Gone to War (an excerpt)

I am an eternal visitor, an always wanderer of the earth…

and as I walk this land, on a journey far away, on a return home, the city I encounter becomes my battleground, the streets the trenches, and I feel…

I have gone to war…

with the pen as my sword and a book as my armor it is my duty to plunge deep into the night, confront the day, to live deeply and to see…

Go Look Lost (an excerpt)

I live an empty and shallow life often days. Fantasies come into my head. I think of escaping it all, heading over to Europe or Asia and just simply rambling or ranching or climbing and ascending verdant hills and breathing that air or painting in a simple apartment overlooking a plaza as I watch the old men play chess or become a woodworker for a city fire department constructing ladders or damn I do not know, hang out with that gal and make her laugh and see if she is worth trying to keep a hold of. I remain optimistic.

Truth is I said fuck all. I hate the idea of being confined for so long. I prefer being a seasonal than a shackled permanent. That said I bide my time, working on simple pieces such as long walks and contemplative poems and trying to figure out what it all means. I get rid of shit I amass. Essentially I conserve money, sip tea, and as always try to develop myself into becoming more perturbing and more profound and more beautiful, with subtleties and nuances for society. If called I am free to roam and hike wherever and with whomever.

The West of the Zephyr (from Gone to War)

The journey was to be of over two days across the great land from Illinois to California. This earth is a privilege to see, an honor to experience but before its start there was a wait, the train was late caught in a minor repair. Luckily the nearby downtown was worth a visit, its shops and streets were worth a stroll…

waiting for the train by not waiting for the train,

in a café a strawberry

muffin and coffee, warm and homemade

The journey began slowly. The land was almost flat, a heavy green of agriculture, and familiar—uninspiring to my eyes. Eventually I released myself and saw its beauty…

yellow tips of green deep stalks of

miles of vistas,

squares of land, farms of corn

alone cow between the hills

eats the grass between the grass

the train rocks as it rolls and

passes highway maroon truck and

marooned trucks in junkyard chunks

The first night on the train came and along with it its discomfort, I left my seat and I went to the viewing car where a few other passengers were. Panoramic windows showed some stars, some moon and the occasional village lights and here I read and I thought. The view into the dark relaxes, the night passed by…

by the train at night in a low lamp and

just above the horizon almost full orange moon glow,

an unknown town drifts by in the dark

high in the viewing car, low is the land,

night lamps light between in the hard to see dark

the mirror of the sky above,

the lake beside the rail

I had never been west. It was in Colorado that the terrain transformed, the land shot to the sky as in celebration and to me appeared for the first time the Rocky Mountains. Those mountains—seeing them, crossing them, winding through and becoming them. A creation of such impact leaves a mark and their landscape still I can see…

far to the horizon under

white fog clouds, white tipped mountains,

the first rockies I see


in the grass with a bud,

the cows lounge

in the gravel by the track,

one baby sunflower

In Denver I was reminded of Cochabamba—a city of altitude, dry and dusty and surprisingly green, and those gorgeous skyward mountains framing the view. Railroad tracks run through the backside of a town, the less presentable side, the less pretty side. Like in Cochabamba, I felt at home…

runs over rocks over muddy earthen bed,

a river cuts a city as dusty as foggy

as mountainous, little as beautiful

For some hours, perhaps half a day the journey passed through nothing but mountain landscape. A land so affecting—every curve, every slope, every tunnel and the sight of the habitable as well as the inhabitable terrain, the villages we passed and where we sometimes stopped. In heaven, I wanted to see it all…

lying abreast the mountainside in its bed,

a village rests in its relaxing set

dusty yellow grasses and ever green trees,

hills roll to bigger rolls

sprinkled houses on country hills,

a scattered village built on the slide

wedged in rock,

a tree roots in cliff rough

distant snow on distant dipped

mountain cone,

out of reach, in sight

a tranquil gray lake in the sky,

among the rocky hills higher

a dam between the hills,

plugs the gap and holds the lake

cut into a rocky gorge,

rocky rapids in white water

standing on the nose at the head,

a man and his train

pointing to the sky,

still they say look at me,

millions of trees

the hard life of a hard tree

rooted in rock and flourishing

by a footbridge by a trickling

stony stream,

a sitdown picnic wave to a train

stone pillars in numbers balance on

a hard dry mountain

in forest, trees in

lavender scarlet green, from tall to their fall,

different stages of life, different stages of death

right in the middle of where it should be,

a house alone with its trees, its mountains

There was a river in the mountains. The train hugged the canyon wall and a few times crossed over a bridge to alternate one shore side for the other. Trees and shrub grew where they could, the river was always there…

