as i meander through
the side streets on my bike
i am forced to face this place
i have reluctantly called home
i notice easily all the blooms along
brightly painted garage walls and
from sidewalk cracks,
oleander and desert willow
sunflower and nopal
the viejitos sit outside under the
shade of a fruit tree, tending to their
shrines of the Virgin Mary
caged up, boxed up little casitas,
exposed adobe bricks melting into
harsh sunlight warms me as i
peddle down mesquite,
i recognize this place, know
which way is north to colorado
and south to the border
where the rio winds through
the orchards and even
how to climb to the highest peak
of the organs
one year here, and though as
reluctantly i have called it home,
i can feel the chihuahuan desert sand
settling in my heart
Buying Salvadoran coffee.
Band playing Country Roads.
I miss my Appalachian foothills.
“Have you ever been to West Virginia?”
I miss my Cacahuatique mountains.
Sun warming black pavement.
Selling Salvadoran coffee.
I call them my mountains because I was born in their shadow –
hiking in the Blue Ridge feels like going home.
To visit my mountains is to awaken the part of me
that will always belong to the rolling Appalachian foothills.
Give me a cup of coffee in a sleepy Virginia town,
the sound of running water mixed with wind high up in the trees,
and wildflowers dotting the landscape with yellow, purple and orange,
and I will remember the joy that comes from sun-dried sweat on a tan back,
slippery rocks and furry moss on bare feet,
and nothing to do but talk and sing with each other to pass the time.
I left home by following the mountains rise –
climbing in elevation through the Appalachians toward the sea.
To see me in the city is to realize the part of me
that will always long to do good.
But although I have found the beauty in this energetic cityscape,
among the many different sounds and sights and smells mixing into one,
I still sigh in relief when I can hear the cicadas through my window at night,
and miss the people I know are sitting on a porch swing under my mountains,
letting the steady rhythm give the night extra life,
as they are content to simply stare up at the stars instead of pass judgements.
I wonder now if it’s time again to uproot.
I got a taste for starting over on my first trip out West –
winding through the Rockies that were higher than I could have imagined.
To drive me through those mountain passes is to excite the part of me
that will always equate this terrain with home.
Give me a cold beer in the backseat of a car on a cloudless night,
the smell of a campfire leaving ashes on my face and in my hair,
and even a group of friendly strangers who I have only just met,
and I will feel the peace that comes from the crackle of burning twigs,
wet grass under a flanneled back,
and nothing to worry over because there is nothing but uncounted time.
I got a taste for moving forward on my journey to the Pacific –
flying over the mountains of Los Angeles County felt like finding home again.
To visit those ranges is to awaken the part of me
that will always mark comfort with valleys and hills.
Because although it is just another energetic cityscape,
with new but not unfamiliar sounds and sights and smells mixing into one,
I still sighed in relief when I spotted those giants in the distance,
and wondered at the people I could know sitting in the shadows of those mountains,
letting the natural backdrop give the city extra life,
and I want to know if I would be more content there if I chose a new home now.
in my heart live ten thousand memories
and ten thousand more, unlived
i can feel them with the rough skin
of my fingertips
smell them in unwashed hair
or hear them on the street as i amble by
sometimes a premonition
often a flashback
i think that my heart’s landscape is green hills
filled with forest ferns and sycamore trees
drinking in the muddy river
there, i run freely
my pace changes
up and down the hills
around and through
i think your shoulder
is one of the hills
of my landscape
my weary mind’s resting place
if only for a moment
but i’ll beg for ten thousand more
i want to be part of
your heart’s landscape
the strong river in my veins
drives my existence
how to explain, then
the low bellow of a barge in the distance
heard beyond the creak of the porch swing
with wood still damp from morning dew
and the world beyond covered in a hazy shimmering veil
another slow and quiet start to a hot day
already covered in sticky humidity
but shivering because the sun remains
a dim shadow behind the fog
how to tell you, now
of blinding sunlight and skin hot to the touch
cool lemonade and Led Zeppelin days
little relief indoors from out
until bare feet touch wet grass and neck arches to moon and stars
turning not once stiff but when a bat swoops down low
to lightening bugs illuminating a rhythm
that has lodged itself inside my bloodstream
growing to be a part of me
There is so much of the world I want to see,
And I have only just begun to know
Who I am and where I would like to go
Instead of where “culture” tells me to be.
Moving far away from home was the key
Because it showed me how tall I can grow;
I could not possibly have stayed home, no,
When city life was so clearly for me.
But why did I romanticize these lights?
There are too many books on leaving home.
I sat plotting my escape all those nights,
Missing that no matter how far I roam
I’ll always want the hills and other sights
That molded me as if inside a dome.