Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

A storm was threatening to come in all day, a strong wind showed up first and knocked the walking out of me, so I hunkered down in the truck and listened to Texas troubadours on the radio. There’s a special kind of music made in Texas, like nowhere else, not rock, not country, not country rock, certainly not pop, it’s Texan, long on blues riffs and grinding guitars…the lyrics aren’t bad either. Licks like “she’s got the kiss of an angel and the bite of a rattle snake” just can’t be found anywhere else.

I’m sliding into Texas like a pair of old boots…and I don’t know why, maybe it’s the renegade radio, maybe the whistling wind, somethings got hold of me. This is not the first time in my life I’ve been away so long from the things I knew, that I’ve forgotten who I am. Did you ever leave home to travel and stay away so long that everyone you’d known had moved away or moved on…and you found that you’d become a stranger?

There’s a book I enjoyed when I was young by Robert Heinlein, ‘Stranger in a strange land’, about a Martian boy named Michael who has the power to become a part of whatever he sets his mind to, he calls the process of total assimilation ‘grokking’ and grok becomes a synonym and metaphor for true love. Trisha and I are a bit like that Martian boy, we have a tendency to become one with wherever we are. In London we become Londoners, New York New Yorkers, in Thailand we wrote books on how to become more attuned to Thai culture…and so on…..but here we are, totally immersed in Texas, twanging guitar music rules the day, wondering why we’d ever leave, though we know we will someday.

Reality distances itself the longer we stay away. Some one asked me recently on our Bangkok Living & Travel site when we would be coming back to Thailand, and it struck me that travel is about traveling…building memories that last forever…less about gathering a collection of particular or popular destinations. Red skies and blue dirt sunsets are the places we’re calling home for now.


my dreams haven’t come true
i languish between worlds
though i have worshiped at every temple
kept my faith
aflame in my heart over mendicant miles
tried to touch your mind as fervently as a penitent with eyes on fire

i remain outside the lines
and have been for so long
that i forget who i ever was
i have not been touched
by the devils hand
nor have i been sought out by any church
to wash my soul

fate and karma
are dog eared books in the library of my life
i sought answers in likely places
traveled the world in search of knowledge
i have never understood
why life has passed me by
even as i walked the straight and narrow
no gentle slopes have filled my landscape
only jagged hills and dark forest
a man forsaken

i have wandered the world with less breath than a dead man
living hand to mouth no stranger
unobserved and discarded like dust
untouched by the hand of glory
oh lord challenge me with some thing other than pain
i have lived with the patience of job
one tentative step at a time
to no avail
the will to fight you is all that remains
my in-generous companion

the constant and unremitting rain
has killed the seedling
you brought to earth
and now threatens to wash away
the bitter husk
along with the memory of all i ever was

what did i do but be born
to deserve an inglorious fate?
if this is all there is
then leave me alone
at least give me the peace that will surely exist
in the void left behind
by your absence

in the past i fought bad luck to a standstill
never letting opportunity pass me by
but the price was steep
no silver spoon has touched my lips
my birth right
or the graveyard
the dark dreams of my broken sleep
raucous witness of what has transpired
i wish it had been easier
i wish i would have been blessed to receive
i have witnessed easy, i know what it is
but that was never my fate

and now that i’m weary I see dreams sliding past
stolen from the air by wolves who live outside my door
they are hungry and prepared
as i once was
but now i must starve
in some evolutionary game
dreams are for the fortunate and strong
i can only dream of the dreams
that didn’t come true

the neon streets are burning bright
in the city
i’m running out of time
it’s like living on the face of the sun
i trip from step to step
like a cat on a hot tin roof
as if the sidewalks are on fire

i’ve been here too long
i’m sure you won’t mind
if i roll up my bag and move on
i’m no longer fresh or a novelty
i know the vibe when a welcome is worn
the streets get mean
when you transition from traveler to homeless
from god to leach in one easy step
it’s a fast set of stairs to the bottom from the top
best to manage your image
and stick to the script
‘out before winter’ so you don’t end up sleeping in a shelter
where the knives are out
and the lost souls scream all night
amid the stink and bedbugs

hanging around the cafe’s and bars like a binary star
i begin to lose the essence and wonder of who i am
the demands of the maddening crowd
the same stories over again
sap my creativity
i begin to need things
as if i had a place in this trap
as if the walls are closing in
i’d collapse and explode
like that heavenly body
that wasn’t meant to last
taking everything with me in a sudden explosion
if i didn’t move along

there’s a dance that we do
on the concrete shoulder of the highway
when the final rig of the night has passed by
off in the distance
far away now the city lights have diminished
the glare is nothing more
than a dimly glowing menace on the horizon

twilight reveals the true face of the sky
my favorite constellations appear at long last
clap and pay homage to the passing of another day
as i dance around
enjoy the circling night
so far removed from civilization
that we’ve become tribal again
loyal only to the road we travel
the straights seem so alien now
as if they’re a separate species

halleluiah i sing
i will sleep out of doors tonight at last
i don’t have to entertain anyone for a bed
or give myself to some wanna be woman
in exchange for hot water
because she thinks you’re just so cool
that she just has to have you
to give her something to talk about with her friends

