she steps outside
thru the broken screen door
straight into humid heat
southern Louisiana
high pitched cicada noise
all around unnoticed
unsteady on hard bare feet
on weathered wooden boards
railings for support
t-shirt stained with sweat
daily chores
children dribbles
a Bud Light in hand
her drunken heady poise
she exhales smoke spirals
takes two steps down and
sways to the swing seat
thru scattered yard toys
thrift store bargains
Walmart remnants
church offerings

he follows her scented trail
bare but for baggy gray shorts
his hand inside
full of himself
manly desires begging
night threats releasing
his time to entreat
dark neighborhood streets
sound of shouts
tired air con units whining
yet more background noise
add it to the cicadas
the voices in his head
volatile cocktails
street corner dealings
no work just more heat
deep south swamp heat
dripping sweat summers

her mouth full of cold beer
holding it back to enjoy
then sliding down throat
draws another
he calls her his
lips tits and bum whore
she takes his hot lusting
sticky as candy sweets
abandoned in sweating cars
this token moment of love
dirty and indiscreet
a pleasure for her Sonny Boy
distracting for a moment
defence methods deployed
it uncripples her from the past
childhood horrors
recurrent nightmares
he wanders sated back indoors
cicadas scream from trees
hands over bursting ears
heart beating like a drum

and later
for absolution
she showers off the guilt
the smell of him
the taste of him
the all and every
last stinking piss of him
with the water running
she can’t hear the cicadas
the air con and the children
or the cripple next door
wheelchair bound and blind
who shouts foul obscenities
to anyone who will listen
and this is her life
of welfare benefits
food stamp grocery shops
and of course she loves him
his lips tits and bum whore
who beats her now and then
but still she prays to her god

deep south2small




That feeling
When something is out of place

The track wound up
Through pine enclosures
Water trickled down
Quartz sandstone glistened
The imprint of treads left
In grey and white sands
Boot and tyre
Bird and deer
And here and there
A fence post rubbed smooth
Traces of coarse hair
On barbarous wire

An abandoned hut
Door shut and fastened up
Standing still in limpid air
The will of the wild
Mild on this occasion of passing

Winding up
Opening out

An abandoned pickup
Chassis snapped
Doubled up in pain
A rictus grin on the grill
No laughter or gain
A truck stopped in mid ascent
Spray painted message
Adorned in livid letters


The doors unlocked
Keys dangling from the ignition
Spent shotgun shells in the truck bed
And away to my right
Something caught my eye

My vision sped down the length
Of a double barrelled twelve bore
To the smooth wood stock
The hand that once gripped with vigour
The finger still closed on the trigger
Steady and ready
To aim and fire

Now severed from limb and life
An abandoned hand heartless
Lying there with gun companion
An odd union
Of flesh and bone
Wood and steel

And that feeling
When something is out of place

And you move on with your questions
As the sun breaks through the early morning cloud cover
Sweat breaks through your skin
Acid rises from your bitter gut
You wash it down with cool water from your canteen
It trickles down
Quartz sandstone glistens
You head on up


(spray painted message on car taken from ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer. You can read more about this book and how this poem came about on my other blog: )

Grill and Chill

I ordered up the $6 Deluxe Cheeseburger Meal Deal
and sat by the window rubbing the road from my eyes
The babble of fast food voices blanket bombed my brain
The waitress was telling me to ‘enjoy’ without
the slightest
hint of
in her thin voice

Everyone likes a window seat

She was just a kid doing menial work for a low wage
to go buy some shit to get high with her friends and forget
the mind numbing dullness of her meaningless existence
in this mid-western hicksville of horrors

To make matters worse
she only looked like Sissy Spacek in Carrie
I couldn’t help but think of her covered in blood
at the high school senior prom
as she disappeared through the swing door marked
‘Employees Only’

The food was disgusting
the soda watery and flat
I thought about Sissy Spacek naked in that shower scene
added ketchup to the fries and unconsciously
tuned in
to the conversation
going on between
the family in the seating booth opposite

The twin girls
dressed in identical but different colored summer dresses
sat upright and answered their mother’s questions diligently
The mother appeared twitchy and anxious
picking at her Caesar salad suffering I thought
from a case of serious over-parenting
She talked like a typical ‘helicopter’ mom
dissecting her precious girls’ every utterance
hovering over them
on the lookout
for potential
or imagined problems

