Great Lengths


There’s another story to the one that is written,

emphasizing blank space rather than substance,

with rare feelings of bliss in this swirling mess of decision.

Without direction to witness the drifting,

places and languages change yet are still understood

to be suggestive and undefined, with nothing to turn to

for the ones leaving with a swift exit, perhaps understanding

that they cannot enclose the fleeting.

The great lengths they would go to fill the contours of dreams,

as buses follow highways and guides follow streams,

they’re pressing on.  Shells to the back,

slick was the path over the residue of what they would lack,

being strangers in a strange world.

Crossing borders, one after the other,

like the blind following the blind,

no words no guard rails to guide them

beyond mountains into vast distances,

where mysteries are scattered

monasteries of smokey silences

in the snow-capped peaks above Arequipa.

They appear like a mirage from out of the clouds

when soaked in the sun going down,

settling into every crack and spire,

gripped by those feelings of awe

they’ve gone great lengths to desire.

Up and down the Pan America

clinging to cliffs and tomorrow,

traveling lightly and unattached

to the heavy burden of sorrow,

to heat and cold lack of communication,

through outposts too remote to resemble

that which brings the sweet scent of ginger,

replaced by the smell of burning trash,

a pungent scent that unburdens the past

of all that is no longer portable

and cannot be fit in a pack,

to drag what is necessary

from bus to hostal

from boat to barrio

down pushcart streets

whose voices greet the silence

with peddling “pescado”.

They drag their tired frame to the next shelter,

waiting out the rain and the passing weather,

to follow the sparkling of stones

up to another in a long line of temporary homes.
The length of their stay, perhaps one night unknown.




4 thoughts on “Great Lengths

  1. Uncle Pete says:

    Hey Dom, what do you mean by “a pungent scent that unburdens the past”?

    • domtakis says:

      When I was traveling in Mexico or South America I would often see and smell burning trash and brush fires. I came to associate that smell with the freedom of travel, all the burdensome things from one’s past going up in that blaze as you move on.

  2. Pamela says:

    Transparent South America. I like how you got the beauty of that.

    • domtakis says:

      Thanks Pamela! Interesting that you found your way to this one. I found that trip through South America very inspiring, there are a few poems from that time up here. Being from there your perspective is greatly appreciated.

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