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

 

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Night Came to Reamore Part 2

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When night came to Reamore the crickets were out.

The scared and trembling trees

crowded in on a pitch black lane

and if there was a moon

it would break through the gloom

and throw reflections

on the surface of a brook rambling through.

How many steps mingled with the tapping of a staff

on that particular night?

In the weeks leading up to his death,

Moss Moore felt as if he was being watched,

over pints and cards he was known to say to friends;

“He’ll be up there waiting for me”

assuming he meant Foley,

“One of these nights at the crossroads there will be a reckoning”

So, when he would stagger home well after dark,

it was always with a protective stick and a flash lamp

whose searching light would cast a furtive glance

at every meandering shadow,

for every twitch and drop of rain became trailing footsteps.

The last night he was seen alive

leaving Mrs Collins’

with the scent of the hearth stamped into his cloak,

he could be heard tapping his staff like a blind man

and with a lantern that bore into the night thick with fog

and into eternity beyond the bog

that receives our darkest runoff,

Moss would soon decay into his own destiny,

a light growing dim and further away.

Foley was presumed guilty of the deed

but no law could punish him.

The rain came, agent of mystery,

destroying any shred of evidence left.

Still, the town’s eyes rested on him alone,

whether fairly or not, he would bear the blame

and become outcast in his own home.

A final four years that would be met with silence and boycott,

amplified in that tiny village, he tried to remain with dignity

but the strain of being a pariah

would leave his body to desire release,

to ultimately give in to the strain

before he also was laid to rest,

death came by way of heart failure

No more today has been explained

about what happened in Reamore 60 years prior.

Conspiracies abound and Foley’s descendants

maintain his innocence, claiming a convenient scapegoat

for those who wanted Moss Moore out of the way.

Not much of it is said these days,

all that remains

is the scent at night on those darkened lanes.

The evil that had settled into that isolated corner

has grown dormant

and of Moss Moore and Dan Foley

there’s only brick and mortar in ruin

marking their former dwelling,

the source of rumor over one man’s felling,

for those old enough to remember

and re-assemble in their minds

the sinking sun

and the shadow on the lines of this tale,

there’s the shell of an infinite sadness,

a gable and a windowless desolation

that knows only a cold wind.

Rain still falls on these fields

and rushes through the ravines,

time passes and closure grows further away

as the last of those living at the time

recede into memory

like the last gasp of enmity a land can possess.

It seems to proclaim, that if anyone knows anything

they are taking it to their graves.

Night Came to Reamore Part 1

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Night came to Reamore in November of 58

followed by Gardai, reporters and uniformed officers in galoshes.

They were searching the bogs for a missing man.

A cap was found at a stream bottom, a broken staff,

a flashlamp buried in a turnip field.

All through the mud of those relentless days

of winter weather they combed the countryside

leaving no stone unturned

When it finally dried out,

Moss Moore’s body was found strewn in a ravine,

face down in sodden clothing,

it was a tragic scene

for a gallery of onlookers

who had gathered along the edges

as investigators flashed their cameras,

you could see on their faces

a look of wonder mixed with horror

as one of their own was plucked like turf from the land.

By nightfall the rumor mill was running through Reamore,

a rural and isolated corner of County Kerry

that will be forever associated with this murder

and steeped in its infamy.

Every ravine is carved by its own history.

In every field there’s the story behind the story.

In the quiet bogs where neighbors cut peat for each other,

sometimes blood trickles amid the brooks that separate land.

Among those elements, both natural and man made, that divide people,

there is something primitive in upholding these boundaries of land.

In these layered hills of stove smoke and misty light,

sweat and pride is enclosed by stone walls

and tied like wire to the divider lines,

something men claim as their own

driven like a stake,

their own bones

running deep into the muddy ground.

It may seem nondescript,

this particularly narrow strip of preserve

but contained in it was a powerful urge,

the capacity to take another man’s life.

They say Dan Foley killed Moss Moore

that winter’s night in Reamore.

He had always maintained his innocence,

despite the obvious signs of struggle

scratched into his face,

one thing’s for sure, whoever killed Moss Moore

did so with his bare hands.

Judgement passed the lips of the locals,

demanding Foley to stand guilty,

despite the fact that they were neighbors and friends.

The men couldn’t have been more different,

Moss was small and wiry with sharp and pointed features,

a solitary man who lived alone with his two dogs.

Foley was a family man, large in stature,

square jawed with serious eyes under a flat cap.

Their dispute over land was well known in that farming community.

Their homes were divided by a ditch,

the first tragic stitch

that was lain in the absence of a divider wall

that was meant to be built but never was.

Instead, Moore constructed a makeshift fence

to keep Foley’s cows from drifting in and out,

the intention of any temporary boundary

but this one only welcomed in distrust and doubt.

Disagreement over a half-acre strip of land created a rift

and a tension arose between the men like a mist

swirling in rumor, whatever happened that night

would leave no witness.

Murder sometimes leaves a mark in the isolated dark

but few can see it,

one man’s final breath

can be squeezed from him forcefully

but not everyone can pick up the echoes

of his death throes in the rural quiet.

To be continued…

The Poisoned Glen

poison glen
Something in the atmosphere suggests
that the name is not merely a matter of mistaken linguistics.
Words, a pale skin,
a lifeless layering of dust
over everything that has happened here.
Victims to the passing of time,
they are barely a memory,
a backdrop to the savage beauty,
a ruined church at Dunlewey,
a windowless shell of what was,
a vessel to look through the form
and see those who wander forlorn
on the other side.
In skeletal hills
the land is scarred like a dead meadow.
With shadows black
as the underside of a burnt kettle.
The scent of smoke from a distant peat fire
permeates the air,
giving rise to a pall
that punctuates the despair.
It seems the specter of the famine is ever near.
Imprinted on the wind,
a passing whimper of history,
sinister harvester of the impoverished.
The graves of someone’s children
are tiny markings under tall grass,
swallowed in the magnitude of the glen.

