The Wound

lava-flow-thom-lodge

When night finally collapses,

dawn is the wound through which the light passes.

As the great moon, in the trajectory of its swoon,

consolidates to day,

witness its fade into listless clouds

braced for a fall

with only a thin gauze

to soak up the remains of its thaw.

Beyond the slumber of the creator

behind the shear walls of the crater,

smoke fills the windswept precipice,

smoldering beneath the retreat of dark,

the sun was the first spark, the most prominent streak

that flashed across the page.

With a pause to peek over the edges,

it’ll teeter like an illuminated feather

spreading under waves of undulating color

blinding the horizon’s climatic ending.

If words parted the veil of memory,

starting a slow descent from its volcanic cavity,

bright lines would burn from an inner landscape like a vision,

over fields of new growth with regeneration.

Through each entity, no construct spared

nor offered immunity,

it clears every border

progressing towards her sea

where sharks of the subconscious,

sensitive to emotional debris,

encircle the tattered remnants of the past

sinking slowly into shadow,

eclipsing the material

with shades of stained glass in eternity.

Like a prism, the light passes through

even the deepest wounds eventually.

 

Words to Describe Flames

goddess pele

Arrested in writing

words to describe flames.

A child’s home in Pahoa

starts with a spark

only to succumb to lava fields by dark.

The dry hissing slow progress

of wounds re-opened,

blood readies along the edges

biblical in the silent hedges

of night’s crackling amber

that flares up than cools

like the hardened remains of coals,

who knew it could hold in the heat for so long?

Backtracking over memory’s seared steps,

you get perilously close

to the word that describes it best.

So close you can sense

the full breadth of the fire,

through autohypnosis

it is harnessed by the writer,

like a waking dream

a half state

it baits a tiny voice behind the mind

to mime words

from the lips of its author submerged.

Here, fragments of unfinished poems,

swamp alder and charred wood

become the bones of a story

bivouac  on the periphery

of urban legends that transcend time,

haunting the sense of place,

transfixed on dark roads

behind the village unconscious,

there appears an apparition,

a white lady

who on the island is a manifestation

of the goddess Pele.

The flash of a lighter

brightens the tragedy,

recalling what happened here

from the lips of last whisper

you hear of someone’s daughter

made to swallow fire.

Sinuous details

of cold cases never closed

make themselves known at the crossroads.

There’s a crack in the asphalt

a fork in the path

for the curious to collect light.

There’s a black patch on the contours

for a spark of insight.

A subtle word darts honeycombed

between clouds coalesced by tissue flames,

enlightening for a moment,

you can almost grasp it

though it never remains.

Between the Sky and the Sea

kaena-point-state-park-crashing-wave-oahu-hawaii-brian-harig

The void spreads,

wandering for an echo.

Its silence shaved into a profile

Kanehoalani

keeper of the caves and underground springs

a labyrinth of burials

through which the wind speaks

its porous volcanic chants

this eternal dialogue with the dead

tufts of valley grass at its feet

regenerative pools of red petals

the scent of blood

born of ancient battles

resonates its decay,

blesses the sunrise

upon which we’ll walk this day.

The sea heaves you into sleep

collapsing in a heap of disfigured sheets.

Half nodded you note the details

from the table’s edge

to the depths at your feet

disassembling into archipelagos of dreaming.

The rain, rhythmic

dissolves the moon in Po Kane

mostly shadow, one blade of light

accentuates the featureless

paths of flashlight finding the abandoned places,

Luakaha, Tantalus, the remains of Luakini

under brush strokes midnight.

The muscular miracle,

the movement of your wrist,

the meandering river of your veins in motion

your parched and dried up words find an ocean

smoldering like a morning fire

a smoking illusion, the disappearing night

transitions into chalky white streaks

patterned on black lava rock platforms

where the dead are lead to edges

and waves of worldly concern ripple away.

That opening in a cloud of spray

was a swan dive through which endless night

sucks the last soul through.

No moon lights this procession,

put your ear to the blowhole

and take down its confession.

Track the mist, spreading in the absence of form,

the void, blanketed between the sky and the sea.

One more Ripple in the Rendering

old pali road 051

In scratching the surface suggestion

seeking out a picture,

a glimmering impression of what has passed.

Through the dirt, rumor and broken glass,

the shards of a half-formed story

could be grasped and pieced together

until momentum would collapse the edges

into jagged gaps that

set streams to bleed over wrists in motion.

There’s always a diversion to twist the truth,

new evidence to lift, to unburden the proof.

There’s the sneaking suspicion

that no more is known now than when first ushered in

to the forbidden forest of what is lost.

In scratching the scars over the memory’s repression

the traumatic depression

of rock fall or article,

the writing on the wall

that is a faded scrawl

in the downward spiral towards oblivion.

To comprehend the texture of this revision

requires one’s own muddied thoughts

to be tracked through here again and again.

Confronting the silence between lines,

between the tied up chimes

and pictures in a collective mind.

There’s a conscious untying of the strings

to hear the wind sing

like birds above the oppressive ceiling of forgetting.

The claustrophobic wringing of this fine thread

leads to a dead end

where dried up palms

sound like snake rattles disturbing the calm

of surface waters with phantom paddles.

The cacophony of singing shells

in the shadow of the Pali dwells

from cool heights where they fell

to twist and unravel over a concrete

that knows neither streetlight nor renewal,

only decay in the memory of its evil,

imprinted like tire tracks,

degraded in overgrown cul de sacs.

