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!

IMG_20160911_160528a

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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Thirty-Six Views of the South Downs (after Hokusai)

1. A Great Wave at Shoreham-by-Sea

swallowing water
spume tentacles drag under
laughing children dive

2. Light Winds and Clear Skies

endless summer sun
red bicycles and ice creams
mackerel clouds lurk

3. Rainstorms

beneath the thunder
unhappy memories float
loss of a father

4. Under the New Flyover

hiding out in nooks
traffic rumbling overhead
a den of devils

5. Awakenings

after school romance
secret kisses in phonebox
homework holding hands

6. Chestnut Trees in the Park

ancient sentinels
climbing high for prize conkers
pride hung by a thread

7. The Other Side of the River

with horses watching
releasing frogs from buckets
city kids delight

8. Climbing Mill Hill

new road through cut chalk
a searing white scar dazzles
diagonal path

9. In a Field on Mill Hill

golden straw crackles
lovers lie in crop circles
distant views ignored

10. Wind in Our Faces

heads bent into gales
on the cusp of adulthood
exam notes scattered

11. Shops on the High Street

toy cars in boxes
furtively pocketing stock
crime and punishment

12. Sunset Across the Old Toll Bridge from the Bank of the River

blood on the water
light ripples beckon and sway
a swan bends its neck

13. St. Nicholas Church, Old Shoreham

cassocks and cold stone
holy communion wine
mysterious world

14. The Marlipins Public House

thick snow like beer froth
talking with fake confidence
underage drinkers

15. Kingston Buci

patchwork allotments
a lighthouse to guide sailors
old names remembered

16. Changing Perspectives 

once there were windmills
the Downs a working landscape
now there are turbines

17. Bungalow Town

railway carriage homes
artists and photographers
early cinema

18. The Harbour Shore

sea defence ‘bumholes’
concrete structures for climbing
watching turning tides

19. To the East to Southwick

long coats and swagger
larking about with the boys
caught on camera

20. Watching Ships at the Old Fort 

fishermen and gulls
basking sharks in hot summers
comings and goings

21. Graffiti on the Rail Bridge 

a daring message
Happy Birthday to Louise
famous forever

22. Racing on Raised Paths

beside the airport
pillboxes and rabbit holes
brambles and briars

23. Pebbles and Sand

skinny dipping nights
smoking foreign substances
music and moonlight

24. The Old Swiss Cottage Lake

hidden history
torn down and redeveloped
postcards from the past

25. Reflections of the South Downs

this town we call home
nestled between hills and coast
still waters run deep

26. To Brighton by Bus

condensation drips
smoke fills the crowded upstairs
reading poetry

27. The River Upstream

mud banks and quiet
the tilled valley flat and low
mist lingers till noon

28. St. Mary de Haura Church

viewed from the tower
pigeons eye the waking town
breakfast is calling

29. Childhood is an Island

places we cherish
memories we store away
future safety nets

30. Views Along the Beach

longer than it looks
divided into sections
sand in sandwiches

31. Heron over Lancing College

gothic dreaming spires
choirs of heavenly voices
wing beating shadows

32. To the West to Worthing

the boats are drawn up
freshly caught fish sold from huts
family visits

33. Passing Over the Footbridge

it’s a long way down
hug Mum’s side and hold her hand
safer in the pram

34. Blue Circle Cement Works and Quarry

toiling and blasting
the belly of the Downs gouged
echoes of steam trains

35. A View of Hills Across the River 

these once wooded hills
sheep grazed and windswept pastures
still holding back time

36. On a Houseboat 

bohemian lives
time to set sail and move on
the world awaits me

InstaPoem – a silent contemplative walk through a Welsh village landscape.

