Tag Archives: escape

FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

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FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

 

From Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield familiar vagabond spirits I meet

torch of knowing burning through opened eyes

we know what’s it’s like to live on the other side

to exist on the outside looking in

we know why others find comfort dwelling inside another’s’ dream

and why we choose a life

chasing freedom

 

From Tacoma to Portland, Maine

I recognize their kind

essence of life dripping like sweat from the tip of our nose

committing sins as if sins are our daily bread

forgive us father for we have erred time and time again

attaining knowledge from our trials

forgive us father if we have grown so much wiser

than the fearful kind who have faced no trials at all

forgive us father for we have sinned

time and time again

learned from our mistakes and moved on

aware that experience may darken the soul

light dimming with the passing of years

but if we allow wisdom to blossom from failures

there’s a special kind of light that burns

when we conquer our fears

 

From the harsh winters of Fargo to the tropics of Brownsville

we move on down this road with a song in our hearts escaping

these weary travelers disconnected

from mechanisms of society intended to control us

disconnected from those desiring to lord over us

to own us

we cut the puppet strings and paved our own road out of here

this song in our hearts escaping

our severed hearts finding a chorus to hold on to

these vagabond souls singing all the time rejoicing in

Whitman’s Song of the Open Road

In The End

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In the end

if my hands and heart are scarred

then know I’ve fared well

for each scar is a memory, a medal of honor

for challenges defeated, battles won

and lessons learned

 

In the end

I will not be pure

pure like mountain streams born of snowmelt

for purity is a lack of experience

and I am the stream when it makes the delta

a thousand miles from home

depositing my silt into the ocean of the universe

Leaving (revisited)

side mirror

Leaving

 

Said goodbye to the road

open highways and miles and miles of empty space

bid farewell to my country home

isolation and peaceful contemplations

buried my business and my way of life

buried the man I used to be

buried it all six feet in the ground

left behind everything I knew to be right

sun moon and stars

fresh air and Natures’ masterpiece

left it all behind in my rearview mirror

hit the road and headed north

made my way to the city

where men have little pity for the honorable kind

inserted myself into the mainstream

reunited with my brother and sister

reunited

with the children of the hive

Leaving

wild turkeys in fog

A city boy by birth, I eventually broke free of the high intensity hectic urban lifestyle and made my escape to the country. 15 years I spent peacefully dwelling on a small spot of land where the forest dissolves into rolling prairie. Out here, surrounded by an abundance of undeveloped acreage, cattle quietly grazed in green pastures along with coyotes, rabbits, armadillos, owls, hawks, wild turkeys, bobcats, and of course, snakes. At nights we sat on the porch and watched the moon rise from the east, 1113brighter and more vivid than ever before. My wife often commented that she could see the bands of the Milky Way floating above our heads in the night sky. We slowed down. As the white noise of the city faded we began to hear something new, our thoughts, our inner voices, inspiring us to discover our souls.

During this time we also built a small business that took us down the highways and back roads of America. 10 years we did this and the experience changed our core selves, for the better (I like to believe). Some people think we were insane for abandoning traditional career paths in exchange for the romance of a gypsy lifestyle on the road, but those people are wrong. Drowned out by the white noise of the city, they’ve never heard their inner thoughts softly speaking to them, encouraging them to take risks and seek new adventure. They’ve never been liberated from the all-mighty, soul consuming corporate machine. Most of these naysayers had never experienced that kind of freedom. Severing the corporate umbilical cord is a gambit most people are too afraid to take. After all, it’s only your life and future well-being that’s at stake.

After 15 years nurturing my soul, the journey abruptly came to an end. I returned to the mainstream, to corporate America as another cog in the machine. After 15 years of rural splendor, I moved back to the city.  Then I penned some verses about leaving a life behind, mostly for therapy I suppose, and made these verses the prologue for my recent collection of poetic attempts, Urban Hymns. 

 

Leaving

 

Said goodbye to the road

open highways and miles and miles of empty space

bid farewell to my country home

isolation and peaceful contemplations

buried my business and my way of life

buried the man I used to be

buried it all six feet in the ground

left behind everything I knew to be right

sun moon and stars

fresh air and Natures’ masterpiece

left it all behind in my rearview mirror

hit the road and headed north

made my way to the city

where men have little pity for the honorable kind

inserted myself into the mainstream

reunited with my brother and sister

reunited

with the children of the hive

Stagnation

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Old man donated

forty years of loyal service to the corporate logo

forty years behind a desk, filling out forms

endless meetings, a yes man for self-preservation

never rocked the boat

never found fault in the corporate agenda

never learned how to live

liked to brag about the level of stagnation he achieved

After forty years of servitude they came and declared

it’s time to retire, thanks for the years

here’s a small plaque and a pin for your lapel

notice the corporate logo?