Imagining the outlines

while the jungle assigns a new border,

a derelict gate to mark the edge of this haunted quarter

where everything unfolds in the fog of half-truths and disorder.

Bit by bit, each detail is fed to the collective fire,

like reams in a typewriter,

the legend has been tapped into the consciousness of the whole.

The rain comes in sheets

to prompt this release,

to dab at the wounds and proceed

even gently

past the banyan sentry

who seems to guard access to the heart of this mystery,

that secret source that will inspire

one more ripple in the rendering

of a story that knows neither beginning nor ending.

Maneuverings

2 Night marchersharry cundell

A channeling of energy
wind reduced to a simple maneuvering
stream over stone
murmuring
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
luminescent
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
materialize
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.

This Farewell, Another Footnote

blue heron soaring
Here in the din
with the click clack of cutlery
within a cacophony of voices.
The barmen pulling pints
in their starched whites,
guides to the oak portals,
the long line of whiskey bottles
standing like sentinels in that place without time.
There’s a portrait of Yeats on the wall,
calling to mind many in the long line of authors
backs bent to the point of inspiration,
wading in this eternal position.
In these watering holes in Ireland
I can begin to frame my goodbye.
For the time finished wandering
the crooked streets of late afternoon
full cup of tea content
writing until fingers tire,
talking to other travelers till all hours
or until they are no longer strangers,
walking that fine wire,
feeling your soles wearing thin,
travel integral, your soul chiming in
with another proposition.
I recall every decision
punctuated by a heron,
coming at such a moment
you no longer question which direction.
There was the one in the stream side tea garden in Doolin,
awash with meaning,
the water gleaming
beneath the gracefully bent pencil legs
balanced over all that was witnessed alone;
the sea beneath the cliff walk to Liscannor,
Foley’s Glen and the position of stones
marking Scotia’s fall,
the hole of sorrow seen through Poulnabrone portal,
laying another echoing farewell on the long way home
but not before a moment’s recognition at Carraroe,
where a bus to the end of the line
puts me in just the position
to catch it out of the corner of my eye,
the ascending blue wings
gathering in the horizon,
flying over low hills and stone-walled fields.
The bogs of last goodbye well up suddenly
to cry uncontrollably
in the profound recognition of its significance,
the seeming interconnectedness of life
and what resides within and all around us.

Birds once again bearing this message.
In Hawaii, it is from the beaks of the Shama Thrush
on the lush mountain trails of the old Pali.
In Italy, you decipher the sweep of the swallows
from the bell towers and hidden hollows
of some medieval square.
You hear the sudden call of the white breasted hawk
on a winter’s highway to Becky’s,
perched in a dying tree
or on a driftwood log
you see the ravens of Sombrio and Ocean Beach
and follow them to breach that other world.
Here in Ireland it is through the blue herons.
in the spring bogs of Doolin, Kinsale and the Connemara Coast
relating to the unseen
perhaps the most meaningful thing to develop
as it nourishes beyond what we think or comprehend,
put down in ink or apprehend in words,
bound to fall short in forming this farewell,
it becomes just another footnote,
one more point of departure.

If Only I Could Recall

18

I wanted to believe

I could capture some of its essence.

A tourist with a pen

instead of a lens

to hem in all the experience

that unfolded before me

the green fields of her myth.

A modern moment presents fragments,

and they fell together, seamless

while fingers moving screen less

will attempt to speak of her width,

all that emerald pastureland

that follows ancient walls

until it falls over cliffs and into the sea.

If only I could recall the trajectory of travel,

from the peopled east, to the rugged west,

where sheep seem to outnumber

all else, perched there impossibly

on some promontory,

dotted in my memory

of hills we walked together.

The tranquility of a moment’s

sunset I could only begin

to capture in words, the color

as it merged with the North Atlantic

and towards bewitching us fully.

 

Slow down says the river

with its eternal murmur

under quiet bridges

that have channeled her

and held the weight of our ancestors.

If only I could recall each remnant from their past,

set in ivy and half collapsed in stone

where bats and crows

now circle forgotten towers

like smoke from the chimneys

of obscured homes

left to the wild and alone,

reclaimed inch by inch, year by year

in a seamless embrace.

In passing you catch the trace

of an old peat fire

and imagine the warmth of the hearth

that once held together

the pain and the laughter,

all the sorrowful banter

that time abandons

to the cold shadows of famine

slanting like a cross

on an earth-filled floor.

 

As you walk from a venerable pub

into the country dark,

you’ll listen for the subtle chime

of the grandfather clock at Foxmount

to guide past spirits that do not sleep,

past walls that will not keep

out of our imagination

that which lies on the other side of the veil.

Blurred in a half moon’s glare through trees,

the land steeped in legend,

in banshees baring teeth

what screams during the time we do not speak

but only seek to feel our way through the palpable dark

pressing in on the edges of thought,

if only one could capture what we sought of its essence

with a hurried pen,

only then we’d begin to reveal

some of the magic of a subtle presence

holding it all together.

Each experience, perhaps better to be left

burnt and entrenched

in their own immutable imprints,

conscious or unconscious,

dim or brilliant,

they’ll proceed to play a part

like voices in the art

like choices that will start

to branch out from these sturdy roots

and reveal a truth so long hidden.