farewell.

If this is my last view,

if today is a good day to depart

with a subtle wake,

it would always be worth it.

Between the Sky and the Sea

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The void spreads,

wandering for an echo.

Its silence shaved into a profile

Kanehoalani

keeper of the caves and underground springs

a labyrinth of burials

through which the wind speaks

its porous volcanic chants

this eternal dialogue with the dead

tufts of valley grass at its feet

regenerative pools of red petals

the scent of blood

born of ancient battles

resonates its decay,

blesses the sunrise

upon which we’ll walk this day.

The sea heaves you into sleep

collapsing in a heap of disfigured sheets.

Half nodded you note the details

from the table’s edge

to the depths at your feet

disassembling into archipelagos of dreaming.

The rain, rhythmic

dissolves the moon in Po Kane

mostly shadow, one blade of light

accentuates the featureless

paths of flashlight finding the abandoned places,

Luakaha, Tantalus, the remains of Luakini

under brush strokes midnight.

The muscular miracle,

the movement of your wrist,

the meandering river of your veins in motion

your parched and dried up words find an ocean

smoldering like a morning fire

a smoking illusion, the disappearing night

transitions into chalky white streaks

patterned on black lava rock platforms

where the dead are lead to edges

and waves of worldly concern ripple away.

That opening in a cloud of spray

was a swan dive through which endless night

sucks the last soul through.

No moon lights this procession,

put your ear to the blowhole

and take down its confession.

Track the mist, spreading in the absence of form,

the void, blanketed between the sky and the sea.