not in peace

I sat down

where the great man wrote

to take a look

read from his book

& heard what he heard

saw what he saw

& I understood the words

had already fallen

for the idea

some time ago

felt the sense of place

exit from cities

foul humanity

dirt squalor disgrace

but I was not the only pilgrim

others had been before

& no doubt more

will come

like those who leave their litter

bottles cans paper plastic

homage corrupts if the wanderer

comes for bragging rights

not in peace

familiar to our ears

sleeping on soft beds in cities

to lie hearing police cars

screaming up & down the avenues

thinking of nights out under the stars

there completing the silence

dreaming one day to do this

set out in the light to find a spot

amongst green trees & soft grass

not understanding

they love the city the noises of it

& will grow fearful as night grows

to the unfamiliar sounds

insects to find ears open flesh

screaming owls tearing on voles

lying half awake restless

blades of grass crackling

is it mice? rats? worse?

not knowing if a fire

will keep troubles away

or bring them close

to finally sleep worn out sand eyed

as dawn comes near

dreaming of soft beds in cities

sounds familiar to our ears

between villages & cities

I was a fresh city boy then

immersed deep into the country

wondering about mores

how best not to upset the locals

& one fine evening

was invited along to a Friday night beer

but first we must pick up others

from farms other remote houses

& talk about the weather

there along the way

on one low hill we stopped

to pick up a figure side of the road

wait he said see the sunset

so we stood in a five line as the sun set

chewing over issues of the day

when one of our number mumbled

I must piss & turned 180 in line

& carried on while talking of hay

he finished about faced still talking

as the sun slowly set over the hills

after this we continued on our way

while I ruminated on differences

between villages & cities

roads fields the sky & stars

roaming the night

everywhere was ours

the roads fields the sky & stars

out way beyond midnight

while the sleepers slept

we were alive with all

the possibilities

riding between towns cities

villages of dark houses

stopping anywhere to talk

smoke some more

drink whatever was to hand

playing music loud non stop

anything new we had to share

the world belonged to us

& all we had to do

was be in it

own every second

until those first fingers of light

& the day people came

to reclaim it

working away

stuck in strange cities

to sit in bars knowing nobody

eating alone in restaurants

or more tv in dead hotel rooms

I’d go walking

not hoping to find

but to see what was there

how the place got built

there is always a river

at the bottom of town

the older architecture

& as I’d rise up taking corkscrew turns

round & around the city streets

the place would slowly unfold

here the place of artisans

working districts one time slums

being gentrified coming up plums

there the old shopping centers

butchers grocers hardware stores

the old mom & pops drop in shops

selling booze detergents high price cans

holding out against the high end places

in the shiny new cut price palaces uptown

until finally feet aching

I’d head back to the hotel go to sleep

& the next day they’d say:

you went where?

don’t you know that’s a dodgy part of town?

& you smile quietly to yourself

thank you for that

but you weren’t around