You sense in the stillness,
souls are never at rest.
Beneath the oratory,
a towering dome
on which the transformation was known
as Errigal, the capturer of light,
of sorrow, of flight,
of the exile pursued by sea
to his death by crushing blow
that would empty poison into this hollow,
to forever spew forth
for all that follow their envy.
You see, beauty is innocent
and beyond control.
Beauty that flourishes when left alone,
becomes poison with the alchemy
of a possessed man’s soul.
The legend of Balor is written here,
as is the ghost of the green lady.
I’m told in passing of a greedy host,
a serial murderer,
who would lure in the weary
with the promise of shelter and tea
on their way home from overseas.
A bed for the night
would rob them of life,
bodies lightened of coins,
glittering in darkened wells,
weighted, waiting to be recognized,
the ivy and this opening disguised
as it drapes a tendriled arm
over stories that were worth listening,
disturbing what was resting,
your presence, a sudden wind
slipping in between
the collar and the nape of the neck,
raising the skin
over all you were considering
in relation to this beautiful
but poisoned glen.

The Old Pali Road Part 3

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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: https://yakskinpocketnotes.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/cracked-seed/

Cracked Seed

The old road wears its history like scales

as it snakes its way through the past.

Sometimes it glimmers enough to see it

just under the surface

just under the cool heights of the cliff

I found your story.

Covered by the debris of years

and like the road,

overgrown with rumors and fears,

but there nonetheless.

So I read on, haunted as I went deeper,

now “I can’t get it out of my head”

caught like a vice in the little details,

that night you and your best friend set off for Kalapawai

to never return again.

Those bitter details.

Perhaps all you went out for

was crack seed or something sweet,

two teens, too young to love

anything but the weekend bliss

of sleepover and beach,

thoughts of shaved ice or musubi,

just seeds indeed

swept into the cruel current of their destiny.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

into the unconscious,

something unique and irreplaceable,

riddled with lead

and left for dead

in a sacred spot where many before you have fallen.

Was that night still?

Were there trades passing gently through the waves

and the ironwoods that line the beach?

On a beautiful tropical night

did that orb of light take away your speech

as it darted from behind clouds

and through breaks in the palms and monkeypods?

Was it the moonless kind that creeps up quickly in a rainforest?

Soon all is pitch black.

A flash of chrome in the dark and he would take you there.

Under the roar of an engine, behind the growl of a command,

in pursuit of that dark all else be damned,

drowning out the plea in your voices

“Why don’t you let us go”

tiny in the deafening flow of what would be.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

in the season of heavy rain,

from uncontrollable urges in a man’s brain,

the horror flowed forth

along its twisted, blackened course.

How surreal that ride must have been.
Beginning with the sound of tires over gravel,
pulling up alongside you.
Once initiated, this ride through your hometown
would careen past the familiar street lights and signs
of roads you crossed countless times.
Kailua must have assumed the eerie glow of the unfamiliar,
as divider lines become the only light
as the Plymouth probes deeper into night,
towards a cul-de-sac and out of sight.

What would happen next,
you friend was forced to witness,
disoriented, scared
and scarred forever,
like that deserted road,
a derelict memory you would hold
for so long in that jungle.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

from the island’s darkest hour,

in a desolate corner

of a road they always warned her

to stay away from.

You would never return home that night.

As the hours dragged on

your family would become sick with fear,

perhaps cursing themselves for not keeping you near

the tight knit warm light

set against the black of that March night

and all that lurked outside.

Your contorted position provoked anguished cries,

bloodshot and watery eyes,

countless nightmares for those you left behind,

as they make their way through

the horror of identification,

the surreal blur of those next days

give way to reality as it all sets in.

“Who would do such a thing?”

The endless cycle of questions

and they “Can’t get it out of their head,

their old world is gone for dead.”

From a cracked seed blood will flower,

in the backseat of a 68′ Valiant.

Breaking the seal, he soiled the white,

while all your friend could do was pray

“Please get me through this night.”

What in a man’s past

twists him to become a violent instrument?

Somehow inhuman,

unable to feel remorse

but only a course dictated by fear,

taking his machinery there,

past the border of no return,

from a forbidden corner in his heart,

a place grown over with a riot of vine,

turned over with training and trauma,

scarred with decay,

it is under there to this day

after decades,

under the mist and hush of barrack whispers

and when it manifests itself again,

no innocent is safe.

No longer stainless, the threat of his piece

broke the peace of that evening.

The threat in his voice

forced the paralysis of choice

and once inside your only recourse was prayer.

From a cracked seed blood will flower,

a shot in the dark that would allow her to escape,

one friend sacrificed for the other.

A seed of possibility,

barely beginning to sprout,

to grow into a life

that now can never be her own.

Given to dark thread sewn in men’s hearts,

forces we only vaguely will ever know.

Those who do will never forget you,

as they visit what is left

under the shadow of that jagged peak,

in your peaceful garden of ginger,

they seek the memory of your innocence.

From a cracked seed blood will flower

red through the mud.

It can still be read there,

even found face down under a canopy

you can never leave.

A seed that will never grow

but remains young and fragile,

a silver light in the dark, supernatural

and without a home, without closure,

you’re destined to forever roam

this lonely and fathomless road.

In Memory of Dawn Dede Bustamante

11/21/61 – 3/14/75

Rest in Peace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi92aKQEwXI&feature=player_detailpage