Down a winding trail I stood;
Looking back on the way I came.
A blue bird sang in suburbia.
A younger me walked in the rain.

What a free day that must have been,
Or is it simply my imagination?
We walked down the path together;
The road of our summer vacation.

The rain has dried; the dirt now cracked.
Easier to move on than look back.
Our path now gone, and terribly overgrown.
Still, we always know this was our home.

The mileage added up to just a grand
Not a lot for 20 days,
No crossing of a dateline
Or a continent’s divide.

But still that world seemed somewhat foreign
and I saw streams of amazing things,
That were echoes of my teenage self,
As different now as I was then.

A hazy forest, dark and damp
Where the mist turned into fairy snow
And we walked on in muddy shoes
To learn the mysteries of falling water.

A midas treasure of wave-borne findings
Spilling from a cavernous hall
Pieces of so many lives found
Floating on the morning tide.

Stories of a Nippon sailor’s life
From things that got thrown overboard
Images of fishing boats
In round glass balls and floats of cork.

Carve the circle with a line
That led to a reunion of
The ones that I grew up beside
But never quite was welcomed in.

A rounding up of recollections
Shared at tables set for eight
Where those left out still don’t fit in
And bonhomie was the music played.

To the ocean of my childhood days
Waves that tell me who I am
And fill up all the empty spaces
City life drained out of me.

A shining tower with ninety steps
That wound around like pizza slices
And tripped me up to taste my blood
As balsa airplanes spiraled to the ground.

No time for wounding on the schedule
Shedding blood but never tears
The leader of the band played on
Admiring a Tsunami boat

Come all the way from far Japan
With cargo of the local fish
Still swimming in the unspilled sea.
A miracle born from true disaster.

Another beach, not like my own
A warmer, calmer span of sand
With jutting rocks in shallow surf
That dare you out to climb them.

Drawn once more to city lights
And the grassy slope where mother lies
There were other gardens to enjoy and
And contrivances with just two wheels.

How quickly we grew shuttered in-
Just two days in big city life,
The restaurants and funny shows
Still told us it was time to go.

Longing for the beauty of the Gorge
We were met by smoke and blackened stumps
And exits blocked to waterfalls, ravaged
By the fires of hell, and ugly now for 50 years.

A teenage boy with fireworks and no sense
Destroyed the loveliest drive on earth
And bragged to all his awestruck friends
That all the news stories were about him.

With fingers crossed at Mount Rainier,
The sunny weather turned to slush and
Fell two inches in an hour.  I ate fresh snow
Off branches as we hiked, and froze my tongue.

We wore the heavy coats we almost didn’t bring
And cheered when sunshine took the snow away
And we could walk in forests once again
On trails we never knew were there.

A wonderland of cast off parts and metal bits
Became giraffes, seahorses and other marvels
In the hands of a roadside welding artist
Who sold a giant piece to my home town.

A visit with a sister who shared my youth but not my soul
Who grew one way and I another
Leaving not a thing in common for us
Except the love that comes from blood.

No way to avoid the final city
Hellish place of one way streets
Endless detours and construction
Pay all you own to park two hours.

Yet there was the comedy and
Segways once again to ride.
A troll under a hulking bridge and
Poor Rapunzel in the tower.

Passing up the tourist musts,
Visited in journeys past, we saw
The small and quirky things
That make a foreign city yours.

Twenty days, almost no rain
Unheard of in that rainy clime
A lot of sun, some cloudy skies
A bit of snow to frost the cake.

Twenty days to drive a circle
On the map of who I am
And where I came from
To bring it all back here with me.

To this place so vastly different
I wonder how I found a way
To fit inside this giant tumbler
And plant a seed that actually grew

A would-artist long ago
I wonder how I mixed the paint
To make a life so changed, in colors
Blended from Seattle’s soils.

Painted on a Portland canvas
With a brush of Longview bristles
Wetted with Pacific water
To present my image to the world.
                       ljm

Should anyone be curious about our route, here it is:  Fly to Seattle, pick up car, Ferry to Kingston on Olympic Peninsula, drive to Hurricane Ridge and Sol Duk.  To Forks (No interewst in Twilight locations) to Beachcomber museum, and Hoh Rainforest.  Aberdeen (skipped Curt Cobin park) and Longview.  Class reunion.  To Long Beach  (the only REAL beach on the west coast), To astoria to climb the tower (and fall).  Maritime museum and that tsunami boat.  Seaside, Canon and Red beach.  Tillamook and the cheese factory.  Portland.  Mom's grave.  The poor mutilated Columbia Gorge, to Umatilla.  Then through Yakima and Ruchland to Mt. Rainer Nat. Park.
To Puyallup (properly pronounced pew-al'-up) to see sister and on to Seattle for the last 3 days, then home.
OMG - I've just done a boring vacation letter.  Be glad you aren't on my Christmas newsletter list !!
Grace W 3d

I'm homesick for a home I've never been.
Yearning for a place that is found on no map.
Longing for the nonexistent.

