Where Innocence Intersects

roses on tracks

Memory,

the planted seeds of future work.

Those moments of mystery and violence

seared into childhood innocence.

In the rows of cross country cornfields

intersecting on the empty plains of thought.

You’re the point of entry

for these stalks on all sides,

until growing overhead,

you were not able to process it yet.

When what housed creativity

was merely a foundation,

fear is the forgotten masonry

that builds fascination.

Mystery,

those luminous garments

you’ll salvage from dark closets

to give form to again.

At Dungeon rock you keep digging,

finding only madness and subterranean water,

not realizing where the gold resides,

on the tips of the trees that line Cornel path.

 

Violence always had it’s place on the knife’s edge of time.

In old Kung Fu films and in the technicolored gaze

of Medusa’s severed head,

you were transfixed to the red

that emblazoned the cars of elevated trains.

From the Bronx to Coney Island

your imagination placed supreme significance

in the division of neighborhoods into gang turf,

written dimensions on a prized and ripped map.

By middle school a fear and fascination with death

found you staring out the windows

at long black hearses

ushering in St. Pius funerals.

There was no longer the safety of naivete,

friends lost parents, people got cancer,

a heart attack took Nonna

and the small panic you’ll always remember,

phone calls that announce a stranger

penetrating that tiny world.

All these recollections

sticking like mud at low tide.

Osgood eyes wet, keen on distant birds,

deciphered as spirit in the wavering trees

and in the dreamscape of the sky.

The ocean always returns to childhood

in the scent of salt marsh,

it marches back in time

to the music tangled in the cellar wires,

memories in the decay of seaweed at Derby Wharf

where all the layers overlap and you can read

the barnacled marks when it recedes.

Out from under the shadow’s thumbprint,

you’re the exposed rock of Chocorua awaiting a storm,

you’re Waterman seeking a nook on Lafayette Ridge,

Brailsford on a weighted line in Cormorant shade,

Cochran still unsolved in the fog of Swampscott.

What breaks the silence?

What moves the instrument and goes beyond science ?

Was it violence creeping in the telepathic underground?

Tripping the wires to access

the haunted tape loop of the mind?

The sudden screetch of trolley cars

collides with Garbarek’s sublime choir,

as if the bloodied petals off of Pulcherrima’s rose

were left scattered on the tracks.

You were there at the intersection

watching the passing of the rails,

standing over these remains

to note the juxtaposition

that holds unspoken significance

to what you have yet to transform into words.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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.

 

With No Windows Save the Sky

Remains_of_WWII_pillbox

Expressions of dream imagery

to drink slowly through a straw

confessions of extreme honesty

reflected in grey waters back home

a film over childhood borders

a whisper of fog

beneath the loudest of thoughts

a hijacked word

arresting the soul

from somewhere offshore,

in the ringing of the mast pole

rhythmic and in time

as if none has elapsed

between bedrock

and the most wayward of tracks

far flung,

the gulls go there now

looking for scraps

from languid lobster boats

switching their traps.

Follow the luminous wings

in the wind high pitched

above factory walls of red brick

in cities you once knew

until one by one

they’ll fall on the edge of view

at the furthest point

there’s no urban renewal

only a pillbox hut from World War II

with no windows save the sky

pointed through a frame with no door

laying down on a rock filled bottled floor

to breathe into a shaft

lowered into the sea

down that ancient stair,

Bimini,

Mysterious

terraced into the immensity

like bones in a darkening throat

you listen for notes

to create a rapport

regurgitating words

from the ocean floor.

Depots

grandcentralterminal04

Fleeting stations

through which all things must pass.

Trains mercilessly invade

plans carefully laid,

scattered

like tangents in transit,

you forget where they connect,

waylaid in this depot

with barely a moment to reflect

that thoughts and emotions

are only outposts along the tracks.

Drawn from out of cracks in the earth

like an expectant birth,

the womb bulges,

stretched to the till

everything emerging from tunnels,

like insects from an anthill,

into the rythmic enigma of change

that you’ll attempt to arrange

into a coherent design.

There is a stationary map

where the motion gets trapped

in the riddle of its lines.

 

Time,

grave schoolmaster

correcting with sticks,

confronts the nervous with ticks.

The pressure to decide

when to move

when to abide

by an almost religious form,

crucified.

The mechanism’s in place,

the dominant figure

in this transient theatre

is the clockface.

Schedules shuffle

with spinning metal

voices rattle off another destination

to numb ears conditioned not to question,

weary to respond in turn

and form lines.

All are locked in their own depot,

void of context and without bearings,

amorphous and at the same time unique,

strung out on the in-between

they wait to be transported somewhere new

in the waking dream.

Waiting to be transported by one bullet

shot out of a chamber shrouded in steam.

 

Catch the melancholy sparks of fleeting sunsets.

Time no longer lingers

but grips with twisted fingers,

uprooting the moss that grows in-between.

There’s a scent you associate

with a clinging taking hold.

Words and feelings

unfold at the binario

so you go

into a life dwarfed by infinity.

