Tag: travel poetry

Eventide

Riding passenger side snapping right,
I’m down in front stealing long exposures.
From the back seat our youth sits
Mocking us with instant polaroids.
Destroyed pictures of minutes and memory
Precious and precarious slip a stone
At once here and at once gone.
Right under the driver breaks hard and higher
Up another mile, silently stealing all we pass.
As if it meant nothing, had no value.
Yet we never stop to salute the flowers –
All wilds and yellows and purples.
The foothills’ shoulders grow peonies
Upon sunshine golden with military ranks.

How jagged time?
We spend ours climbing again as
Eventide approaches us.
Stealing the light
Squinting and teasing Every photographer’s eye.
The lens escapes the fight as fists fly
Above us rung the first punch
Headliners: the over-real versus the unbelievable.
Then we drop down tearing around
The Summit dragging the day with us.
With us flat then right over on the side.
Buckshot sprays whitetail from
Underneath the wheels,
My skin and bones chill fast underneath
Blankets just a quarter mile thin –
Count the microclimates in a 14 mile exposure.
My imagined assignment, anyway.

Inertia now driving our ascension
Finally dousing my focus.
Yet I am pacified by
Deep coastal royal blue velvet,
And by the courtly cape
Of dense silver fog.
Trees, reach in and take my attention
Lost in the sky and yet at home.
Away with the little brick foxes
Already started by the drooling hounds,
Running in distant golden broken lines
Shrinking to a pointed index
Finger of bent redwood lumber.
Penciled between the knotted trees
Escaping our eyes
They write letters to us
To one another, to anyone.
I imagine the trees alone love themselves.
Writing in dead languages those
Modern towers of Babylon
Without oral tradition
No monks or followers to take dictation
The mighty ones tie rings around
Paper and papyrus of their own making.
They, like me, can write their own stories.

Distant deamons dance to the music of the eventide,
Whose eardrums thump and pop from slight descents.
Mercies clear the stares and the macabre glances.
And up ahead the night hides just around
The voluptuous Earth’s curves.
Yet she shakes off the road upon her hip
Langushing and lounging
Laughing at all the forsaken highways.

You snap me awake.
My hypnotic state undone
By our quick duel and I, only me –
I roll one window down
With enough sense to know
The party orange of evening presents
A moment for exposure
Showing the night undone
By the simplest flash
As we find a space and stall the motor,
King and queen of the hills
Announced by snare drums and trumpets.
Goodbye, twisted bruised skin of eventide.
Eventide, goodbye.

Follow the Queen

My room unlatched
Releasing shirts, slacks
To hungry closets for
New black suits.
Drawers devoid, empty,
Open for guides and
Maps. A single dirty window
Opens to a brick wall.
My memory of the word
“Defenestration” fell out.
My mouth shares the doubt
Of an incomplete education.
Underneath paper thin sheets
Uncover my form asleep dreaming,
Murmuring bird breeds.
I fly into the diaspora.
Street artisans took to the
Deep sea once, yet to which land?

I hold the receiver and
Wish for a revolver.
Legal language defense
Foreign escapes
Hold up in court.
Unknown room numbers
In a delicious series of
Chambers marked 12, 31
Maybe 2004.
Remembering a stone cold six story
Buddha in a wide open gin palace.
Cigars and molten cherries
Jubilee. Bananas foster
Charles Foster Kane,
His full name from nothing.
Mother’s greasy brunch pumpkin
Markets and street tchotchkes.
Snow globes from America where
Going down South the snow
Attracts curious tourists.
Temporary neighbors
Angry without rose beds,
Lawnmowers without preteens.
I learned the names of
Chateaux. Bordeaux, Chablis
Pure sunshine Chardonnay.
Tastevin and Caskets
Down in the catacombs
The same town underground.

Rise up and run off
Spilling me like syrup
On pancake embankments.
A cooing stewed pigeon
On an expired warranty the
Black dial telephones,
Hissing tube televisions.
Anonymous but you only
Would send such indifferent
Cheap bouquets of sprayed
Carnations and baby’s breath.
Such sorry little pimples
Those flowers, like calling
Cards for bill collectors.
Or foreign exchanges between
Currencies for emergencies.
Ladies wearing smart suits
Tahitian pearl chokers
Rhinestone bangle bracelets
Bengal tiger-print hot pants.
A real mistress
Ends in a whisper
Her knowledge sits stuck
In the back of a cab.
Like all irrelevant souvenirs.
Bees swarm from the 300 year oak
Guarding the fire department.
Emptying from the hive
Growling as one great
Carpet to cover the daylight yellow
Moist and musky bungalow.
Shotgun shacks, powder kegs open
Their queen, a patron saint
Leaves her scent, thinning the
Hive of the dullards,
The abused and the confused.
One last time, dressed
For success the top opening
For California mornings air.
I sneak out the back and press on,
Press on emerging into traffic.

