Leaving by Moonlight

b49cd646ea5aea4b9ba229ecfb3adb60Permeating the imaginary borders they were constructing

temples to the external

while the journey was inward

instructing shadows to move, immaterial

without the physical to complete the eternal.

The eye that watches us all is a stranded moon

pale and blood drained

like a weightless stone it remains suspended in water,

it never falters,

the light of its gaze

traces trembling fingers over scaly walls.

Through the darkness

perfect waves peel back broken glass,

lines like china, smooth in its collapse.

The clouds were disrobing crowds of mythical figures,

transforming to animals before our eyes.

The dragon, undeniable in its profile

against the night sky,

with one blink renders an uneven line

below on the lost coast.

Like a spotlight, it captures the waters receding

all the way back to Fastnet Beacon,

imbued with the spirit of lonesome immigrants

who would pass weeping in the smoke of lives left behind.

Shrouds silhouetted to the glow

while waves shaved glimmers to the shore

like a parting sentiment for a land they’ll see no more.

Sparks may loiter by driftwood fire

and pained strings weave fragile scratching

into the backdrop of pounding surf.

To the rocks that receive it for centuries,

the sea is one part dissolution,

one part creativity,

the place where rivers end emphatically

in the brackish beginnings of the next journey.


They Come Dressed in Feathers

thumbnail_-facebook_1483738169765That was how the spirit left the scene,

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

The moment becomes a window,

the photo an eternity to gaze through


becoming signs, rippling to find

where the child once stood,

so that the saddened would be assured,

as they gathered along the shore

beneath oak and behind shades,

that this was how he made the transition.

The next phase of the journey,

no longer earth bound,

contours cast off and scattered to the deep,

commingling than expanding

to include these wings

and all the moments that are arresting.

We can find you when heavy clouds accumulate,

as the light that breaks through the sorrow,

as the wisdom that all is temporal.

The ways and the means we mill over

must appear smaller from up there,

ant-like and in miniature.

The shadows that surround

can levitate from the ground

when the sun moves them,

when all the white homes

appear like a runway of bones for those in flight,

passing with flashing talons

to penetrate the dreams of those inside.

Clear as the glint in your eyes,

I remember the whole trajectory,

as you cross the sky like an Egyptian deity

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.


Up north the family cottage grows cold.

The once glowing furnace of the potbellied stove

emits no smoke from its chimney beneath the trees.

Yet the floors still creak

and something beyond the elements speak at the edges,

with the spring of your essences.

It moves beneath everything,

even when no one is listening.

The sound of cracked ice on the lake

reminds me that the ancestors will take

the surroundings given and speak through them,

moving the pine’s limbs to shadowbox with the wind,

they make themselves known, if only briefly,

outside the pages of that great mystery

unread in the cobwebbed dust of your library.

Our lives are the layers in the walls they built,

slivers of glass in the windows and lamps they fastened

another stitch in the tapestry,

that which completes me, speaks through me,

through the imagination, peering from a darkened sky,

projecting light on the pillows of the dream’s eye

like a moon wrapped in sheets of cloud

on a winter’s night.

I hear you most clearly in the quiet hours

before anyone wakes,

when the lake would ripple its way to the pier

and two loons draped in mist would appear,

skimming the water’s gaze

over the length of the great Birch,

they’ll materialize and search

through my guise, at once familiar

in white tunic and shoes of leather,

they’ll come dressed in feathers,

dipping one wing in the surfaces of memory,

moving what preceded me,

deconstructing but giving breath to me,

an extension, their living entity,

poised between worlds.

When the Wind is a Whim


It’s early morning on the day of departure.

Leaving this island again,

a kind of exile,

this home without you.

Though you are there

the core is bare

beneath a lush surface.

In your face a familiarity

a place time released sand in,

if you were once a traveling companion,

I now go alone to get closer to you.

Closure from you?

Like paddling through inertia,

thoughts sea swept into the distance.

Distance, something that always did us good,

limitless author of options for

those too individualistic

to stick to one another for long.

So we remain enamored

by the solitary journey

that hammers its adversity

into this domesticity

like the common belief

that we’re somehow unique

rather than entwined.