I gallop like a horse
an odd sight I will admit
but the winter sun has warmed my spiritsPicMonkey Collage1past teasel heads and the old gate post
blue sky light
red dogwood stems all of a tangle
PicMonkey Collage2the winter garden rests
five tall poplars wear ivy leggings
green arrows point me south by southeast
PicMonkey Collage3to copper islands mapped out in lichens
where fungi sprouts from torn silage bail holesPicMonkey Collage4I come across a sheep stuck in wire fencing
released and thankful it contemplates me
but an empty belly needs fillingPicMonkey Collage5by the road some broken pink rubble
and graffiti in a bus shelter
taking care on the steep descent to the village below
PicMonkey Collage6
there is an upturned table in a front garden which makes for a sorry sight
as is this home wind power system
but the guardian at the door sits proud and alert
PicMonkey Collage7
some other words catch in my mane like drops of dew
Doombar and Pint
Grit and Salt
Sunday and Carvery
PicMonkey Collage8
the crossing by the school not in use
I wave to Santa waiting patiently down an alley
run my finger over carved inscriptions on tarred poles
PicMonkey Collage9
a familiar shadow greets me on the memorial
as my imaginary horse gallops off down the old railway tracks
frightened I think of the coming water jump
PicMonkey Collage10
and on to this field for budding heroes
or a blackbird cautiously walking the line
rolling without steam
PicMonkey Collage11
the people of the world communicate their anger and frustration
with love it seems
on public surfaces
PicMonkey Collage12
I hear the silent crack of a branch breaking in a storm
water flowing under an arch of trees
I open the gate here -> but the directions are just a joke
PicMonkey Collage13
here the dead miners sleep under coal black headstones
their old terrace houses have coal bunkers and outside toilets
my illusions momentarily shattered for no reason
PicMonkey Collage14
tractor tracks cross my narrow path
what I would give to unpadlock these blue doors and rummage inside
a red gate beckons its owner
PicMonkey Collage15
no more will the bell toll for the village
expanding red foam fungus escapes from a builder’s yard mess
carry me across the crumbling river bridge before we both break with age
PicMonkey Collage16
peep as we go through verdigris rust holes
down railway line supports
and on festive peeling paint colours
PicMonkey Collage17
galloping now the last stretch
a pleasant view some might think
like this starling in high wire silhouette
I come home to a sheepish welcome party

 

Proxy World

I hide within words unspoken
Afraid of the world outside
The shadows and noisy commotions
The hubbub and all of its lies

I never intended to be this way
And I never was a long time before
The rules of engagement were altered
Like graffiti sprayed on our walls

I used to say what I wanted
Used to say it out loud and be proud
But now my views all lie silent
Hushed with leaves on the ground

For some my words were mistaken
From others false accusations flew
It seems there’s no room for tolerance
I’m tired of bad language and feuds

I’m sorry if this seems ungrateful
There are many who don’t have a voice
Perhaps it’s their turn to take over
I don’t know what’s left to be said

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/proxy/

There were times

There were times
often coinciding with the end of an eight hour studio shift
when I would listen to the radio late into the night and drift
lying near motionless on the floor like a sedated madman
blowing cigarette smoke up towards the broken ceiling fan
paint stains on my clothes from all those abstract years
of city sound and landscapes that still buzzed in my ears
and out beyond the window past the fire escape ladders
tall cranes would cast their ugly shadowy gallows
along the graffitied brick and timbered warehouse walls

There were times then
when all the world but me was silently sleeping
and not even the birds had alarm called the new morning
I felt alive then as if electricity was coursing through me
as if the needle I had long forsaken had once again been
and found my vein and wrapped me in its calm serenity
a bright red bikini sunset throbbing with Rothko intensity
Kathy, Jack, Frank, Sylvie, Jerry, WB and Charlie B with his lowlife cheap tricks
on the road down the coast cruising in search of mind bending kicks
Florida, Arizona, Tijuana, the famous coast to coast bar crawl

Yes, those were the times
but we knew they weren’t to last, we sought our separate ways
Bill to Kansas, he said living there was a helluva lot cheaper these days
and less violent despite the stash of guns and ammo he kept
for hunting and shooting and for clearing his debts
or killing tooled up rednecks when the day of judgement came, we’d joked
in letters and on postcards that kept the fires of friendship stoked
Kathy and I to New York until that mess of crazy didn’t work out
Jerry and Frank to California’s Laurel Canyon hideouts
Jack the jazz-fuelled wanderer, well, he was in it for the long haul

And those were the times
when we honestly believed we would change the whole goddamn world
when we marched with Anti-Vietnam War banners unfurled
from Greenwich Village to the Golden Gate Park
from Washington DC to Washington State we left our marks
on celluloid, vinyl, paper, pavement, tenement, in space
on canvas and Polaroid Andy caught almost every angle, every face
and blended fact with his fiction, his pop with his art
but it was all too much for poor Sylvie’s heart
the talons that clenched, the babes that bawled

Yet those times were
and forever will be indelibly tattooed upon my subconscious
in psychedelic dreams tripping with a lyrical lusciousness
and it is why I lie here with poetry and jazz and art alive within me
here on this apartment floor motionless and carefree
the voice of the late night deejay a lone performance
at this very minute, this hour, this life of mine, of no real importance
I am lucky to have dodged death’s unholy harpoons to tell my tale
like Ahab and his godforsaken avenging whale
these lines I think, I breathe, I gift, I scrawl.

 

for National Poetry Day:
https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

 

retreating

retreating

(ooh a little darker. Those moments when the pitch black tunnel of self-doubt opens its ugly jaws and begs you to enter and be damned but you fight back and say no! It might only last a moment, it might last some a lifetime. I had half a mad gothic mind on Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels. Steerpike, Flay, Swelter, Barquentine, Fuchsia. Haunting their way through the castle story en route to their individual tragic endings).