- forever a traveller.

Cracked roads,
long lost, less traveled,
stretch out in front of us.
An asphalt scar,
marring God's country.
We drive on through
the stillness of the burning day.
Churning past rust belt relics,
that pocket the landscape.
Past ancient willow trees,
quenching their thirst,
by bone-dry creeks.
Past wrecked towns and empty faces,
with names you've never heard of,
and never will again.
The failing golden light,
paints the world
in a false sense of good,
while the demons stir beneath,
this beautiful facade.
In the deepening shadows of blue,
my drunken mind swirls
with careless desires,
and juvenile regrets,
as we head North
On stormy winds,
towards uncertain times.

Don't settle. You don't have to move fast, but never stop.

You don't have to stay right here, in this place, just for comfort.

Go off.

Learn to be content in other ways, in other places, with other people. You don't have to live in the same shell forever, friend.

There are mountains to climb. You'll never see what's on the other side if you don't try to reach the top. There are lakes as deep as your soul, and you'll never see the bottom if you don't dive in.

Keep your legs moving, even if for no other reason than to say you're always on your way somewhere.

DEW 6d

She gazed, transfixed with dread
The path stretched on in hunger for eternity
Although it had not turned its hunger upon her
Despite its silence, its passive existence
She heard the road like war drums
Its rage was flame and steel
She broke her gaze from the path
And consulted the shaman
The shaman, upon giving her earthen herbs, sent her to wander
In the forest, where no path exists, she lost herself
She heard a voice call out to her, “Resfeber…”
The joys of life escaped her in the musty heat of dappled light
The rains tore through the canopy, washing her fears away
She began to lust for vision, for purpose
The wandering filled her with a desire to know the unknown
For all around her swelled the inescapable, the densely profound
And she happened upon the path once more
Its narrow vein was like the canal from a womb
She stepped out upon it, tasting the freedom of escaping the shell
She flew off, out into the storm
Seeking the eye of truth
Braving the harsh road
For the narrow path leads only to heaven.

Hadn't really written a long poem since the end of July.
I'd spent July doing 30/30 for Tupelo Press.
Basically, I wrote 30 poems in thirty days.
It changed my life in really important ways, many of them subtle.
The confidence I gained has waned a little, but I'm trying to hold onto the lessons.

So, here it is, today's poem.

Enjoy!

DEW

"Protect this man", I asked the trees,
"who rides through dale and dell,
and send a message on the breeze:
a whisper that he's well."

I asked the wind to carry far
the words I couldn't speak:
"I miss your heart beside my hearth
yet wish you all you seek."

I asked the waves to take this lore
across the rainy sea
and lay it on some distant shore:
"Remember - love - be free."

A Oct 9

Relatively;
They’re traced back to your hand.
Where the lakes meet the palatial forests,
Ensconced by a foreign land,
Ink stains, summer ice cream, soccer matches.
They spell what raised you from the ground.

Farther;
They pull you to the motherland.
Whispering to you in unfamiliar characters,
On a train across the vast verdant terrain,
Reliving the arduous lives of your predecessors.

You are a product of cold animosity and two rivals.

Come take a walk with me downtown
Where the ancient spirits may be found
The dull thump of techno is not the sound
That assaults your senses, now
It's the baying hounds

Suddenly you're enveloped in a must
Although you're not drinking you feel quite pissed
You've never known a feeling like this
No all the times on acid and mushrooms you've tripped

This must be the wrong alley, you've turned in
It's​ like a tiny hurricane in which you spin
The lights blur, your stomach churns
You have definitely taken a wrong turn

It must be the 19th Century in which you're found
The way the men's coattails skirt the ground
You want to scream, you can't make a sound
People walk right through you, like there's no one around

All of the shops have shrunk in size
Changed from concrete to marble before your eyes
The windows are smaller, tiny panes of glass
As through the mud and shit, you wander past

The black horses stomp, their breath it steams
The silver on their bridles gleams
Sewage runs through the gutters like a stream
Stuck in a 19th Century nightmare dream

The words in the drunken shouts  don't really differ
But the accent's changed, grown coarser, thicker
. It's gaslight, not neon now that flickers
But you could probably get a decent pint of bitter

The working girls are still around
They look even dirtier, more​ worn down
Money for Gin, not crack must now be found
But still the sordid beat they pound

Suddenly, the mist it clears
The smell of horseshit disappears
You were there for a minute, now you're back here
Now you slowly walk back home, shaking with fear

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