Category: Travel

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

We went to teach, we went to learn
we did a lot of both and more of some

We met amazing people – they met us
perhaps none will be the same again

Details I leave for further poems
which I hurry to hurry to write

before the ripples rippling out
are lost
clockwise and counter clock
down the toilet bowl of time

12.12.2012 AND COUNTING

12.12.2012 AND COUNTING

Been out of Austin six months now
two oceans, some rivers, and a sea

Gathering material to throw
into a big pot of Shiner Bock

A pinch of limestone ground real fine
eye of salamander, blind of bat
and horn of ram from the Shiner cap

With branches from an old live oak
leaves still clinging to the stock
a dozen poets stirring the pot
and breathing their words across the top

Watch it bubble and settle and steam
something will scum to the surface soon
haiku to draw through a slender straw
and cups of couplets in rhyming itme

The Mayan calendar is running down
but I’ve got next year’s Marilyn and
ten new poems, and plenty of faith
that awe and Austin will carry on

FINDING GIACOMETTI

FINDING GIACOMETTI

It is a high calling to be in trouble
as you travel along the road
creating good Samaritans at every trip and fall

The trick starts out by renting a car
from a small gas station/liquor store

Sketchy directions and a wrong turn
an unmanned toll booth and two tunnels
some workmen suggest the one to the right
a tunnel we thought would surface in England

Not England but where?
Industrial park on a holiday
one man working in the flowers
directions to get us a little closer

And then, what you don’t find
unless you get this lost

A town with a Giacometti university
and a statue in the circular town square
that might well have been worth
coming all the way to France to see

ROAD TRIP

ROAD TRIP

There is a stretch
in the long loping hills of Montana
where the laws of speed and time are not enforced

Where over every hill there’s another hill
that far to the bottom
and that far up the other side

A-sail, a-sail on an earth-rocked ship
two thousand feet above an ancient sea

Wheels endlessly humming
to the radio’s timeless tunes

Suspended forever midway
between those you’re running to
and those you’re running from

DIRECTIONS TO LOS NOVIOS RANCH

DIRECTIONS TO LOS NOVIOS RANCH
for Claire and George

A hundred miles south of San Antone
Los Novios means The Sweethearts

They had Brahmas in the pasture
they had a gator in the pond

They got big Blue Indigo snakes
there to eat them pesky rattlers

Though mesquite may be as close
as you get to a sweetheart tree

The roadrunner on the woodpile
is all puffed up and singing
Hey girls, look at me

THE NOT QUITE DEAD SEA

THE NOT QUITE DEAD SEA

Thirteen hundred and thirty eight feet
below sea level

Unless you live around there
and then all of the other seas
are a long way in the air

Driving through the West Bank
watch the signs as you drop away

After the first six feet you are living with the dead

Down, down, down, you go
foot by foot and year by year
heading for Herod’s health spa
King David’s refuge, and source of balms
used in the mummification of young King Tut

Eight and a half times saltier that the ocean

You float in the water so thick that you can’t sink
and air so thick the sun won’t burn you
as you look up and East into the hills
where the scrolls were buried

You don’t have to read them, you can feel them

OREGON IN WINTER

OREGON IN WINTER

The big plane slows, mists rise to meet it
droplets begin to play along the windows

My body, mostly water
falling through clouds, mostly water

I have been traveling some

The water in me comes from
the limestone caverns of Austin
the rivers of Upstate New York, and
million year old glaciers in the Rockies of Alberta

The clouds have been around the world
rising and falling as river, air and sea

Quiet now, as I am
I can feel them meeting again
hear them, telling stories

NEGATIVE SPACE IN NEW YORK CITY

NEGATIVE SPACE IN NEW YORK CITY

At the Guggenheim
they make a big deal
about the negative space
between the right arm
and the body
of Picasso’s “Woman Ironing”

Which makes sense to me
as a boy from the prairie

Since I have often been told
that there are many
beautiful buildings in this city

And yet have only seen
a few tops and sides

My gaze always glancing
off glass and stone

In its wild rush
to grasp and embrace
any small piece of sky

THE INNER CRITIC ON HOLIDAY

THE INNER CRITIC ON HOLIDAY

You will get lost in Paris
it is not your fault
it was planned that way

You may find it unforgivably gauche
not to know the left bank from the right

Let it go

It is not necessary
to criticize oneself here
they have waiters for that purpose

And looking out, not in
you may stumble Americanly
upon Marie’s little side street shop
with bread as new as the cheese is old
and a three dollar wine to bridge them

or catch a brief glimpse
of that seriously happy young man
pedaling down the very center
of the Champs d’Elysee
one foot and a base fiddle
resting on his skateboard