Playing the Cat

Scene 1: Enter Stage Right, Cat

This year Cat knocked Mary down.
Mother of Jesus, Carpets, Jews.
Last year, Cat ran off with the Husband—
Taking Joseph’s coat, too.
Not seen since the incident,
Neither man, nor carpet, nor cape.
Cat, exit stage.
Three years now since,
Cat, spuriously,
Dragged down a turkey.
Bigger than his head, feasts Cat,
Dinner of greasy fowl, used and
Orphaned. All shiny fat prickly sinews
Cold kitchen floor decor.
We retired in living color,
Cat waits on sock rugs,
Chasing bugs and saints.

Eyes devour the Lollipop Guild,
Feasting on colorful Witches brews
Enter Wizard. Sleep in straw
The tin cans sending queues
Heads with curlers, spitting nails—
Shake and roar, black as night.
White pictures of spoiled babies.
“My,” gasping grandmother
Hungry, yet we search the air.
Relief, at long last,
A manger all in tact,
Still missing:
Carpentry’s first common
Union worker.
Cat stole him three years past.
In stretches morning, you gripe
“Such an imprint for a wife.”
(I am the knife.)
Cat, please take leave —
Please leave, leave the coffee.
Four years back, for I
Then me. We sighed, “no cat.”
Dreams of dances on tippy toes,
A vision of homes built round,
All trees and ornaments and we’s.
Petting slowly, backhanded
Head to tail.

Cat purrs waltzing,
Jesus asleep now, Joseph
Warmly herd sheep sows, Mary
Wailed and cried still.
Windows shuttered,
Elbows under chins, on sills.
We keep all the straw for a manger.
We each pull out one for luck:
I forgot to count the flock tonight —
Up to number 10 to silence
My weeping, I shivered.
The Egyptian visions,
The escaping slaves —
The sundown desert —
They eyed green knaves.
The riddle the answer the
Four Footed beastly things.
The long tail sweeping
Dust up on wings.

Nestled pyramids, soldiers of sand,
No servants hand, no strangers.
No one died today, no saints
Made. Cat wore the Ankh,
Carried the dog headed staff,
Drawing along the sea crooked to
And fro on the sand, wand dragging
Wagging a tail — Happy in now,
Yet name him Memento.
Cat, built it all alone, he meant
To say, “I made that,” in peace
Aligning November’s
Surrendering sun.
Cat dreams of Cat things:
Play, sleep, sun, warm, eat.

Return to your lines, to track back
Over three years, to four.
In scene two: sorrow and worry,
Cat pictures Mary, Joe, and the baby boy.
Rejoice, back in the trunk
Running for the fifth term monks.
Cat: teeth glitter with hope
Of centurions and scarabs run.
Cat, to you surrendered or given
From your own meaty dinner,
pulled. Drowned asunder
All in a Dead Sea, deep
Asleep, dreaming wonder.

Swaying, overhead wire flying
Cat awake and wicked green
Snipped, he nips at grass.
His game — Cricket.
Slow, moribund, drying spice scent.
Boring holes, hearing voices.
Charming. Then crack —
A bat. Eyes followed us
On western war bliss.
Then rob the sun, beaming
Warm like a kiss.
The Queens pearls go dark.
Yet to remember:
Do not face
Anything larger than you
May forget
To enter: open this moment.
Exit the Cat.

Filming Pilgrims

Post wife paroxysm now starched,
Elbows red in white rolled sleeves,
His secret burns fast, pan,
A well-positioned boy who smokes out a window,
Discarding his amusement for a hummingbird.
His green sharkskin suit, brightly alert –
Dusted by sunshine, weakened with night.
Heartbeats, just over a wing he spots you.
In the span of a wink,
He’s gone from the ledge.

Trunks and leather cases, heavier with
Steam rises and ghosts we suppose,
The culprit which brought the pilgrim down.
Lighter than ice,
Thinner than sand,
Boring with water,
Less traction than time.

They agree to judgement overseas,
Extradited counts by courted spoons,
Sugary rebuttles, yet smoother than skin.
Sentenced by an officer not by a law.
The longshoreman affixed to his piers,
Neglected the icarian judge,

Drop open, wide the row-filled maw.
Obsteperous cats howl in amusement,
Floundering and crazy. Then up tip toes,
Lanterns blue and burning, red glows.

