Clear a Space Among the Ruin

 

IMG_1186t kaniakapupu black and white

You can imagine it in its splendor,

for surely the full moon casts a glow

over the ruins of Kaniakapupu in the

early hours.

This emergence

from the contours of a clouded sarcophagus,

will leave no witness.

No one taking meaningless pictures

to capture or extract from its essence,

nothing to distract from a dance,

luminous as it is sudden in its disappearance.

Our temporal bodies a nonentity

to the unseen symmetry of stones

and in their reflection our own illusions unlearned.

To clear a space for illumination, for the imagination,

an axis of paths scratched out of the convolution of bamboo,

a place for the wind to gather leaves

in the striptease of season’s silence

shaken and committed to streams

and in the passage of time

sense the essence of nature

whose falls appear out of the gloom of mountains,

from under the veil of ghostly heights

too treacherous to reveal secrets to foolish climbers.

Rain, relief, sadness and acceptance,

all upon the skin of the message;

trust the process.

Light, like a torch through the canopy,

gifts a brief glance at the inner geometry,

the blurred boundary between the spirit and the living,

between stillness and motion,

receive inspiration like a transmission.

Surfaces mirror the soul,

control the discourse

over what is known of forests.

Remnants of history, partial achievement

coming into focus from out of obscurity.

Clear a space for the sacred,

somewhere to retreat

from the profanity of the city.

All the modern means of obstruction,

the flow confined to concrete,

the land mined under the guise of progress.

Under the shadow of glass,

no one seems to care that it can never last.

In a hundred years, when the forces of nature

clear another space,

what will be the state of our ruin?

the legacy of our folly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Essence knew no Boundary

koralia bonfireThe essence knew no boundary

over great tracts of wilderness,

in the abrupt descent into the sea.

Through uninterrupted spaces,

the spirit is as evident

as the grass it passes through.

Akin to a last breath expanding outwards,

seeking a landing,

somewhere to rest its laurel leaves

with lines of light

that guide through the night,

like the lanterns of Santa Marta,

all the runaway stars

that slip through the sky to the playa,

a culmination of sparks from a dual bonfire.

Passing between flames,

we were no longer the same but altered forever.

Candles capture our image

while smoke lifts us ascendant,

etched in the moon’s white visage,

we’re stark black and in tatters,

crisscrossing footprints, overlapping shadows.

Love and loss lean on each other

until they become one in the same

mournful song of nocturnal birds taking wing,

soon settling into everything;

a scent, a fabric,

the fragments in nature that form a picture

outside of any frame, it’s nothing we can name,

that which knows no boundary.

Entrenched in the heart,

the feeling swells into a soaring crescendo,

breaking chains of attachment, Bowie’s “Heroes”

communicating directly with something immaterial.

If the spirit was a wind,

it would be as wild and wayward as these trades,

ragged from journeys, seaborne and saved.

We would get a sense of it through its impact on the waves,

in the patterns in the sand it creates.

Relating to spirit it stands

seedless yet rooted,

following the oldestĀ  of forms,

connecting practitioners with those who passed

a half a century before.

There is a subtle stirring in these movements,

a newer manifestation of an ancient art

which is once again a communication.

 

In the next chapter, after everyone goes home,

we’ll tend to the alters.

The ash of insense and dead petals will be swept.

The salvaged portrait polished

until we find time for reflection.

The gaze in the photograph

attaches a steady line to our own memory,

like a charcoal tracing over the spaces between meaning,

in a search that is never wavering,

we can come to an understanding

that between death and life

some things endure.

 

For Uncle Joe McCauley

I think of you often

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Petals of Remembrance

flowers ashore

When a bead of rain

within the outstretched palm of a fragile flower

becomes infused with light,

it is a butterfly being plucked away by the wind.

As it begins its climb, you observe its significance,

like a ray in the sky beaming directly

towards that sublime height.

Like a ring in the eclipse,

you’re transfixed on the other side

needing certain eyes to perceive

what it briefly reveals of shadow.

The ocean, like a vast blanket of patience,

receives our red petals of remembrance,

grasping for words, let loose and

inching forwards with radiant acceptance

in the swirling chaos of everyone’s remorse.

As you push towards the void that peers

through a transparent film of tears,

you can see within

all of the sorrow and reverberation.

This raw material evaporates

like a mist from a wave that hits you head on,

like a train from out of nowhere

pulling you from the comfort of your own

and into the sudden intrusion

of unkempt and uncontrolled emotion.

Grasping for empathy in the recesses the past processes.

Red flame, like a blade that cuts through regret

at what you could not change,

seared into an embrace of impermanence,

slow dance between the living and what is pending.

Witness the last breath,

like the receding of the ocean’s edge,

that uneven line of lengthening tide pulled tight,

until the pale face of the horizon’s sky

settles into the grey of night.

A peaceful process, this loss of light

in the turbulent spaces of holding on.

The beeping of machines

shifts to swarths of green beneath majestic peaks,

prompting a transformation in those of us there to witness

the simplicity of workers turning dirt,

different machines now laying him in the earth,

a reunion of sorts

beginning with white cranes

who come to usher his spirit away.

 

 

In Memory of Ka Yick Yu

7/25/40- 12/2/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pali Revisited

dark-road-470

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.

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.

Endless yet Incomplete

IMG_5413-Smoky-Sunset
The spirit dreams itself through the land
to stand now gazing
through reflecting pools
at the myriad features
like masks on the wall
in this theater of skin.
Scenes to glow from within
like diamonds in an abyss
appearing endless yet incomplete.

Into purple rest
the sun now retreats over the ridge
kicking up cinders, shooting out prisms
until its first incision
will give life again to these sleepy limbs.
As day breaks the shadowplay,
Aurora will peel away
a ripple in the wave
revealing a wrinkle in the renewal
of birdsong that breaks the barrier
between beginnings and endings
the time babies are born
and elders pass away.

Some live on this edge,
balancing their tragedy every day.
Unable to feel deeply
the empathy between strangers,
the frightening familiarity
in a fear of ending up lonely.
This illusion appears to be
the last mist to lift
from the rift that keeps us separated
by the towering upheaval
that leaves us sifting
through the rubble of the bliss
we once knew had no division.

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
asĀ  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