Tag Archives: travel

Passage

Touch some part of me
while we wait for my soul
to be taken and crushed
like petals for scent.

I will neither enter
nor leave the room again.

Each moment
is a snowflake transforming
into a waterdrop
on a green leaf.

The border to the next land
is invisible to the naked eye
music is the only map.

I have walked away
without a word of goodbye.

You must stay on
wakeful
counting the barks of distant dogs
and the songs of the souls
needing bodies.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Wide Awake

Working the day cramp out of my elbows
I shake it rattle it roll it roll with it
Dragging my voice across the disappearing pavement
Engine hum on a night drive

Asking questions of the radio music
Why baby why sugar uh uh uh
Ache in the ribs for travel and twist again
Keen and crying out to the road, the dashboard lights
Expelling dust exhaust into the wide distant night

Answering to nothing but the radio
Negligent of weariness
Driving from nowhere to somewhere

Driving past the signs signs signs everywhere
Alive at last, it feels like
Nine on a scale of none
Clutch out, peeling the pavement
Inside is only me and the dashboard radio
Never stop don’t stop the dance
Give it up to thrash Rhonda help me yeah.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Tokyo Was

It’s a night like Tokyo was
candy jangle
fuse-blowing lights coloring
rain coming and going
honking and jammed
happily lost
taxi taxi.

-Copyright Kay Winter

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Directions

I want to leave by a back door
left absently open
and cut across the neighbors’ lawns
to an unfamiliar alley
to the small green door
left unlocked.

I want to leave
and walk before dawn
and waken from my walking
on a strange path
in a fog dense enough
to pull a cape from.
Dense enough
to muffle the sea below
and the cries of an unknown herd
on the hillside.

I want no bearings,
no water soundings,
no compasses or coordinates.

I want the map lost,
the watch, the clock, the calendar
left long ago
in a distant house.

I want the night road,
the distant side of the mountain,
the unmarked crossroad.

I want to walk
in the gathered turnings
that ripple through
my fingertips.

I want
to hear the spirals
of the earth.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Hills

The long day slides downward over empty rooms
where I rest, finally, feeling my bones
shake looser inside my flesh,
feeling my heart,
small and tight as you left it.

I’ve traveled the long trail
out from the interior
to these sunburned hills,
brown below an unforgiving blue.

These hills,
where once our boots crushed the wild sage
to scent the air,
where once our white dreams flew,
pale cities, pale menageries
vaporous and gleaming in aurora.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Road Time

Where I started that night left the ring of the day behind.
Awake all night through
windings of roads and headlights flashing by,
solitary distant lights of farms hovering, then fading past.

One stop, waiting in the darkness for the stars to fall,
one by broken one from the Dakota sky,
but they did not.

I drove on.
Distance collapsing into time.
And time arriving with me to the peculiar brown dawn of dust.
And then the dust giving way to juniper
and a blue streak of river.

And though you, and the next blank line ask me,
I cannot speak the why of it.
Only this, distance collapsed into time,
and I moved with it.

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Trailways 11

I know the me then.
The hair we cut drunk.
The cigarettes,
the music, the endless chatter of complaints
and sad laughs.

The scribbled notes home.

Squeezing and smashing through
the clubs that smelled like last week’s beer
and warm piss on wet floors.

She stood on top of a bus stop bench,
looking down the street,
shivering in the spring cold.
Wondering where she was.

After all the blur of travel.
Stations, buses, trains,
waiting, endless miles,
mendicant vans
with endless wheels turning
not knowing they wanted stopping.

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Waterways 1

We’ve waited the better part of a blustery day
in the ugly part of a Welsh town.

The ferry is late.
Very late.
The ferry is not coming.
The ferry is coming late tomorrow.
Perhaps we’d better find a B&B
and come back tomorrow.

The ferry is here,
but we can’t get on.
A storm is coming.

The storm cannot stop us,
we can board, but not quite yet.

Finally, we trudge on.
It is 2 a.m.

The Irish make straight for the bar,
and spill in disarray into the hallway.
“ALL FECKIN’ DAY!” someone shouts.
“And half the FECKIN’ night as well!”
someone else shouts back.

My friends and I find seats together,
on a quiet deck.
The dark windows reflect the low lights
and the orange carpeting.
They are not drinkers.
Nor Irish.
I am both,
but dare not brave the bar.

We settle in,
share out apples
and a tube of cookies,
chocolate on one side.

I try to read the Yeats poems I brought,
but I can’t keep my eyes
from skipping jaggedly across words.

I leave my friends,
sleeping under their coats,
feet resting on their backpacks.

Storm or no storm,
I must witness this passage
to Ireland.

I find the prow.
I lurch past people stretched out
sleeping in the hallway.

I find doors.
I push against the wind.
The wind slashes the rain against my face.
I can hardly open my eyes.
The Irish Sea is a heaving black
on all sides.
I hang on to the railing, head down.
Watching for the port lights
through the storm.

I am the first one back,
of four generations gone.

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Trailways 4

On page 54 or so you
realize that you are also
changing your life.

Your long winter
is over.

Isabelle, the headstrong woman in the book,
strides across the cover in a turban.
She put on mens’ clothes,
worked her way as a deckhand
across the Mediterranean,
sailing to Algeria.

You are sailing north along the mighty river,
in a bus, wearing the same jeans you wore all winter.

You read on.

Isabelle’s caravan is winding at night
under the stars,
further and further into the desert.

You are going to a new home.
One you’ll make.

The cottonwoods will shimmer,
on the slope down to the lake,
the leaves dusty green on one side,
silvery on the other.

You will find a dock there
to sit at the end of,
at the close of each long day.

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Trailways 1

I wake up against the bus window.
Move my neck to see if it has a crick.
I yawn, straighten up,
and try to sit squarely in my seat again.

I’ve been riding since the dark morning,
my shoes are still damp
from standing in the falling snow
in front of the drugstore.

Now, we have passed south,
out of the snowstorm,
and pulled into a town.
The streets here are wet,
the snow is crusted and dirty,
the sky the low, skimming gray
Of a Midwestern March.

I watch out the window
Huddled in the warmth from my body
below my coat
that I have pulled over myself
like a blanket.

We pull away from the bus stop,
Poke along the streets,
already leaving.

I look down into cafe window.
A group of old men
rattle spoons against the sides of thick mugs,
laughing at an old joke.

We pull away from the light
and climb a hill.
The small downtown turns to old houses
with lamplighted rooms.

A woman folds laundry against a sofa back,
while her children tumble on the floor.
Another girl turns to call to someone in another room.

The hill street becomes a ramp
that leads back onto
the highway.

Now I can look down
into the second stories.
A man walks across a flowered rug
switching his telephone from one hand to the other.

We stop, waiting.
I look down into the window of a gray clapboard house.
Bare ivy vines encircle the window
of an upper apartment.
A woman sits at a wooden table
in the gold light of a small lamp.
A bowl of soup sits in front of her.
She is engrossed in a book,
her spoon stopped halfway to her mouth.

The bus pulls away,
and gathers speed.

I settle further under my coat.

Having none of my own,
I hold close the comforts I have stolen.

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