what tomorrow will bring i don’t care
the gas station attendants on the corner have been kind to me
to allow me to wash up and get ready for bed
i have shared my precious gifts and we’re all high
and they in turn have microwaved my meal
ah, to lay down on the grass and the dew in the ditch
with a cheap bottle of wine
out of sight of the local renegades who ply the highways at night
and have been known to make sport of
a weary traveler

i am sleeping on the bed of a king
inside my castle of dreams
if it rains i’ll move under a bridge
where other travelers have built a fire
even though it may be a long night
sleeping with one eye open
it’s hard to get a ride if you’re soaking wet
and a shitty way to begin a road trip
if you get ripped off
by others less fortunate
not to share the philosophy
of the true routard
so you keep to yourself when you can

i have nothing, i am happy, i am free, unencumbered
there is only undiscovered country ahead
when i get to the next town
i’ll hunker down on the sidewalk
with my magical trinkets displayed around me on a blanket
telling stories and singing songs of the wild places I have been
for the passers by
i’ll beg my daily bread and cigarettes
because i am nothing like any have seen
in these small towns where darkness reigns

sometimes they take me home
good people with no life aside from their drapery of possessions
welcome wandering spirits like myself
to sleep in their garages and garden sheds
the house is not safe
they’re not that trusting
even though they keep telling you how amazing you are
and how they wish they could live just like you
but have no idea how to leave everything behind

come the dawn i will follow the sun backwards
this year i’ve decided to head east and then south
it could be that i will rest a thousand miles away
my occupation as an oddity will fade in time
i feel the pressure as i get older but i resist temptation
there is too much left to see
and life will go on
as i will, until i spin around and face my regrets
the ugliness that shadows my soul
retracing the lines i have written on the backs of mile markers
like hobo script on white picket fences
maybe someday I’ll find a place to call home
it’s too early to make that call

another city, another neighborhood whirling in an orbit
of artifice and conformity
but i remain constant around a credo that i hold dear, but few want to share
who can blame them
those times have past
i live like a honey bee skipping from flower to flower
with no hive to return to
all my efforts in vain
i dance and sing by the side of the highway
i’m lost in the sky and may never come down
king of the road and a penniless fool
this is not what they taught you in school
the road calls out to the aimless
and captures the vacant, the wanting, the lost

i am on a celestial mission that is still a work in progress
to map all the stars i have seen in the heavens
the final plans have not been laid to hang this tapestry
there will be no happy ending
some strange force has me reeling
to spend a lifetime exposed to the elements
without any skill except to wander
called out by a sirens song and never return
i can’t explain this lonesome doctrine that i adhere to
this life on the road

at journeys end
you wonder about
the reasons
that caused you to fly away
in such a hurry
as if you were fleeing from some loathsome task
anxious to put it at your back
seeking peace, higher ground and greener pasture

now the pendulum has swung in it’s full arc
and you count the reasons why it’s good to be home
all the pleasant things that have happened in your life
since you landed here between the mountains and the placid ocean
after jet and the wicked tropo
and you realize that time has slowed down
in the blue light spectrum
after time had sped by in the red

you awake to find the brooding threat of winter has passed
storm clouds and dark days
no longer part of every waking moment
threatening to decapitate the horizon with razor winds
from the frozen north
heavy coats and other armor hang unused in the closets
waiting to be hidden away
as if you didn’t own them
and yet you know them well

sitting on a park bench in the warming spring sun
a cascade of pink rain fell upon your face and hair
cherry blossoms falling away from the stem as the north wind shifts to the west
the petals soft and sweet to the taste
your lover has been crowned with a halo of scented crushed velvet
your mind darts back to the day you married
and she wore a veil of fragrant flowers
that filled her hair
and she looked at you with such love today
her eyes
beset with a reflection of rose diamonds

the same vagrant breeze
blew through the window as you wrote
her a love song
lifting a curtains hem across the strings of your guitar
to strum a lilting tune
without measure or chord
as if nature had her own way of expressing herself musically
that set your mind in motion
such whimsy is so rare
that it captured your heart

at journeys end you find that your accidental plum tree has bloomed
the one that had grown magically
as if resurrected
you husband her with gentle touch
for she lacks a natural mate
there’s a stranger outside the gate
that will do
and as you introduce the pollen to the flying bee’s
who will cause the tree to bear fruit in the fall
you hear her sigh
like a virgin at your touch
the signal of your passing once again
through this cycle
into the next

you will in time
fear what is sure to come
sweeping south from the arctic
with a sharp winters scythe
ready yourself to fly
you are the object of it’s frozen capture

once again you seek
the object of your desire
a journeys end
so that you may sing again of your freedom
while the wind strums your guitar
that lilting song
the meter of your heart

