The Pali Revisited

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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.

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This Voice, Swallowed by the Sky

water ripplesThis voice, this half-formed entity,

a fractured alchemy

between what is let go

and the unknown it would follow

one voice, one horizon, not amplified

but swallowed by the sky.

Akin to water, it seeks fissures,

filling cracks where it empties rivers.

Where the wind meets the waves

there is no division.

Where precision meets what you change

there’s another revision.

The moon was the only light

in a sky of blindness,

there’s no direction given.

A lost cause to lingering questions,

this voice, a puncture point in the abyss,

swims in bliss, dreams it is borderless,

like a star trailing off and incoherent,

it is moving where you can no longer hear it.

This breath, tiny and drowned out

in auditorium vastness

in the ceilings of night

that capsize all ambition,

disappearing like coins

in the hands of the magician.

A disembodied voice rippling to the far shore,

another turn in Charon’s oar

reveals the gleaming obols

from the moon’s folklore.

Joining the masquerade of clouds,

this breath hung between lines

as if on a highwire

that is pulled across the sky

to soak up what is left of the light,

this voice that illuminates the night.

The Visitation

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The chimes of the balcony

trickle into the memory

that I was not alone earlier on the cobbles.

Followed by your echoes,

weightless and elegant,

like a flowing fabric

or the shadow of a delicate fan,

you came like a welcome reprieve

from the humidity that knew no wind coming off of the sea.

All of the valleys were choked and stagnant

until your scented form brushed by

like the visitation of pikake

or a rain that knew forests better than concrete.

You are the balm by which old selves begin to retreat,

the relief of twilight after the heat,

all the small glittering fragments,

fleeting as loose fitting rings

as day slips into night.

These moments can accumulate in trees,

with angelic voices and the flight of eucalyptus leaves

from your silver sleeves

it breathes freely by land’s end

and on the terrace with paper and reverence

I’d make amends,

with fingers and pens

longing for useful lines to describe

the legend of your disappearance,

like a sun behind the sea,

I’ll follow in your wake

with letters sealed in ink endlessly.

 

Cover Image “The Kiss of the Muse” by Paul Cezanne

The Wound

lava-flow-thom-lodge

When night finally collapses,

dawn is the wound through which the light passes.

As the great moon, in the trajectory of its swoon,

consolidates to day,

witness its fade into listless clouds

braced for a fall

with only a thin gauze

to soak up the remains of its thaw.

Beyond the slumber of the creator

behind the shear walls of the crater,

smoke fills the windswept precipice,

smoldering beneath the retreat of dark,

the sun was the first spark, the most prominent streak

that flashed across the page.

With a pause to peek over the edges,

it’ll teeter like an illuminated feather

spreading under waves of undulating color

blinding the horizon’s climatic ending.

If words parted the veil of memory,

starting a slow descent from its volcanic cavity,

bright lines would burn from an inner landscape like a vision,

over fields of new growth with regeneration.

Through each entity, no construct spared

nor offered immunity,

it clears every border

progressing towards her sea

where sharks of the subconscious,

sensitive to emotional debris,

encircle the tattered remnants of the past

sinking slowly into shadow,

eclipsing the material

with shades of stained glass in eternity.

Like a prism, the light passes through

even the deepest wounds eventually.

 

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.

 

Easter Morning, Luakaha

Through breaks in the canopy,

light is drawn suddenly over a bed of fallen stone.

Moss blankets a threshold

of cascading liquid

glistened in silk visitation

through parted curtains,

dawn fills what’s uncertain of solitude.

A glint in the eyes trained on dark corners,

was the last vestige of night.

Waterfalls write whitely from a distance,

like fingers scratching through the gloom.

You become spontaneous witness

to the surface moved to tears,

a hall of mirrors, a montage of grieving

in the mountain’s visage asking

“Who else goes through this?”

Curtain of rain and disembodied mist

disguising a precipice that seems to suggest

were only a brief process

passing through nature’s indifference.

A dream that’s continuous

confronts barricades of resistance

to the inevitable disintegration.

Through the alchemy of our shared creativity,

birth bookends death

returning to nothing save the breath

that moves the water, fills cracks in the void

with voices amplified,

in the solitude of jungles you’ll have to decide.

Paths splinter with myriad choices,

birds call out with spontaneous rejoices,

its Easter morning

and out of the rebirth and ceiling bouquet

light gifted all who comingle freely

with a new day.

The Thin Veil between Me and Time

moon with dark shadow

The moon has a thin veil to shed

a transparent mask fastened to the skyway.

Its vanity is a temporal emissary

to the distant lampshade it becomes

cool and aloof

its grave aspect, like a faceless woman

turning towards me suddenly,

recalls the Japanese tales of Noppera Bo

and its the sea that receives the glow,

the sorrowful fallout of her vacancy.

Spellbound on the silvery sets,

the wave face wept in isolation,

betraying the dark behind her creation.

She draws in luminous figures,

solitary strays, clouds clinging to light

but without warmth

will not linger for long.

See them cast in dissipating craft

to disembody at the precipice,

the Nuuanu Pali disassembling into a V

where the past is trapped

under the gravity of its vortex,

one colossal hex

on the volcanic continuity of rims.

Yet there is a transcendence

to this slant of light

as it imbues these sublime heights

while I pursue the fine line

between logic and superstitious flight

on the narrow paths

all the moments that won’t last

get between me and time.

Taking another precarious step

to strike a balance between guesses

and surefooted surrender

to the next precious expression

I fall under.