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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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

silhouettes

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.

These Wayward Notes Roamed

Paris-7742sPeering over the edge of the half opened drawer,

you’re afforded a glimpse

through the void

of a former life

whose mind structures and stacked spines

were wayward notes roaming

undefined decades ago

through the oldest quarters of Paris.

What was left unfinished, the letters like lamplight

on the avenues and the pinched parallels of Marais.

What do they say of mystery?

Of being buried alive?

One fist seizes the light

seeking breath to break free of binds,

experience in hindsight

relegated to a page in time,

to squeezing sentences of quintessences,

dissolving these contour lines.

Mystery,  in the wake of transport

what can it take of the forgotten?

That which is no longer mentioned of moments

overwhelming the air of another postponement.

The bell’s chorus wakes the wasted ideal,

an incarnation through atonement

beneath the shell of inaction

reverberation towards something whole.

Mystery, that melancholy departure

pressed into the fibre of indecipherable spaces,

twilighted in notebooks

that grid and translate the travel,

blurring the towns in-between.

Still it remains pliant,

rounding out reason’s edges.

Along the border of the Seign river

it is under a saintly finger

as it dabs the transparent clouds

shot through with light

and by dusk spewing blood.

Mystery is the host

holy enough to reveal no wounds

from the dogmatic wars,

it makes it through without scars

without cracks in wonder

it is a stained window in a cathedral,

a marble current in the Parisien sky.

There’s a subtle door in the repetition of poems

unlocking the divine,

a cadence recognized in dreams and visions

sinking softly into a receptive mind.

Mystery, pulled from the void like a rebirth,

sets a glow over the changes,

encouraging new curves in the regiment

of the sensitive imbued with luminous purpose,

to illustrate and turn further pages.

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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.

Truth, From out of Darkness

ULUPO4 night

Truth, an abandoned office

whose walls peel away the layers of the last occupant,

as if everything was left in haste,

cabinets were flung open

in searching the darkness

spreading between files

that should have remained closed.

Be careful what you search for.

A forbidden glance lays the groundwork,

accomplished beyond human labor,

chains that hold the vision together,

so Mana could gather on platforms

illuminated by lightning storms

reflected in the mirror of marshland underneath.

Truth, we receive brief flashes.

From out of the darkness, Ulupo stands

monument to the mystery,

paths lead through the enigma

of how it was built in one evening.

Stone by stone, this ancient lineage

fills in the blanks

as fleeting shadows break

from torch-lit Lauhala.

The Ko’olaus are infused along the rim

by the light of the moon

so you can drink it in

from the Punchbowl to the palace ground

there was no sound, no words could do it justice.

Truth, like a liquid,

slips from out of the cracks

you cover with silence.

On the far side of the Pali

the white seminary would glow outerworldly

from the base of the mountain

where you take that bend sharply,

all the way to the old drive-in theater

to where they found her car,

abandoned on the far end of Kapaa.

Answers were elusive, like hitchhikers,

pick them up at your own risk,

lighting cigarettes with only their fingertips.

a glance in the rear view mirror and they’re gone,

the last thing you’ll see

before the trunk of a tree meets your windshield.

Truth, like a false grill light,

is a masquerade of questions,

What happened that night on the way back from town?

Would a moderate light guide through the fog that surrounds us?

The search for order

along the yellowing border of stories with no closure,

it gives a sense of place to the present void.

Taking pictures in the dark,

spiderwebs positioned for our breath,

the wet forest glistened

in the breadth of our flash.

Finding the path,

muddy steps murdered our pant legs

while cat eyes acclimate

to the darkened shapes

dangling in a tattered landscape,

the sky behind clouds,

suspended there like truth,

dependent on what can be seen, felt or heard,

or so they say.

The scraping branches on Moiliili rooftops break the reverie.

You had fallen asleep in the empty lot

behind the now derelict office

of the late Dr. Grant.

His name still visible in a dangling placard

that hangs and sways over the doors

that led you to all these dark corners.

Truth is never condemned

but rather transformed

for each subsequent generation,

it depends on the receptivity.

Distracted by carefully constructed facades,

know that some places remain,

through the tunneled mountain

at the very heart

of what cannot be divulged so plain,

the day will be drained of light

and night in its scented bloom

will resume at Ulupo

where it always has been

for those who seek it out.