going where the front of the train is,

curving around along the river

rapid white water rapids bubble over

rocks and stones to make a river from a stream

islands in the river,

trees in mud flourish as the level is low

canyons cut in mountainside

and trees dig in the slope and across its head

as under bridge and at its feet

a river to rapids turns as it turns,

the colors astounding

The moon was especially high and especially bright as the train wound through the remaining mountains in the dark. This was the second night on the train, the last night of the journey. I had grown uncomfortable, so many hours in one place, but I paid sleep little heed. To the moon I dedicated my night…

headlight of

oncoming train lights my train

and night

distant mountain point in range,

above a most moon glow exclaims


in the night dark hard to see,

easy to see

shades of black out the window,

blinks of twinkle high and high

a panoramic view of a black on black view,

some stars but the moon is the star

In the low light of coming dawn I awoke to find I was surrounded by the Great Salt Lake, endless like a pale ocean. For a second I saw it clearly then returned to sleep. In the morning the image of the vision returned to me. I thought I dreamt it but I saw it…

broken by occasional grasses,

salt land miles and flat

It was in California—low mountains and hills rolled in green and great wooded forestland. This was the most impressively livable land I had seen. I was in awe…

filling the hole, the ridge falls away to

a plain and its pines and a green blue lake,

nice for and to be a boat

low mountains above and below

the train view,

their hair sticking up in ambitious pines

high above the highway the railroad,

trucks trammel in the crevice below

stopped in the rocky sierras, endless hills to

mountains dry and endless trees

The train cut through old railroad towns, though occasionally a person was sighted, most were sleepy. It was a joy coming through new lands, to soon arrive in a new city. It was fitting I was welcomed…

kid standing on his car pumping

his cock to the train, his way to wave

with his trailer without a shirt,

a phone in one hand and swinging the other,

now that is a wave

These were the last hours of the journey and as I wished to get off, I knew I was going to miss it. A railway takes you through beautiful land. There was still much to see…

alone with the rocks a distance from the forest,

alongside the track a baby tree tries to grow

running alongside skinny and long,

chasing us down I think it is a rabbit

the train still more late with maintenance and jams

only one way to fix it,

pass the bottle of wine, especially red

It was the final stop before my destination and I stepped out onto the platform for some air, to stretch. I had always wondered about California, I had never dreamed of it. Here now I could see, it is a dream…

a bit dry a bit warm,

under palm trees and night,

the first california air I breathe

The Rain Pours On (from No Rush for Gold)

The rain pours on. Days of quiet anticipation have built. Now the clouds are having their say and they are not yet finished. Behind lightning their point is thundered. And the rain falls harder.

Walking, the musician has left a stream of downtown shops behind and people as well. The people he probably did not know but though he is looking forward, he notices little. But he does hear something…A call…

A tune, mournful in longing, blows from a musician and through his saxophone. Dry under the overhang of a bookstore, deep into the instrument he leans. The melody, rising into the falling rain, moans the sadness and harshness of life. From a man’s soul to be heard by a man’s soul. The musician is shaken.

This is music, from the night, returned to the night. Done not for money, though it is received. And always when a bill is dropped into the case the saxophonist’s closed eyes know. For he opens them, and as music comes from his lips, a smile comes from his eyes. But before they close, across the way he sees a man, a musician he does not know is a musician, but he know he listens. So his eyes close to play. The night is his music.

So much music, so much musician, so much drive to play, so much…The musician takes it all in—listening, pacing, thinking. Deep in question, reflection…He plays, some listen, some do not. But what do we hear? From music comes feeling and feeling allows music. He plays one tune only—do we hear it or do we hear the tune we want to hear, the tune we can hear? Like a different shade of blue for each different pair of eyes. But most of all, why? Some listen, some do not. Is he here to hear himself? Day after night after day after night he comes and plays. Why? Why does the musician play?… Sometimes, he wishes he knew.

His hands drop into his pockets and one lands on a book, a book left there the other night maybe. He takes it out and looks at it. It is a book written by a poet, read, felt, and remembered. Poems of travel, adventure, hearts risked, and love felt and broken. It seems ten lives were lived. And on the cover is a photo of the poet. Ragged hat, shaggy hair, rugged beard—the poet looks so tired. His work drove him over continents and mysteries. So much writing, so much living, so much experience. The musician wishes to be so tired.