No wonder they were so careful with their words
I named them the Test Tube Twins
the products of magical medicine
the hope and determination in a thousand failed fucks

They spoke of summer camp
their goals for the new semester
which books they should be reading before the end of year
their father more interested in his 1/2lb flame thrower
nodding along in agreement with everything his wife said
however nonsensical it sounded
licking his lips and jerking his head spasmodically

Unintentionally I caught the eye of the nearest girl
I smiled and winked and she nervously returned
a weak and worried stare
her father followed her gaze and found
the remnants of mine
He flew into a rage
first at her
then at me

You take your eyes off my daughter you disgusting pervert
I saw you looking her up and down like you wanna molest her
Do you hear me?
He was shouting through burger gristle
You turn away and don’t look back in this direction
else I’ll come over there and smash my fist in your goddamn face
You hear me?

I heard him alright
so did the whole restaurant
The silence was crushing
You just look away you hear?

I turned away but my eyes only found Sissy Spacek
bent awkwardly over a table
cloth in hand
head tilted in my direction
mouth open
work temporarily suspended

I felt the urge to push up her tiny black skirt
and force her face into the spilt salt and grime
telling her all the time to imagine it was a substance
for snorting
with a plastic straw
up her cute little
white trash nose

my pulse quickened
the feeling of injustice growing like an embolism
as I left the Grill and Chill
as I watched myself do all of those things
with every head turned in the direction
of my own misguided rage

(Everyone likes a front row seat.
Fucking Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson -
They’d give them both an Oscar for that)


I Stole the Soul of Samuel Thomas

Was it okay to take his photograph?

He said yes


Canyon de Celly South Rim lookout and thunder

I’d been skirting the storm clouds since leaving Ganado

Aware at Chinle they threatened to catch up with me

The usual visitor centre

The park for lunch

Bread, cheese, tomatoes

Sweet mesquite potato chips

A dog, some trees, scattered picnic tables

Just me and some off-duty rangers


Is history ever planned?

He said yes


One thousand foot high sheer cliff faces

One thousand year old ancestral stronghold

Red rock scoured by ages

Sunrise and deluge

Teeter on the edge and relive the past

Bareback braves and gatherings

Col. Kit Carson in sixty three

Surrender and removal

Return and reclaim


Do you ever come back?

He said yes


Every spring and summer after the thaws

We open up the hogan with eight walls

The door facing east toward the rising sun

Pick a peach or two on the remaining tree

In days gone by the crop would be dried

Laid like sunsets on baked ledges

Preserved alongside the corn

Winter’s rainbows

Now I drive a pickup and live in town


How much? Ten bucks? I’ll be back

He said yes


It was part of the bargain

The waiting and negotiating

White European invader with single lens reflex

Follow the trail, find the clues

Read the unfinished story

Listen to the thunder applaud your glory

And see. Now I am ready to honour my word

The money buying his family time

Carefully skirting around the canyon between us


Did you paint that?

He said yes


It wasn’t that good

Some representation of things I knew not what

Spirits and stuff for tourists on the back of a board

Crude but hey, it’ll look good on my book shelf

But I didn’t say any of that

He was packing up

The storm clouds were catching up with us

Day turning to night

A time for retreat


Can I take your photograph?

He said yes


And posed without smiling

Held his artwork without pride

I held out my hand and we shook like men

Looked him in the eye but his was cast to the ground

An uneasy truce ensued

The first drops of rain falling first upon his cheeks

They all seeming to miss mine

I wondered did he ever smile

Samuel Thomas, Navajo, August 2016


It’s been nice meeting you I said

He said yes


And then, looking away

I have to be here

This is my home

This is my life

If I leave

If I have to go somewhere

It is like somebody broke my journey

I dream of hearing wild horses again

The sound of peaches falling into buckets




On the road out of Chinle

Still within the Indian reservation

The storm had come and gone heading north

Great floods of water surrounded shacks

Island trailer homes and tied-up dogs

The summer hail swept to the sides of roads

Eighteen-wheeler-dealers thundering through

And me? I’m on my way to Horseshoe Bend

The next stop on my whistle-stop tour de force.



