selfportrait

I
look out
and try to find
blue and crimson skies
where birds fly from the corners of my eyes
and a copse of trees on a wilderness road
is a little piece of England in Wyoming
where the shadows breathe life into the rocks
and the wolf within me sniffs the summer air

I am
alone and I am
a traveller and I am here and now
in no other time or dimension or space
there are pieces of broken seashells in my pocket
the sharp edges a reminder of sand between my toes
my burnt shoulders a reminder of childhood
when I walked these shores without a care
doing what children ought to do in silence

I understand
the importance of being alive
although I cannot comprehend the meaning of it
the days are numbered with my personal DNA sequence
another unfathomable equation that directs me
and sends me spinning through these landscapes
like an out of control meteorite on a collision course
that urges me to bend down and pick at the desert gravel
to find the piece that fits snugly in my mind

I
of course I can
it’s as easy as buying a ticket and jumping on a plane
there’s no glue to bind me like gravity to this planet
I can come and go as I please and take my leave
wave to you from afar or hold you near
my reason is to journey and never arrive
the call of the wild lulls me to sleep
and in your arms I slumber peacefully

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journey

imagine an empty highway
now tell me from which exit should I leave
am I heading out into the burning desert
where the Joshua trees wait with welcoming arms
or am I heading towards the coast
where the pelicans fly in ragged lines

imagine an empty back road
now tell me where I should pull over and pause
am I looking out into a fiery wilderness
where the light dazzles and dances before my eyes
or am I smelling the salty ocean breeze
where the dolphins swim in family pods

imagine an empty dirt track
now tell me if my rental car will make that bend
am I climbing to gain a higher perspective
to witness the making of all this splendour
or am I driving between secluded sand dunes
to find myself on some long forgotten beach

imagine an empty hiking trail
now tell me should I proceed on foot
am I here to meet you on the other side
where the daytime turns to oily night
or am I swimming out to find you somewhere
under the waves and starlit depths

this

the journey had been long and wearisome but uneventful
despite his illness
the black cab taxi ride to the airport
the flight across the unseen Atlantic above the clouds
where looking down he swore he saw angels waving

coming in to land and taking off again
transferring from one side of the continent to the other
well almost
the hire car and motels and people
the prescription drugs that kept him going

the roads narrowed and became less inhabited
the scattering of local tribal dwellings petered out
no more tarmac only dust
he drove as far as his Chevrolet Spark would take him
until the front left wheel wedged in a rut

he hiked the rest
knew where he was heading
for he had been here some years before
had recced the terrain and its possibilities
before the illness came

and there it was the cave on the hill
the gaping mouth begging for sustenance
in this dry and parched sonofabitch badland
where the desert-thorn drew blood from his passing hand
and the crows cawed, rattled and clicked

like I’m in a Western  movie he thought
stumbling into an ambush in a rocky ravine
he stopped by a silty stream and listened to the echoes
they were whispers of wind, dust, water and spirits
helloo he cried

helloo came the reply
but there was no-one there
his strength was almost spent
his race almost run
must make the cave he said outloud

must make the cave
and when finally he slumped inside its jaws
a great weight was lifted from his shoulders
no  more pills or food or worry
just memories and his fate with the birds

this was the way to meet one’s maker
wherever and with whomever that might be
the journey would be swift and serene
the sound of footsteps approaching
her hand forever holding his

this dream of death
this deathly reality
this wish
this wish
this

on frail stems

See the moon?
Behind the stand of poplar trees
It’s not quite full
A deceptive slither has been hid from view
And tonight
The air is still and warm
You could hear anything you want
Like the ground talking
The stars winking
Or my heart beating
Here in the front yard
Alone and frail and very tired
Wondering what on earth I am doing here
Where I will be this time next week
And the week after that
And the week after
And thereafter
When maybe I should stay put
Give up the roaming and searching
Settle into some kind of normalcy
Accept the truths that come with life
Breathe the warm still night air
And release burning teardrops
Shaped like pulsing hearts
To slip away and soak into soil
So when I am gone they will grow
And remind you of me
Bright red pulsing hearts
On frail stems
Below the stand of poplar trees
Through which the full moon will shine
On a warm still night of memories.

show me something red

I am driving  through a white van landscape that feels
Pressurised
Containerised
Refrigerated
Articulated

The white corpuscle lines of dot-com deliveries
T-boning
Traffic jamming
Under passing
Overtaking

Summer storms gutter flooding the soft verges
Washed out
Flat tire broke
Ego deflating
The uneasy driver

We are all paying for life’s highway maintenance
In vertical rain shards
In roundabout ways
In transit
In cold blood

Quick, show me something red like a heartbeat
A Ferrari sunset
Monroe’s lips
Albino eyes
Mushroom clouds

Climbing the hill now in a snaking switchback line
Arteriosclerosis
Losing speed
Definition
Air

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