thanks much, it’s time for you to go

time to train someone new for your post

Four days later those who worked beside him all those years

we’re far too busy for memories of people who used to be

because the machine keeps rolling

world never pauses to reflect upon those left behind

in the stream of Time

Four weeks after retirement

they forgot his face and all the things he had done

all those things being mundane

achievements not worthy of lasting fame

after four months most couldn’t remember his name

couldn’t remember him at all

as if he never existed

never sacrificed his soul

his one and only life in the physical world

sacrificed for the corporate goal

and the disease of stagnation leaves a man one dimensional

drops him off at a station in Time

never to progress

baggage of unfulfilled dreams at his feet

Her Rain

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In the season of the storm my ballasts have come undone

moorings once secured to a stable berth

anchorages now destroyed

the unseen beauty hidden in the tragedy of a storm

release of chains, breaking of shackles

the beauty of destruction is in the release

of the moorings holding us down

I am another wayward traveler drifting

floating on currents of Time

wandering aimlessly in and out of storms

across empty oceans searching

oceans of empty knowledge at my stern

just another lost child

an afterthought in Yahweh’s mind

so many storms eclipsing the sun

angry disturbances spawning indictments against an only son

foundations of this fragile vessel constructed from planks of weakened memes

breaking apart when challenged

when an angry wind howls my shame

and lightning damages my sky

hail pummels, scarring flesh

breaking bones

punishment for things I’ve done

foundation of self disintegrating under pressure of storms bearing down

vessel gone

arms flailing wildly in ocean of despair

hands grasping at broken planks floating by

a life-preserver, anything to survive

sinking

drowning

final breath passing through lungs, escaping lips

sleep, eternal, sleep

is here

release, eternal, release

is here

final breath of destructive beliefs

exhaled

Awakening on a distant shore

salvation found in a plank from a foreign vessel

on my knees coughing up former self

broken and bleeding

stormy ocean behind

fury dissipating into gentle breeze

whispering

We suffer because we want . . .

We suffer because we want . . .

and suffering no more is all I desire

from a fire burning on the beach she emerges

as tears from heaven explode in the sand

taking infant steps forward I stumble and fall

out of the storms falling

into her rain

She invites this lost traveler into her home

sanctuary for the unborn

transcending consciousness in her womb

darkness shattered by light doomed to be extinguished soon

as we pass from womb to future tomb

light existing only in this moment of passing

before darkness consumes

In her face a reflection of me

such a natural beauty I’ve never seen

a tear she sheds for children yet to find their way

a tear for humanity

Brahma tears falling like rain

naked at her bosom feeding

I lay

wrapped securely in gentle arms

masturbating

ejecting worldly seed

system purging everything

lips pulling on nipples extracting truths

unmovable truths deeply woven into threads of Nature

striping away lies I’ve told myself

there is no permanence, everything decays . . .

stripping away lies of society

the constructs of men are an illusion, nothing is real . . .

the remains of Eden clearly visible outside my front door

and my shadow lays dying on the floor

bleeding so many beliefs untrue

tears of joy falling

nurturing rain cleansing

her rain kissing

my soul

Exit

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 photo by CT Cooper

Woke up this morning, everything was wrong

took to the dirt road and left you in the sun

walked to the horizon, empty sky overhead

thinking about all those things you said

so many lies that fill my head

this city of deceit sprawling across the land

want to burn it’s dogma down, burn it to the ground

find my way to some new town

Home

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There’s an abandoned school bus behind a darkened turkey barn

where I sit on the steps watching grazing longhorn

in a forgotten pasture outside the hills of Fredericksburg

where our congregation meets when the soul grows cold

absorbing vibrant sunsets breaking across an endless sky

and spend the night gathered around a fire in a soft rain

wet kisses falling upon the flesh and we don’t mind

on our knees begging to sense a creator’s touch

healing aches and pains and the wounds of the day

listening to Earth’s whispers carried on the wind

soothing a travelers’ weary soul

and I’m lost in the flame of a new religion burning

holes in my soul

this crackling campfire so hypnotizing I slip into a dream

drifting far away to another plane

where boundaries and limitations don’t exist

lost in the rhythm of gypsy guitars picking a soulful refrain

feel the chords falling down

falling like rain

while perched atop the bus angels sing

and we are the children of the sun

exiled offspring of the universe seeking our way back into her good graces

snapshots of the mind capturing these moments in time

engulfed by the energy of fleeting friends

fully aware that our time together is temporary at best

so we reveal ourselves and innermost desires

mistakes we’ve made and lessons learned

because there’s nothing left to lose

nothing left to gain through lies and excuses

we are monuments of being rising up from the valley of our souls

punching through fog of sleeping dreams

these children of the sun gathered around a fire in the hill country rain

wishing these moment could last forever

these moments etched in time

our vagabond souls bound

in love

friendship

and a gypsy’s soulful rhyme

here tonight and gone tomorrow

with no regrets or sorrow

because soon our paths shall part

for there are new roads we must follow

and somewhere further up the road we shall find

a new place to call home

for a little while

Broken Highways ch1

Those who danced were thought insane by those who could not hear the music

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

1.