Seems the truth is defined by both

and neither of us is truly in control.

So we journey on alone

and wear the changes proudly

as if it is the only fabric that endures.

You’ve helped me to embrace it,

accept it, reject it, rail against it

and go solo into the neons and night skies

that cross a vast ocean

to land me on a notion

that this city we built was only a prelude

to all this drifting further west.

East? West? 

It’s all one circle in the begin again.

Now here at the cliff’s precipice

I’m ready.

With a swift throw

to feed fire to the wind,

to go with illuminated wings

floating feather-like

into wherever its whim

may bring me next.

A Port in the Sea of Memory


Seasons changing

with a suggestive early morning

glowing of rose colored vapors

ascending the spiral stairs

of wrought iron alleyways.

Suddenly revealed

in their gardens of distended shadows

that splendidly hang

in a momentary shaft light,

the repetitive drift of crystal drops

that had accumulated from the season before

on the once frozen rooftops.

It captures a moment,

where journeys begin

where journeys end,

lines tied together in chimes,

loosened by the breeze,

into a musical wind that leads far and wide.


This has been a stopover.

A port in the sea of memory,

all brick and solemn

in the swirling fog of transient rain

caught in the trees like a sparkling headress

that addresses what has accumulated around the custom,

in a setting so contrary to where I have been living,

a land of eternal sunshine.

But this cold block of bedrock,

with alleys enclosing old feelings,

ancient and solid

ancestral and rooted

in the soil and the sidewalks,

everywhere there are landmarks.

You approach this table

from out of the travel

clutching a memento,

like an offering you leave it

to shelves and drawers

before you withdraw lightly

into the lure of the exotic.

Another train

another bus or plane

it is unnecessary for me to fortify,

this place will always remain.

On the periphery of circles,

looking inside the familiar

shadows of former times,

the brief dramas

the sad passing showers

flow in the wake of lines

holding and urging,

the only thing golden was leaving,

from out of winter

into the thaw of receiving

a necessary momentum.

From a Train Window


Thoughts on departures and emerging trains,

the depot excitement of a bustling platform,

everyone clutching belongings

but nothing uniform

in this mad dash for the silver lining

Sunset Limited at last opening

under an art deco clock,

to carve and unlock

a new town out of morning tracks.

The lightness of leaving,

perhaps for good,

new memories to incubate

in the womb of this current

that whisks you away

through mountains that only rise

to separate you from that former self,

know there will be another platform

on which to take a stand.


From a train window

no victory or end is sustained for long.

It begins again within myriad turns,

inherently vulnerable, the sheer humanity

crammed into all that machinery.

Mere specks in time,

vagrant in the slow crawl

movement by design.

Pathologically it accelerates

from depots of glass

through canyons of concrete

to open spaces at last,

a distortion of distance.

Panoramic horizon lines

too gargantuan to define

the steam from your recess

reflecting the nature of impermenance.

Train windows

transient channels

the flashing panels

of faces and landscapes,

who shares your compartment

on the ride that never ends?

If ever our tracks cross,

I may never see you again.

A feeling of melancholy ties the loose ends,

lost in blurry reflections.

Shrill yells punctuate the in-between,

you’re either coming home

or being pulled away from its seams.

Trains consuming tracks

as the journey comes back around,

the distance dances,

improvising on transient canvasses,

once uniformly blank

now painted marsh grown purple heather,

better to forget what you left behind.

Wisps of black smoke uncoil

to leave no trace on this twisted line.


Another train brings me closer

to another thought I should let go of.

Heavy luggage in familiar compartments

burden to reveal that I have gone nowhere

but back around to the same question.

A direction without landmarks

disguised under the skies,

the fogged up vacant eyes

seeking to find a center

to a journey always within.


The train holds up a mirror

to confront you with choices,

how to perceive the reflection

upon the glass of these shifting questions?

Passing the unfamiliar landscape

smeared across windows of dying dreams.

Derailed in forests far from the roads,

they tread in a blur of unseen shapes

surrendering to the speed of light

over corrugated iron.

