The Pali Revisited


The Pali,

that dark depository for all that passes through it.

Wind, wheels, energy,

psychic imprints left like tire marks on the periphery.

The forgotten past straddles median lines with the present,

relapsing in the flash of headlights

like the sudden reflection of moonlight across the eyes,

mysterious pools beneath a canopy’s disguise.

The light finds its way through coils and folds,

illuminating those trapped in banyan choke holds.

It is calculating, seizing hosts, sinister in time.

Simultaneously, it is the substance to the darkness

where the spirit descends,

intermediary for this marriage that depends

on the synchronicity of strangers

thrust into one another by seed or by accident,

punctuated by a rain that stirs up

all that lay dormant in dark contours.

The road follows its bends,

unravelling thoughts that never end,

sucked into tunnels, a gaping mouth

that funnels the fear

from one generation to the next,

born out of these corners, legends endure.

Over windward’s steep ravine,

some took the curve too sharply,

dead teens in careening trajedy

comingle in red clay.

With no shoulder to lean

over this auto graveyard,

flashlights will gleam off derelict fenders

and last screams linger over the screetch of brakes.

This pain re-awakes in those who suffer in silence

while wind accentuates the absence.

deeper into that forest of loss,

older passages trail off to no answer.

Wind, an instrument for a troubled mind,

sets in motion the swaying vines,

caressing wet air, dangling hair

descending from cool heights where

a mist would appear, is it more than it seems?

Does it backdrop the myth, will it penetrate dreams?

The Pali leaves you stranded again,

tricking you with voices and visions,

so you place alms in the crux of stones for fallen victims,

offer empathy, lest we disturb what is underneath,

skulls the highway keeps,

tunnels cursed to know the interior of burial caves.

How many workers unfortunate to find shallow graves,

tie Ti leaves to truck beds before driving it again?

That endless loop wound tightly to the mountain’s circumference,

straddling that extraordinary line

between the material and the spirit,

darkness and the divine.

The Pali, a psychological barrier,

intermediary for whatever you bring over.


The Old Pali Road Part 3

old pali road 064

Morgan’s Corner

Winding, ever winding
amongst the long quiet.
You wonder when it will end?
As its painted lines
seem to unwind
from an infinite spool.
Only the unsettling thoughts
are left to drool into view.
Only decay,
fallen fruit and turned over trees in red clay,
these are the ones that stay.
Mr. Grant said it best,
that perhaps Morgan’s Corner is
“Nothing but a dark parking lot for the imagination”
for sinuous thoughts snaking between eventual ends.
It is about greetings and what grasped you?
About the fleeting who never last with you
past the next bend of banyans.
They say you should never whistle
when you are under their swaying branches.
They are like pendulums playing scenes of mystery,
urban legends whispered over and over.
This intermediary for history to repeat itself.
Imprints beyond that barbed wire entrance,
no trespassing back decades
to a murder site once cordoned off with police tape.
Past the scent of rainforest incense
and the moss ridden cylinders of trash and debris,
past the point of no return.
There’s a half-fastened noose in a tree
past the crossroads, a hairpin turn
cathedraled even during the day,
canopied by its terrible story
under the gnarled roots of this curiosity.
Past the fascination that beckons you forward
into the unknown.
A draw that originates somewhere
beneath the cliffs in this sacred grove.
Here where the jungle creeps over the road
and doesn’t disclose so simply its past
or the secrets that sleep underneath the concrete.
Mystery motions to loosen the wheel just a bit,
soaked in rain,
grounded in its tracks again,
there to remain under the Pandanus tree.

Cultures, history, shaped in the dying.
Shading the discovery of ritual.
Sketched to become visual,
some are whole, some are fractal,
sliced into and erased by the moving landscape.
It proceeds from some mysterious wellspring
to suggest to those who come under its spell
that not all is material.
Delicate and withdrawn,
we sit in ignorance along the borders of our tragedy.
But there is a tendency to take that corner too sharply
and there are no second chances at Morgan’s Corner.
What sordid rendezvous happens just off of the shoulder?
Under the eaves of great trees and out of sight?
You feel many have died here.
Claimed by its decaying walls.
Memories strung up in vines
that overhang and strangle the light.
So, if you go to Morgan’s Corner on a moonless midnight,
proceed cautiously,
for in your folly you may unwittingly
become part of its legacy.
Like the damned that went before you,
hung up there for eternity
or like fallen trees
were dragged across the road unceremoniously.
Through the frame of a waking dream,
suddenly limbs become tangible,
roots graspable, tugging at you.
All we ghost from real trauma,
from real armor over all the sorrow
that has been written here.
All the terrible drama buried from long ago,
you could swear something was sharing it with you.
Remember, Morgan’s Corner takes root in the mind.
To yourself rationalize,
“Is it really all within?”
The sudden snap at the periphery,
that flicker of movement,
you’re unconvinced
but that could just be the wind.

old pali road 065
Further reading from the dark side of the Pali:

Loose Bindings


At the end of the line

the last bus dies hard into the distance.

Unkempt pencil shaded features

obscured by smoke,

ushered in by taillights that

soon broke an impenetrable border

of silence in the cricket’s song.

Before you the way is paved,

languid and long,

through a tunnel of trees.

Perspectives like these never seem to end.

Drawn around an infamous horseshoe bend,

blacker than black would render,

so you surrender within.

What preserves these yarns?

Fragile webs spun years before,

now barely glistening.

Left as landmarks

and if you were listening

to the warnings, you’d find them

camoflaged to the texture of a whisper,

cathedraled in a prayer of mourning,

like a memento or an offering

to those that are suspended under the invasive ceiling

of your mind’s canopy.

Darkness, when the mind is hung up in the penultimate hour.

You linger there alone by lamplight,

in an exile’s outpost,

the writer makes his choice of word

akin to a wolf whose voice unheard

calls to an invisible host.

It’s the last grip before you nod off,

the final drip of moonlight

lost in the reams

condemned to the pages

drowning in someone else’s dreams.

Loose are these bindings,

like the last gasp of night,

horrible you’re finding,

when Dawn is struggling into sight.

Time covers all trace

in the deepening enigma of this place.

With a momentous wrestling with roots

you’ve had these moments of disappearance,

adhering to solitude,

where nothing is completed.

Belief is loose ground under the obscured ridgeline.

The half-formed picture of the Pali,

where words won’t go easily

to describe its beauty,

trace trail wounds in a slow procession.

The magma of your impression

will manipulate the land,

that trembles where you stand

before ultimately going over.