I Dream of America

Poetry, Prose

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Bratty kids tear up arcades, pockets jingling with loose change, screaming and yelling and pushing and shoving to get a peek inside the stand-up cabinets, only to find they’d ‘struck out’, the ball sliding past the bats and into the machines, and just outside these arcades there are at least two or three bums hoping to catch a few cents from them as they leave. And then opposite the street, teenagers waiting to go into whatever movie was in at the time, this time the bums being shooed away by movie-goers and employees alike. And then further down the street, Bowery and Third Avenue bars filled with suits, glasses clinked and cigars smoked, the businessmen of our day swigging away after a hard day’s work, jukeboxes roaring away with Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Armstrong, or whoever, the bartenders who’ve heard it all a thousand times before – and then just outside, in the alleyways out of plain-sight, paranoid teenagers with bottles, cowering in corners out of fear of being caught. And then the finest America has to offer, men and women in at least five or six coats and jackets, purses filled to the brim with all kinds of wealthy secrets, walking past phone booths filled with lively conversations with friends and families. And just down streets, trees peak round corners, park birds making residence for the night, shouting from tree to tree about the adventures of the dwindling day. More alleyways filled with the smell of tea, two men round a corner laughing away at jokes which trail off into the slowly-darkening skies

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Innumerable people lost in the swathe, three hundred million three hundred million, old and stupid, young and foolish, thinking evil so they receive evil, thinking good so they receive evil. Black, white, yellow, brown, whatever the colour whether rain or shine a fight will break out in no time at all, and sometimes the people who were told to protect us do the exact opposite. Men dead from the day they were born, men wearing suits becoming just suits, men without suits don’t matter, Men with tattered clothes matter even less, if you’re ill don’t talk to anyone, no one cares about your health so no one’s gonna give you health. The White House don’t give a damn either so don’t bother asking them. Drugs are easier to find, probably more fun too, roam the streets of Alaska to find this out, meth heads hugging trees, homeless people trying to sleep, the drunk hopping from bar to bar whilst yelling and shouting in the streets. Is the hedonism shallow or is it all that matters, I don’t know but I want to know, I want to go and find out.

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Give me that sense of wonderment that I want, let me look up as I walk down streets and see gigantic monoliths for buildings lit up by the thousands of different lives which are being lived and have lived and will be lived. Let me hop in your car and travel across the entire country with you, sailing across roads which have been crossed a million times before me and a million times after me, and yet I still feel like it matters that I’m doing it. Let me smoke that with you and sit back enjoying the music, whatever music, music that was born here, that was listened to here, that will be listened to here, maybe it’s jazz, maybe I’ll feel Almost Blue, maybe Kind of Blue, maybe just blue. Past, present, future, America is here, and America is there.

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

But really I don’t know anything about it

Performed this at Thorn: Deception, at Bar 33 Durham


And Heavens Parted


And heavens parted,

just as Moses did.

Or rather the opposite.


Skies instead of sea,

wet instead of the dry,

and not lofted men, but me.


And rather than sea bed

a concrete maze of city streets

upon which the grey skies weep.


Jacket with hood

which I refuse to use.

Glasses bead up; angelic sweat


Natural pitter-patter on leaves,

unnatural splatter-splatter from gutters onto streets,

a golden mean as it lands on me.


Gather strange looks from those in cars,

to be kept in my pocket (now wet),

as reminder what not to be.


Stray dog approaches; it drips too

I am not fearful,

for it understands

as I do.


Another Alaska poem




Greeted by cloud and rain,

a sense of overwhelming loneliness

I gaze to the mountains, for even they are not alone.

One stone of many I see in the road

One stone of many run over



Embodiment of the American Dream,

chasing until the Last Frontier

Grasp of English poor, grasp of kindness all the more.

Had not the heart to ask for whom he chased

Said farewells and let me be on my way



Steps with no soil between, balance

Trail ends, rock face begins

Scramble, creation of riprap

Turn back to help chinawoman,

We perch atop the city, we perch within the clouds


Peter and Jane

A couple from rocky Colarado

Mountain home they leave, to discover mountain air to breath

I sit in the back, peer across road

Speaking of God and of poetry,

We reach the Great One’s home


Misty Morning

Awoken early by condensation,

dripping from my measly tarp

Throw back my covers, the clouds soon envelop

Not only me,

but ’round the mountains they start


Tiresome Night

Ghostly wolf, or loon,

laments through the night.

I am too far to care.

The moose or caribou which roams my tarp

reveals my fears bare



Foolishly decline a ride to stay another night

An actor from Chicago who suffers in the L.A. lights

A kind man, kinder than I, took me see a glacier

not a few days later.

Spoke of aches and pains but continued to solider on



An old mining area where park employees stay,

huddled in a room to watch guitarists strum and play.