There’s no dark like the dark from a train,

as it combs the countryside

as cold as cold can go.

There’s no map for your eyes from a train window,

as the sun sets over towns like Wyanet.

Stalks go red and rusted pickups go nowhere,

in forgotten yards where their tires are swings.

Better to forget the rubber and gypsy by rail,

that way sleepy towns get momentarily injected

with locomotive speed and power directed westward.

It sets fire to their hair,

puts joy into the voices I won’t hear

over the rumble of the train.

Fields position against the horizon,

scarecrows crucified in the lava lamp sky

soon darkening in contorted sleep.

Dismayed to awake,

twisted into a pretzel shape

to realize I still have two more days.

Blink and they’re gone the way of debris,

the way strange towns recede,

the way of trackside whistles whining,

“Time is winning.”

When will it be morning over sunflowered fields?

So real, the moving landscape.

Surreil, that darkened place up ahead

that the distance is fed into.

The unknown that pushes against the side of the tracks

that break but do not diminish

the continuity of its impact.

When you think these tracks can go no further,

they usually do,

carrying you through tunnels,

through the continental divide,

until ultimately terminating

in the Antioch yards,

the place where cars go to die.





The Swallows


Following the mountains

the journey turns south,

Washes over roads

and between arroyos,

it is written in the sky above.

Scratched into the tire marks of transport,

it darkens

the temporary shelter,

from out of the elements

under a motionless roof,

a sodden rug, a couch no less elegant,

a place to hang a hammock

between the pillars

in the cloister garden courtyard

for just one night.

Summer shows cracks of autumn.

Leaves to cold stone,

the frost is coming

to leave scars on windows

in villages so high up

they seem perched precariously

in ravines of these passing scenes.

Cold wind through the chimes

precipitates the search for warmer climes

where the jungle falls into the sea

eventually he will reach Mismaloya.

Climbing hills at twilight

to gather a bucket of stars,

to empty into alleys after the rain,

serene streams moving over cobbles

bringing with it the scent of soil

calming, audible

it sets alight

the quiverring of  leaves

falling like embers

into the aroma of open fires

and fresh baked tortillas.

This strange lodger,

disheveled, wrapped in a poncho.

With no recognizable features,

is somehow illuminated

by a light now gleaming in the narrows,

like the swallows streaming

from out of cracks in the armor.

Their dance is arresting for a moment,

like a beautiful language

from out of shuttered windows.

Listen for their voices

like the ragged hymns of a chorus

awash in folklore.

Tonight the village lights candles

on the family cemetary floor.

On makeshift alters

they offer food and drink,

sugar skulls to sweeten the loss

of loved ones that passed

solemnly in procession

with glowing hands

they cup the santeria.

Dia de los muertos

Under the volcano

Draped in clouds of darkened shawls,

widowed in the shifting sky

of the eye that watches it all

from an attic window.

Above the white-washed balconies,

beyond the vines and terraced gardens

deep in the south,

you see him there in the distance

of fields and fallen walls.

Randy moving languidly

between the sounding of the bells

on ocher pathways

of terra-cotta and broken shells.

Seeming to climb behind the clouds,

he swallows golden light

to shoot out in prisms,

fractured, all his prisons

fall away with illuminated wings

to fly freely.

Perhaps the swallows he kept seeing

were angels all along.

Trapped in his chest

but hemmed in no longer,

they now circle the sky with every breath.

The Midnight Science

The sky is cracked in light ruin

just beyond Ka’ena Pt.


words leap back into the ocean

clouding the tangible

crowding the foreground

with half-lit banyans

loosening shadows to sleep on the ground

to seep into the sound of the sea

the midnight science

the alchemy that transforms all this to words.

The wind will turn pages

like the last breath

in the last struggle before death

symbolically closes this chapter.

If not the one book,

it was another


the source of sudden insight

divorced, restless feet to flight

on countless journies

coast to coast to close the distance

between night breezed sighs

and the light of island moons

pressing together thighs

breaking the midnight science of silence

pierced like splinters

you pull out one by one

until all their strings were undone

and there was nothing left holding me to you.