in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling travelling

in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling
like Jack Kerouac in ’47 or Robert M Pirsig in ’68
I am Don Quixote tilting at windmills on Rocinante
I am Che Guevara astride his La Poderosa steed

in my mind I am here, there, I am everywhere
I am hiding between the pages of your dreams
I am hiking the wild PCT with Cheryl Strayed
or getting lost in the woods with Bryson and bears

in my mind I am Odysseus adrift on the high seas
I am Christopher Robin leading an expodition
I am climbing an icy north face in a blizzard
or riding jet streams in a Phileas Fogg balloon

in my mind I am a painter of landscapes
out in the fresh air with Monet and Cézanne
I am constantly restless, a writer gone walkabout
a Rimbaud, a Huck Finn, a Dice Man, a Guthrie

in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling
I am Titus Groan and I am never coming back
I am an Ishmael, a Baggins, Le Grand Meaulnes
so won’t you come along and share the ride . . .

in my mind you will come with me, won’t you?
we will journey to the centre of the Earth
to the moon and back and over the far horizon
for there we will find our next adventure story

in my mind the auditorium is fast filling up
the Milky Way and stars providing the lighting
the greatest untold CinemaScope moving picture
is about to begin travelling travelling travelling

and I don’t need anyone to tell me when to start or finish!

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photo of rock graffiti taken in the Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Kentucky
11 Sept 2016.

written for and inspired by my lovely poetry friend
and fellow word traveller V.J. Knutson:
“There are endless places to visit, and so much to see,
and these mini-journeys down memory lane
make me wistful once again, to take flight.”

Please visit: https://onewomansquest.org/2018/09/07/cbw-open-topic/

Please visit: https://vjknutson.org/2018/09/09/departure-2/

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The Sundance Kid

Leaving Sundance, Wyoming –
It’s where the Kid got his name
There’s a definite sense of
Heading home now
Of being called back
Returning

Exit 205 to Beulah –
Also a town in mid-Wales
Another reminder
A chat head pops up on my phone
How many tables needed for the Green Fayre in November?
I fire the information straight back

Welcome to South Dakota –
The Black Hills hang heavy to the north
A massive white teepee greets me
Gold Wings electroglide next to me
No sign of Rocky Racoon
Just roadkill skunks

Rest area tourist information –
I pick up my complimentary state map
The woman advises me which way to go
But when I get there I’m not looking at the scenery
I’m looking out for rocks on the road
Dislodged by last night’s rain

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway –
I’m stuck behind two Polaris buggies
Filled with spades and maintenance gear
Thirty five miles per hour
A selection of waterfalls
No passing zones

Reminds me of Snowdonia –
Those twisty narrow roads
Claustrophobic
Cold
Wet
Even in summer

I grab a Clif Bar –
Sierra trail mix
Peanuts
Chocolate
Raisins to be cheerful
Part 3

I laugh at my own joke –
Laugh at the bikers putting on their waterproofs
Hairybikerstrictlycomebakeoffcountryfile
Feels like I’m driving through the back end of the tourist season
Lead-Deadwood High School
Welcome back students!

The autumn lull –
Fall’s faltering
A time to change the stock on shelves
Snow globes, gloves and winter gifts
Skiers and snowboarders are coming
A different crowd altogether

I drift into Deadwood –
The stagecoach departed years ago
Just gun shops galore
Mock wild west saloons
Whip cracking away
I’d like to stay a while but

I turn right for Mount Rushmore –
The road feels like it could be slippy
Greasy truckers
Boondocks fifties town is deserted
Stuck behind a pair of careful Corvettes
Forty five miles per hour

Experimental Forest Road –
I’d stop to take photographs but
The rain is washing us away
Feels like the land is purging itself of visitors
Turning its back on the summer
I connect up my iPod

Bobby Dylan sings –
Where have you been?
What did you see?
What did you hear?
Who did you meet?
And what’ll you do now?

Mt Rushmore –
Waste of time
Obscured by clouds
I put away my camera
The Sundance Kid is on the run
Returning home

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a random collection of people gathered at a crash site – a story travelled

Independence Pass
Elevation 12,095ft
Top of the Rockies
Continental Divide
US Scenic Byway Mile 61

The highway east through Hanging Lake Tunnel blocked by fallen rocks
Grandpa Walton in dungarees suggested taking the 82 to the north of Granite
“And then hang a left on the 24 to Leadville
Before it all gets socked in for the winter”

His wife
Diminutive but stocky by his bulky side
Looked me in the eye and offered words of wisdom

“Sometimes life takes us in a different direction
You just have to go with the flow and with an open heart.
God bless you son.”

