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.

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don’t be late

the day starts and ends as a series of rituals
composed of prearranged stepping stones
with carefully laid-out objects as waymarkers

getting lost along the way is not an option
alarm clock set for 6.28 precisely
face and torso wash
a measured combing over of what’s left
clothes laid out in an orderly fashion
dressed for breakfast in suit and tie

there’s porridge in a packet
no mess microwave
bowl and spoon rinsed and dried
back in the cupboard
cup of tea no sugar
shoes to check and polish if needs be

on the toilet he counts backwards
filling the vacuum as his bowels empty
spare moments like this when nothing happens
are like traffic jams with blaring horns
cleaning teeth will calm him down
flossing will bring further contentment

a deep breath by the front door
fingers on polished brass handle
count to ten and open wide
step outside and close behind
down the front path and through the gate
the point of no return

don’t be late

 

into the arterial flow

into the arterial flow
we inject ourselves daily

a travels to b’s zone
and b travels to a’s

conduits become congested
coughing and spluttering

we swap our places
me to you to you to me

and is it any wonder
productivity suffers

when we are all on the move
never settled in body or spirit

imagine if you will
a world devoid of hurly-burly

where sunny spells string together
and rain showers meet at midnight

think of the laundry we could dry
like prayer flags flying on mountains

or coloured kites in the sky flying
now wouldn’t that be nice

for a change.

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

 

 

tailenders

up here looking down
over this our river valley
the old toll bridge
closed to traffic
some forty years now
we watched with wonder
the new flyover rise on stilts
bridging the decades
concrete and wood cousins
side by side in tidal drifts
not a mile apart

the time frame paused
ebbed and flowed

like us kids in long grass
and short summer shorts
sporting green knee legs
bright orange pushbikes
young dreams chalk marked
one part baby boomer
one part generation x
harking back to the once was
cycling onwards without purpose
still up here looking down
waiting for something to happen

 

Fly-over23322

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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