2 Night marchersharry cundell

A channeling of energy
wind reduced to a simple maneuvering
stream over stone
mist over peaks
how the spirit leaks into consciousness
a lush canopied recess
senses drunk on a chorus of Thrush
temporal glimpses of light
festooned on the branches
beneath the surface thread
a dream flickering
while art is fed through
this transparent spool
filling the vacancy
all that is required of synchronicity
to fit the edges into a discernible pattern.

Beyond haphazard vanity
there is something outside of me
maneuvering switchbacks
steeped in obscurity
sweat on the brow searching for this purity
but thirsty
creatively empty
a written rehearsal
an elegy
for a muse
hot on the heels
of her truancy
a runaway wandering
leaves me wondering
will our highways connect?
Will they reflect in glacial lakes?
On the road to the sun
these continents divide
while memories reside
like skid marks
on a scarred blacktop.

By boot or by car
passing scenes chart the uncertainty.
Akin to being adrift on a choppy sea
a bobbing figure drawn overboard
barely buoyant
against the recurring dark
currents of thought
that do not stop at the edge
but blur the boundary instead.
Here at the end
considering those long ago dead
they’ll trespass again.
Moonlight drives its keys over the Pali
a bright fleeing to the shadows of trees
ancient struggles maneuver through valleys
out of the corner of the eyes
on paths wound around stream and fall
as the lunar calendar would allow
a disembodied conch to sound
for that transparent crowd
to march down hillsides
to the rise of the drums
under the guise of clouds
they’ll meet the dawn
with dark streaks from torches drawn
against the western sky
not yet awakened
that glimmer in the mind’s eye
where the imagination maneuvers
through a parallel universe.


The Unsettled Past

moon over lanikai

When you become a veil

between the past and the present

through what you feel

and what you relate,

what allows the both to meet and perhaps heal

the psychic wound between them?

The trauma is visible

in the landscape of a buried story.

Twilight persuades the edges to fall away,

 suddenly it is yesterday

and it seems nothing has changed.

But you know how it ends

as the sun bends over the Ko’olau rims

and dark begins to settle in

to the borders of our lives.

You feel compelled to tell it again,

at the foot of a mountainous urge

to speak the words by way of suggestion,

what lies behind the mist

as darkness lifts from where it was hidden.

It is gathering its powers again,

to squeeze the light into submission.

Every evening at about this time,

on the surface of the sea,

whole swaths sprawled bloody

as canoes are dragged ashore,

the sudden exile as the beach goers

gather apparel and drift away

from the longing waves and their approach.

Where nothing remains

save the shallow graves of footprints.

In time the crescent moon appears

as muffled sounds lend trickery to the ears.

The shadows of trees fill the park,

like the impression in the dark

of ghosts in your mind.

With no flashlight to guide,

with no distraction for your thoughts to reside,

you begin to imagine the walk, the stillness,

the ominous car parked in the corner of the eyes.

Soon there’s Kalapawai lit up with spaceship lights,

this haven feels like miles away

for those who play beyond the neighborhood curfew.

Waiting under the banyan at dead man’s curve,

a car swerves into view

with faces pressed against the glass,

you blink your eyes tightly

to see if this image lasts

of the helpless who pass into the wind

of leaves dragged behind machines.

It quiets down, you blink, and there it is again

as if on repeat

in the dark corridors of stone wall and tropical branch,

this proto projector permitting an obscured glance

of the fleeting macabre dance

of the hopelessly unsettled past.

The Old Pali Road. Part 1

old pali road 069

In the old days
travel over the Pali wasn’t taken for granted.
In the days before the 4 lane and the tunnel,
offerings were still made for safe passage.
Whenever one braved its twisting road built of earth and bone,
carved into volcanic stone, it awaits,
canopied by monstrous trees
so that hardly any light would lead you through the gauntlet’s gates.
Challenging both physically and mentally,
one confronts the myth and reality.
Much of it depends on your disposition
for something begins to take hold the deeper you go in,
something over the shoulder, vague and unsettling,
the forest all around you, flourishing,
in places invading, veins turning to vine,
everyone has their threshold and in time
 may re-root
to be pinned like a vice
between here and the other side.
Between the wall of wind and the shroud of mist,
the Old Pali is, in essence, a precipice
that since ancient times has swallowed many.

Part 1.  A Dead End Relationship

The Old Pali,
where nightmares are like notches on a frayed belt
that winds its way tightly around the imagination.
One corpse felled glittering remains
in the sun and cloud shadow.
It may be missed
under the mist of time but they are tied together,
seems the Pali claimed another.
Perhaps an Akua or sacrificial altar,
whatever the legend, it appears shrouded in mystery.
Startled by your own shadow,
clouds crawl down hillsides to consume you,
like your obsession
for those who have fallen and made an impression.
For those looking for a guide,
the clouds were paper lanterns over the eye
that leads them to the leaping point by moonlight.

Along the road that winds through the past,
time hangs suspended,
limbs gently swaying in the breeze,
layer upon layer of leaf and debris,
hiding the discarded,
myth and history heaped on its shoulder,
unearthed with every blasted boulder,
until bones are covered over
with a damp and mossy concrete.
For those passing through their shadow,
the concrete shifts to the immaterial.
In this liminal place of dark wood and narrow light,
we crawl to the edges of a stark insight,
that nothing awaits save what we bring inside
the condemned palace of the mind’s eye.
So we become dark tourists for all the sordid stories
that pilgrim down a derelict road,
whose text is scrawled in scars and on abandoned cars,
spray painted on the walls thick with loss
like a moss that gives it a translucent glow.
Looked at in a certain light,
it is a flight from the city,
a flight of fancy into the phantastic past
where certain things endure,
so traumatic they cannot help but linger
in the swarming subconscious
of the last person who will remember it.
You pass through there
and a part of you merges with it forever.
The kind of permanence that a snapshot fails to show
but the sensitive may get to know on a moonless night.
Pitch black are the contours
appearing like cracks in the forest
that is a living, breathing witness to everything.
There’s a wind to its will
that shakes all that is predictable.
A Wilder wind that wails through the boughs and limbs
and you feel in everything, that there is more than what it seems.
With little resistance you fall into its embrace,
chasing dark shapes, flashing lights,
formless flights on the Old Pali
as it slithers out of sight.
Follow the wall
that intersects the civil and the wild.
Stripped of foundations,
slow driven to exile.
If thoughts get locked in a bamboo prison,
look for a guide of light,
may it shoot through in prisms
and see you to safety.

This darker inverse
to the bustling city commute.
The Old Pali, a parallel place,
is at root an intermediary,
a dead end where you keep going.
There is always rain here
as it aids in the unknowing.
A dead road the city closed,
could not be monitored nor maintained.
Too much has happened at night,
terrible remnants just off the shoulder,
beyond the police tape,
so they closed it behind gates,
letting the walls become overgrown with roots
and the surrounding jungle sprawls
into a dumping ground for the discarded.
A dead end for the dark hearted,
always parked there in a white Valiant.
Are these apparitions all in the imagination?
The first thoughts cobble into nowhere.
Between the stone and the stream,
the substance and the dream,
the first road under the brush of time
that painted it impenetrable.
The distraught come to follow its cracked pavement,
like all the fractured friendships
and loved ones they’ll leave behind.
Until they find on edges a precarious balance,
perched above where it submerges
into the primary texture
of the pain-washed receptor
that lies below their disappearance.

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.