Sandbars fascinate every species, quite.

Another boss, still as mannequins,
In the shallows warmth,
Twelve years gone, a five and fins,
I froze. Adroit at his asides,

Still rolling my eyes.
A mother shark skinned my legs,
Cold water licking a golden shore.
“Killing thing,” I dive.

Flaming air lit by azure CH-4

Me, beside her eyes wide,
Sinking, burning with the tide.

Open

Lightning struck the tree in the neighbors yard,
Last year in the midsummer’s knife we dreamed of storms 
Laughing now, loving how Ions sweeten the air.  
As slowly you bend to greet the wind, a genuflection of retort,
Dull August sunshine laughing back – the cumulonimbus roll by.
The wind picks up sticks, twigs, leaves.
Heavy air transfers electric waves and static. The radio plays:
‘Hold it right there if you move my station won’t come in tonight.’
I sweat for doing this too often too much. You won’t feel the dampness of me.
My neck white and wet, cleaved by a hammer and chisel and standing,
Feet dug into gritty land and soil.
I hoped you’d dream of me, 
And remember more than an unexpected, expensive side trip.
Yesterday, to save the hung out whites I employ old wives tales. 
Then you recall scents of chlorine and lyme, 
Rung out and out to dry in the midwestern sun.
Though I knew anything could cement this offering,
But my ivy hair clung to my neck as I wave you on.

Years ago, I recall, you waved from a sedentary yet strategic position 
On the board where you took my queen and laughed like a boy,
On his seventh birthday with a whole sweet buttercream cake.
This morning my fingers wrapped around yours, with their crescent white nails.
You hung up my camel coat on the rack in the station by a black over painted door.
No signs to tell us about things like ‘open’ or ‘closed’ – can you remember what language?
A sweet cafe sent steaming hot streams of vines climbing the grey sky 
Through chimneys on a grey, closed in morning, bowls of cafe au lait.
Longer still, your mind, awash with mercurial dreams of, well what then?
Warm lunchtimes in coastal unpronounceable towns.
Sleepy swollen people lined the streets with daydreams and 
A few with somnambulant nightmares.
We never napped. 
In those days anyway – my god,
The sights endless d o p p l e r effected photographs my mind takes in
The sights soundless clouds of brand new cameras clicking 
Sticking to your side like the eight year old child who begged
For a dollar, a single US dollar for a tour of the red capital.
Please, I ask you please to stop and rest a while and 
The dark deed of the night gave you away like that dollar.
You left me on the train alone and frayed, 
And my clothes loosely hung from my bent shoulders.
You took me one night to a vapid blind wine tasting.
Paper bags. Covered pots of everyone’s best try.
We make up words like lilac and lively
Plummy and chewy and spit out into tin bins.
It’s okay to spit now you say as you violently express streams of purple.
Blue red out of your mouth like a bullet into a practice target dummy.

So I’ve got to get going. Get nails into the wall and hang our memories
The one of you I have so vividly and hammered into my hands and feet.
Oh, you believe I’m not really understanding who that man belonged to,
The white sheets hang on the windless day on the hillside of the coast
No lightning here, no thunder, don’t worry you say. 
I…

Passports

A lifeless traveler fully awakened,
The aircraft lands – you’re stirred and shaken.
Roots hold on again, once more,
Shackled to a cellar floor.
They wrap around the casks and mour ,
Steady and fast to thick, oaken boards.
They bow to greet the tastevin, the spoon,
The vineyard grew too thin.
Shared from a coast once untroubled,
The next years yields nearly doubled.
A life lived in the continental past,
My life of measurements in pages and ports.

Travelers sorry tales of museums and sites
But mostly tales of drunken nights.
Have they never dared to stroll the streets
Of cities new and clipped retreats?
Seen with eyes half open, pale and pink,
Or heard predawn scraping cleaners sweep.
Have you seen the lions roar,
On bridges that bring hearts to shore?
Or heard the pigeons fuss and chatter,
Flapping, fighting…nothing matters.

Have you heard the church bells strike,
Making you dumb and striking the night?
From sacred song comes morning air,
Our travels too short, hearts worse for the ware.

Should you find your body falter,
Off you go – a ferry to Gibraltar!
Take yourself to Rome in shade,
The rocky cold rush under sea to Calais.
Or take yourself to sites you know,
Fill it up for you’ll eventually show –
Your final passport to the ‘verse,
A single unit of life in a leather purse.
There won’t be use for wallets or fare,
Nor any value to passports that brought you there.