rolling hills of blue heather

wet with dew

chased by howling winds of legend

snaking dunes buttress the seaside

bristling with stiff grasses

and the most amazing flowers

seeking nothing but a short life

in the cold sun

dream of joining them in the sand

undulating landscapes of lavender

that scent the air

for hundreds of miles before they’re sighted

by some magic raising the souls of weary desperate men

who are caught in the wafting breezes

closer to heaven

wild eyed impact mountains face the ocean

appear startled at the suddenness of their creation

rising up and capped with snow

pierced with fjords that  disappear in the mist

beset with floating emerald islands

that vanish as if by sorcery

only to reappear again

more beautiful than ever

the languid way grass bends with the wind on a open prairie

saying nothing except we hear an elongated sighing

that draws tears from everyone who passes with a heart

and lives in a dream

a continent of steaming jungle

a brazen cradle

is outrageous

that place demands attention

and tries to kill you when you enter

to seek

the mystery of green fire

escape is when you

separate yourself from nature with acres of animated concrete

wrapped around your shoulders like a mendicants cloak

as you return from some sacred journey

stacks of meaningless symbols

of transient wealth

holding out the promise of  simple treasures

diamonds embedded in the sidewalks

walk amid grains of gold who amble freely

within the confines of a congested village

set upon a stolen island

such delicious secrets on display

when worlds collide

and some are cursed

life’s little pleasures

that speak

in a language with few spoken words

the traveler responds in cryptic gestures

hands and eyes in all directions

cloak themselves in thin disguise

play this game of the revenant

adapting to this invitation

stepping in and out of time

you master of the clouds

senses come alive

when you tell your stories

to strangers

stripping naked expectations

breathless and unburdened

you vomit up

exhilaration in short breaths

and key strokes

huffing in anticipation

the entire meaning of life

fails to appear

except in random order

etched in these memories

no decadent meanderings

the seekers world fails  description

glittering shards cascade

like falling rain

it’s an empty feeling

never being satisfied

sure that no one understands your need

to see it all again

to do what you desire

life’s little pleasures

a haunting addiction

on the sixth day we were rising

from the dream that we’d been living

as if hiding under water

blue sky above our heads

while we languished

in laughter and innocence

i broke the surface first and gasped

you came struggling after

our minds had traveled

so very far from here

i fell from my cloud to the ground

you were near impossible to recognize

a face renewed by natural magic

i remembered that disaster

we’d left behind

and wanted to keep it secret

but here it was again

standing on it’s hind legs crowing

breaking dawn before the light

that raucous howling of the other side

both of us  tender in the arms of our rebirth

stripped and bear by conscious calling

the fifth day was a call to arms

we’ have to make ourselves ready for battle

it seemed as if the time we’d lost had furled our fierce  banner

weakness could lead to our undoing

like an engine gaining speed

the clock began to race and flex

build strength towards a time when we would enter

that other time and place

ready or not

the realization hit that we couldn’t stay here

the past had discovered our weakness

if the fourth day was any measure

fear set in

each sunrise once adored

awakened me with  burning  skin

that i’d mistaken for a caress

not so long ago

inconstant friend i wonder out loud

i don’t care what you say

three days is not enough

i hadn’t tested gravity and felt unsure

i’m feeling weak kneed and afraid

of the juggernaut running at me

the world where i come has promised

that it would rather kill me

than set me free

what precedent would that set for the slaves

on day two I  admitted

that i would have to fight against my fears

no matter what the consequence

what was i to do

when i no longer had the moon  to guide my dreams

the sun shone as i awoke the final day

as if to mock me

i thought i had become one with this

i saw they’d get along without me

i felt cast off

as this wisp of a world swirled around

between two worlds

held in jealousy and covetous contempt by those i’d left behind

shunned by those i was leaving

as if i was abandoning the things we’d so carefully built

had i been such an inconstant friend

to the river that flowed above my head

while i swam in distant waters

foolish in my attempted to thwart my fate

suddenly i was in the air

a prisoner of my birth

of my mind and cultured ways

to trample through another year

by counting down the days.

the time has come for leaving

it brings a trail of sadness

i will follow

the sunrise


from whence i came

and will be again

to the joyless satisfaction

of memories unbroken

i am leaving

and in my heart i don’t know why

there will never be


this path I’ve taken many times

talks in circles but never ryhmes

or intimates about the day

that i will rest

i’m waiting for a miracle

these prayers i speak

never fly

high enough

and i am left behind

to wonder at the reasons

that i  beg unheeded to follow a trail of broken promises

to myself

as if i walk on eggshells

every time i sleep to dream

and all the while

waiting for a miracle

to lift my tattered wings in song

that i may stay behind with my heart

this time

and return never more

to what i have truly abandoned

save the memories

i’d just as soon forget

and yet my suitcase

has crept out of the closet

and rests now on the floor


and knowing more

than i have willing said

unless i have been crying aloud in my sleep

praying for a miracle

that i will fly no  more

tomorrow is for leaving

time for denial past

these cards are stacked against me

as always

i may dance for a time

shout against the things i hate

what drives me down are the skills i lack

to perform a miracle

so i wait

for chaos , fate or divine intervention

to close the gate

but i could wager against the sunrise

as i have done many times before

only to find this suitcase in my hand

watch me walking out the door

but in my mind

i’m still waiting for a miracle