from Woodstock to Laurel Canyon

from east to west and in between
I stared into many faces
held motel towels against my own
until my eyes bled sunsets

and my head hurt like the road

the beat of the day tormented me
I cried under many rocks
made outlines of my feet in the desert sand
until my skin burned

and my heart burst into years

you are the movie of your life
at least that’s what the people said to me
from Woodstock to Laurel Canyon
I painted away the fallen leaves

until the weather broke

until the seasons spoke to me
of car crash ditches full of fallen friends
where the blood ran to the sea
time frozen in a standing ovation

as we went our separate ways

falling

she crashed through the door
bought liquor, Marlboro reds
staggered about, left, came back
another crash, she swung about
bells ringing like it’s Sunday
not Saturday night, late night
about to close up, pull the shutters
tally up the takings, light my own
long drag in, dim the strips
want to join me she says
but I’m shy, she’s drunk
whole town is drunk, me I work
it’s late, night is young
tempted, what the fuck, fuck it
come on, she laughs at me
there’s a hint of Irish in her smile
momentarily mesmerised
who is this girl, where did she
where did see come from, drunk
done, locked, doors shut, locked
it’s all locked, check again
hey what you waiting for
she holds the bottle to her lips
vodka, it’s vodka, it’s a Stoli
shit I gave to her cheap
she holds out her hand and
you know what, I’m falling
let’s go to the beach, she says
but it doesn’t sound like that
words slurred, vodka lips
take her hand, just take it
it’s a short walk, alleys, bars
late night, shouts in the dark
she passes me the bottle
the vodka taste of lipstick
mesmerised, I’m falling
we stumble onto the beach
stones in banks, steepish slopes
finding the right angle
not too steep, not too flat
vodka lips, vodka breath
it’s a Stoli, gave it cheap
make up the rest tomorrow
exchanging names, falling
she shouts my name, loud
echoes on the water
echoes on the moon
our faces reflected in the bottle
Marlboro red glow
midnight sunset eyes
fingers in fingers in hair
in her mouth, biting
and I’m falling for her
this drunk girl, the beach
we’re part of the night
we’re part of each other
no turning back, falling
me for her, her for him
there’s something more there
behind the bravado, subtle
a story to tell, unfolding
falling, the night is falling
we’re both falling and then
what will happen, what next
we don’t fucking care

muy bien

I tear the photographs of me into tiny pieces
sort them into colours black and white
brown and blue, green and red and orange
faded like an almost forgotten Majorcan sunset
where we went to forget about Dad
and turn our lives into something new
I wasn’t quite sure what to do
I was only a kid

I glue the pieces of photographs on large sheets
of snowy white paper that is rough to the touch
freshly fallen with no trace of footsteps
as all childhoods should remain
but we know that’s not possible
the pieces are jumbled now
I make them into different shapes
that resemble landscapes

And I am there if you look closely
amongst the rolling hills and fields
a lost boy peeking out from behind trees
you see me waving from inside a cloud
no  angel am I
only torn pieces of photographs
thrown to the wind and scattered
confetti memories strewn

addendum

when I was born
my mother wasn’t there
the clouds parted
I tasted my first air

when I was a child
my father chose to die
the country widened
beneath an open sky

when I was a man
my love abandoned me
the birds began to sing
setting my soul free

when I was old
my heart declined to beat
the setting sun burned
consuming me in heat

when I was reborn
my life began once more
mistakes and lessons learnt
repeating like before

to be alone on this cloud tonight

to be     alone    on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

I don’t know how I came to be here
a glow of flames masking my fears

darkening sunsets above and below
threatening the love in overshadow

awaiting my fate I slumber in peace
enveloping weight of covering fleece

the time of angels has come upon me
bells that chime and humble sweetly

the shepherdess watches overseeing
the poetess recites words embracing

to be     alone     on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

Fake Lake, Wyoming

standing on the lake edge
beside silver stemmed aspen
foot resting on a mighty driftwood log
arm on knee
waiting for a sunset