August, 2011.

 

I’ve fallen off the grid.

 

Forgotten highways and dirt road backstreets are my lifelines. Cow pastures, turkey barns, and asphalt parking lots in old, abandoned towns are my homes. Removed from the white noise of the city Earth’s heartbeat pulsates through the skin, recalibrating an emerging soul. Silently I dance a dance of chaos to the rhythm of a dying sun.

 

From the doorway of a converted school bus parked behind a turkey barn I sit on a step and watch as the sun sinks into the earth. An explosion of colors race across a deepening blue sky, reflected back into the universe from my eyes. Scent of rain hangs heavy in the air as storm clouds retreat in the distance.

 

Engulfed in emptiness I’m all that remains of a congregation that once gathered here for a weekend each month. Voices of ghosts echo inside the head. Closing eyes, a thousand faces stare back but the connection is gone. Energy has ebbed. Love has evaporated. Path fades in a diminishing light.

 

This is my church, my religion, my spiritual awakening. In the distance trees congregate to meditate. Flowers bow heads in prayer. Silhouetted against the horizon, mesas rise up to witness the ceremony. Stars emerge in the east, twinkling brightly with anticipation. Wind carries a sermon and I lean forward to listen. Eyes close and a restless spirit is soothed by the words. Weightlessness consumes the body. Mind is set free to roam the countryside, soaring across land and water, across space and time to a place where the lines of reality are blurred, a place where boundaries and labels can’t exist, into another dimension where limitations are not known. I am but an illusion in the physical world, just another soul trapped inside a host.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

I am a child of the Earth, born of the elements, grounded in the soil. My soul was born from a seed planted inside this host and took root in the consciousness of the universe. I am the darkness and the light, the rising and setting of the sun and everything in between. My soul has merged with the force that sparks life into everything. I feel all it feels as it fills all of me.

 

Opening eyes, sun is a tiny red orb sinking over the horizon. Lightning from a distant storm illuminates the sky and I pretend it’s a thought passing through God’s mind. Scent of rain remains but storms have passed without releasing a drop. Fields have dried up. Vegetation is scarce. Ground is hard, deeply scarred by cracks. Ponds, creeks, and rivers run dry. The path abruptly disappears into the charred remains of the land. There is nowhere further to go. This is the end and I am but a symbol of something yet to be understood.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

My name is Jason Powell and I was shoved off the grid.

Broken Sky

It’s not unusual for my works to range over a wide variety of topics. What is unusual is for me to cover such a broad spectrum in a single effort, but that is the point of this poem.

 

broken sky

 

Hit the natural world bathed in mother’s blood and bodily fluids. First thing you feel

is a gloved hand slapping your ass. First lesson learned is that this world exists

to break you

 

Shine a bright light on a spinning mirror ball. Choose an artificial light

from an artificial sun because your family methodology is a prism

bouncing off a wall

 

Take a punch in the mouth from a kid up the block, spit a tooth out. Kid laughs

and says brother, if you wanna survive you’re gonna have to learn to fight.

Lessons learned at age five

 

Witness the mark of the beast branded across our foreheads. Implanted ideologies

burned from the inside out thanks to mommy, daddy, religion, and public school.

Branding iron has been passed to you

 

In the pulpit snaked eyed men are busy crafting life preservers with wizard words.

Salvation or damnation, the choice is yours but beware, these life preservers have

no rope to pull you in

 

Went to the garden to find Mamma a rose but the garden was a desert as vast

as the universe. Flowers I found were withered and dead so she placed them in

a cracked vase in the darkness beside her bed

 

Politicians selling us out in back room deals to machete faced men dancing

pirouettes on corporate cred. Life ain’t worth living if you’re not on the edge

and I got a time bomb ticking inside this head

 

Some think this is sane, this age of men pissing on one another for monetary gain.

Concrete foundations erode and crack with age so I’ll slip through a crevice and

make my escape

 

See the cracked rainbow in the sky? Romantics lament about better times but romantics

got it wrong. Those halcyon days are a lie and down in the streets poets die,

shredded by the debris of a broken sky