She Stepped out of Time

2073-wh-white-satin-t-strap-d-orsay

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

 

How these Forgotten Seeds take Shape

candles like bodies

Tears become breaks in the illusion,

a continuous procession

of their loosened  impressions

in puddles, on wet sidewalks

where vigil candles

are seared reflections.

Hands clasped

brothers and mothers

share in the mourning

embracing the fragile strings

entwined and loosened like balloons

designed to bring messages beyond

for those who died too young.

Letting go

like hundreds of tiny spores

that lighten the atmosphere and

restore some color to the grey

anger and shades of despair.

Most towns have had their share of darkness,

comb through their history,

find some are enshrined to their tragedy,

a depository for its residual energy

coursing through the tiny webs

that connect lives to one another,

to families and to those who commit murder,

a buried trauma

creates an armor

around what remains unspoken

secrets

buried for decades in empty lots

forgotten and paved over.

In forests, the trees that witnessed evil deeds

weep for those who have fallen,

like tragic leaves, no one hears them,

the wind pulls them along

and steers them into the void.

In abandoned places, the last to remember

thaws these souls frozen in yearbooks.

Those who passed briefly

through towns and halls

become only whispers we barely recall,

wisps of remorse in the collective recourse of memory.

As the years wear on and take their contemporaries,

most become merely  stones in a cemetery,

marble mementos

the chiseled bookends

of a larger story

that would always outlast this body.

Marred by past violence

you must seek it out

beyond the withered ends of its silence.

They are elsewhere, for those who collect

the tattered remnants of what they leave behind.

What sustains wayward energy if not recognition?

Like the flash of a match in a dark corner

gasps a name and they remain.

conscious if never fully whole

these faces stuck

to a telephone pole

where torn missing person signs

are left to weather

the indiscriminate wind.

By staples they are held together

or whatever is left

it is always the eyes that stare back,

branded on my empathy a deep longing

to give them form,

a burning that waxes in words

satiates the urge

to warm the ghostly reverb

that radiates endlessly from one psychic wound.

When the heavy rain finally passes,

who knows where the waters will go?

Who names what they return to?

Like the energy inherent in someone’s essence,

it remains even after it passes,

like the scent of wet ginger in the forgotten places.

The Old Pali Road Part 2

old pali road 063

The Liminal Veil
The Old Pali is spread liminally
throughout the pages
of some great mystery.
Like a cave comes the curve of the next corner.
The drive of curiosity,
the momentum, the velocity
of feet, wheels and thoughts
careening to a motion of their own.
Pulled into wind-blown trees
to greet the unseen,
to embrace this draw,
the magnetic motioning claw of the unknown.
Down its throat you’ll go alone,
with raised skin
with a sensation
that cannot be confined
to the comfortable coffins of reason.
Expanding belief, this brief revealing,
another bend, another curve,
the suggestion of a fantastic swerve
through the imagination.
There’s a collective remorse that spews forth from the Pali,
the aftermath of a skewed course
witnessed in the charred remains
pinned to the trunks of trees.
The paranormal silhouette of shadows
and banyans that strangle out the sunlight,
dripping dappled on the two-lane.
Leaves and ash are dragged by passing cars,
slowing to take in the crash,
gasps the wreckage attracts
to leave tire marks in muddy cul-de sacs
and flowering mementos on makeshift altars.

There’s quiet echoes of something whispering
“Cover me in blacktop, bone and blood”
on the backs of leaves and the bark of trees.
It is full of scars,
the headlights of mangled cars
as  it twists into the dark heart of the island,
layered with violence and trauma.
It is here on the Old Pali,
left between night and morning,
that hairpin turns
plunge into oblivion with no warning.
More than simply a road,
there is something left of the jungle
and the invading arbor
as roots and massive trees
break the concrete.
Much relates to the briefly seen,
running riot in the corners of the eyes,
in rear view mirrors the overhanging vines
lingering in light shafts
that illuminate the blacktop
contrast with cool shadows.
The smell of rain and cracked seed,
soiled wetness
sticking to dense barriers of green.
The sound of a stream running somewhere underneath.
The scrape of leaves,
vagrant and small,
led down a wind-blown hall
that speaks of an immeasurable crack
in the high peaks
perceived through breaks in the canopy.
The Old Pali holds all of this mystery.

There’s a fragile wall that withstands the wild.
Along this hairpin border,
civilization loosens its grip year after year.
There’s a veil between the imagination and the material,
labeless, luminous
like a match against the blackness of midnight
and the heaviness that crowds in from all sides.
The lips of the road foaming
at the corners of its mouth after the rain.
The walls are forming letters,
like messages from the dead,
scrawled in moss.
The ominous presence of giant trees
embrace the huddled shapes underneath.
Tears running down trunks
as if the forest was weeping.
Hung up in mist, there’s an infinite sadness
that manifests itself to the sensitive
passing along the road that sorrow built,
passing beneath those peaks and misted quilt,
which is a doorway to the spirit world.

old pali road 046