One more Ripple in the Rendering

old pali road 051

In scratching the surface suggestion

seeking out a picture,

a glimmering impression of what has passed.

Through the dirt, rumor and broken glass,

the shards of a half-formed story

could be grasped and pieced together

until momentum would collapse the edges

into jagged gaps that

set streams to bleed over wrists in motion.

There’s always a diversion to twist the truth,

new evidence to lift, to unburden the proof.

There’s the sneaking suspicion

that no more is known now than when first ushered in

to the forbidden forest of what is lost.

In scratching the scars over the memory’s repression

the traumatic depression

of rock fall or article,

the writing on the wall

that is a faded scrawl

in the downward spiral towards oblivion.

To comprehend the texture of this revision

requires one’s own muddied thoughts

to be tracked through here again and again.

Confronting the silence between lines,

between the tied up chimes

and pictures in a collective mind.

There’s a conscious untying of the strings

to hear the wind sing

like birds above the oppressive ceiling of forgetting.

The claustrophobic wringing of this fine thread

leads to a dead end

where dried up palms

sound like snake rattles disturbing the calm

of surface waters with phantom paddles.

The cacophony of singing shells

in the shadow of the Pali dwells

from cool heights where they fell

to twist and unravel over a concrete

that knows neither streetlight nor renewal,

only decay in the memory of its evil,

imprinted like tire tracks,

degraded in overgrown cul de sacs.

Imagining the outlines

while the jungle assigns a new border,

a derelict gate to mark the edge of this haunted quarter

where everything unfolds in the fog of half-truths and disorder.

Bit by bit, each detail is fed to the collective fire,

like reams in a typewriter,

the legend has been tapped into the consciousness of the whole.

The rain comes in sheets

to prompt this release,

to dab at the wounds and proceed

even gently

past the banyan sentry

who seems to guard access to the heart of this mystery,

that secret source that will inspire

one more ripple in the rendering

of a story that knows neither beginning nor ending.

New Years in Manoa

Oahu_Honoulu_EastManoaRoad_3430_photo_byIanClagstone
Twilight reached the Chinese cemetery
simultaneously, a dilapidated bicycle.
The sky set in its crooked frame
the uneven lines of the tombs
and the mountainous backdrop
that looms over everything.
The air smelled of rain and firecracker smoke
hanging like an incense
under a cathedral ceiling,
it was New Years evening
an outside the solemnity of its dark aisles
there was a warzone erupting
against the darkening files
of clouds moving in.
See shapes lighting celebratory sparkles,
as children look on,
faces lit up with laughter,
clapping in rapt excitement
with each explosion,
frozen in the surreal glow of a sudden flare
along the thick rows of hedges,
a snare of light caught in a vault of trees.
It takes its place along the base of a giant Banyan,
limbs in half-light
at the height of the knoll
hollowed out from the emperor’s tomb,
a hallowed room at the very pulse of the valley.
Cradled by the ridges,
energy twitches in clear passages to the sea.

There’s a story to this tree,
this restless portal
with its ominous history,
harboring curses to its charred bark
like a crematory chamber
for the fatal spark
of one who would set himself alight,
gnarled springboard for a streak in the night
which speaks of fireballs
or some such scrawl of mystery,
it is still written there to this day,
fascinating, though it pains me to consider
the blackened ends of this tragedy.

Opting for exit
a prayer passes the lips,
the twisted grimace of a lion’s head,
said to ward off evil.
Passing for wind,
chasing it down valley
rustling the chimes and the neighborhood blinds
blowing clouds out to sea,
only to return again
to take a temporary seat
amongst the jasmine,
to repeat a litany of thoughts,
under a canopy, some sought
refuge from the neon city,
that altar of isolation and stupidity,
the past, the present,
a place to put our drunken offerings
and weave away unrepentant.
Seeking a parallel place
of solitude and clear air,
a place outside the clamoring warfare
of voices caught in a helpless vortex.
A refuge, walled in
content to resist
the endless cycles that come without awareness,
within the circle, another revolution is reached by consensus,
on rickety wheels a new year emerges
from the hallowed vale of Manoa.