It Sweeps up these Remains

and you’d swear someone was there to share it with you.
The scent of shadows in the dim light
discouraged where the passage narrows.
Vacant districts bear the distance between familiars
as the streetcar lingers
into the bells of Mission Dolores.
It seems to river the sorrow of derelict streets
where homelessness meets opulence
in the clash of sidewalk belongings and locked gates.
In the citied layers of fate,
there’s always a remnant of what came before.
A voyant’s place in it reads of inspiration
before it recedes into nostalgia
pushing fog down alleys
intersecting with emptiness
drained of pints in Dylan’s no longer,
traced with gold paint
that trails off into the night you never went gently
but merged with the solitary city motion
spinning with urgency
attracting all the sensory possibility
that was freewheeling towards you.
I’d never permanent any decision
nor create a situation
I couldn’t leave at the drop of a hat,
at least it used to be like that.

Travel sweeps up the remains
of an old fabric
left under the surface of places once passed through.
Autumn gathers leaves for the burning,
a dormant persona under the sleeves of yak skin,
layers of driftwood words
pushed towards a back pocket,
a pendant around the neck
of beaches bathed in the glow of early morning
move you.
Pushing open the doors of dreamlike half-light
spilling onto the same Folsom abandon,
somehow still wholesome in its randomness.
The simple fact that these places still exist,
lush, peopleless,
I know the scent well,
the strange perfume of the road
mixed with campfire in your fibers,
damp backpacks covered by rain-soaked ponchos,
the kind that grow fond on you
and familiar as an old friend,
the kind you pick up hitching back into town
or embrace in winter when the cold clings to them
as they stamp out boots and come indoors.
It is the scent of the night
and speaks of far shores
of open answers
of freedom and chance
whose features are fading in time’s expanse,
fractured into aspects that remain
from all that came before.
What is the soul of a place
save that which is evident yet inexpressible?
Told through the very details that moved you.


All the Pieces We Scattered, Haphazard


We’re shaken from sleep,

from the momentum of exhaustion’s steep grade.

The endless buses that pave the way,

finally halt to let us relieve

in fields of purple quiet

over the Peruvian desert.

East and West are forgotten signposts

hobbled in the salons of dusty depots

strewn amidst shabby cities of sand

barely able to stand against arid hillsides,

parched of water.

There is barely a breath,

or an oasis within the depth

of an immeasurable sea,

where the sun, balanced on ridgelines

would walk across a great expanse for me.

It’s inconceivable how a journey through this landscape

could culminate at Macchu Picchu

and its lush well of mist.

Where you can grace an ancient wall and gaze out

over the breadth of the Andes,

into the secret depth of rivers.

Always transitory,

life’s beginnings and endings

for worse or for better on paper

swirling together in vapor

lifting like a luminous breath

deep from within the mountain’s chest

to form along this rift an embrace,

what we built time will replace

with or without significance.

Yet to move through these portals with fortitude,

along passages and over tracks

where the speeding train attacks

the boredom and the repetition.

Another bus pulling out of a tiny plaza

towards that final position,

where the road finally falters

at four in the morning

and leaves what we’ll offer

upon Santa Maria and her broken alter.

All the pieces we scattered, haphazard

to form the forgotten places we’ll share

when looking back,
there was a harmony to the unknown,

though perilous when undefined,
it’s the only home we’ve ever known.