Man Voyage VI: New England

Always such a nice time with my partner-in-crime.

The Aging Cynic

In 2016 I was winding down Man Voyage IV with my best pal and Echo & Sway comrade, Jared A. Conti AKA The Oracular Beard in the upper reaches of New York’s Finger Lakes.  We were chatting at length on the last stop of our three day beer & brewery pilgrimage with a knowledgeable server at Genesee’s Thirsty Pug Craft Beer Market when he wholeheartedly recommended, nay commanded us where to go next: Vermont.  

His claims that Vermont breweries were churning out some of the best beers in the country weren’t entirely unfamiliar to us.  Any craft beer drinker worth his/her weight in IBUs knows The Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Topper is one of the most highly rated & sought after IPAs on the market, and it more than lived up to the hype when a friend gifted us a few cans years ago.  My wife & I received a…

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Ten dollars and a direction

she relays to me

that I’m odd

(not that I haven’t heard that before)

and that I’ll always

be that way

(yah, I’ve heard that too)

 

and this is why

she likes that chapter:

some steamy romance

going nowhere

because it’s not yet written

or maybe

the plot

dried up

as with my tears

 

accusing fingers

holding your place

between

the part I played

and the mock-up

of a man riding in on a white stallion

saving you

from God knows what

 

open hand offering, reaching

out to you,

and to look upon

you, your favorite

of all the pretty-boy

poster smiles

long, stately mane

flowing in the breeze,

my wizardly ways

which have seen

the world

 

and the knowledge

that this too shall pass.

 

Art credit: Harrison Dale Conti, age 4
“The sun and Daddy at Gumpy and Nini’s”

MARVELS

Marvels

 

The old rugged cross

splinters and all

thorn in one’s side

festering

‘fore it let go.

Devoid of the deity

destined to be there,

simple sheep

beast

burdened.

 

1.

 

he used to imagine:

 

The Hulk.

Hues, shades

unable to see the forest

we walk among,

for that one

damnable

tree. Low-hanging

fruit, making all of paradise

one sticky situation.

Anger of the Father

flaming swords and all,

gamma-induced

mean streak,

counting to ten.

Commanded from the first

judge, jury,

and executioner,

throwing the Good Book at them.

Idle worship

of this,

that,

and the other

makes Him

green with envy

 

GOD SMITE!

 

His incredible wrath

setting sin upon his Son.

That day the sun,

stopped shining.

Veil torn in two,

yet this was but one of three.

 

2.

 

he used to imagine:

 

Spider-Man.

Nothing spectacular

or amazing

in appearance

that we should be attracted to Him.

Swinging in,

a man of sorrows

and acquainted with grief

your friendly neighborhood

Savior. “A menace!”

shouts J. Jonah Pharisee.

Suspended there, webs

hold our hero in place

until he nailed things down

got his story straight

all the world

and all the weight

 

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

 

3.

 

he used to imagine:

 

Vision, blinding

light

and sound–

a voice

disembodied.

Road to Damascus

neural pathways

synapses

flash

mental math

making leaps of faith

tinkered tin can,

less

than a man.

The 1s and 0s

do not compute

aligned

within the mind

and the soul

is but a stone

the builders rejected.

 

The weight of it

brought him to his

knees, dirtied

hurried, a hasty pace

placed

‘pon simple Simon

scuffs of dust

on shoes not yet walked

floorboards.

It shows in his own scars.

Child’s Play

Child’s Play

 

from Metro

a Traveling Tales of Waybackwhen book

 

He was here before.

 

In another life

removed from the

hustle

and bustle of

making

ends, and beginnings

meet. Always

toeing the waterline

as it rises

    rises

rises.

 

Castles in the sand, king

surveys his land

as the fortifications

lay bare, wasted,

washed up child’s play

sowing his wild oats

and beans and barley grow

 

but nothing

in this barren marsh.

 


 

based upon the photo

Dreaming of Sanibel

© Bruce Wallace

 

 

memento mori

pacing ‘round the parking lot

still

with white snow

ball bearings

    making their move

tracks

bearing the weight

that which

they were never meant

 

my back against the building

mirrors yours

against the door

grimy with

schmutz, and dust

this window’s

reflection

into a bitter, torn up soul

 

a shell of its former self

superheroic fortress

solitude, alongside Superman

robots, yet you

are no longer the hero

and one I could never be

 

so again I walk away

deep in thought, hands

deep in pockets

fiddling as I get my bearings

a worrying

balancing act

one forever alone

 

the other

Two-Step

Two-Step

 

from Homelands

a Traveling Tales of Waybackwhen book

 

What a tangled, mangled

web they weave

dancing

with the dewdrops,

mirroring universes

reflected

in each others’ eyes.

 

Hung up on the harangue,

breath catching

the sticky

sweaty stench

suffocating

beneath the spinning

twirls and dips

however harmless and halting.

 

Music

strums the heartstrings

and it triggers

something else…

primal

that which

needs to feed

waiting patiently

black widow

wearing white

hourglass

is but a mask.

Hot Pursuit

Hot Pursuit

 

from Metro

a Traveling Tales of Waybackwhen book

 

The cold

does not bother him.

 

Etched into his bones

as the emptiness

resides there.

It has found

a home, to languish in.

 

It is where the heart is:

to have

and to hold

as it bleeds out

bridging fate and fiction.

What once

they shared

wrested between,

gate forever closing the gap.

 

Snow having fallen

flakes like teardrops

make their own tracks as well.

Ties and ballast

holding the rails

in place

his purpose

a shape.

 

Parallel lives

lines that will no longer

cross,

but that one

once he catches up.

Penned In

Penned In

 

from Homelands

a Traveling Tales of Waybackwhen book

 

Cock-a-doodle

how do you do?

Rooster, fair weather

shaking his tail feathers

strutting his stuff

never enough

that comb on top

preening, scheming

non-stop.

Rudest of dudes

leads his brood.

 

“with a
cluck-cluck
here, and a
clack-clack
there, here a
cluck
there a

clack
everywhere a
cluck-clack

 

cluck-clack

cluck-clack

cluck-clack”

 

chicken run,

racing down the tracks.

 

Which came first?

The ‘lectric or the lights?

Boxcars, larders laden

gently laid in

a mistake to break

a few eggs for

omelets.

 

Yard bull

the big shake

seeing red

busting heads

toe-to-toe

with hobos.

 

All the while

the wily fox stalks

over in the henhouse

picking up chicks

yip-yapping

yadda-yadda-yadda

jaws flapping

gotta gotta gotta

Autumn Retreat

Reds and oranges

joined the chorus

skish and crunch

listened to the leaves

beneath the feet

of those that

forge the forest floor.

 

Ogethan pondered on

his path marked out for him

map, yellowed

at the edges

like calendar pages

falling

as time went by

quicker

and quicker

with the dying light of day.

 

Sharpe, Garth Addison, Jones…

…Lynnae.

 

Cheery cherry

pit in his stomach, turned

grew dense

caught up in

lives of little sparrows

and breathed

chest,

too narrow

inhaled the crisp

cool air, breathed

out a sigh of relief

and his heart

fluttered

migrated farther

and farther

how much more the Lord cared for thee.