Overnite Exposure

What can I say about driving across the desert?
Interstate 15 would take me up past Mounts Baldy and Belknap
before joining the 70 heading east to Denver.
King of the road in my rusting 1974 Cadillac Eldorado coupé,
I planned to make Vegas by evening and stop at the Tropicana overnight.
Everyone should stay a night or two in Vegas,
it’s mad; truly and utterly mad,
Creation’s folly in the middle of the Mojave.
The hotels rise from the baked earth like offerings to the gods.
Along the Strip’s neon bejewelled aisle massive entertainment complexes
swallow every last inch of sacred real estate,
cathedral halls to mankind’s lust for all things gaudy and gambling.
To enter the very depths of these pretend palaces is like a manifestation of
Heaven and Hell.
The slot machine cacophony and drunken crowds combine to test the soul.
There is no point questioning the logic of Vegas,
you just have to go with the flow of insanity, enjoy
and have a nice day.

Fifteen floors up,     
standing at the barred windows of my hotel room I listened to the sound
of a distant police siren echoing through the desert night,
a sad Paiute wailing that grew louder as it neared the intersection below
before sweeping left to enter the unsanctified Strip in search of trouble.
The siren is replaced by screams as the New York New York rollercoaster
looped behind the replica Liberty and disappeared from view.
I heard a knock at the door and called out for the person to enter.
‘Hi guy.’
A bleached blonde woman of indeterminate age hobbled in
on painfully red high heels,
a bling cross dangling from her neck with uncertain meaning.
‘Been a long time honey, what’s happening?’
‘Hey, how’s my favourite muchacha?’
I opened my arms and she stepped willingly in,
snuggling her chin in my neck like a puppy dog.

The smell of her cheap perfume was momentarily overpowering.
Thick ridges of sprayed hair bristled against my stubble.

‘You staying long in town honey?’ she asked.
‘Just long enough to get reacquainted with your lovely curves,’ I replied,
my hands wandering across the back of her short sequinned dress to settle
on the plump mounds of her buttocks.
‘I think you’ve been putting on a few pounds since I saw you last.’
‘That’s just a little bit more for you to hold on to honey.
An extra five bucks worth I reckon.’
She unbuttoned my shirt,
kicked off her high red heels.

I unzipped the sequins from shoulder to thigh.
The outfit dropped to the floor revealing more than enough olive skin
and the folds of a woman passing her prime but still holding her own,
just, or should I say, still being held together, by lace frilly underwear.
‘I wore the red and black you like honey.’  
She unbuckled my trouser belt and knelt down,
an acolyte at the altar of the high white priest.
The morning sun reflected in the wing mirrors of the passing cars.
I continued my journey to Denver wistfully thinking of last night’s pleasure.
Wasn’t it all just a game, this business of life,
who we expose ourselves to and choose to worship?


El Camino Real

I'm driving on the historic El Camino Real
Joining forces with saints from faraway places
Francisco, Antonio and San Juan Capistrano
The Spanish came and left their names in traces

From Isla Vista traffic chaos constricts the reaches
Of Santa Barbara's northernmost districts
Cormorants stand crucified along the ocean frontage
We stop start stop like a snaking concertina serpent

Angry rows of fuming stubborn four wheeled burros
Braying for some California missionary forgiveness
Whilst overhead on surveillance the pelicans fly
Scoping the west coast waves with a fisherman's eye

The highway and railroad here run parallel lives
South US 101 a high pitched scabby concrete slab
Of echoes and clacks like the neighbouring tracks
And crows dodge the trains next to Santa Claus Lane

Towards Carpinteria the outside carpool is emptier
No crazy drivers switching left right and back again
Just some Screaming Eagles and Korean War vets
Names regally etched on green gantry memorial signs

At Ventura I venture east on a road of racing royals
The freeway basks in a summer of garish sunrises
Where Southern alligator lizards fill the air
And the free wind blows right through your hair

One more hour the 101 takes me where the songs were sung
Mayall, Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
In Laurel Canyon a counterculture was begun but now
It's time to swing on south to San Diego and Tijuana brass

Find my favourite girl in Rosarito, Baja California
We'll take a trip to where the weed grows sweeter
Become the next big Acapulco Gold wheeler dealers
Dollars flowing through shifting Spanish sand

Offering prayers to Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde
In a pina colada drug fuelled kaleidoscopic land
Of borderland smugglers, outlaws and narco-bandits
That's where we'll make and stake our home


(a couple of lines here lifted from the song 
'Ventura Highway' by America - with thanks)

