Tag Archives: Travel

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

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

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

Vagabond

cropped-backrods-cover-photo2-e1408054396581.jpg

 

He might be Woody Guthrie or Jack Kerouac

riding boxcars or on the road searching for a soul

Tom and his blood clan Joad

crossing the desert searching for work

any job will do

you can spot his hopelessness by that mangy, tattered look

You’ve seen him at highway rest stops and dive hotels

he’s the hitchhiker you didn’t pick up

the reason you avoid truck stops

He’s the graffiti on the side of a boxcar passing in the rain

fresh footsteps in new fallen snow

the one that looks like Jesus combing the beach

he reminds of freedom and he’s the reason you dream of leaving

When times become tight he finds solace in a bone orchard

dreaming of companions lost

taking refuge under the cover of the moon

a silver beam for a blanket pulled over weary head

When road stake runs low

he never wavers from following the code

 

I’m a vagabond on the roll

trekking far and wide, seeking anything I can find

to heal this fractured soul

On a black river of disconnection an asphalt ribbon carries me

from Smokey Mountains to Denver, seeking sanctuary

across red desert sands where grains are fused like glass

reflecting back this flight as destiny slips through my hands

When storms come and I’m seeking higher ground

winding through mountain passes where shamans dwell

I’ll shed my load in temples where secrets of ancients can be found

Possible futures I see

silhouetted against a perpetually moving horizon

and this driving thirst has been whetted

this thirst to push on, find answers that lay beyond

Destination unknown

this vagabond rides into a tangerine sky

so many days on the run

too many days I’ve spent

chasing the sun

Red Ball

Red Ball originally appeared in  Urban Hymns

 

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Red ball

I am a ribbon of light along the eastern horizon

gently peeking at this brand new world

gathering courage to rise

growing slowly aware

shattering darkness at dawn

I am a melting yellow sun at noon

spreading across the sky

unstoppable, unfathomable, impossible to look upon

dissolving shadows

reaching my zenith in late afternoon

I am the evening sun in twilight hours

final ribbon of light carrying the particles

pieces of everything complete

disintegrating into a red ball sinking into my horizon

dimming down, once and for all, dying out

particles of being absorbed into the night

Gypsy Logic

007

 

Spirit is free flowing

like a river untamed

carving out a path

into territory unknown

disconnected from society’s shackles

set free, liberated

escaping the white noise

that holds me down

Spirit takes wing

soaring into the void

where a quarter moon rises

over a desolate field

an empty desert

above the hills that rise to the mountains

that give way to the sea

to that distant place

where there exists no more me

Secretly I yearn

for an empty highway

vagabond friends

the sun moon and stars

sleet snow and rain

‘cause there I know I’ll find

a sense of community

TRAIN

train

Corn rows outside my window

swaying gently when the wind blows

a soft summer rain

falls across the plain

I’m riding a westbound train

Young girl asks where I’m from

she’s lonely, I know

needs to know the things I’ve done

gazing out the window

notice smoke filled eyes

reflected in the glass

we’re escaping our own demise

two lost souls running from our past

Train rolls across the prairie

thunder in the distance

remembering who I used to be

gentle rumble of memories falling to the ground

if only this instance

this train can take me where my dreams are bound

maybe this time

if I get it right

save my last dime

this train will roll into my goodnight

Young girl asks where I’m from

maybe I shouldn’t have brought her along

wants to know about the tattoo on my arm

when we met we were singing the same sad song

at the next station I’ll tell her she can’t stay

buy her a ticket back to Buffalo

send her on her way

but I know she won’t go

she wants to ride this train

see it all the way through

good times and rain

to the end of the line

stay with me

till the end of time

Gypsy Logic

Spirit is free flowing

like a river untamed

carving out a path

into territory unknown

disconnected from society’s shackles

set lose, unbound

escaping the white noise

that holds me down;

Spirit takes wing

soaring into the void

where a quarter moon rises

across a desolate field

an empty desert

above the hills that rise to the mountains

that give way to the sea

to that distant place

where there exists no more me;

Secretly I yearn

for an empty highway

vagabond friends

the sun moon and stars

sleet snow and rain

‘cause there I’ll find

a sense of community

Slow Rain

She tumbles through the mind

memories cascading down

softly falling to the ground

like a slow rain;

Two souls lay bare

exposed and unaware

kisses falling softly on the skin

like a slow rain;

Hold her tight

never let go

but life ebbs and flows

events falling down

like a slow rain;

She tumbles through the mind

memories cascading down

tears falling to the ground

like a slow rain