But the exhaustion of the poet is more than just physical. The poet knows love. The poet writes of love. But the poet does not have love. And the poet is drained, emotions are spent.

The musician puts the book away and steps up to the saxophonist and from his pocket gives him something he does not need anymore. With their eyes they smile. And he turns to go home. He is getting there.

There Is Light (from Golden Rushes)

There is light. A hot panting sun pushes itself up and rolls into position. There is light. A light sky receives its heavy friend as old as itself. There is light. A land that cooled kicks sleep out and thinks finally or not again depending on how it feels about the big guy. There is light. The passed out creatures of the earth catch the rays of another day warmth and whistle if they can and yawn if they can. There is light. The always near sea raises a wave to the warming air from its warming surface. There is light. The town below and stretching around less than the eye can see rolls again its shadow over. There is light. And the houses of the people for few people can be seen directly take on the roof the heat of the sun and through the window the light of the sun. There is light.

The day has begun and the morning comes and the warmth, the light, the sun—warming and brightening with the hour—sees especially one special house and through the glass passes onto a corner of the counter, the floor, a leg of the table. Some items have been left out, tossed and tipped on their side, and others have been tidily put away and in the kitchen for eating there is not much to eat but a breakfast can always be scrambled together. For the other meals, they may have to go out. The rising shine passes over the nourishment and down a short hall where the little that can peeks under the door. Here it mixes with what made it through a tight window shade and here the light of the sun stops in its tracks and looks. It is the sweetest room in the world, for him and for her, the only place at all.

There is a kiss. Zerron receives it softly on the lips and with her lips and again they bury themselves in each other. They can feel their body stretching and their muscles yawning but they hold tight to continue their night. Their bed is a good cozy warm. A kiss on the shoulder, a squeeze of the arms—they are lost in each other’s skin, the sun is ignored. Life is beauty in beautiful moments—prolong them.

Across the town the hour turns and the kitchens are receiving more than their fair share of sun but most of the inhabitants in most of the beds are still closed for the night. They have not slept enough and certainly not dreamed enough and they roll over where it is darker for another round. Maybe this time if I could fly or maybe…That person I work with…Heh heh heh…The snores reissue. It is before morning, before the work and tire for most and dreams still permeate. There are breakfasts to come.

And in the little sweetest room in the world, into each other’s eyes they are looking. The bit of light that peeks in is enough to make out what they wish to see—the eyes I know, the dreams therein, the wishes I wish. They barely move, they hardly breathe. No words, no kissing. They woke from a dream to a dream. Some days are good and some days pass. But those eyes nourish. He brushes her hair back from her ear and smiles halfway and whispers something that sounds like I have to go.

He lifts the covers off himself and sits up, stays a moment, then stands. He looks to her and she looks to him. Silent words. He turns, she watches…A man she did not think she would meet, a man she did not think she would know. She looks at him and wonders…A few more moments and he returns to her side and sits. His skin is now covered as it was when he arrived, she remains as she was all night. They look toward each other but away…Time was on their side but shortly. Fate was theirs for them and passed. What to do with the remaining moments…Love was there, love is eternal…

He reaches and takes in his hands her guitar that was sitting nearby and holding it pauses in a sigh. There are so many things to say and no words to say them. He turns and looks to her for the answer. She smiles halfway and hugs her pillow. She is ready. He looks away. His eyes feel closed though they are open. Sightless, thoughtless—he looks, rolls and scans around the room to notice something but registers nothing until he ends looking down to his hands and his lap, he rests…Now…He remembers…

He sits up tall and pulls a soft chord from her guitar. It is mostly in tune so he plays a slow bass line that rises then down it slides and bounces into a gentle chord. The rhythm set, he goes on and on into a song of bass notes and chords, bass notes and chords. It has an easy beat, as natural as a short nap. Then he sings…

seeing her here now / as she walks / a gentle beat / harmless and mild

she’s my angel / on and on / on her wings / I am free

as I say / over and over and over again / she grows on my mind / like nothing I know

This is their goodbye. The guitar he sets aside and he kisses her forehead and her lips. It is time to go. At the doorway he turns to look at her again, a blanket covers most of her. He can see enough to know that he does not want to go. He should hug her again, he should kiss her again. He knows they have more music, he knows they have more of everything. And just as he is certain he does not know what to do, somehow he leaves.