no words to describe the beauty
the water a mile or so away
vanished on a summer vacation
ripples retreating unseen
evening a quiet platitude

in the distance a cloud of dust
it hovers above the dried grass
then an old army tanker appearing
a quad bike with dogs circling
working the hundreds of sheep

watching from the sidelines
an unfolding drama growing louder
engines, shouting, bleating, barking
approaching a solitary hut
a regular sundown scene

admiring the shepherds’ work
now over, a fire is lit, dogs fed
they are hard as Idaho hills
viewed across the state border
beyond the lake with no water

there is safety in their numbers
the sheep settle into the night
the dogs listen out for the wolves
inside the tent there is darkness
and time to reflect

waking to the sound of howling
dogs or wolves or coyotes
echoing under a Wyoming moon
these memories will last a lifetime
I’m leaving in the morning

standing on the lake edge
beside silver stemmed aspen
the sun rising through the trees
calling my name across the valley
hearing only silence returned

alone as always

IMG_20160830_200821

Two years ago today I camped near this lake which appeared to have disappeared for the summer. Alpine North Loop Campground is on the Wyoming / Idaho border near the town of Alpine. I was on my way up through the Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone. The lake was actually a reservoir. I watched the sun setting over the mountains as a group of shepherds gathered in their flock of noisy sheep for the night. That’s the dust they kicked up in the middle of the photo. The shepherds drove what looked like an old army tanker and quad bikes and had a hut which they returned to. I sat alone and watched the unfolding drama. One of the best camps on my trip. Travel at its most rewarding. Wyoming is beautiful. My spiritual home.

tellurian

I have watched
as you trampled growing seeds
and poured scorn on these summer days
I have watched
as your shadow grew and cast a darkness
like a deepening sorrow over beauty
I have watched
as you laughed in the face of happiness
with a heinous grin of self-satisfaction
I have watched
as you tried to destroy all that you created
or claimed to have loved in the name of what?
I have watched
as many have cried and I am not sure why
such bitterness fills your heart
I have watched
as my wrists have bled the last vestiges
of hope and forgiveness
I have watched
but I can watch no more as the sun sets
on this last earthly hour

The Postcard Poet

I recently started a little side project using my travel and hiking photos. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally here. Links below. Hope you like:

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Twitter: @ThePostcardPoet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postcardpoet/

spellbound

we sat out on the decking
watched the sun a setting
beyond the line of trees
that marked the boundaries

between our here and yonder

your little patch of Virginia
with trailing bougainvillea
the cicadas sang in millions
and firefly vaudevillians

flashed lights for our wonder

I stayed for just one night
the mosquitoes sure did bite
but your heritage tomatoes
lasted way past hot Key Largo

just like the spell that I was under

IMG_20160801_103936_1

these ‘things’

I place these ‘things’ within me
not for any healthy purpose you understand
and mostly unintentionally
but in they go to find a way
to make a home in some dark nook
or cavernous cranny

stay as mini-migraines why not
or boiling lava lakes within my gut
yes it’s up to me to sort them out
to shout them down and diminish
their potential to wreak havoc
but it doesn’t always work that way

as I am sure you are well aware

once, when I was walking along a remote roadside
I glimpsed a wild animal hide behind a rock
it knew that I knew that each of us were waiting
for the other to move first
yet somehow that creature melted away in the heat
and came to rest within me

and further into my journey
I came across the remains of an eagle
its feathers magnificently spread across the tarmac
a discarded headdress from a fallen hero
once galloped off into a desert sunset
brave and fearless

unlike myself you understand

still storing all these ‘things’ after all these years
souvenirs and postcards from the past
red lipstick kisses on green envelopes
portraits of the poet as a young man
miniatures of finely painted thoughts
in foreign climes

there is an end to this tiresome conversation
as the wind blows through open corridors
I take the hand of an imaginary friend
and we walk barefoot across sand dunes
each step is a word left unspoken
each word left unspoken is peace at last