I finished up my waffles in the Quality Inn
With its quality views of the Colorado River in full muddy flow
Pocketed a banana for the journey onwards and left

Aspen was busy with the extra traffic
But the ski season was a month or two away so that helped I guess
The mountains patiently awaiting their yearly cloak of snow
Ski lifts oiled and maintained for brightly clad skiers
I pulled into the overlook and parked the Chevy next to a campervan
A footpath led to a view of Mount Elbert
Elevation 14,440ft
I ambled up and back to take a look
More out of duty and a sense of being there than for any other reason

On the step of the campervan sat two young women
One in a red bobble hat, the other in blue
A map of mountains across their laps
Steaming coffee mugs in their hands
I asked them lamely if they were lost

“We’re heading down to Aspen to find us work” said blue bobble hat
“There’s not much in the way of skiing just yet” I added nodding skywards
“We heard the snows may come early this year” said red bobble hat
“What will you do?” I asked
“Anything we can get” said blue
“We worked on Snowmass last season” said red
“That was a blast” said blue

They giggled and I felt old with creaky knees that wouldn’t ski
A middle aged man with pathetic chat up lines
Backing his beat up Chevy and disappearing down the mountainside like a rockslide
Or a falling tree that no-one cares to hear

Leadville
Elevation 10,152ft
Thriving again after years of boom and bust
Molybdenum today’s mineral of choice according to the billboardings
I hastened through the layers of dust, one eye on the dashboard clock
And took the 92 towards Copper Mountain
Sustaining myself with this morning’s quality banana
Throwing the skin out of the window

About half way
On a sharp bend
Several cars had stopped at angles
And there, on the other side of the crumpled barrier
A pickup wedged against a boulder
A group of people standing to one side
The feel of a film set without the cameras
An unwanted image of the truck skidding on a banana skin discarded

The air up here was colder
The last remaining heat fast disappearing with the retreating sun
As if it didn’t want to be a witness to this scene of carnage
A woman pointed
I took a look
Something half hanging
Covered in blood
Trapped between metal and rock
I turned and watched her bend and retch
The awful shock catching up with her lunch

Later, my heart still pounding
I passed the bare ski runs opposite Ten Mile Creek
Claw marks slashed on wooded slopes
With names that invoked and conjured meaning

Ore Deal
Overlode
Bittersweet
Soliloquy

zzzz

On this day two years ago I was travelling through Colorado retracing the route I had taken on Google maps a year or so earlier when writing a short story about a man who drove to a funeral from his home on the California coast to Denver. I later snipped this poem from the short story having driven and photographed many of the locations. Google maps street view function is a wonderful tool for the writer to literally drop into any location and build a story. I found all the locations in the poem but alas none of the characters and the Quality Inn at Glenwood Springs was fully booked on the day I passed through which was the Sept 3rd Labor Day holiday. Finding a motel proved tricky as I soon discovered that lots of people wanted to spend the holiday weekend in that area.

Wyoming Wanderings

Your mind can wander out here
That’s not always a good thing
And time can be a distraction
I try to leave my windows open
Allow the scenery to breeze right in
Absorption without discussion

A while back
My speed touched 70
I wandered out into the scrub
Clambered down into a dried up river bed
It twisted and turned alongside the road
Meandering like my thoughts
I wondered what it would be like in winter
Or during a flash flood
In full spate like my thoughts

I imagined being bitten by a snake
Should I keep my leg up or down?
Would I make it to a hospital?
How far was the nearest town?

I stop to photograph a graffitied boulder
Two Dogs Was Here
Imagine one of those tumbling down
Crushing my car
Futile attempts to steer out the way
Two seconds of panic
Then

When you start to wander you see things
Nature’s sidewalk secrets revealed
A fox disturbed from his shady nook
Signs of wild animals
Tracks, scrapes
Holes, faeces
Tread carefully
Broken glass
Grasshoppers

See how the rain shapes the land
Makes the plants bloom
And the sun cracks the sand
It’s alive and dead
Weathered
Lived in
Worn
Out

This place makes you feel alive
The wind and the potential
Danger lurking
I have to move on but I am drawn
To the contorted pock marked boulders
The dried grasses
Pale straw piss yellow
The sound of their seed heads
A solitary purple flower
Everything

I’m standing near to where I saw the fox
But he’s long gone or well hidden
Perhaps keeping an eye on me
Mistrustful beings both
Hunters and murderers
Wary wanderers

I turned with a smile
Took one last photograph
I had found what I had come looking for
A bend in the road
Sweetwater County
Wyoming State Highway 430
Rock Springs to the Colorado border

But now it’s time to move on.

 

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