The Dream Lends Light to Darkness

lost city

Entombed under the weight of sleep,

it comes like a relief,

a blade of light pulled from a darkened sheath

In the midst of that jungle,

through the dense trees, a glittering El Dorado

appears through the lens

clear as a mountain stream.

From the deepest valleys

dreams nourish the source of words.

From watersheds, unconscious threads

follow cracks between rocks and the riverbed,

a silken transition

that transcribes light to the water’s edge.

The glass over this surface

scratched innumerable stories into liquid mirrors.

The illusion of today gone tomorrow,

the process words seem to follow.

Solitary thoughts with painted wings

point the way inspiration

lends light to temporal things.

Where the breeze mingles with the sky,

the imagination holds up the butterfly

seeking somewhere to land.

The sharp branches of Kiawe

do not ward off this delicate advance,

now coming into focus,

patterns of color to contrast

with the stark bark of reason.

Relenting once again

to the tumbling of events,

the breaking of waves,

the last gasp of energy

scattered like ash in an enchanted rain.

Dreams will burn brightly

through the smoke of illusion,

leaving fragments for the waking to reclaim.

The Clouds Hold the Past

clouds mountains

1.

From a hidden source

somewhere in the mountains

clouds burst forth

as if fed with fire.

A series of slow glowing embers,

supple the clay mutations

that render fully formed figures

connected by luminous wire

and hung from a window’s edge

unveiled in transparent attire

that catches the light

before it strikes the abyss

and is undressed there forever.

2.

The artist conveys the unconscious

visibly in the sky’s mirror

shifting imprints on a wet sidewalk

where dreams stalk the waking

and interpretation is ever-changing

on an ink blot palette.

When a mouth of cloud gapes

to consume the half moon,

there will be one fibrous fingernail

scratching against the darkness,

a sharp talon piercing the mass

while light escapes through the cracks.

Nothing is static nor remains for long

on this borderless screen,

tragic scenes from the past

are replayed on this landscape of glass,

coils of inner state recreate the loop

and you’re held in thrall

while contorted images crawl past,

even here sorrow can find you.

3.

Sifting between the wavering bristles of Cook pine

casting shadows on the rock wall’s sacred design.

Curiosity steals a glance

until pursued through the cloud’s expanse,

seeking refuge, a silky balm

to move across the calm dimensions

and into the waiting arms of the sea.

Disappearing into India ink

like memories set to sink into insignificance,

those fleeting moments disintegrate

into roseate plates

that were the scales of some exquisite snake,

shaking free from the coils,

the clouds now steady

floating feathers in an offering of serenity,

a balancing act over the buoyant sea,

an older me, isolated yet integrated,

our history is one in the same.

Travel, Like a Stream that Runs Parallel

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The days linger on,

like a rain that hangs

over the island’s

timeless embrace.

Streams trace the streets,

chase debris out to sea.

Perceive the occasional

floating flower petal,

fleeing like an insignificant detail,

a star amongst the gnarled traffic

of tree limbs and vine,

it becomes more profound in its travel.

Lapsing into symbolism

that will unravel

the mystery of unconscious scenes

just below the surface,

subterranean streams running parallel

to the lingering routines.

Suddenly the universe

and its lightning-infused

electricity of happenstance

conjures a crystallized moment,

a recognition of perfection,

 an art without the need of further correction,

a stage we can gracefully leave

what we preconceive

behind the mask of striving.

Reviving the beat, we dance in unison.

Poised for the next change in rhythm,

content to let the world of thought

fall away into its own revision.

Above the abyss of the audience,

we’re positioned on the cusp of decision.

Do we walk the fine line

or give in to expectation?

 

Asking not for support but momentum,

I come to this crossroads limping.

Trusting I’ll find my feet again,

a retreat into dreams again,

 a long and winding highway

that untangles the reeds

of someone’s needs,

enclosed in glittering ports,

those soft resorts

that line the shore

of your creative wasteland.

Now that it is light it is time to leave.

The colored roofs, the twisted routes.

There’s another bus to catch,

another town

of multi-colored pastels to undress.

On some ancient Calle

framed by cacti,

a whole stretch of valley lays before me.

You can hear the distant horns

in courtyards, mariachi.

Do not disturb the stray

asleep in the doorway.

Leaning against a wall,

I pull a brim hat over my eyes.

No need to disguise

how good it feels to be alive

under foreign skies again.

To reach for the sun

that blazed through what was barren.

To feel the rain

 that glazed a green hue to the hilltops

that fill you with the desire

to play chase with the clouds

above the chapels,

stepping from one to the next,

until finally you become a tiny speck

on the horizon.

 

 

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.

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