The Keeper of Thoughts

so Bill

I was just wondering

when will you be done

taking your photographs

you were never this long

in the roll of film days

when you had a couple dozen shots

but now there’s no stopping you


my mother had always been

just wondering

patiently sat filing her nails

flicking through glossy magazines

Harpers and Queen

Vanity Fair

the breathtaking scenery

had never interested her


we’d drive out each weekend

take the Oldsmobile panting up

The Skyline Drive or

Blue Ridge Highway

there were swallowtails

and black bears

if you knew just where to look

and point your toy pistols


mother watched

from the passenger seat

window wound down

breeze blowing her mini beehive

the ten most alluring women

in the world

she would read out loud and

how to marry a billionaire Bill


poor father was a delivery man

never an ambitious bone

in his weary body

the long hours delivering parcels

exacted a price on his arthritis

but you would not hear him complain

just a few more minutes honey

he would quietly say


all those Kodachrome slides

he never showed or looked at them

they sat boxed

gathering dust

like his simple thoughts

over time he feared he would one day lose

our sunny days wandering Big Meadows

with mother in the car wondering


the names of our favorite places

still sing in my ears

they echo out from overlooks

call me back each year

to Riprap Trail

Hawksbill Gap

Elkwallow and

Bacon Hollow


now I am the keeper of his thoughts

unlocked and free to wander

projected overhead

we watch them on the big screen

there’s me I point

pistols at the ready

and mom smiling and waving

a cripple with withered legs



Wyoming Wanderings

Your mind can wander out here

That’s not always a good thing

And time can be a distraction

I try to leave my windows open

Allow the scenery to breeze right in

Absorption without discussion


A while back

My speed touched 70

I wandered out into the scrub

Clambered down into a dried up river bed

It twists and turns alongside the road

Meandering like my thoughts

I wondered what it would be like in winter

Or during a flash flood

In full spate


I imagined being bitten by a snake

Should I keep my leg up or down?

Would I make it to a hospital?

How far is the nearest town?


I stop to photograph a graffitied boulder

Two Dogs Was Here

Imagine one of those tumbling down

Crushing my car

Futile attempts to steer out the way

Two seconds of panic



When you start to wander you see things

Nature’s sidewalk secrets revealed

A fox disturbed from his shady nook

Signs of wild animals

Tracks, scrapes

Holes, faeces

Tread carefully

Broken glass



See how the rain shapes the land

Makes the plants bloom

And the sun cracks the sand

It’s alive and dead


Lived in



This place makes you feel alive

The wind and the potential

Danger lurking

I have to move on but I am drawn

To the contorted pock marked boulders

The dried grasses

Pale straw yellow

The sound of their seed heads

A solitary purple flower



I’m standing near to where I saw the fox

But he’s long gone or well hidden

Perhaps keeping an eye on me

Mistrustful beings both

Hunters and murderers

Wary wanderers


I turn with a smile

Take one last photograph

I found what I came looking for

A bend in the road

Sweetwater County

Wyoming State Highway 430

Rock Springs to the Colorado border


But now it’s time to move on.




they were the explorers

pathfinders and land cruisers

range roving defenders

of prairie frontiers

from Colorado

to Silverado

surf to tundra

the rebel wagon rams

on the edge of

Yukon escalades

Comanche commandos

the canyon pilots of

Navara ridgelines

terrain wranglers

titans of the suburban scene

defenders of the Sierras

Tacoma mountain toppers

Dakota rogues

dodging the avalanches

evoking the Cherokees

traversing the highland escapes

with a Sante Fe forester

or a tornado discovery

hummers and forerunners

they were the offroad journeymen

and patriots all.

Ever see a rainbow lit up by a sunset?

Ever see a rainbow lit up by a sunset?

Lightning forking across darkening skies

Neon lights stripteasing the night threats

Thunder truck rolling between your eyes


Ever stood waiting in a pool of starlight?

Colours mixing on burning streets of oil

Sirens announcing the coming firefight

Temperatures blistering as eyes recoil


Ever felt the heat of a stray arrow’s kiss?

The rose petal splash of crimson fears

Passions cloud over and lovers reminisce

Blindfolding their eyes with lambswool tears


Ever wondered how to ignite the new day?

Set gasoline fires on your demon badlands

Lonely back road promises drive them away

Covering your eyes you take both my hands


Forever we will journey in this quiet disguise.



(Just a bit of daily post one word prompting imaginative writing inspired by setting foot outside my motel room tonight in Tucumcari, New Mexico and seeing this amazing sunset rainbow).