With nothing to drink and weariness settling,

I retire early.

Tired of the rain, I plead to stay

in the back of a minivan.



Stand with thumb out for over three hours,

no rides to help me return to the city.

The very same man who let me doze in his van,

stops and picks me up.

I entertain grandchildren whilst the rain fails to give up



Meth-heads hug the trees

The homeless try to sleep

Tourists hop from bar to bar,

yelling and shouting through the streets



A true traveler like few I have seen before.

With country he is disillusioned but its nature he adores.

Dreams of visiting all 50 states as he hops from freight to freight,

As we walk the coastal trail and speak of philosophy and musical taste,

carries with him a six-string but carries with him no case,

picking old country songs to discover more along the way.


A New Light

Roaming the beaches with Emoore, we turn back to see the city we left behind

The city we spoke of with spite we now saw in a new light.

The sun makes an appearance, reflecting gold off few glass buildings,

and in the distance the horizon stretches as dawn bends her rosy fingers

‘cross the vast waters



A Texas-man who flew not south but north

agreed to drive me the miles to the port.

A holy man, we exchange contrasting ideas,

not once but twice,

for he would help me return to the city once more



Weather prophetic, the sun lifts my spirits greatly,

wander past the docks of small boats

to reach the tip of Lowell Point.

Return through town, dream of sailing Atlantic



Sun turns against, walk six miles without water trying for a ride

Stumble into a storage lot seeking help, but instead it was my own turn to deliver

Fix his printer, whilst he speaks of past and present,

Rewards with beer and tea, and a ride back

to the temporary home


Nauti Otter

Earn a bed by making them

for a lady soon to be wed.

Others do the same, a man younger than I,

traveling before army

A woman wishing to travel further.



We spoke few words until my last night,

where he offered kindly cigarettes as we drank beer.

Speaking of politics and cultral affairs,

of differences in the cold night air.

I wish him well for future


Exit Glacier

Beauty that is quickly receding,

beauty that is undermined, by the many tourists including I,

it was time to make leave.


Hugues and Heloise 

A couple from Belgium who wished to travel onwards but were unsure of where to stay

I direct to a farm where I shall work, and to Homer they offer me a way

Reminisce of meeting Klaus and Lena, who offered salmon, a joint, and more


Seaside Farm

A vast property on which I stay, see right across the water

till the glacier which flees from the bay.

Handed bolt cutters I toil to remove weeds in the field,

I end my work by stacking wood too heavy for the farmer to wield.



Ride the bike for 17 miles to reach the Homer Spit,

run-down but welcoming, I enjoy a coffee and a burger

Almost finishing book I read, almost finishing my travels


Northern Lights

Finish eating dinner as the Belgian couple retire,

before bursting back inside to inform the sky is alight like fire.

We stand outside and silently gaze,

at colours of white and green,

the horses awaken and silently graze, for many times they have seen



A man who has travelled far and wide with both army and his shadow.

Rides his bike through the night, cuts through like water with a paddle.

Sit and stoke the fire for a few hours, before saying farewell,

as we head for opposite ends of the land.



Speaking of technology,

he draws be back to life at home.

I return to the city



Last night,

excess of man caused panic.

No breath for two minutes, no calm for more.

Walk for 7 miles to airport with my pack, stopping along the way to spare my back

Rain dampens my as I smoke the last of my cigarettes,

Alas, Alaska


A series of simple poetry I wrote about my times in Alaska – inspired by Snyder, Han-Shan, Tu-Fu, Thoreau 

See Them As They Roam


See them as they roam; motherless, fatherless, godless, penniless

Windows of the mind plastered with green portraits of Abraham and Benjamin,

Who stand, watchful eye of he who favours peering from above


See them as they roam; on rooftops gazing into the enigma of stars

Throwing off their watches and clocks which are subsequently crushed by wandering ants

In the streets below


See me as I roam; for I feel I am not my mother’s son, nor my sister’s brother

Five years time the Mohammeden angels may have left my right side,

Whilst the left expands left


See me as I roam; ‘tween rows of prostrating individuals tied by spiritual ropes

Sliced from my wrists to leave scars, freedom to fill my stomach with rocks as I leave rooms;

An uneasy freedom indeed


See them as they roam; rise at dawn to touch knee with forehead

Instead of rest in bed, to kneel and mutter phrases to empty rooms

Vibrations only, reply none


See them as they roam; a struggle to conceptualise man loving man, woman loving woman

We loving grass, us loving nectar, and me loving difference

Potential for change, as I did


See me as I roam;

Bukowskian bohemian inventing and reinventing,

Have changed, will changed


A poem a started a while ago, and only just finished whilst I had a 10 hour stopover at Portland Airport