The sky, like a fallen mirror was the sea.

The clouds were shattered pieces of memory,

even times the machinery

had you pinned,

you always knew you’d win in the end.

Wherever restlessness puts you

must begin from this depot.

From a Train Window

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Thoughts on departures and emerging trains,

the depot excitement of a bustling platform,

everyone clutching belongings

but nothing uniform

in this mad dash for the silver lining

Sunset Limited at last opening

under an art deco clock,

to carve and unlock

a new town out of morning tracks.

The lightness of leaving,

perhaps for good,

new memories to incubate

in the womb of this current

that whisks you away

through mountains that only rise

to separate you from that former self,

know there will be another platform

on which to take a stand.

 

From a train window

no victory or end is sustained for long.

It begins again within myriad turns,

inherently vulnerable, the sheer humanity

crammed into all that machinery.

Mere specks in time,

vagrant in the slow crawl

movement by design.

Pathologically it accelerates

from depots of glass

through canyons of concrete

to open spaces at last,

a distortion of distance.

Panoramic horizon lines

too gargantuan to define

the steam from your recess

reflecting the nature of impermenance.

Train windows

transient channels

the flashing panels

of faces and landscapes,

who shares your compartment

on the ride that never ends?

If ever our tracks cross,

I may never see you again.

A feeling of melancholy ties the loose ends,

lost in blurry reflections.

Shrill yells punctuate the in-between,

you’re either coming home

or being pulled away from its seams.

Trains consuming tracks

as the journey comes back around,

the distance dances,

improvising on transient canvasses,

once uniformly blank

now painted marsh grown purple heather,

better to forget what you left behind.

Wisps of black smoke uncoil

to leave no trace on this twisted line.

 

Another train brings me closer

to another thought I should let go of.

Heavy luggage in familiar compartments

burden to reveal that I have gone nowhere

but back around to the same question.

A direction without landmarks

disguised under the skies,

the fogged up vacant eyes

seeking to find a center

to a journey always within.

 

The train holds up a mirror

to confront you with choices,

how to perceive the reflection

upon the glass of these shifting questions?

Passing the unfamiliar landscape

smeared across windows of dying dreams.

Derailed in forests far from the roads,

they tread in a blur of unseen shapes

surrendering to the speed of light

over corrugated iron.

There’s no dark like the dark from a train,

as it combs the countryside

as cold as cold can go.

There’s no map for your eyes from a train window,

as the sun sets over towns like Wyanet.

Stalks go red and rusted pickups go nowhere,

in forgotten yards where their tires are swings.

Better to forget the rubber and gypsy by rail,

that way sleepy towns get momentarily injected

with locomotive speed and power directed westward.

It sets fire to their hair,

puts joy into the voices I won’t hear

over the rumble of the train.

Fields position against the horizon,

scarecrows crucified in the lava lamp sky

soon darkening in contorted sleep.

Dismayed to awake,

twisted into a pretzel shape

to realize I still have two more days.

Blink and they’re gone the way of debris,

the way strange towns recede,

the way of trackside whistles whining,

“Time is winning.”

When will it be morning over sunflowered fields?

So real, the moving landscape.

Surreil, that darkened place up ahead

that the distance is fed into.

The unknown that pushes against the side of the tracks

that break but do not diminish

the continuity of its impact.

When you think these tracks can go no further,

they usually do,

carrying you through tunnels,

through the continental divide,

until ultimately terminating

in the Antioch yards,

the place where cars go to die.

 

 

 

I

Still Lingering

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Pendulous minutes

do not transform to words

but emotions.

Still, it lingers

for that first line

to move across your tightrope wire.

The mind, perched above an unspeakable blankness,

late summer losing its sheen,

hitchhiking

until the rides dried up in doldrums,

until night folds in

without a room to rent,

without any light to pitch a tent,

with no station to channel the breath,

from all sides comes an irrational fear.

Peer into its depth,

declare that you’ve lost your gift,

pulling sentences from time,

an amorphous shape to define

ideas beginning as flickers,

then springing to lamplife

to permeate sleep

and create with words

 the smell of dew laced with kerosene,

wet mornings camping

Shenandoah.

The tent canopy conceals

a hard, strange bed,

a precious bootless rest

above the path’s myriad experience,

dreams caress the soundless transience.

When time becomes oppressive to sleep

and the mind, like pulp,

forms fresh images for the pen to reap,

you idle, where no roads go.

Remembering every manifestation has a motion to it,

every creation has emotion to it,

every relation can have devotion,

like sand against the ocean to it.

Where shall my thoughts rest tonight?

On what downy  palm sway soft breeze

invites the mist to lay before me?

What visitation to release without holding?

Precious but not controlling,

these ghosts, my close associates,

the ones I have to work with,

creatively, in collaboration

with the infinite integration

of insects and grass glades,

it’s about harmony,

those doors swinging both ways,

its about syncronicity,

about your words and my breath,

it’s a part of me and everywhere.

In every sand grain rests sunlight,

it’s serenity,

paid in myriad ways

through work that begins in the heart.