Friday, 8 December 2017

The Dusty Trail

(Not as much a poem as mad, travel-blog ramblings, but….)

 The 3 months away became my savior, clad in robes from Byron bay.
3 months of feeling the dirt under our feet,
of morning smokes overlooking the edge of the world.
The sea salt on our lips and the reflection of the sky in our pupils and feeling the outline of the map crumpled in my pocket.
We all followed the footsteps of the glow worms that just lay around, succumb to the beauty that is the hometown surf.
Sun-kissed and melting.
Collecting furniture on our way, day by day, to make our tent into our little humble home.
Lit by candlelight, half shadows reading books by night.

The water dragons enquired of our journey, (one of which I named Tobias) but by then, I had stopped to talk to the crickets.
[I wonder how many times they witness people leaving, only to return years later on their hands and knees with flowers plaited into their hair and hearts dripping with cheap vodka?]
Those haunting lantern-lit paths and sounds of distant acoustic guitars- they’ll kiss your ears, they’ll make your heart bleed until it explodes into sheer light.

We spent days bathing in the tea tree lakes, high and flying.
Sweet and sugary, amber cocooned and with nothing more for a memory than the taste of nectar, just squinting at the sun.
We ran around the campsite laughing at the storms, baring our teeth at the sky and letting the electricity strike at us.
Adrenaline smoothies for the soul.
She asked and I said yes and we danced Salsa-style in the rain.
Colour just running into the drains like the last words of a dying rainbow. But nonetheless, twirling on bare footed, soaked through and content.
We hurled the rain back at the sky and watched it wrestle with the stars.

We sang songs with the Irish and drank until we had to run off, back to the beach to sleep.
2am. Pitch black. Little Starlet.
(And a never ending  packet of cigarettes smoked.)
 We found a man named Puc there, bless his soul- like the spirit of boyhood who tugged at the skirts of our hardened world, compelling it to come back and play.
[But of course, nothing is ever the same again, right? ]

Our duty of call was our nights in Duncans caravan, the smell of mary-jane and the flickering TV light on our faces.
With a whole constellations worth of stars in our eyes.
Where poker was played nightly (and still continues to do so even without us now) under the citronella candles as the moths fight for attention.

 Their wings beat out a melody that sounds :          "Is this the place?
                                                                                   Is this
                                                                                   the place?"

And suddenly we’re on the road again [again] through bright light; filtered beams, pine trees that left dappled shades on the winding roads.
I had my face pressed against the window like I was falling in love with the very essence of the place.
My adrenaline soared.
I nearly got up and danced. Right there on the bus,
and suddenly the future looks so alluring that I cant help but hold my arms open wide to it.
            To Lismore where I asked the streets,
“Is this where I’ll grow old?”
Wooden signs and rusting gates, roadside sales of honeys and jams.
A guy named Lorrie let us hitch up to the town with him.
To the south, where the markets have lanterns glittering in the trees, orange glowing warmth and the band just plays on and on.
Crystals jingling in the breeze and I swear even mosquitoes stopped in awe to admire the scene from the trees.
            Back to Byron where your mind grows so much that it refuses to stay in your body any longer.
Thirsty to know the truth.
Expanding so much that it leaks out of the ears and evaporates with the vastness of the sky.
The need to be pure breeze.
 Pure element and atom.
It’ll nag you until you’ve read every book you can find, until you consider Einstein’s equations are just pretty pictures in a line afterall.

We sold the tent.
We threw our clothes away.
And from Byron with its screen of falling stars and morphine headed hobos, we arrived to gushing torrents of rain and morning light in Brisbane.

Hitch hikers success.

Through the winding traffic we travelled on where I fell out of time briefly by sleeping for what seemed like a small eternity over the backseat.
 To little Marlborough town and her little pretty folk who water roses for a living.
All day re-painting white picket fences.
Past rolling roads where joeys peeked out nervously and a town where the women had burley thick arms.
A town of motels.
We witnessed civilization disperse until it was just the three of us and the hi way and the rolling hills and valleys. Sleeping giants covered in moss.
 Trees that whispered,
“Here we stand forever.”
We drove to Rockhampton.
To Mackay.
The sun fell down in golden strips until the full moon was our only light.
 Watching all the trees as they fell away and became ink splotted hands that scratched up at the sky.

At 2am we had to stop the car; The headlights were ‘fucked’. 

12 hours later at Airlie beach boarding a boat that made us laugh so hard, because we’d travelled so far to see paradise on earth and had thrown up all over the most beautiful beaches in the world.

To flame tree lodge where we made pot noodles and sat in bed watching the 5pm news, declaring it our first ever property owned.
(It was always fun pretending.)

To Newcastle with your polluted brown swans and petrifying bus journeys,
where you dare not breathe too loud for fear of stirring the locals (a group largely compiled of crack heads, neon pink lipsticks, urine saturated perfume, needles, black eyes,
and my how you all age here so quickly! So quickly you submit yourselves to becoming industrial waste…) 

Back on a train.
 Through Morrisset- where the air rings of school children, eating spaghetti hoops on toast, row after row of little wooden houses beside the tracks.
Washing line architecture and sun down at 4pm.
 Reflecting off of pavements which echo the sounds of bouncing balls and childhood laughter.

To the Blue Mountains where we fell on our knees, all grass stained and grubby into the arms of a ten-day Buddhist silence, asleep-awake meditation,
12 hours a day crystallized in-between the stage of ‘Dream’ like the milliseconds before you leave the womb.
 Mt. Solitary.
 Watching the mist creep up the mountainsides every morning at 5am,
 clutching the mint tea closer for warmth.

Revitalized and re-born, we slept with our eyes wide open on the airport floor the night we left.
From Sydney to Hong Kong and all its futuristic madness.
Flipping fish markets and city tower gods.

From Hong Kong to Heathrow, the transition phase, which leaves your mind numb with possibilities, of what the boarder holds,
[has it all been a mirage?]
 And other questions alike.
Into the pale British sunrise at 6am, driving back into the spring.

And what remained now, apart from philosophy and science?
Apart from 3am woodland firelight and a new year of cloud busting,  just starring at the sky with dad going,
"Ah I see. You're working on that one over there, arn't you." 

The new summer of striding beside hi ways and dodging traffic would bore on.
Of claiming the night,
where every adventure ends in a river,
with whiskey eyes and daisy chains.
Where the sunshine pins you to the ground, [such a pretty sight that even the rabbits would come a bit closer just to sigh].
 and the breeze lifts you and takes you further than you meant to go,
 We'd all hold hands and carry on dancing.
A game of chess in an abandoned house; Lit only by a lighter.
To the dragonflies we found that looked like the ones we’d collected in jars many years ago.
 [And to this day, I still search for your face on every street.]

It took me a while to stay put on our grey little contintent, but eventually I concluded just this:

 What more could a person need in life when you have the dainty warm shade of a childhood bedroom?
Safe by that little fire in the living room, with my socks flung over the top and the images of our family baring down on me like trophies from the walls.
[‘ We will show you how you shine’ ]
Where an old man defaces every single image of Gordon Brown in his newspaper with a biro.
 Where a cat sits triumphant beside the yarn which he assumes no one has noticed missing.
What more could anyone need when a heart can bathe in the milky acoustics of home?

 The scent of late afternoon coffee.
 The past contained as furniture.
 A familiar tune hummed.

[Higham Ferrers, you have me for now.]