Thoughts on Lost Lines

I could not find the
Best lines to write to
The lone man high
Up on trails I
Cannot find…

Giving them to the wind
Or the mailboxes with
A flag always up but
Never put down. I owe
It to a quiet stream or a

Night-time terror that half
Wakes you up and in dream
States I reach out and think of
Songs of hills and lines I threw
To the wind and now…

Cannot find.

Songs of the Road, Lost Somewhere

I wonder how it sounds after
Darkness falls, and
There is nothing left by
Pale whimpers across
Steep mountain hills. The

Pools puddling
Over beaten rocks. The
Wind whipping over
Narrow ridges. I

Think that we must
Take all of this with
Us somehow. To

The songs on silent
Nights. The sparse words
Spoken at sunset in
Red desert lands. The
Image of shadows. Wind.
Such quiet late at
Night. The rain

That falls and falls outside
Starbucks by harbors with
Great white wings spread
Wide. This must

Become our song, our
Memories of life lived
Out on blue horizons. The

Streams that just go on,
And on…

The Return of J. Humbert Riddle

Editor’s Note: After a
Long period of absence and
Forgetfulness, I found the
Courage to dig deep into the
Pile of moldy Riddle poems. This
Is what I found…

Excerpt 7

… Long ago on mountain cliffs I
Threw unfinished, broken
Poems to the dry wind. These

Bits of a lost self. These pages
Slowly dissolving in
Cool mountain lakes.

Excerpt 19

So it happened that wild stares
Greet me in towns as
The wild hawk soars as
The beer spills over battered
Muddy boots as
Songs can no longer be heard from
An unplugged juke box as

I push through fog towards
The windy, wild shore.

Excerpt 2

I did find it once, this
Patient, quiet longing for
Higher things. The touch
In the stormy night. The

Smell of clean mornings beside
Crisp alpine streams. The
View like a carpet rolling on and
On. I

On cliff-sides and thinking
About green vases with
Pink buds picked from unknown
Gardens behind thick, waving
Aspen trees. Once…

The hint of madness,
The hint of lov

Goodbye, to all that

Sudden on silent nights I
Think of the long farewell…
The wave –
The sweet smile hidden
Beneath a fading sun… All this

Is lost somewhere, this
Day of shadows and rain and
Whispers said to calm storms
That call out on
Foreign, frozen sands. Like

A petal I picked up once and
Stored once in my pocket for
The longest time. I
Couldn’t let it go. Then,
Once on days by cascading
Trees once that hung
With gray, smiling moss I
Found it once again and saw that
It had turned once into an
Old coin I lost once, long ago, falling

Down a well I threw it in
For the best of luck. This

The farewell, the long goodbye that
I had but can’t remember on starry
Nights by quiet streams that told
Of storms and tables and shouts too
Far to be heard, but seen…

Always to be seen.

To A Poem, Lost Once

Fare well, frail, little poem
Of mine. Be gone and try to
Find your place in this
Beautiful, cruel world. I

Can do nothing else for
You. You must go on and find
Those spaces where time is
Infinite, and the broken page
Can no longer hurt. It

Is gone, just as we are suddenly
Gone and like the dust you pick
Up and blow out of your hand. Gone
Like the wind that blows around a corner
We cannot quite see. So

Go my little poem, leave
Me to new thoughts and new
Ways of finding old things.

Souvenirs

They say it is an
Impulse – a mad, wild,
Raving impulse – the
Places we have been.

The trails we took,
Never looking back to…

The lone people we met on
Waysides, all drenched
From un-
Expected rains. The
Sad stories told
In quaint hotel rooms in
The jagged jungles of
North Cambodia. When

We walked through ruins
Older than time… before touch,
Before pens, before
The scissors we hold to cut
Images from gray,
Pop-up books. Yes,

Sitting with coffee.
Rowing down rivers with
The huff huff of
Rugged women that man
Chipped, hollow oars.

***

Never coming back… gone
In moments when you
Take a bend by broken
Columns and want to weep
By the piled up skulls of
Long forgotten people.

Wasted,
Worn, out.

Travels, Once

Memories that are a
Mess in my
Mind – they –
They flash and burst
Across the inner eye
Of my mind, and
I see them…
I see them?

***

Ishmael pumping gas
With the car still
Running, running like
The morning beauty of Lauterbrunnen
Cascading, girt in mists,
In the background
Of the day. Or

Subjected to the awful beauty
Of a morning walk
In Aix: the light
Falling at such angles
That houses are painfully
Precise – standing out like
A blasted thump in
A symphony of strings. Or

It is the smell of chestnuts
On a Christmas day.
It is a route through an
Ancient town. Road stones
Worn down by centuries of
Tired feet.

It is wine.
It is waste. It

Above all is the bright
Light of a Swiss
Dawn – the warmth of
A blanket in the cool
Mountain air. It

Is a memory?

Mosaic Making – Upon a Time

… These fragments I have shored against my ruins…

V.

I fell in love here once,
So ancient, so wild. Streams
That flowed past, down,
Past rocks that lined
The lone, fragrant shore. While
Time was etched in tree trunks,
And grasses pushed, pushed
Aside on hikes that wound
Back to our quiet village…
Hidden between the mountains,
And a waterfall. Yes,

Rough pavements pounded down
Pebbles, and bits of broken stone we
Skipped across smooth streams that flowed
Down to trees danced under, all
Wet from rains and whistling,
Whistling to match the tap tap
Tap of boughs,
Against boughs.

X.

Then, tables on trails we traveled
Over, twisting and twisting and
Leading us… home again? To
Ripened products of farm
And field, and to
Votives I did not light but
That glowed in darkness that flowed
In, past glass shards
Scattered and scattered, stabbing
At our feet. Blood and time

Slipping by, like plates wettened still
By soap we flung out
From carousels rode so fast
On nights when clouds fell
Down and blotched,
Battered the frail turrets of Time.

I.

Gears shot, bolts busted by rust –
Clogs cling to clogs… but

Grasses grow and grow,
Climbing up the sides of rides
We ride together in
Meadows and valleys in
Wild rains at midnight in
Thunder that breaks and breaks in
Tunnels we dug out of
Such soft and supple Earth, picking
Fragments of bone and pottery as
We go – Pieces I think
Of love of
The mosaic we piece together, joining
And breaking, joining and
Breaking.

Published as part of Dverse Open Link Night

The Falling Clouds of Provence

in my beginning is my end

I.

I went away, long ago, to those
Kingdoms said only to exist in
The tall-tales told by
Musty old women sitting
Sipping tea and biscuits in
Rocking chairs, pulled up beside
Roaring fires.

II.

I was young then, and though I
Feel younger now, the
Thought of certain English gardens
After a midsummer shower still
Haunt my vision, forcing me to
Stare at the flowers of parks
In the glow of their color and bloom.

Then there were the
Trains I rode in through the
Dark, rolling away towards those
Unshaven French women who stand
Hunched and holding Starbucks
Cups outside of the
Notre-Dame de Paris.

III.

The old women rock and rock. I
Hear the sounds through memory
And the strangeness of finding rocks
On beaches that I wandered across,
Long ago.